Friday 20 January 2017

Inauguration Day

I see a constant stream of frustration, disgust and anger on Facebook and many other channels tonight as President Donald J. Trump takes office. Certainly, there is much to be disgusted about.

Let’s look beyond the anger. The question is, as individuals, what can any one individual do in the face of a system such as the one we find ourselves in?

Politics is disparate, and something of an equilibrium. Donald Trump and the Republicans control Congress for the next 2 years. If you are angry, mobilise now and win a Democratic majority in Congress in 2018.

The next elections are on Tuesday, November 6th, 2018. All 435 seats in the House of Representatives are included, as are 33 of the 100 seats in the Senate.,_2018

If you are angry at Trump and his election, then one creative and positive outlet you have is to organize now for November 2018.

But while you are doing this, it’s important to reflect on a couple of things.

First of all, don’t define yourself solely by what you are against. Define yourself as well by what you are for. You will find that this is more difficult, particularly when you ask others to stand for the same things, and vote together.

So compromise is essential in politics.

Second of all, reflect that many of the voters who voted for Trump have a serious reason for doing so (and I’m not referring to the lobbyists or billionaires seeking tax breaks or public contracts). I’m referring to the middle class and the blue collar families, who have really been left behind.

Ironically, Hillary Clinton’s policies would have been much more beneficial for most in this group. Trump won because his supporters believed he would do a better job (and he won the Electoral College math).

Whatever the case, the United States faces drastic problems in terms of debt, falling tax revenue, loss of economic competitiveness, monopoly situations in many sectors (including start-ups), an abysmal national healthcare policy, an unbalanced military policy, and many other problems.

These are not going to be easy problems to solve. At least not sustainably, or rationally.

So your first job is probably to try to understand what the current situation is, what the root causes are, and what the possible solutions are.

These solutions are going to cost money. Unless you are prepared to pay for them (or force others to pay for them), they will be difficult to solve.

Finally, if I can share one point from my personal experience: Back in 1999/2000, I was equally horrified by the Florida vote recount and George W. Bush’s election.

Much of what I feared from that time materialized. Most of this was due to an incredible ignorance among the governing class, as well as the mendacity of those who support and enable it.

In 2017, this is now infinitely worse. It is institutionalized.

My advice is: make sure you are taking care of yourself. We are now in a very “risk-on” world. You simply can’t take anything for granted. Do whatever is possible to survive and evolve, especially financially. Protect your assets. Improve your employability. Make sure you are as flexible, nimble and agile.

The issues we are seeing now are only leading indicators of a far more serious and deleterious situation, and one that is practically impossible to reverse.

So, get ready.