David Remnick's right too, "nativism, authoritarianism, misogyny, and racism" may rule the day but mustn't be allowed to define the age. "It is impossible to react to this moment with anything less than revulsion and profound anxiety," if you're one of those who thought the election of our 44th president meant there'd be no going back to the old cold monochrome world of paranoid white male privilege. There's no place to hide from it, even if we dare to hope this time it's finally breathing its last desperate gasps. Our mission as gatekeepers at the bridge that leads over the abyss of reaction and denial is indeed "to combat authoritarianism, to call out lies, to struggle honorably and fiercely in the name of American ideals." And we must remember that, harsh as this moment may be, it's a moment destined not to last but to pass into the annals of human folly. Our successors, we must dream, will gaze back in grateful bemused astonishment at this detour on the journey to a sustainable say of life.
Andrew Revkin is right to remind us to mind the gap between our present and their Ecotopia, citing the President's “South By South Lawn” climate conversation with Leonardo DiCaprio:
I think it is important for those of us who care deeply about this... to not be dismissive of people’s concerns when it comes to what will this mean for me and my family. Right?
So if you’re a working-class family, and dad has to drive 50 miles to get to his job, and he can’t afford to buy a Tesla or a Prius, and the most important thing to him economically to make sure he can pay the bills at the end of the month is the price of gas, and when gas prices are low that means an extra 100 bucks in his pocket, or 200 bucks in his pocket, and that may make the difference about whether or not he can buy enough food for his kids — if you just start lecturing him about climate change and what’s going to happen to the planet 50 years from now, it’s just not going to register. [Watch the video here.]Point taken.
Finally, Garrison Keillor is right (to an extent). There's no whitewashing it, this is all dreadful. But,
The government [will be] in Republican hands. Let them deal with him. Democrats can spend four years raising heirloom tomatoes, meditating, reading Jane Austen, traveling around the country, tasting artisan beers, and let the Republicans build the wall and carry on the trade war with China and deport the undocumented and deal with opioids, and we Democrats can go for a long , brisk walk and smell the roses...
Back to real life. I went up to my home town the other day and ran into my gym teacher, Stan Nelson, looking good at 96. He commanded a landing craft at Normandy on June 6, 1944, and never said a word about it back then, just made us do chin-ups whether we wanted to or not. I saw my biology teacher Lyle Bradley, a Marine pilot in the Korean War, still going bird-watching in his 90s. I was not a good student then, but I am studying both of them now. They have seen it all and are still optimistic. The past year of politics has taught us absolutely nothing. Zilch. Zero. Nada. The future is scary. Let the uneducated have their day. I am now going to pay more attention to teachers.What's especially right about the Lake Wobegon perspective is that we who feel so deflated and disappointed by this moment must still live our lives, love and nurture our children, and cultivate our gardens - both literally and in Voltaire's sense. We must respect and absorb the hard-won wisdom of those among us who've "seen it all and are still optimistic." The sun will come up tomorrow, bet your bottom dollar...
Embrace decay, count on new growth in the spring.
5:50/6:21, 43/68, 4:41