On Observation 4: The Growing Awareness that Something Is Amiss

Observation 4: There's a growing awareness that something is deeply amiss, that our problems run deeper than just who's currently in office.

It was this observation that really drove Jerry and me to shift the focus of TTW from exploring using energetics and flow in the realm of sports to connecting with what we were witnessing happen in the political realm and throughout our society as a whole. We did not and do not see what happened in 2016 as just another election. The cultural currents at play are far deeper and more powerful.

I strive to be as non-partisan as I am able in these writings, so I apologize if this alienates you, but what Trump supported and stood for was problematic. He displayed deeply sexist tendencies. His immigration policies were built, at best, on deep xenophobia, if not outright racism. His "drain the swamp" rhetoric spoke, perhaps not unreasonably, to voters who felt that the problems we face are inherent in Washington itself, but in extending that rhetoric to attacks on the press, he inhabits a space usually held by despots and dictators. There's a reason freedom of the press is contained in the First Amendment: a free press is a core value of our country.

Some of Trump's support came from people who felt empowered by his uglier side. But I maintain that the vast majority of people are decent, and decent people who voted for Trump surely did so with substantial reservations. But for the many Trump voters who feel that the system is no longer working, the choice to vote for someone so hostile to the system itself was sort of a last-gasp attempt to force the system to change, instead of having to throw the whole thing away and start over.

But as we witness the chaos of Trump's first seven weeks in office, it's clear that the jolt Trump delivered to the system can only ever serve a negative purpose. By identifying and speaking to the problems driving populist revolt, he found himself in the White House. But he offers no positive answers. He's a destroyer, not a creator. (Don't think so? Consider that what he's most famous for as a celebrity is nothing he created but rather his catchphrase: "You're fired.")

The collapse of the system is only accelerating. But I get the sense that few Trump voters are regretting choosing him instead of Clinton. They threw up a hail-mary in the hopes that the system's dysfunction could be arrested. It's not working and it's not going to work. So if the answer to the question, "Which of the candidates could fix the system?" is "None of them," then we're forced to ask, "Where to from here?"

I'll offer an answer. At the far side of this crisis--which, granted, may be decades away--I predict a reconstitution of our political structures. At some point we'll finally see endless acrimony and conflict for the dead ends that they are. When that happens, we're going to have to re-agree that we're united in certain core values, and that though we may disagree about particular issues, we choose to have faith in the essential goodness of people, and build our new system on a lived foundation of mutual respect.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *