Day 62/63/64/65/66/67/68: In Defense of America

I love this country. I know Americans are the greatest people in human history. I say this because digital disruption has been gunning for the nation state. I see how apps under the banner of connection divide us from our families and communities. 

I’ve never understood Yelp. Choosing based on the amassed opinions of those who are either desperate to be heard or assume others wish to hear their thoughts as much as they do. We don’t research the reviewers and compare their opinion to our own. We assume we all feel the same way. An assumption against all evidence. Yet we listen to these contextless opinions and give them the power to control what businesses succeed in our community. 
I’ve always loved the film adaptation of “High Fidelity”. The theme of love being beyond shared likes has stuck with me over the years. I feel it becomes more important as our digital lives grow. Tech sells us on the idea that shared likes are the only foundations for bonds that truly matter. Yet as I grow older, other bonds like geography seem to have developed stronger relationships. My high school friends are no less cherished than college friends despite what mass media teaches us. My internet friends vanished as they came once my posts lost their sheen.
We outwardly praise our universality in the face of differences on macro issues but have checkboxes for those closest to us. Does cultural taste matter? I doubt so. I think care matters. It remains after the dreams run dry and the shows are cancelled and after we become feasts for worms. After the dirt is put back, it isn’t your works that warms the cold home in which they gather but the recollections of faux pas and moments of love.
We must strive to innovate and build but will your legacy be a resume or a life?
America long stood for life. Life was the reason for freedom. It was why we fought our greatest conflicts. The Revolution that life was not granted by a king but by God. The civil war that all humans are people who own their own lives. The great depression that employers do not have greater rights to life than those they hire. Civil Rights reaffirmed the lessons of the Civil War. Yet in the globalized age, life has succumbed to luxury.
When Louie CK mocks people who complain about slow loading smartphones, he mis-understands the frustration. It isn’t from a place of entitlement instead it is a dirge for the life they have sacrificed for that moment. We traded good lives to be meatcogs in another’s paradise. All we got was a stupid phone that lasts two years. It is hard to say the masses had much choice in their fate as the current conditions for digital holdouts show. They just scrambled for the first lifeboat they could find. 
The one delight in Trump is reading and watching the reactions of the global elite. How he dismisses anything he wishes (mostly their wishes). They crow and caw in their lofty penthouses. Much like how they reshaped America in their own image against the will of the people for the past decades. It would be a more enjoyable experience if he boosted the people but as we’ve been told beggars can’t be choosers.
Can America return to greatness? Can one chose life over consumption? 
I can’t answer these. A ballot can’t answer these. Tomorrow can’t be avoided but we still have time to change it. To buy less online, call over text, chat with the neighbor instead of eavesdropping on television. We can act as we want to be treated. We can stop worrying about where else we can be and enjoy where we are. We can go to places, we not the crowd think looks good. In other words, we can act free to become it.
-E.C. Fiori

Day 57/58/59/60/61: The Kingdom of Hoover

Comey testified before the Senate today. As much as seeing Trump’s tweet refuted under oath was entertaining, the acknowledgement of an investigation into his campaigns collaboration with Russia since July dampened my mood. I wasn’t one of those who believed Comey’s letter changed the election. In light of the full story, it is now hard to argue otherwise. Both candidates were being investigated. A narrative that might have changed history. 

The Kingdom built by Hoover survived in no small part to leaks during Watergate. The meetings between the man who would be revealed to be Mark Felt and two journalists is a thriller cliche even if most movie goers no longer understand the reference. 
Comey had a choice. His rebuke on Clinton’s email server was before last July but the October letter that ended up being a phantom suspicion was well after. He knew that for most of the general campaign one major candidate was being investigated and it was not Clinton. The FBI’s involvement in the email scandal is the crux of the belief that she was a weak candidate. Comey’s silence on the issue at some level is understandable if the accusations are true, it is an unprecedented situation of a politician collaborating with our greatest foe. With Priebus and Spicer in the White House, one wonders how much the GOP knew of Trump’s actions. 
It is a shame, rural America deserves a true defender. The bottom 80% of America deserves a voice. We can’t afford to continue fighting the battles Dylan sung about. We must move on as a society. A new century dawned about 20 years ago, we must meet the challenge. You still can’t drink water in Flint.

-E.C. Fiori

Day 55/56: Leaders and Rebels

Under Obama, McConnell famously described the GOP’s role as the party of no. In Trump’s presidency, the firebrands in the democratic party have decided to try on the mantle.

The difference between a rebel and revolutionary is leadership. A rebel just stands against. A revolutionary leads to somewhere new. Obstructionism in government is a rebellious act, it denies and rejects. As James Dean taught us rebels are cool but they don’t change the world usually. The rebel stances are defined in the negative. They can stop but not build.
As the democrats recover, the notion of unstoppable share of electorate returns. This is a false truth, millennials are more likely to identify as conservative than Boomers pre Reagan. 1980 taught us about permanent party allegiances. The coalition as it stands is made of individuals claiming to be a demographic. Each with their own vision and agenda. United against piecemeal policies of the opposition.  
Where do the Democrats wish to bring us? Open borders or protectionist trade? Monopolies or competitive small businesses? Bringers of democracy or an island in the world?
I think Obama’s charm and intelligence gave the illusion of a grand theory but standing by the president isn’t a vision of the future. Standing against him isn’t one either as the current chaos in DC shows. If any third party bothered to build a nationwide local network and a strong state presence, we could have been looking at the dawn of a new age. Instead we’ll have to settle for this unending sunset until someone chooses to govern.  
-E.C. Fiori

Day 36/37/38/39/40/41/42: The Red Tide

As Americans on the left and right draw battle lines, enemy forces have entered our society. I’m not speaking if the radical Islamist threat but the Russians and Chinese.
Much has been made of Russian influence in the current Administration. I think we will learn the truth of Wikileaks soon and their Kremlin masters. Snowden sold himself to Putin before his leaks. The Cold War continues.
China however has gotten mostly a pass from the media. We have allowed ourselves to become addicted to their large market. If the American Century was based on the spread of our values then China is our high water mark. Since the opening of China by Nixon, China has not improved their human rights and American business has become more indifferent to their employees like the contractors they hire for their sweat shops.
Today as Hollywood is selling out to the Reds, I cannot but help to worry about the freedom of our media. As studios have sought the seats of Chinese auditoriums, they have grown blind to the offenses to please the censors. Now they are being bought by Chinese investors, I don’t doubt the trend will continue. “The Great Wall” is the beginning not of white washing as leftists who haven’t viewed the film claim but of the presentation of unquestioning Chinese might and values. Hollywood will be making the world less safe for democracy. This is dangerous, we cannot cede the freedoms of America for profit. We cannot support government crackdown on dissent. We will have less “La La Land”s and “Moonlight”s. 
We must not cede our souls for dollars.
-E.C. Fiori

Day 43/44/45/46/47/48/49/50/51/52/53/54:The Playground

A recent op-ed in the NYTimes about a view of citizenship and nationality as a wardrobe. A process in which the only signifier of importance is the would be immigrants’ personal feelings. It of course was written by a member of global elite. The spouse British by birth and author American.
The op-ed claim that ten years of being anywhere regardless of status is enough to call a place home. I couldn’t disagree more. Much like the notion that ten thousand hours of effort will make you a genius, nationality and home are not door prizes or union negotiated raises, they are the fullest measure of existence. The blood and toil for a community. The Lost Generation lived in Paris but dreamt of the home they couldn’t return to. This is to say immigrants do become the nationality of their new country but through assimilation. Their rituals and customs must be traded and the ones that remain Americanized like the names on Ellis Island. Everyone will be “Irish” on Friday because the Irish are actually American. The left views this as immoral but I cannot disagree more. That is the beauty of the melting pot you become us and we become you. The new may take attempts yet we have always found a new harmony (with some discord) in each new voice. 
Assimilation threatens the playground of cultural tourism that so delights the rich. A liberal purity test that chills freedom in the name of their pleasure. They proclaim the importance of international travel but deny most Americans the wages to experience it. They hold up a system that forces the most desperate to lose everything frequently including their lives for a different poverty while enshrining their privileges for their descendants. Assimilation and wage equality for all workers promotes an unified America. It brings together wider community and bonds beyond those that are skin deep. Despite what the Global Elite says, there should be great pride in being an unhyphenated American. Instead their academic agenda is a deunification process categorizing us as the tribes we left behind. Leaving young citizens without civic lessons beyond identity politics. 
We must teach our children of the sacrifices made for them, the flag that flies for them, and how they can carry forward our traditions.
-E.C. Fiori