Friday, December 13, 2019

Will UK election hint at USA’s future, again?

     Where were you when Britain voted to drop out of the European Union?
     It isn’t like 9/11. Not exactly a searing shock. Rather one of those queasy moments when you feel the bedrock wobble.
     Do you remember? Here’s a hint: June 2016. I was in Washington, D.C., visiting my older son. Getting the news amidst the Roman splendor of our nation’s capital helped seal it in memory.
     As did the news itself: Britain was bailing out of the European Union, tired of living in an interconnected modern world where standards might be set somewhere else. Rejecting the EU’s open borders, which meant some foreign person could come to your country, where they don’t belong.
     Not that I cared much about British politics. Rather, I saw the vote as tea leaves indicating where our own country was heading come that November.
     Or as I wrote on my blog three days later:

“The news filled with the spectacle of a nation submitting to xenophobia and fear, leaping off a cliff at the behest of mavericks who had no plan other than to trash the system and see what happens next. It’s like burning down your home to marvel at the pretty fire. And I couldn’t help but feel: we’re next... It was scary to walk through these wide federal plazas, with their gleaming beige stone buildings. To think, ‘This is the Department of Commerce that Donald Trump will be responsible for. This is the White House where he will live.’
“With the bad news from Britain, as the country, in an act of collective derangement it instantly regretted, voted to be a smaller, more cut off and less prosperous nation, it was easy to suspect we had now entered a world gone mad, that the populist rage that has for so long simmered under our politics had truly exploded. . . Brexit is strike two... Will Trump be strike three?”
     He was. Though Trump has not been as bad as feared. When I asked my boy interning in Washington why he wasn’t that alarmed about Trump, he replied, “The institutions are strong.” And they have been, generally. While individual Republican leaders line up to stain themselves with the deathless shame of cowardice, treason and betrayal of every moral value they once flaunted, there has been institutional resistance. By the courts. By the federal bureaucracy. By Congress — the impeachment process distracts Trump from doing greater damage. The media has never been so important.

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  1. Irrationalism is a good way of describing the elusive definition of populism.
    In my search for that definition at every turn I found populists as a group of frustrated and poorly informed people.
    The question is why they are ignorant. The common theme is simply that they don’t want to hear of anything that may challenge their beliefs.
    Yes, the media is at the core of this, and I fear as more an more poor “journalism” floods our learning waves, the more poorly we will be governed.
    Jared Diamond’s analogy using the demise of Easter Island as what will happen if we keep ignoring the obvious has never been more true.

    1. I wonder what our Moai statues will look like.

  2. Poor journalism is an effect of the profit motive over truth. With democracy at risk as well, we face a potential crisis that will render our petty political squabbles irrelevant. The global warming predictions could be wrong. But the error might be that the predictions understate the magnitude and speed of the looming catastrophe. Building walls across the English Channel and the Rio Grande will be the Rapa Nui sculptures for our grandchildren.

  3. When I try to read more and go to the suntimes I am blocked with having to buy a subscription.

    1. Good.

      And you're complaining to me ... why exactly? Those subscriptions pay for my salary.

    2. C'mon, cough up a buck for the paper. Neil's column is worth at least a buck all by itself. I propose a new saying: "A buck a day will keep dementia away."


    3. Have the paper delivered, Molex. Very reasonable.

    4. There's a loophole. If viewers jump through it, they can read the whole megillah, despite the appearance of the black screen. But I don't use it, and I'm not about to spill the coffee beans, because Mr. S. is right.

    5. Strike a blow for truth and subscribe. If Rupert Murdoch can buy up entire media companies, you can afford one little subscription, Think of it as a brick in a wall of truth.

  4. “The institutions are strong.” But crumbling. Four more years of Trump(which I believe are on the way)will dismantle them completely and to believe otherwise is a delusion.

  5. The parallels between the USA and the United Kingdom are uncanny. Like the Democrats, Corbyn's Labor Party ran on a campaign of tax and spend. But the worst case scenario has played out. Putin's Russian agents have successfully mettled in the United Kingdom's election. The future is so dark we will have to wear night vision glasses.

  6. Corbyn & his top cronies are all vicious anti-Semites, no matter how many phony apologies Corbyn has managed to croak out of his lying mouth the last couple of weeks.
    So while Johnson is a highly educated fool [just google some of his outrageous stunts on YouTube], anything is better than the reincarnation of British Nazi leader Oswald Moseley as the PM of the UK!


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