By David Mark Greaves
Last Sunday’s report on CBS’ “60 Minutes” about artificial intelligence removing 40% of the current job market means that economic survival will be dependent on creativity and making new connections that only the human mind is capable of.
Rather than thinking about these humankind life-changing forces, we are called to confront the littlest of men, Donald J. Trump and his white mob, all of them deathly afraid of four strong women of color and what they represent. The president is a walking obscenity and beloved by millions who now have someone in the White House speaking for them, the true “Forgotten Americans.” Until now, mostly hidden, except for the occasional swastika painted overnight on a wall or like in Charlottesville, where they paraded with torches.
The ones with a lingering ache for the white supremacist world gone by where they ruled without question, and now they are angered that they will be a minority on land they stole from the indigenous people and used Africans as slaves to improve. And in Trump, they have found a man who feels their pain and revels in it like a pig in mud. And now precious time of our national consciousness in 2019 is spent arguing with an Oval Office-led racist mob chanting, “Go back home! Go back to where you came from!” at Black and Brown people.
There is no use calling him any more names. “He’s been called everything but a child of God” is what used to be said about men like him for whom words are inadequate to describe. And if there is a Hall of Heroes at Russia’s KGB headquarters, then Vladimir Putin will be honored with statuary and flowers for his wildly successful operation against the United States. With effects such as Supreme Court appointments, gerrymandering, tax code writing, international fiascos and a coarsening of national civility that will harm the nations for decades.
And yet, to the individual, all of the above pales in significance when compared to the immediate problems of securing food, clothing and housing for self and family on a stable and long-term basis. And answers to questions like, “Are the children being prepared for this very dangerous world that is evolving?” and “How can I stay healthy and how will I get care when I’m not?” or “Can I believe you can beat him?” The Democrat who talks about these problems and answers these questions will be the one left standing to face Donald Trump and the polls indicate there are several who would win that contest.
Personally, at this very early moment, if I were asked to quick-pick a ticket, I’d say Elizabeth Warren for President and Kamala Harris for Vice President. Warren, because she has spent a career thinking about and working on solutions to the core financial issues affecting the basic questions that trouble the mind daily and can speak to them effectively, and Harris because she can decimate the competition and because a Black woman who becomes Attorney General of California and then Senator, has qualities that confirm she’s ready for the office.
Of course, they’ll lose the white male vote, but the Dems are going to lose that anyway, maybe more with two women on the ticket. But they’ll pick up voters, even white males, wanting to see less testosterone and more compassion and dialogue on the world stage and more empathy here at home.
Some say you should always consider the big picture. But what if the big picture is so horrific that it is easier to turn away and tend to our individual challenges?
The big picture today would include more plastic in the ocean, causing all wild-caught fish to risk contamination. Glaciers disappearing and the downstream communities of hundreds of thousands or millions having to migrate to find freshwater. Rising sea levels remaking shorelines around the world, taking away the most inhabited area and causing mass disruption. Species dying, insect populations collapsing. Food chains broken with newly-missing links causing catastrophic results up the rest of the chain and what we eat, becomes what we used to eat.
So, while the planet overheats, species die off, oceans get more polluted and with environmental Armageddon on the horizon, we have to spend our time and donate our money to fight for the presidency and for the State Houses. In order to get to the Big Picture, we have to first get Trump and his Republican enablers off our back.