It’s taken a while to get to this. A while hoping that I would be able to get my thoughts in order to offer a structured incisive analysis but hey, who am I kidding? The events of last week just adds on to some of these similarly disquieting events over the past few months and all I have to offer are pop culture references and some bad jokes. If the post sounds even more incoherent and rambling than usual, we blame it all on Thanos
The detached sense is really from being an outsider. Not my country, not my problem right? But then, is that really true. The look on Obama’s face as he addressed the country the next day was the one that will truly stand out. A decent man looking at a shattered legacy. A man looking at his country that had let him down. Obama’s term has been marked by his powerlessness at times with opposition for the sake of opposition and he now foresees the corpse of his vision and achievement trampled under the gilded feet of a country and society that instead of looking to the future wants to relive the past
But I really think the greater sense of sadness is how the vision of a world that is interconnected, global, open, tolerant and all the good things that we read about in books just seems to belong right there. Between Brexit and this election, one thing that clearly comes out is we are increasingly set for a world that is going to be inward looking to a greater extent. Isolationalism is pretty much going to be the core message and with elections due next year in Germany and France where the inward looking parties now emboldened by the success of bluster, rhetoric, half-truths and outright lies, can afford to dream of similar such results.
Of course, what everyone really failed to consider is the feelings of those people who voted for Brexit and Trump. These are people who have seen their way of life not improving much or even being bypassed by the nature of things around them and even worse, finding themselves being ridiculed and ignored. Their cause being driven by anger, their votes being their weapons, their voice has been found and it’s proven to be deafening
The importance of tech and growing automation is going to make this scenario repeat globally. Low skill jobs are vanishing, there is no stopping progress. To correct what I said, the value of low skill jobs is going down. There will always be someone to do it at a lower cost than what the job is actually worth but to that person, even that lower cost represents something more valuable when they have very little until technology reduces that cost even further. What however is undeniable is, people have to evolve and get more skilled. How does that work unless you get trained or study further. But college education is expensive, the debts are crippling and it’s hard. Why would anyone want to do that? Wouldn’t one rather have the government place a premium on ensuring that it’s citizens are well educated and subsidize education? But no, that requires for a courage to change the status quo, seeks consensus, build bridges and a lot of political will. Hence, the easier route is taken, pander to the lower common denominator since it’s easy and a decision that can be passed on the next generation
But as Dr. Ian Malcolm says in Jurassic Park – “the history of evolution has taught us it’s that life will not be contained. Life breaks free, it expands to new territories and crashes through barriers, painfully, maybe even dangerously, I’m simply saying that life, uh… finds a way”. I would like to think that he meant that from a societal evolution as well. We will face bumps on the way, we may even appear to go backward but hopefully we will progress.
With regards to Trump, I would like to present one of my favorite comic book panels of all time where a comic book was used to make an in-joke on George W Bush