When I was a kid in the sixties, people used to buy crazy bumper stickers, and put up crazy posters on the wall. One which I remember ran something like this,
In the event of a nuclear war, all rules against praying in this school are suspended indefinitely.
It was poking fun at the freedom of religion clause in the Constitution in public schools. Growing up in the 1960s meant that we lived with the last draft of US soldiers getting sent to Vietnam, we lived with body counts on the nightly news, demonstrations at US college campuses where National Guard troops used live ammo against college kids. The famous song “Four dead in Ohio” was about the Kent State University shootings.
The year 2020 will be remembered similarly. It was a year of unrest and demonstrations, calling in the National guard. What is different this year has been the complete lack of faith in our institutions. We have a President and a Republican party that have sown mistrust in our press, calling them “fake news”, sown mistrust in our Federal bureaucracy, calling them “the swamp” and the “deep state”, sown mistrust of scientists (climate change apologists) and doctors (inflating and lying about the pandemic), and the military. They have even sown mistrust over their own party, calling Republicans “RINOs” — Republicans in name only.
And the Democrats relentlessly pursued the institution of the Presidency following a path to impeachment.
So who are we supposed to trust? Who’s telling the truth? I guess it would have to be Donald Trump, his sons, his cronies and henchmen, and the others in his own party who are too afraid to stand up to him.
We have newsmen opining, not reporting. A good example is Jesse Waters who is handsome, styled and well dressed, a winning smile and likable at FoxNews. What is so interesting is that he first made his mark in “Waters World” which exposed the stupidity of most Americans. Why not be cynical? Why not try to fool them if they are so damn stupid?
Trump in his stump speeches mocks us — we’re just so damn stupid. We are just a bunch of poor slobs sitting in front of our TV watching him.
“Let’s put up some windmills,” he said. “When the wind doesn’t blow, just turn off the television darling, please. There’s no wind. Please turn off the television quickly!”
I don’t particularly like the people, and I certainly don’t want to have to listen to them. But unfortunately we live in a democracy here in the US and they have spoken with their vote. Trump has lost the election. No matter how many people he accuses of lies, no matter how many conspiracy theories he spins, he has lost.
Now that might mean that a lot of people like Joe Biden or it might mean that a lot of people hate Trump. And that is true. Joe Biden is a likable man. But a lot of people don’t like Mr. Trump. Really don’t like him.
A dose of skepticism is healthy for a society. Growing up in New York city, it is natural to be a bit cynical. But this is an assault against our whole society on every level. It makes me think that this might have been organized by the Russians or Chinese to sow sheer chaos.
One of my favorite quotes, by F. Scott Fitzgerald in “The Great Gatsby” (which I have already used in my post “The Federal and State Duality” reads,
“Let me tell you about the very rich. They are different from you and me. They possess and enjoy early, and it does something to them, makes them soft where we are hard, and cynical where we are trustful, in a way that, unless you were born rich, it is very difficult to understand. They think, deep in their hearts, that they are better than we are because we had to discover the compensations and refuges of life for ourselves. Even when they enter deep into our world or sink below us, they still think that they are better than we are. They are different. ”
I believe this is the source of the cancerous cynicism. It is that there are too many spoiled rich kids — Donald Trump a prime example — who were never drafted, never were sent to Vietnam to fight and defend their country. Donald was a draft dodger with a medical deferment. Or Lori Laughlin and the rest of the college entrance cheaters. They can’t believe that the election can be fair, because they have been cheating their whole lives. Real estate is a notorious business full of speculation and bubbles. A great place for a cynic to thrive.
In another post, I will talk about the great epidemic of 2020 and how Donald Trump and his Republican party subverted our public health system, doctors, and scientists.
And the #metoo movement has torn away the curtain of power and sex. The Boy Scouts of America has gone bankrupt, the Church has its scandals.
But really, tell me, is Donald Trump the answer? Why am I writing this post?