Saturday, December 31, 2016

A quick look back over five years of thinking about America and the world

I just finished assembling and reading all of my posts on this blog over the last five years.  I am thinking of self-publishing them.  It has been an interesting experience for me.  It is a way for me to track my thinking over the last five years, and I notice a few things. 

I seem to be relentlessly optimistic.  I expected the Arab Awakening to be much more positive, but so far it has only disrupted old tyrannies and established either new tyrannies along religious lines, or initiated terrible destructive chaos, again along religious lines.  Oddly, I remain hopeful that long term the Middle East will find new boundaries that people will be able to live with each other peacefully.  I'm afraid that a lot of blood and terror will happen first, but I still hope.

My biggest message seems to have been periodic decrying of the deep polarization in the country and the the demonization of one cultural and political tribe of the other.  It dismays me to see to what extent the Trump campaign and victory has pushed me in the direction of polarization and demonization.  

Decades ago I was a liberal Democrat, then a conservative Republican, and then independent.  Over these five years I have again become a liberal Democrat.  I don't believe I have been demonizing the majority of conservative voters, most of whom are normal Republicans voting for the "Republican", but I certainly have been demonizing Donald Trump.  It is very hard for me to see him as other than an unprincipled opportunistic overgrown child.  So, I want to pull back a bit from such a partisan view and be willing to evaluate him based upon policies and programs that he actually is responsible for in his upcoming administration. I don't know what to make of his tweets and rhetoric, I am just going to have to dismiss it as a smokescreen of bullshit/negotiating strategy and not get sucked into his headlining and diversion tactics - to refuse to take him literally on what he says, just wait until I see real policies and programs and react only to them, and not react to the relentless attention grabbing bloviations.

So, the year of 2016 is almost over.  Indeed, the five years of my writing from 2011 through 2016 is concluding.  I enjoy thinking aloud about America and the world.  When I review my thinking it is humbling to see what I wrote without the benefit of hindsight, and it is interesting to see how my thinking has been changing over time.  

What about 2017?  It seems to be more unknown than any time I can think of except perhaps 1968 when America and the world were in a terrible and violent chaos.  I hope the upcoming changes are not violent and are for the better.

The times, they are a changing...