HOW NOT TO RUN A COUNTRY
March 29, 2017:
Blame everybody, anybody else for the huge mistakes you make
Lie, lie, lie, and lie some more. You know it won't cost you anything because your followers, who are desperate, uneducated, ignorant, don't know enough not to believe you.
Make promises you know you can't keep.
Act on instinct. Indulge your own paranoid fantasies.
Don't take advice from people who know subjects way better than you do.
Advance pollution, people won't notice for a while.
Follow the lead of Calvin Coolidge, author of that famous remark, "The business of America is business."
In line with that, deregulate everything.
Don't just ignore history. Make sure you don't know it, either.
Don't trouble yourself with the complexities of situations. Let ideology be your guide.
Never think about your responsibilities. Think only about your power.
Belittle science. It's just a bunch of pointyheads with "theories."
Divide the country into ethnic groups, religious groups, ideological groups, racial groups. Demonize all groups you don't happen to belong to.
Persuade yourself that it's all about you. Everything is about you. Call yourself a winner, on all occasions, no matter what the evidence.
Does that about sum it up? Lorraine and I, and most of our friends, wake up to new horrors in the New York Times every day and breakfast gets more and more depressing. Each new Congressman who makes news turns out to be dumber than the last, less well-informed, more deeply locked into right-wing fantasy life. If you write history or even just know it, you can't help but think of the long-term damage being done every day. Today was the day to roll back all the efforts Obama instituted to control climate change. Climate change? Will they finally believe in it when the Atlantic Ocean starts climbing up lower Broadway into mid-Manhattan? When the Seychelles disappear entirely? When all the reefs have finally died? Inconvenient truths indeed. Greenland is melting faster and faster every year. When all its ice is gone, sea level in all the world's oceans will be twenty-two feet higher. When Lt. Edward Parry stood on the shores of Melville Island in 1820 and stared out over the Arctic Ocean he saw ten solid feet of ice everywhere he looked, and it was August. In some places the ice stood forty feet thick. That's a four story building. Now? Sea ice in the Arctic gets thinner and thinner every winter--it's now down to about three feet--and summers are largely free of it. This is not a theory. This is evidence, and there's endless amounts of evidence. ExxonMobil has been studying the effects of man-made climate change for many years now, which has not stopped them from steadfastly fighting against programs to do anything about it. One of many examples of the fundamental dishonesty of the business system, which has always been about profits above all, no matter what the human cost.
So what will future historians make of people like Paul Ryan, or Pence Climate-Change-Is-Only-a-Theory, or Trump the Unlearned, or all the other enablers for whom truth itself is, well, inconvenient? These people are profoundly irresponsible, and history will call them that, and future historians will spend a lot of time analyzing what on earth went wrong with America. Because America is unlikely still to exist. Backward looking, anti-intellectual, living too long off its reputation, which is now in steep decline, banking on the kind of military power that is becoming increasingly useless in its many wars, failing to educate its children, its citizens, riven with internal contradictions--all this is now expressed in its leadership, which aimed for the bottom, for a "Southern strategy" and a hate-the-immigrant strategy, or anything else, no matter how divisive, that would bring them to power. Where they now reside, clueless, inept, mistaken, and totally out of touch with reality. As Trump himself might way in one of his inane tweets, "So sad."