Back in the early, terrible years of the Recession, I had several opportunities to have a cigar and some scotch with one of my brothers, the high caliber banking guy, while the Thanksgiving turkey was deep frying. He was an excellent person to bounce all the information I’d read and heard off, and I really felt smarter in other conversations after those talks.
If you weren’t trying to learn more then, all you could do was cower in fear that the Economics Gods didn’t body slam you any worse. Between a job I disliked and Trumpies though, I admit the below-my- abilities job was easier to deal with.
There wasn’t any difficulty about the facts of what we were going through then, and those who had jobs were mostly just a little happier than those on – or over – the hairy edge. Neither side was about Good or Bad, we were all struggling. There was an expectation that our government had its hand on the tiller, and nobody was seriously being dissed or crushed just because of their economic situation or heritage.
Sure, people abandoned pricey homes and took lifestyle hits while reducing ten days in an exotic locale to “stay-cations,” taking kids out of private schools with $20,000 a year tabs, holding on to cars “until things get settled a little better,” and not automatically going out to dinner three times a week.
Things aren’t anything like that now
Yes, the world seems stuck on the politics of things in 2019, and if the choices are “Love him or hate him,” LOTS of people – including me – are on the latter side of that with Trump.
Take an analogy of the high school bully-cretin who knocked the books out of your hands every time he saw you. Bet you didn’t think, “But he’s a helluva player when he’s on the court!”
Hell no. The aggravation and humiliation of having to pick up your stuff while others mogged along, maybe kicking your books, trying to get to their class in another wing of the school an over-arching consideration. You probably said, “Yeah, 23 points a game, but he’s still a d**khead” to your buddy.
You might keep your mouth shut after a buzzer-beater against an arch-rival, but day to day, he was a blot on almost any happiness you could imagine being in the same school could bring. No sense telling the cute girl in biology class your opinion, her friend was dating the guy, and Cutie was probably jealous of that.
What has that got to do with any concerns we have about education, immigration, the national debt, torquing the relatively naive President of the Ukraine, or shafting Kurdish allies in Syria in the most obvious and life-threatening way?
Expectations of what America stands for
Unlike back in those dark economic times, you didn’t stop caring about how the people down the street were doing. You didn’t walk away from them, muttering about their character because they rooted for the “wrong” team. It was legitimate to think they weren’t too smart to be a Browns fan, yet poking fun at stuff like that wasn’t taken to the Nth degree of thinking thugs from ICE should haul them away.
The question of “What happens after…?” is just as real today as during the Recession years. Yes, impeachment proceedings are going to tear this country up, but like we *knew* back then, the Biblical “This too shall pass” was something to believe in. As I told an Italian lady I tutored, this is still shy of the heart-breaking nastiness that Vietnam was for Americans, mostly because LOTS of (young) people died in those times.
When *every*single*person* that came into the current Administration was placed in a role that gave them the ability to sink an institution they HATED – and it seems many are face-first in the public trough – that sucks though. I often use DeVos – whose “expertise” for Education ends with her $1 million donation to Trump campaign – with her desire to kill public education funds, and Pruitt, the grifter from Oklahoma who opened the sewage gates wide on the environment, as examples. It was depressing to think the next day meant another humiliation, having their books (figuratively) slapped out of their hands, for that piece of America under their boots.
So now there appears to be light in the tunnel that ISN’T another damn train. While not the final word on things many, many, many don’t like – including former allies around the world who think badly of US actions – “we” don’t have to just take it. Walking the other way instead of trying to discuss ANY situation with a Trumpie doesn’t bring any real sense of calm, just that we can see *something* is finally being done that might change this long sled ride towards the bottom of the American soul.
Mostly I write about business, although some of the sports pieces have a lesson to them. Am I doing better than during Recession? Well, yeah, but how much of any piece of anything else in 2019 am I happier about, that seems a valid criteria to judge life on.
Hmmm… That knee replacement (God bless the ACA) at end of 2017 changed life pretty dramatically, I don’t have to skip across the street to avoid getting run over. It’s (finally, after 50 days) raining in Charlotte today, nothing wrong with that. I have a meeting about a next ‘gig,’ using my God-given ability as a “content creation person,” at about twice the $$$ I was making in retail back then is good, as is not being homeless in this rain.
And yes, knowing some real angst is is on the horizon for Trump and his enablers in Congress – and even the schlubs for voted for him and think he’s doing a great job will have to stay quiet – is okay by me.
A cigar and some scotch at Thanksgiving, I’m looking forward to that. Doubt that we’ll be talking politics much though, and there’s nothing wrong with leaving that behind. That brother’s knowledge was superior about negative economics then, but knowing at least *something* is working towards Better Days, 2020 seems like sunshine in America time.