Stuff and Such

First up, I am hard at work on the Renewal universe. To say that’s it’s my number one priority would be disingenuous, since my number one priority is always making sure the bills are paid. But it’s right at the top of the list and progress is being made. I plan to bury my poor editor with a pile of Renewal soon enough. She wants me to send chapters, but I like to send entire books. My goal with Renewal was to get people to imagine what would happen if the world were to change, quickly and harshly.

Second, there are a number of other writing projects stealing my time. Those of you who want to see the outcome of the Renewal story are probably not happy about it, but with apologies, it’s how my brain works. I have “Stories from the Edge” which is an exploration of another kind of apocalypse and how society melds around it. I have “The Bus” which has been dominant of late, and is a story of how we measure the value of a life.

That theme is made more important from my own life from the process of fostering old dogs. We take on dogs that are old, unadoptable in the larger sense, and usually come with numerous health problems. We are supported in this effort by Old Dog Haven, which pays the medical bills for these dogs, more than 300 of them currently. I can’t heap enough praise on ODH. If the goal is to have these dogs die in a home that cares for them, then ODH delivers in spades. We are only on our second final refuge dog, but there are folks who have presided over the final moments of many, many dogs, and have made it  a joyful (or at least trusting) end of life for these dogs, and in that regard, I say that ODH is tantamount to a miracle. On a larger stage, it is truly remarkable how we can derive deep meaning from  the simplest things.

The question of our relationship with dogs cannot be ignored. We essentially trained and bred them to look to us for security and guidance. In return they offer us love, trust, and protection. We’ve been doing it for at least 5000 years. There are people who can make the case that our civilization would never have developed without the willing support of our canine brethren. But today, we, all of us, have ended up with dogs, who are born with the instinct to respond to us. In return, we owe them actual time, attention, and effort, in a relationship that is all-important to them. This means, among many other sad circumstances, not to chain them in the back yard, not to leave them in a chain link pen, and not to treat them as incidental factors in a busy world, It means that we should interact with them, talk to them, train them to our expectations of proper behavior. I haven’t met a dog yet who is not willing to learn more about what we expect. Like small children, boundaries and expectations equal security to dogs. By the way, even totally deaf dogs like it when you talk to them.

Some dogs generally like simple rules. For some, the more elaborate the rules, the better. For us, it’s simple: Pay attention to our dogs’ needs and act accordingly. If you think it’s complicated, you are simply not paying attention. Dogs communicate well. Our job is to learn to interpret that communication.  Your dog will be happier and so will you.

Am I writing a book on dogs? Not officially, but yes. My six dogs and their elaborate interactions can’t help but suggest ideas about the subject. In particular, we have two Australian Shepherds who are markedly different from other dogs. The Aussie way of approaching life is full of lessons for human beings. I call it the Aussie Way. It’s tongue in cheek, but it’s also relevant to how we live and the world around us.

Now, on to people. One thing that actually bothers me about various feedback over the years is to suggest that I am sexist. As a result, and perhaps predating the feedback, I spend a lot time thinking about sexism and what it means. This no different from the time I spend thinking about liberalism or conservatism and what it means, and how fluid the definitions of all of these “isms” has become. Frankly, everything about social norms and broad groups in psychology fascinate me and lead me to ideas on how to organize these thoughts.

Let me be clear. To be sexist, as a heterosexual male, means that I must automatically assume some kind of inferiority in women. This has never been the case for me. My mother was a strong woman in many respects and weak in others, but the fact remains that she had a huge impact on most of the people she encountered. As a man, I am strong in some respects and weak in others. In my marriage, I have keen sense of how my wife is strong and I am weak, and vice versa. Is she smarter than I am? Usually. Am I smarter the she is? Occasionally. From my limited male perspective, women are frequently stronger, more courageous, and more capable than men. Does this make sense in the grand sense of being human? Sure. After all, men can’t ultimately be responsible for bringing new human life to fruition. The subset of things that men do better as a rule is smaller and less subtle than what women do. As a man, I feel fortunate to even have a glimpse of how women think. Do I assume I have any idea of  whether I am right? Nope, I only have hope. You can decide.

Does this mean women are perfect and blameless? Not a chance. Women do amazing things, but they don’t operate without their own blind spots. Some women are power hungry and will stab their friends in the back for a little more power and influence. Some women are attention hungry and will trip all over themselves to be the most noticeable woman in the room. Some women will shamelessly use their charms to influence the outcome of  an encounter. Some women will lead poor, hapless, hormone driven males to a place they never intended to go. I say good for them. If it works… Does this make me sexist? Absolutely, if being sexist is the simple act of recognizing the relative strengths and weakness of men and women. Absolutely not, if it means that men and women are equal but different. And thank goodness for that. If we were all the same, we’d be screwed. And bored.

 

 

 

 

Five Years On

Greetings, all who are still keeping up with my blog! I thought it might be time for a little update about the main event. That is, my fiction, which could just as easily be interpreted as a very minor event, but even after five years, it’s a big deal to me.

One could easily say that I’ve gone completely off the rails for the past five years and make a good case of it. Sometimes I choose priorities that others wouldn’t understand. That’s not say I’m ‘right’ by any objective measure… In fact, my own ‘objective’ measurement systems yell at me constantly.

It all started with a friend, a guy I considered to be a very good friend. He wanted to do a UAV business, and I wanted to help him as much as he has helped me over the years. In typical fashion for me, I jumped in with both feet, learned enough to see the future and realized I was in a race. I worked at it like it was a race, made a lot of progress, but lost the race when my friend not only gave up on the race, he gave up on me. I’m still not exactly sure what happened, but I know I lost a good friend. At that point, the situation had changed and I needed that hard won expertise to generate some cash flow here at home, so I took another job with a UAV company. Like the first, it was a flaky, shoestring operation, but I still managed to fly an amazingly efficient UAV while fighting a boss who had a tenuous grasp of reality, at best. There came a time when it was clear he had no real intention of fulfilling orders and I left, with my wife’s mandate to quote, “Write my ass off.”

Along came another cash flow opportunity and I had to take it. Even if I get as lucky again as I did with Renewal, it still takes months before money comes in. I’ve been building a system in earnest that my boss can handle, knowing full well that eventually I have to step away for a variety of reasons, and also knowing that I can’t step away until I can publish again. For the past 5 or 6 months, I have been hard at work on picking up where I left off.

There was a time when I could have simply started writing, but after all this time, I had forgotten far too much. I had to start with Renewal again. I had to incorporate my editor’s input, Connie Rinehold for you authors out there, and I had to correct a myriad of my own mistakes. I had to add a few things I thought were missing and I had to pile it all together into novel form. For the record, novels are harder than a series which adds up to a novel. Most importantly, I had to re-immerse myself into the Renewal universe and the motivations that took me there in the first place. I had to adjust a few of those perceptions and assumptions based on the last five years. Some things have changed radically for me, and some have not.

Then, by about September, I jumped back into book 2, which I’ve been calling Decay, but have changed to a new title a don’t want to reveal as yet. Connie, who I can assure you has flogged me mercilessly to write, and I dig that about her, asks me to send her chapters, but I don’t think in chapters. I think in story arcs. I apparently bleed continuity. By mid-October, I had rewritten most of Book 2, and started on Book 3, which was my darling of the Renewal set. It resolves the future and my love of resolution, which I’ll confess right now is why I will probably never be good at short stories. Right now, I’m dealing with the illogical nature of a couple of deux ex machina in the tail end of Book 3. I hate ’em, you hate ’em. Let’s get rid of them.

And let’s talk about motivation… I am motivated by people, and how they deal with events, and how they collect into social patterns which create the reality of our lives. Needless to say, this election cycle has been fascinating. The whole point of apocalypse for me is to explore how people react when the entire rug is yanked out from under them. Can they adapt? Can they flex into a new set of rules fast enough to survive? What happens if the food chain breaks? What happens if text messaging disappears, email, GPS, Google? What happens if we are reduced to FM radio?From the past year, how did the entire left get so blindsided by an election, and what cultural patterns left them so unable to cope with it? I went to high school with a young adult author whose entire Facebook feed now looks like the most tortured, grasping logic of how to change the reality of a Trump presidency. What happens if the pendulum swing results in the fascist regime the left thinks Trump represents? Stuff like that… Fascinating.

The point is simple. I’m writing, and working hard to get free of other commitments so that I can spend more time writing. The Renewal Universe is just one of my many attempts at fiction, but the only way past is through, and you will see the results as soon as I can manage it.

 

 

 

Critter Confluence

As we approach this holiday season, I choose to make some observations about how I feel about the critters in our life. The reasons will hopefully become clear. In order to put it in perspective, let me back up.

My first family dog was a Yorkie named Oliver. I barely remember the dog, but my mother, 17 years beyond this world, made a statue of the dog in a ceramics class way back on Long Island, where we lived when my dad was a fledgling airline pilot at La Guardia. I still have that statue. It says, “For my Jim,” on the bottom. The fact that my mother was such an enthusiastic Christmas elf never helps this time of year, nor does the fact that she spent many years declaring that she couldn’t hold back because that Christmas could be her last. In 1998, she was actually correct.

In 1972, we moved to Tennessee and adopted my uncle’s basset hound, Barney, who had been completely trained to expect baloney and cheese sandwiches and had no respect for my mom’s rules about the untouchable living room furniture, firmly grounded in a 70’s aesthetic, and in retrospect, could only be fully appreciated by a basset hound. Lime green and gold velvet for the win, people! Barney had the proven ability to snag an entire roast off the kitchen table and devour it in less time than it took my mom to turn around. We kids watched in unfiltered, dropped-jaw awe at its disappearance. He was master of his domain, until the time golf-ball-sized hail fell from the sky, and only the fact that we were there to open the sliding glass door saved the living room from a shower of broken glass. Basset terror is no laughing matter. But it is…

Barney was the first of many ‘B’ named bassets in my youth. Buford, Beaudrou, and the oddly named Patches, who is famous for pulling the heavy dial phone off the counter and literally having the shit scared out of him, all the way down the hall. Buford was a master fisherman. He would sit right on the edge of the waters of Normandy Lake, waiting for a hapless fish to  come by. He would launch into the water in a full-on Superman, splashing would ensue, and he would come up with a fish, which he would happily leave by the back door as a gift for the family. Needless to say, our driveway smelled like dead fish on a regular basis. Beaudrou was gift to me and my first wife from my mom, who was anxious to keep the Basset tradition going. I left him with my wife when she became an ex, because he was very attached to Chloe, our other dog. Boudreau died relatively young. I referred to him as a sport Basset, which was just polite code for the runt of the litter. I never heard what happened to Chloe. She was a Border Collie mutt, an excellent dog.

There were other dogs along the way. Villain the Doberman who was the most timid dog imaginable except for two occasions. The first was when my cousin smacked him around and received a well deserved nip in return. Big family drama. The other was when my brother brought home a black friend and we discovered that Villain was totally racist. The good news is the friend in question was plenty fast enough to get away. The bad news was that Villain was determined to get him.

There was Champ, who was hostile to everyone in the family except my dad. The odd part was that Dad seemed to have gained this respect by running Champ over with a Volkswagen bug when Champ was puppy. Champ’s grudging affection didn’t keep him from being a protector of the entire family, which was proven by a rabid groundhog incident when I was 12 or so. He was a champion after all. Unfortunately, he later developed a bad skin problem which required injections. I would hold him while mom administered the injection. Risky business. Oddly, I can’t remember the end of his life. However, no matter how aggressive he was, I remember him fondly.

There was a beautiful English Setter. I seem to have blocked his/her name through sheer guilt. You see, he tried to jump into the back of our 76 Landcruiser when I was backing out of the driveway. He missed and rolled under the wheels. He ran away, but we coaxed him into the car. I was driving like crazy to get him to the vet when he died. I can’t even express how bad I still feel about it.

There was the time a couple of hunting dogs showed up at our house. I gave them a sheet to lie on and petted them. I called the number on the collar and I remember how annoyed the owner was that I had been nice to them. They wanted to stay with me.

There was a crazy mutt who showed up, and that dog was doing everything he possibly could to charm us into giving him a home. This was fine until it turned out that he was actually rabid. I had to shoot him, and again, I carry the guilt of it until this day.

There is a Tennessee style of dog ownership that has almost no relationship to how I regard dog ownership today, but it’s impossible to forget. Dogs were things that lived outside and, at the time, were just there. There was no training, no leash walking, no personal relationship, nothing, It was incidental. It was optional.

I’ve written about Henry before. He was a huge yellow Lab who changed my entire perception of dogs. He was measured, intelligent, and incredibly charming. At some point I will write everything I remember about his life. But without the details, he was the dog who taught me that dogs have purpose, understanding, and that the relationship is meaningful from both the human and dog side of the equation. In short, dogs have souls. In the span of his life, dogs became something worth an active relationship. It was suddenly worth trying to understand their values in the balance.

Nowadays, I live in close proximity to a number of dogs, and the understanding I have for their motivations is ridiculous from a southern rural dog perspective. They are spoiled rotten, and I think the effort is worth it. I have no doubt that they have many things to teach us about ourselves, even if they don’t understand those values themselves. They just are. They don’t hide their emotions, they don’t limit them for any ulterior motive, and they will stand a great deal of discomfort to uphold their own values. The fact that people let that happen says more about us than it does about the completely open motivations of our canine friends.

In that vein, people post stuff about dogs that have been abandoned by their people. I understand that sometimes people can no longer care for their dogs, but the purely optional reasons that people use to justify abandoning a dog completely baffle me. Seeing those dogs hurts me more than my younger self would care to admit. Dogs bond with their people. We bred them to do so, and we must take responsibility for perhaps 15,000 years of teaching dogs that the bond is worthwhile. They invest in that bond 100%. They have no other way of approaching the relationship. They are always sad to see you go, and always overjoyed to see you return. Where else can you find that commitment? You can teach them aggression or cuddling, fear or unwavering protection. You can teach them almost anything, and they will regard that as the absolute truth. Dogs feel shame and pride, dogs dream, dogs aspire – dogs have as much emotional depth, as much soul as we do. The relationship is not casual to a dog. Yes, taking a dog into your life is nothing short of a lifetime responsibility. You deal with everything a dog needs and at the end, you have to say goodbye for the good of the dog. Like raising children, dogs need discipline and rules. It makes them feel secure and confident. It’s a big deal. Where else can you find a creature that can be so easily fulfilled, and yet will do literally everything within its power to fulfill you? Those of us at the end of a thousand generation relationship have hard time realizing what that means, but the fact remains, it’s incredibly meaningful to one side of the relationship, and up to us to define the  other side. This is a situation in which we should learn from the dog, treat it as they do, and see if we can’t expand that into our human relationships, which we all know would benefit from the honesty that a dog brings to the table.

You know, there are theories afloat that say that we would have never ascended from hunter gatherers without the partnership of dogs to watch our back. If you can find a dog in need of a home this holiday season, if you can fall in love with that dog, bring them into your home, and let them discover the joys of children to guard and wrapping paper to tear. Give them undivided attention to teach them how to live with you, and you will reap far more rewards from the relationship than they will, but they won’t care. They live to please you and your family if you only give them the chance.

 

 

The Truthiest Truth

You know what? We have no handle on the Truth. We know nothing, and that’s okay. We think in metaphor, labels, taglines, slogans, name-calling, and that’s actually an advantage. Without that layer of abstraction, we would not be able to function. I imagine that holds true for every lifeform with a nervous system. Perhaps even plants.

Light, dark. Food, inedible. Danger, safe. Warm, cold. These are not fundamental truths; they are abstractions, metaphors.

If we move down a level and try to quantify these values, it’s still metaphor. For a reptile, there is a temperature at which they go to a low energy mode, and yet if food comes along they will break that barrier to capture some prey which adds energy to the equation. There is a self adjusting algorithm that absorbs all the information available to any given organism, its needs, its limitations, and a result occurs. The more complex we become, the more information that plays into a grand balancing act that results in a behavior.

In the case of human beings, that dance is arguably the most intricate on the planet. On the other hand, we are intelligent enough to deliberately dumb ourselves down, to simplify, to create larger abstractions and a greater disconnect between any objective measure of truth and the factors we choose to make our decisions. In that sense, the only difference between our intelligence and the simplest nervous system is our ability to self-program our abstractions.

Your top level metaphor may be a philosophy, a religion, a religionless faith, a free-form belief, science, a political view, a sexual identity, a need, a goal, a loved one, an altered state driven by drugs, a medical condition, self image, money, power, creative expression or a subset of creativity, something like fashion, or any combination of all of the above. Given that we know nothing about objective truth, no one can actually say which of these or countless others actually matter.

We count on a base ten system because we have ten digits on our hands. What if every branch of science becomes easier if we happened to have 17 digits? We would never know. What if we had built our entire math based on 20 instead of ten? As a man with nine toes, one lost to infection, I have to ask. Would 20 digits makes things closer to the truth or farther? We don’t know.

Einstein built an entire concept of space-time to explain a set of conditions that eliminated a need for spooky action at a distance. We like an idea of spacetime that controls itself without a real-time connection among every bit of matter, but hey, that’s a metaphor. What if it’s actually the reverse? What if everything in the universe is actually in communication with everything else without regard for distance, because time is an artifact of our limited ability to observe it. We don’t know.

We don’t know.

Instead, we build assumption on top of assumption, metaphor on metaphor. We fiddle with it until we can make it make mathematical sense. The problem, of course, is that the math involves multiple occurrences of both zero and infinity, the singularities at the ends of the mathematical spectrum. This is the equivalent of saying that we may as well call on a mysticism of the unknown to explain the unexplainable. I’m not saying it’s unexplainable. I am a firm believer in the human ability to ferret out explanations. I am saying that there is the possibility that we are incapable of seeing the Truth. All of quantum physics points us to a scary concept that our mere observation affects the result. In blunter terms, intention affects the outcomes.

If we say that’s actually true, then our attention and intention creates our reality, which any groups of people agree upon. If that’s true, in other words, you and I agree upon the elevator we are riding to another floor, and that goes right back to spooky action at a distance. Or brains, or minds of you prefer, are exchanging information about our collective experience at a rate of data that makes Einstein’s theory look like WWII radio in the age of gigabit internet. To borrow further from the data metaphor, either someone is the dominant definer of the reality of that elevator, or there is a reality “server” to which our minds subscribe. If the former, how is dominance established? If the latter, what is the server? God? The universe? An underlying operating system we all follow without knowing? An agreement that is reached among all the party minds (intentions) according to predetermined rules that depend entirely upon spooky action at a distance, and at a data rate we literally can’t imagine?

If the whole universal system works at rate we can’t imagine, do we have any hope of explaining it? If we have no hope of explaining it from our brain-in-skull limitations, do we take it as challenge, or accept it as God’s will, intending that part of the aspect of ourselves that exist in human form are not in on the secret of the ultimate definition of Truth?

Let’s bring this back down to our poor human lives. The point is that we have a certain free will to choose the abstractions that define our day to day reality. This actually a very poignant thing at this point in time. Half of us believe that any change is better than none. Half of us believe that that the change we have chosen amounts to a giant leap backwards in terms of human potential and acceptance.

The choice is a massive downwards cascade of any definition of Truth. In our massive ability to reduce Truth to an abstraction, which again is our singular advantage in a universe we cannot grasp, we distilled the whole thing down to the only reality we can understand, i.e., how it affects us. If you are gay in America, you think in terms of Hillary’s rhetoric of inclusiveness, no matter how much evidence exists that it’s just political rhetoric and not something she says for political expediency. Because of our basic ability to create metaphor to define complexity, we can simply accept our metaphor as reality, and ignore anything that conflicts with that metaphor. Reversing course, we can also take Trump’s various idiotic statements as a blanket of truth, and abstract Trump into a container of racism, homophobia, and sexism.

What’s the defense against a one sided approach to Truth? Listen to both sides. Treat everything as “We know nothing” and evaluate based on too much information. Too much information is a huge problem. As I’ve said more than once, the only conspiracy theory I will actually defend is the idea that “they” bury us in too much complexity to see what is really happening. The left has won the war, which means that they collectively can ignore any other point of view. They lost because the opposition understood that they were being culturally squashed and reserved their real opinion until they were in the voting booth. Ironic that the cultural debate was manipulated in one direction, and went in the other. It reminds me of Princess Leia to Grand Moff Tarken. “The more you tighten your grip, the more systems slip through your fingers.”

All of this is still being expressed in the form of protests, and those lost people of America who were washed aside by the Democrat party. But the only real limits in the balance of the Truth versus the real politic in America, two very different things, is that Americans are used to having an advantage, an advantage that was hard earned, and in the reality of 2016 America, where politicians are apparently willing to trade that advantage for nothing. A concept of global fairness does not equate with the reality of us giving up much for those who would gain very little. And, if freedom and independence counts on the grand accounting of Truth, it’s a terrible trade against a nebulous concept of global equality.

If you want the greatest simplicity, you want the greatest metaphor of Truth. If you want to measure success in a more detailed and granular fashion, you must be willing to sacrifice simplicity in the bargain. This, in turn, means that you must be willing to look outside your point of view, see how the other side thinks, and synthesize your own Truth. There are plenty of forces in play that would prefer, in fact demand, that you accept their truth as the Truth. It’s your option, and privilege, to decide your own Truth, and act accordingly.

The Truthiest Truth, and it’s yours.

The Founding Fathers Were Smart

Thomas Jefferson clearly spend a great deal of time considering the wisdom of the self governed. Google his quotes to see what I mean.

I live in a strongly Hillary part of the country. I fully understand how people can take the headlines of Hillary’s campaign and conclude the Trump is the anti-Christ of social development. Many of those, including people I know to be good and earnest people, are feeling betrayed by the half of the country who voted for Trump. After all, Trump has been consistently portrayed as the personification of racism, sexism, bigotry, and intolerance. If that’s true or not, we shall see. For myself, every vote I’ve cast has been a lesser of two evils proposition.

The fact is that he was smarter than the entire democratic machine. He understood how the American people felt better than the media, the Democrats, the Republican establishment, and pretty much everyone else. If you look back over the history of the campaign, Trump was quite accurate in his prognostication. He generally said it poorly, crudely, but in the current environment, perhaps that rough talk was one of his smartest accomplishments. We have listened to smooth, calculated noise from the political elite for most of our lives, watched the results, and concluded that politics was no longer a decent representation of our personal goals as Americans.

The Hillary rhetoric sniff test has been demonstrably refuted. She has behaved in way that should clearly indicate that she has lost her connection to the average woman. Every time she declares herself as the champion of women, I look to her acceptance of money from the worst examples of women’s rights in the entire world. I look to the salaries she pays to her female employees. I look the her record, which either represents a compromised version of women’s rights, or an outright version of “she is greater than thee”. In other words, you are a lesser class to her and her entire inner circle. At the most generous, she is disconnected, at the least,  and at the most, she is the logical conclusion of a an elite political class who thinks it’s entirely legitimate to manipulate you into thinking they know better for you than you do yourself.

In a country designed for “by the people” this is a problem.

For me, the results of the election are less about a “For Trump” ideal, than a “Listen to us” mandate. Trump is a guilty pleasure. He was smart enough to talk about the forgotten men and women of America, who were cast aside with the passing of NAFTA.  The bottom line is that the light of America is about being foundationally solid enough to say that our model for the world is authoritative. That authority is under attack everywhere and we can feel it right down to our wallets.

Trump speaks to that, frequently very poorly. The man could have articulated almost everything he said much more clearly and smoothly.  Hillary failed for a variety of reasons. But probably the most is that she  showed a disdain for the people she proposed to represent. Did she feel a strong role to represent women, to pass her message forward into the body politic? Probably not. As a result, she never carried her message with the ring of truth. We all understand that electing a woman president is a big deal. She just wasn’t the woman to elect. It seems likely that if she managed to win, the mess she dragged with her would have made it harder to elect a woman in the future. The right woman. I fully understand the argument that she lost because of sexism, but I don’t buy it. I think it has more to do with the confluence of anger with the whole political process along with her mounting piles of evidence of corruption, with is the essential source of that anger. Part of that may have been her entitled expectation that she had earned it. Part of it may have been her own personal history and decisions, which does not support her position. Full credit to her for her gracious concession. More speeches like that would have gone a long way to establish her authenticity. She also spoke eloquently about the power of women to break the ultimate glass ceiling and all the other ceilings that women face in this world. I respect the message and I have no doubt that there will be a woman president in my lifetime. If we can turn all the corners that we need to turn in this country, there will come a time when an honest woman will handle the growth of this nation better than any man.

And let’s be clear: We must grow. There is nothing about the concept of this nation that allows us to rest on our laurels. We must grow culturally, and lose all the labels that we slap on everyone. I could write another post on this one subject, but given the words I’ve read today, no one needs help with this definition. Here’s the main issue, though, one that Trump seems to see but never articulates well. If we don’t grow economically first, then none of the rest of it works. It’s simple human nature that when we have enough to live our own lives, we are automatically more generous to others’ views. It’s also human nature that those who have struggled are more inclined to help when their own situation improves. In the big game, the survival of the whole American ideal, an economically strong middle class is the key. If we retain enough power to have our voice, then America rests on a broad base. If we don’t, then we live on a knife edge that can be destroyed easily. My personal belief is that there has been a long term concerted effort to destroy the American middle class. I don’t know who wants it, but I know that it’s a model that fits the patterns of our lives. I have hope that Trump is willing to fly a finger in that general direction, even if his motivation is to preserve his own business legacy.

One of the great ironies of the result is that Trump was successful enough that he had better walk the walk. He, with the support of both houses, has no excuse for failing to clean up the mess we find ourselves in, no excuse for failing to drain the swamp. With his full mandate, he must support all of it on his shoulders. For those of you who have only heard the headlines of Hillary’s campaign, he’s not a sexist demon. He runs a radical meritocracy and pays his women the same as men for similar levels of responsibility. If a woman can do the job better, he puts one in the job. Check Hillary’s foundation for the contrast in women’s pay. He’s not a racist, although I can see how he has made it easy to apply that brush to him. His equation is not based on race; it’s based on good for America, versus not good for America. The caveat is that as a businessman, it is also good for his business versus not good for his business. He uses the tools available to get result. He’s had 18 solid months transition his own model of business from that of the Trump brand to that of America, and get ready because he will use every tool available to make America succeed. He doesn’t know any other way to approach it. If you think it’s about sexism, racism, anti-gay or anything else, I suspect you are going to find that it’s simply about the success of every American within his concept of a larger American system that must succeed.

What happens if he turns the corner on our economic success? What happens if he’s right and we can actually collect more taxes from lower tax rates? What happens if he can actually drain the swamp, which we all know is filled with the stickiest, most virulent mud imaginable. What happens if companies want to be in America again? What happens if he rebuilds our manufacturing base? What happens if he destroys medical monopolies and medical price fixing, which by the way is the real reason we can’t afford decent health coverage in this country? What happens if he redirects resources to fixing our problems instead of trying to shore up a web of influence over the rest of the world? What happens if he manages to create enough money to begin paying down our stupendous debt? How does that single action affect our children and grandchildren? What if he fights wars to win, instead of fighting limited actions that only enrich the contractors while degrading the readiness of our military? For that matter, what if he builds a military that no one would even consider engaging on the world stage?

I’ll leave you to answer. Meanwhile, the riots have started.