Sunday, May 14, 2017

Dodgeball gave us Election 2016

Election 2016 and the resulting aftermath happened because there is no dodgeball in our schools.  A few decades ago our educators decided the little kiddies might get hurt and banned the staple of childhood games.

They didn't stop there.

They went on to banning recognition of individual achievements because our educators figured some of our kiddies' egos might get bruised if we recognized the achievements of others instead of each and every students' efforts.  Now every participant receives an award because participation is just as important as winning.  We've had an entire generation and a half raised believing no matter what they do - and don't do - they are still winners and will get a trophy.

And helicopter Moms are always hovering nearby to make sure everyone treats their kiddies like they are winners.

Those kiddies are now young adults and young adults pushing middle age.  But before we start talking about how life is smacking them around and how they respond by crying in the streets in hopes their tantrum will bring Mom swooping in to save the day, let's back up to how our leadership led us where we are today.

Bush, Sr sat as the last President from the old school.  The old school comprised the adults in the '40 and '50s who scratched their heads over where the infestation of hippies, drugs, and free love came from in the '60's to early '70's.  They're also the parents of those hippies.

After Bush, Sr, we got the "But I didn't inhale" Clinton for eight years.  He taught us free love in the White House was the ultimate hippie orgasm.  Clinton was followed by the coke addict, Bush, Jr, for another eight years.  He taught us literacy didn't matter and torture was fun.  Bush, Jr was followed by Obama for eight years.  Obama wasn't a hippie, but was a Yuppie.  He was the product of the coke snorting, pot smoking new wave era.  Back then, one could smoke in the night clubs and there was more than tobacco haze clouding the dance floor in a new wave fog.  Obama tried to teach us the American way wasn't as good as the European way and set us on a path of heavy taxation to fund elaborate social programs so we could be more like the Europeans.

Unconfirmed rumors has it that Hillary met
Bill while burning her bra at a protest
like this one
Election 2016 gave us two more products of the Hippie generation to choose from - flower child Hillary Clinton and beatnik Donald Trump.  One can almost see Clinton throwing her bra on the campus bonfire and Trump ripping his draft card up and throwing the pieces into the wind.  Doesn't matter whether they did those things or not.  It's still easy to see them doing it.

The scary part is what the Hippies and Yuppies have wrecked upon our government and their peers have wrecked upon the business world and education system.  Also joining forces with the Hippies and Yuppies in the business world and education system are the first wave of everything-is-about-me Slackers, the Gen Xers.  The oldest have reached the age where they are trickling into the halls of Congress.

As the first wave of Baby Boomers - the Hippies - fade away to the nursing homes, the second phase of Baby Boomers - the Yuppies - and the Slackers will be in full control with the Millenials pushing in from behind.  Now I ask you, what more than Clinton or Trump could we have expected the '60s young adults to become today? 

Now the real scary question.  What can we expect the me-'70s, who cares-'80s, the world is a virtual game-'90s, and the turn that dang camera on me baby-'00s, young adults to become when they hit the over forty age where they become the movers and shakers?

If the young adults of the '60s and what they've become today are any indication, we're in for an every-man-woman-transgender-cisgendered-emo-ze-[your chosen pronoun here] for him-her-trans-cis-emo-ze-[your chosen pronoun here]-self future.

And now you see the icing on the cake of the level of frustration building in the average working person, the blue collar American sliding closer to poverty as they are ridiculed for not even referring to someone by their proper pronoun.

No, the frustration isn't the flash in the pan controversy over transgenders and which pronouns we should use in their presence.  In the good old days, as us old drunk rednecks like to say, we would have to look up what transgendered meant to understand what I just typed.  And then we would just brush off the "controversy" as something Hollywood or National Enquirer made up because...word of warning here - hurtful truth coming...who really cares what gender you are except the perverts who want to make a big deal of it?

We care now because of how we use technology, and how we use technology makes us care.  Redundant?  Yes, and purposefully so.  We're stuck in a loop that dooms us to repeated failures until, as computer programmers will tell you, you fix the programming to either avoid the loop or provide an escape route when stuck in it. 

Fortunately, we may have an escape route called iGen.  The oldest in this generation are twenty now and were raised in a completed interconnected, interactive world.  They are experiencing everything good and bad with the virtual world and will redesign it so that it stays contained in the technology without any spillover into the real world as is happening today.  That, however, is an article for another day.  This Yuppie wants to get back to how the Hippies took away dodgeball and gave us the crappy Election 2016.

While many Hippies took to the streets burning bras and draft cards, the majority of the young people of the late '60s to early '70s went to school, served in the military, fought Vietnam, worked hard at the factory, and raised their families.  They silently watched as their more radical peers eliminated competition in our schools because they felt kids needed to learn everybody is a winner, replaced corporal punishment with time outs, drugged the kids with Ritalin when the time outs didn't work, and cleaned up our speech so we wouldn't inadvertently offend someone.

The Yuppies learned quickly that while their older brethren were busy preaching peace and love, all the blue collar manufacturing jobs had moved overseas.  The new information and technology economy offered plenty of jobs, but mostly jobs at or near minimum wage with little growth opportunity.  No longer did one work at a job for thirty or forty years, growing with the company.  Jobs lasted three to five years before a need for a pay raise forced the employee to look for an equivalent job elsewhere.  The late '70s onwards saw no real wage growth for the average worker.  Yuppies learned that to be at least as successful as their parents, the spouse would have to work full time, too.  Silently they worked, husband and wife, to keep themselves at an economic level comparable to their parents' successes.

The Slackers accepted that the Hippies and Yuppies screwed up by exporting the good jobs overseas and the new economy demanded ways to cut spending in order to increase the weekly take home pay.  Cries blaming excessive spending on social programs to help the poor and less fortunate grew louder.  In response, massive welfare reform took effect in the '90s. 

Blaming the poor and less fortunate for freeloading instead of working still resound today.  Oddly, no one has demanded reform in our tax, labor, and regulatory laws to bring back the jobs lost to overseas workers over the previous fifty years.  It was simply easier to blame the poor and less fortunate.  Silently the frustrated worked - husband and wife - struggling to give their kids what their parents were able to give them as their more radical peers took to the street against Wall Street.

The Millenials are now firmly entrenched in our workforce as young to middle aged adults.  They're quick to blame the Baby Boomers (Hippies and Yuppies) for everything, don't even know the Slackers exist, and claim to have all the answers to improve our take home know, that pay that hasn't changed in the last forty years.  Their solution is cut the social programs and eliminate, don't raise, the minimum wage.  Thanks to technology called the Internet, they no longer work silently thinking their government will work out solutions.  With eighteen minutes of Googling, they are economic, business, and social experts and are raring to turn this country upside down to make things right again.

And the stage is set for Election 2016.


For the moment, I'm not going to talk about those industrious couples working three or four jobs between the two of them so they can provide their children a brighter future.  No one has paid attention to them before so ignoring them for a minute more ain't going to hurt their feelings. 

Let's talk about the candidates.  One is a lying crook; the other is a crooked liar.  Ok, that's the list of the two candidate's differences.  There's not enough Internet pages to list how similar the two are.

We were in trouble before we even went to the polls.  This is where we need to listen to those couples working three or four jobs and not seeing any real growth in their income over the last forty years.  They are the ones living the American Dream by working hard, but not seeing the promised rewards for working hard.  Instead, they see themselves treading water or even going under as they struggle to catch another gulp of air.

Surprisingly, by almost three million more votes, they went for higher taxes and elaborate social programs by voting for Clinton.  It's not that they liked her vision and the direction she wanted to continue taking this country.  It was that the alternative was a con man - a showman with appalling character flaws, that won Clinton those extra three million votes.  In four years, Clinton couldn't head us much further in the wrong direction than Obama already had.  Clinton was a calculated risk as the hard working Americans hoped for a real statesman or stateswoman to burst on the scene in 2020.

Unconfirmed reports claim Trump planned to
attend a draft card burning protest, however  his
doctor detained him on the golf course as he wrote
an excuse for Trump's fifth draft deferment
Trump, however, knew how to play the numbers.  He campaigned almost exclusively in three swing states daily for the electoral votes.  He got them by a mere eighty thousand votes.  His tactic work.  History will record that nationally, three million more people found Trump to be more disagreeable than Clinton, but eighty thousand votes in three states found Clinton more disagreeable.  Those eighty thousand are the votes that won Trump the presidency.

It's safe to say 2016 saw no winners.  We're looking at the last of the dregs of the Hippie generation wrecking their havoc.  We still have about another fifteen years to get through the Yuppie generation, the last half of the Baby Boomers.  Then we have to get through the Slackers and, horrors of horrors, the Millenials.  iGen will start taking over from about 2040 onwards.  I hope those kids are listening and paying attention today. 

Generational rivalry aside, what are the average, hard working Americans across the generations looking for?

Real statesmen/stateswomen with a vision past what has already been done.  New technologies and vast interconnectedness of the entire globe translates into a need for a global thinker, one who doesn't take away from the former economic powers, but integrates all countries into one super economy for the benefit and advancement of everyone.

As the kid points to the sky and asks, "What does that mean?" - what does that last paragraph I wrote mean?

Heck if I know.  But let's see if I can try to explain.

At the end of WWII, we emerged as the world's super power because we were the only industrialized country with an intact infrastructure left.  Every politician in the White House and Congress since WWII hadn't had the foresight to base public policy on the assumption that the rest of the world, economically, would eventually catch up and surpass us. It only took the rest of the world about twenty years before we began seeing our jobs going overseas.

The vision of our current administration and most in Congress is to take us back to the 1950's when America reigned supreme, life was good, and kids dressed in suits and ties to go to the Saturday matinee like they did in the Beaver days.

For the average, hard working American, they don't see a return to the days of Beaver as a solution.  They see an American economy where twenty percent control ninety percent of the wealth.  Getting ahead isn't about working hard.  It's about who you know and, in a lot of cases, how well you do them.  It has to be.  It's the only way eighty percent of hardworking Americans can scramble for the ten percent of the wealth that's left for us to fight over.

Hitting them harder is the realization that they haven't been building a career.  They've been working a job that is poised to be taken over by machines within the next twenty years. The current administration might be trying to bring back manufacturing jobs, but the average, hard working American can't understand why giving job opportunities to machines is more important than providing career opportunities to the hard working employees whose jobs the machines will soon replace.

In other words, they want hard hitting dodgeball players in the White House and in Congress.  They want players who can take a beating and hit back hard while being good sportsmen and sportswomen about it all. 

What they don't want is participation trophy winners.  They don't want them any where near a government position.  They don't want them crowding the public stage trying to catch their moment in the spotlight. They certainly don't want them on Twitter and in our streets bawling like Baby Huey because they didn't get their way. 

And they certainly don't want to return to the past when the romanticized version of history says America was great.  The only beneficiaries of returning to the 1950's era of governing will be the machines poised to take over our jobs.

It's time to export all of our participation trophies to Russia and bring dodge ball back to our schools to teach our leaders of tomorrow the importance of competition, the value of sportsmanship, and the meaning of winning and losing.  After about thirty more years or so, maybe then we'll have raised real statesmen and stateswomen prepared to lead this country. 

For the TL;DR folks:
What we see our young adults (high school through college age) doing today will be the state of our country forty years from now.  We only have to look at the state of the late sixties to early seventies to understand why we ended up with Clinton and Trump in 2016.

For your listening pleasure:

Posted by Five Drunk Rednecks

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