I Needed A Break

After several months of intensely watching and commenting on politics, I needed a break. I am still really happy that 2,489 people thought that voting for me wasn’t a waste, but screaming from the rooftops that voting for Trump was a mistake didn’t make much of a difference. Back in March I commented that we were already living in a corporate dystopia, and I commented a few times on social media that we were approaching a nexus where we had to choose between Neuromancer and Star Trek.

Ridley Scott's Blade Runner

Ridley Scott’s Blade Runner

Trump’s cabinet selections have given an additional meaning to the Republican Three G’s of “God, Guns, and Gays” with “Goldman, Generals, and Gazillionaires,” as Missouri Sen. Claire McCaskill called them. I was worried that Hillary Clinton was in too tightly with Goldman Sachs, but Trump has selected Goldman veterans Steven Mnuchin for Treasury, Gary Cohn for the White House National Economic Council, and Steve Bannon as Senior White House Adviser. Add to this the list of Trump’s billionaire friends

  • Betsy DeVos as Secretary of Education,
  • ExxonMobil CEO Rex Tillerson as the leading Secretary of State Candidate,
  • Andy Puzder of Carl’s Jr./Hardee’s as Secretary of Labor, and
  • vulture capitalist Wilbur Ross as Secretary of Commerce,

and we have the makings of a very strong corporatist executive branch. I can’t find anyone in the proposed cabinet who seems to have even the smallest concern for the economic issues facing low-income and middle class Americans.

I expect Trump’s government to be focused on the next quarter instead of the next quarter-century. I expect that they will get some significant short-term gains, while sacrificing long-term American interests. Given what I have read so far, I expect Trump to be the worst environmental president–even if he is saying he is open-minded on climate change–because I expect he will work to eliminate many environmental regulations without making sure that the environmental protections remain. (I agree that we need to streamline the regulatory and reporting requirements that often delay projects for a decade or more, but we can improve efficiency without sacrificing effectiveness.) Betsy DeVos will likely gut public school funding in favor of vouchers and semi-private charter schools, which will result in sacrificing a generation of students, likely crippling American innovation. Ben Carson’s disdain for the poor doesn’t mesh well with the Housing and Urban Development mission “to create strong, sustainable, inclusive communities and quality affordable homes for all.”

As you can tell, I’m not terribly optimistic about the next four years. I’ve had various plans streaming through my overactive brain:

  1. Watch the world burn.
  2. Move to Canada, because
    • Being farther north means we will be better able to handle climate change, and
    • Current policies seem to strike a balance between economic, social, and environmental concerns.
  3. Prepare my daughter to lead the rebellion.
  4. Work to form a shadow government, where concerned citizens work together to do what the government will not.
  5. Convince myself that there’s a way to successfully fight the kakocracy.

I don’t know which of these makes the most sense. I like the idea of a shadow government, but I’m pretty sure I’m not the person to lead it. I’ve been teaching Zari along my basic philosophy of “Expect the best, but prepare for the worst” since birth, so #3 is already well underway. I have been very unsuccessful at #5, and I don’t particularly enjoy #1. Moving to Canada is interesting, but I don’t enjoy winter that much, and I don’t really like the idea of abandoning the U.S. when it needs voices like mine more than ever.

So, if you were reading this today hoping that I had a plan, I’m sorry to disappoint you. Trump’s transition website does finally have a place to submit “stories,” but I am enough of a cynic to think that these aren’t really being read, but rather data-mined for things they can use. I don’t know what I can do today to make a difference. I’m a summer person, so winter always makes me a bit more negative than usual, but I’m having a really difficult time seeing the bright side to anything happening politically right now. I am thrilled that Colombia and FARC finally have a peace deal, ending a fifty-year civil war, but most of the rest of the news just saddens me.

At least Rogue One comes out Thursday.



Filed under Corporate America, Ethics, Technology

2 responses to “I Needed A Break

  1. Shabnam Kaderi

    Chin up, Topher. Your opinions matter and your voice is being heard. You aren’t alone, shouting into the dark. There are more of us out here than you think, working in the background.

  2. cstogdill

    Don’t sweat those environmental details because the future is filled with electrolytes!

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