As the much-anticipated first debate between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton draws near I am somewhat surprised to realize I have no interest in watching. None. Zero. I’d rather amuse myself with Monday Night Football, despite having declared a personal boycott in response to the absurd Kaepernick shenanigans and the league’s failure to see the absurdity.
It isn’t that I don’t care about the election. Quite the opposite. It is the most peculiar and most consequential election of my lifetime. I also understand there are likely large numbers of ‘undecideds’, (how they can be undecided in the face of what I’m about to elaborate is itself most peculiar), who will be swayed by the outcome. These ‘undecided’ voters will likely determine the winner in November.
So, the debate is a pretty big deal, and I’m not watching. Though my reasons might be of no interest to you, they should be, and here’s why.
The Country, and the world, are in the sort of disarray we haven’t experienced since the late 1950’s-early 1960’s. Economically. Socially. Politically. One big mess. I have been aware of this all along, in a more-or-less vague and unsettling way. Now, though, it’s time to clarify. Putting into written words what has until now been a miasma of thoughts, ideas and emotions seems like the proper commitment, and the best way for me, at least, to clear a path forward.
Let’s start with economics. I am not an economist. Nor am I an expert on the stock market or global finance. But things are so far out of control that expertise isn’t necessary to recognize the problems. It merely takes a bit of intelligence and the willingness to confront them.
On the domestic side we are being told the economy is improving, the jobless numbers are going down, incomes are going up, and though growth may be small and slow, there has been growth and it will continue. Bullshit.
We are essentially bankrupt. The national debt is in the twenty trillion dollar range, twice what it was before Obama got his hands on the checkbook. Interest rates are near zero, and as a result the stock market is dangerously over-inflated. The Fed refused to raise rates a couple of days ago, for what seem like political reasons more than economic ones, but will likely raise them before year end. At that point the stock market will ‘correct’, and many of you can kiss a significant portion of your retirement money ciao for now.
Increased interest rates will also mean more money needed to service that grotesque national debt. It’s money that has to come from somewhere, and hopefully not from the same printing press that has created this false sense of fiscal wellness.
As for the unemployment situation, despite all the pap spewing from this administration we have about twenty million men between the ages of 25-50 who are not even trying to get a job, giving us a workforce participation percentage that hasn’t been this low since the late 1970’s—during the reign of the last great progressive president, Carter. Welcome to Welfare Nation.
And the rest of the world is bankrupt, too. Japan, Europe, (with the exception of Germany, for now), Russia, and even China are on hard times. Not to mention South America.
Socially, things are no better. Race relations in America have not been this bad since the days of Selma and Martin Luther King—and worse because we have no modern day Dr. King to calm the madness. Instead we have race-baiting. From the president, from the justice department, from Black Lives Matter, all gleefully reported and disseminated by a craven media, new and old.
Though I was skeptical of an Obama presidency in 2008, I mean no experience in life or business, no track record, no real vetting, I thought at least there was a chance we could put racial tensions once and for all to bed. Instead we got the opposite—a president who is about politics and self-aggrandizement above all other considerations, and who will use whatever means available to achieve those ends. Including the race card, which he plays so effectively.
The international situation is much the same. Long-held, deep seated cultural animosities have been boiling over throughout the Mideast and Europe. People are on the run, being hunted and killed, and not just in the name of Allah, as Muslims go busily about killing each other.
But now let’s look at the really scary stuff. Whether or not you want to admit it, we are at war. A couple wars, actually. There is the cold war between ourselves and Russia—vaguely reminiscent of the Kruschev/Kennedy days though not yet as fully fledged. The annexation of Crimea was a serious step in that direction, and will likely be followed by other incursions. And then there’s the hot war across the Middle East threatening to spill into our country. This war is the culmination of a series of disastrous foreign policy decisions made by the Obama administration.
Whether or not you think the Iraq war was the dumbest thing ever, you should understand that pulling out of Iraq the way we did was dumber still. Same is true for Libya. Syria was and still is being mismanaged by an amateurish president and State Department. And then there’s ISIS, another product of foreign policy malpractice.
Add to this North Korea’s quest for nuclear weaponry and the ability to deliver it as far as Chicago, China’s imperialistic and illegal occupation of the South China Sea, and Iran’s failure to abide by even the worst nuclear deal we could have possibly made, all under the impotent watch of our current president, and we have a geopolitical nightmare the likes of which we haven’t seen since the 1930’s.
So back to the debate. I’m sure it will be good theater. Hillary will wow the audience with her knowledge of minutia, important minutia no doubt, and will then go on to articulate her plan forward, which amounts to staying the course she and Obama have set, plus raising taxes to astronomical heights, thereby ensuring economic stagnation, no job growth, and further erosion of whatever is left of the American Dream. And she will lie about something. It’s what she does.
Trump may or may not be able to keep on-topic and his feet out of his mouth. He may be made to look foolish by his lack of familiarity with minutia. He will then talk about changing course, and making America great, safe, whatever. He will call Hillary a liar. It’s what he does.
I don’t need to hear it. Any of it. The country and the world are on the precipice of disaster. Staying the course is the one thing we cannot afford to do. We need an about face. Is Trump the right person for the job? I don’t know, but considering the alternative, I’m willing to find out.