It is just so EZ to get caught up in the Trump domination of the news. As bad as it is, there is so much good going on at the same time that doesn’t get reported. There are so many individuals and organizations out there working on the real problems, and progress is being made on dozens of fronts underneath the Repub/Trump regressive attacks on anything progressive.
See the Bill Gates Newsletter, for examples of the incredible people and advances going at the same time as the Trump circus dominates our visual input and our psyches. Progress gets little if any press.
We lived thru Nixon, Reagan, Bush 2.0 (like his stopping stem cell research and promoting Creationism), and in the meantime, we got more progressive, moved more to the left, despite their temporary roadblocks. Trump will do some real damage, I’m not being Pollyanna in outlook here, but then it will only go so far, and the effects on the economy and voters haven’t been seen yet. The liberal side will get their turn again, maybe sooner than we think since the Trump administration is already so controversial and negative, the country may get real tired of it soon. And he may hang himself with the conflict of interest issues and/or the intel community, or whatever he decides to be confrontational about next. Regardless of his and the Repubs retrograde actions, with public knowledge of science increasing daily, and as reality sets in refuting his over the top blatherings (which will get modified or dropped altogether just like his “lock her up” promise), we will see some pushback and correction to his excesses. The coming secular rebound will have its effect as well. The very un-Conservative youth of today will all be voting soon and they don’t care about your sex, what drugs you use, or what color you are. And all the technology and social advance is just their normal. The Higgs boson and gravitational waves will have always existed for them, as do LGBTI folks, and medical marijuana, and edibles. And they dont give a damn what bathroom anybody uses. We never consider what good news may come down the pike, or what may be happening right under our noses already: sea changes of progress come so fast we barely notice.
Who the hell predicted the rise of the “Nones” or gay marriage being a done deal, or the weed legalization movement, a black Presidency done already…or Apps.? How did we live without smartphones and Apps, just a few short years ago? We rarely consider or expect all the good developments that may be in the works. I don’t remember anyone saying all these things were about to happen a decade or two ago. We tend to get caught up in the negatives and only see those, and understandably, as the good stuff is so under-reported. And there has been nothing as negative as the Trump show, and he is not even in office yet. He is all about confrontation and denigration. It has dominated our daily news and is the expectation now, since the primaries. We’ve been conditioned. And at year’s end, all over social media, we wailed how bad 2016 was.
Gates on the other hand describes 2016 as a year to remember with incredible people and their advances exemplifying the progress that doesn’t make headlines:
” The one thing all of these experiences have in common is that they were made possible by some incredible people who are working to make the world a better place. Many of them I had the pleasure of meeting in person during my trips to visit schools, labs, and universities from Seattle to South Africa. Others, I got to know by experiencing their writing in books on everything from spacecraft to shoes.” He continues:
“Now, much of my work involves learning from other fanatics. They are the scientists in search of new vaccines. Teachers working tirelessly to perfect their craft. Engineers dreaming up crazy ideas for new sources for clean energy.” We don’t hear about these folks and their tireless improvement of our world. We only hear about Trump’s latest 3AM tweet attack on another inconsequential slight on his fragile ego, usually from someone who has some real integrity. (John McCain, Meryl Streep, John Lewis to name a few).
So while Trump is strutting about and blustering, Gates is reporting what will be the new normal for the next generation. My parents thought my generation: getting high, insisting on using the f word, damn long hair and hippie clothing, absorbed with idealistic lofty goals…How the hell were we ever going to grow up and run the country? Well, we did, every generation does, and they grow up more liberal, leaning more to the left with every decade. Most Repubs now favor gay marriage, and have accepted the porn on our iphones…huge changes in acceptance of what is the norm. Can u imagine gay anything, much less marriage being OK with the public in the 60’s or 70’s, s with Goldwater, or Nixon types in power? No way. The police raided bookstores for “Valley of the Dolls”, the Conservatives burned Beatle records, and inter-racial marriage was illegal until the Supreme Court overturned it in 1967…we live in a wholly more liberal world today. We just don’t notice the many and varied incremental changes to the new normal. Especially in the 2000’s now…it all happens so fast.
Today’s Conservative religious Republican lives in and accepts a world vastly more liberal and secular then the 50’s-80’s. Reagan and Bush 1.0 would have just shit over gay marriage, the weed legalization movement, the ubiquity of porn, atheists becoming visible and the growth of the non-religious, the F word on TV…or a black man replacing them in the White House?!! Impossible!…but these progressive things all happened and are mainstream now. We forget all the victories and incredible progress we take for granted in our daily lives now, that were hard fought and then won, and not so long ago.
“One of my favorite new phrases I learned in 2016 is “nerd farmer.” That’s how Nate Bowling, Washington State Teacher of the Year, described his role in the classroom. “I joke about being a nerd farmer. I’m trying to cultivate a kind of scholarship in students, and a passion for learning. So I bring passion to the classroom, and they see that and rise to the occasion…”
There are thousands of teachers out there with this kind of integrity and passion for their subject and the advancement of their students…while we simultaneously have a President-elect who makes fun of handicapped people and brags about grabbing women by their genitals whenever the urge strikes him. Unfuckingbelievable.
As another example of inexorable advance: the Republican Conservatives will lose the climate change battle soon enough, there is too much info available daily to the public for them not to see it. And it is global knowledge that most of the rest of the world already understands and is forced to take action on. We don’t live in Trump’s self-aggrandizing reality of his own angry tweets of denial and attack. It is hard to deny what the rest of the world is moving forward on. The paid pseudoscience shills bolstering the Repub climate denial will lose just like the formidable tobacco industry finally lost, denying the link to cancer and the negative health effects of second hand smoke. The 50-80’s were so “cool” with cigarettes and ashtrays everywhere, in boardrooms, everyone smoked at meetings, in restaurants, at your workstation, etc., etc. It was hip, it was what we did, nearly everybody did it and it was unquestioned for decades, and now its gone. Expecting someone to go outside to smoke back then? Are you kidding? Yet now THAT is the norm. Complete reversal. And we don’t go back.
As we speak, the Trumpster’s very own property in Florida, his famous Mar a Lago estate, is up to it’s high class ass in climate induced sea-level rise. His property managers there are already scrambling around having to undertake drastic measures, spending huge bucks of his on attempting to contain the advancing tides. Besides recurrent flooding with the varying high tides that now flood streets regularly, which never flooded before, the higher sea level is putting pressure on and contaminating the groundwater. So while Trump is doing his usual misdirection and contrarian attitude spiel, sputtering on about how climate change is just a Chinese hoax, or the jury is still out on the science, his own employees are spending his money right now dealing with the reality of melting icecaps and warmer oceans, and making huge plans to build seawalls and install pumps to protect his property, housing and infrastructure. While the Repubs deny and deny, the people on the firing line and the entire scientific community know better. Just like the tobacco lobby, they will lose in the end. It is not that far away. Like gay marriage, climate change acceptance will be a done deal, even with the denying part of the public I suspect, sooner than anyone would forsee. Like sexual orientation and legalizing weed, climate change is just another aspect of a fully accepted reality with most of the 18-30 year olds, and the rest will eventually come in line as the info becomes undeniable…and bites us all in the ass.
Conservatives are good for nothing it seem to me, but deploying rhetoric: filibustering with futile holding actions which lose in the end, retarding progress for years, decades…and then collapsing under the weight of reality. Information kills religion, solely because it eventually kills bad, wrong ideas. We do have an administration full of bad news, fake news purveyors as ludicrous and racist and misogynistic as Trump, it is true. But they dont have a monopoly on the info. We have all the secular groups that didn’t exist or were marginal during Reagan or Bush 1 or 2 years. And even then, the conservative holding actions, eventually lost. Stem cell research was a huge controversy in 2000/2004 and the Religious Conservatives won that round with Bush 2.0 in power. Then Obama reversed the restrictions. Now its not even an issue. No-one ever clamors about it. They lost, and we will most likely never go back to restricting that research even tho it is still dead against the Religious Right’s ideas. A return to restricting that research won’t happen. It is too mainstream as is the just as repugnant to Pro-Lifer thinking: IVF, in vitro fertilization. Even Conservatives turn to modern science for help if they can’t have kids. Both are so mainstream now, you never hear a word against either one. Like gay marriage, tobacco, and porn availability, the deniers lost those battles completely. So we will see some steps back with Trump and his band of religiosos, but it won’t last. The worst of it could well be the Supreme Court pick. But even there with Scalia and the other conservatives, their rulings were often much more liberal than anyone expected. It is tough to go against progress and the society at large.
“And to learn more about Nandan’s (Nandan Nilekani-Indian entrepreneur and philanthropist) vision for India’s future, you can read his book, Rebooting India: Realizing a Billion Aspirations. “We are much better off dreaming, taking risks, and trying to realize a billion aspirations; at best we risk falling flat on our faces,” he writes. “Far more egregious, and most dangerous to our country, is going about ‘business as usual,’ leaving a billion voices unheard and a billion frustrations unresolved.” So while Trump and the Repubs are busy rolling back Obamacare out of nothing but spite with no replacement plan yet formulated, enlightened folks all over the world like Mr. Nilekani are moving forward, not backward.
Lastly, our government doesn’t have control, nor does Breitbart, Rush Limbaugh, Fox News or the Evangelical clergy, of all the info like in “Brave New World” or “1984”. In our democracy there are so many different institutions that spread the info, both science and social that combat their spin. Accordingly, they come off all to often to more than half the populace as the buffoons they are. They sound ridiculous in the light of real knowledge. Even the near-“1984” theocracies of Iran and Saudi Arabia, contend with a populace that is connected to the rest of the world. It is impossible for even them to control all the info. Their citizens get such different ideas and perspectives from the rest of the world and they can see they live in shit compared to not just the West, but to the East as well. The developing countries of South Asia and Africa are all doing better, economically and socially than the Muslim world. The closest to “1984” is truly North Korea. Their isolation and hood winking is damn near total. But they are the extreme exception in a world that has been trending to democracy and exchange of information since the late 1800’s.
I’ll give Gates gets the last word:
“In the field of energy, one of my best teachers has been Ken Caldeira. A climate scientist at the Carnegie Institution for Science, Ken investigates issues related to climate, carbon, and energy systems. His official job title requires him “to make important scientific discoveries.” And he has. He is a pioneer in exploring the impact of human activity on our climate. His experiments have given us the strongest evidence to date that ocean acidification is already harming coral reef growth.” The climate deniers can’t fight reality much longer. It is biting Trump on the ass as I write.
I’m excited about how much we can expose Trump and his band of billionaires. The Women’s March on Washington (and the parallel protests in cities all over the country) after his inauguration is so unprecedented, as is the growing boycott by so many legislators. Trump lost the popular vote. We have to remember that. There is no mandate. This was no Conservative landslide. Progressive thinking didn’t get rejected by any majority, slammed for example, such as if only a third of the populace had voted against Trump and his ideas: if he had won by a huge majority. That would be a real challenge and leave us with a dismaying uphill fight. Instead 52% of those that voted, the majority, did not vote for him. And the 3rd party candidates claimed nearly 5% of the vote as compared to 1-2% in recent elections. Those voters may have bought the narrative about Hillary’s emails or were pissed off about Bernie, but they weren’t in Trumps camp either. Hardly a mandate. We must continue to ridicule and expose all absurdities; religious and political, (Trump’s un-realities rival those of any religion) and spread real information so we don’t end up with a Trump-spin, Fox News, Breitbart news monopoly. Now is the time to realize the majority of the country did not vote for this angry, combative, conman or his attitudes. It is time to turn up the volume, for sure, and one way to do it is to get educated on all the real news, the advances in science and social progress, all the good stuff happening right now and spread the word.