Guru, the alter ego who views humanity and the universe from somewhere around Neptune, predicted during the first Obama administration a Donald-like bowling ball. Not that Guru is a genius – many predictions are whimsy – but Guru hit the bullseye on this one. The federal government had become irrelevant to citizen reality. The election process, indeed the daily ritual once elected, was tightly wrapped around raising money rather than pursuing the American dream. Ex-senator Al Franken confessed on a late night TV talk show that the first five hours of every day were spent calling donors and lobbyists to raise money not just for Al but for the Democratic Party. It was the same with the republicans.
Campaigning had become a traveling carnival complete with snake oil salesmen who did not base rhetoric on problem solving but rather reinforced the insecurities of the electorate should something actually change. Meanwhile, the electorate reality was indeed changing; the economy was slanted toward shareholders and investment, leaving actual labor investment in the dust. Ignoring the wellbeing of the electorate – especially their economic wellbeing – is a recipe for populism. Elected officials were about as useful as bowling pins.
Along came Donald. A bowling ball made to order. Pick any analogy: a bull in a china shop, a landslide blocking the highway, a spilled garbage can. As has been widely reported, three rustbelt states took advantage of the Electoral College to overthrow the popular vote in the 2016 election. Populism took charge via Donald.
What is good about populism is that it forces instability; it disrupts the status quo; it makes things uncomfortable for the irrelevant processes of a stagnant culture.
What is bad about populism is its mindless destruction; it throws out the good with the bad; it wounds the culture in a way that will take time to heal; it ignores opportunity in order to sustain disruption.
The days of the guillotine have passed. Fortunately, the United States is isolated between two oceans and inherited an immense wealth in a newly discovered continent. Otherwise, one wonders whether war, destruction and murder, as observed today in other parts of the world, would be the process for US populism.
Guru still is concerned whether the ship of state and the state of the electorate will be stable enough to receive a turbulent century of unknown disruption to society, economics, environment and day-to-day survival.
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TO BE NOTED:
Havin’ a heat wave ♪
[The Washington Post] In what has become a seemingly monthly entry, this past July was not only the hottest July but also the hottest month on Earth in recorded history. It was so hot that wildfires ravaged millions of acres of the Arctic and swaths of Europe set record highs, including 108.7 degrees in Paris. July 2019 “beat” July 2016 — a month further warmed by “an extremely strong El Niño” — by about 0.07 degrees, according to the European Union’s Copernicus Climate Change Service.