Category Archives: US

Current events are actually like growing pains

My apologies to the anti-Trumpistas and their similar equivalents in the various countries and regions, but please bear with me. One of problems has been the holding to fixed positions of what is best for us or for others, that we must be like this or that, we have to achieve this or that, although we are holding to an idea of something that is at best temporary, and it is urgent that we understand this and the perceptions of scale that are involved.

Taking a look at what is going on and the affect on people, I am drawn to the conclusion that we have misunderstood these difficult times, bemoaning the lack of resources, the withdrawal of so called rights, the lack of insight of this or that person, this or that group and so forth. There is an emerging pattern however.

As a wise man once said, opposition makes you stronger. However, it is worth reflecting that, although those opposing us are in fact helping us to grow stronger, that our opposition of another or others also makes that something or someone stronger, which may be an idea, a group, say the much vaunted elite, the cabal, the concept of the other, ‘them’.

The way I use it is that I see no point in opposing something that will be inevitable, and of course the question arises, what is not inevitable, what can be the positive influence brought to bear that will either bring about a learning situation or favour an outcome.

This was made apparent to me when I started my blog to raise awareness of the situation in Brazil as Dilma was being manoeuvred out of power. In a brash move, I repeated a phrase that was current at the time, “Não vai ter golpe’, or ‘There will be no coup’. However, events proved me wrong, but if one looks back at it and the stages of life and learning, one can see it as a process, and stop being attached to a preconceived idea of what should happen or what one must do.

There are benefits to be had from what we have taken as ‘bad’ and learning from what we have taken to be ‘good’. We have seen esteemed institutions and people being exposed as other than we thought, we have all felt disillusion at this or that. For myself, speaking personally about what I have felt and not about those I am speaking of, this has been the lack of fulfilment of the promises of Obama, the U.S. Supreme Court, the BBC, the apparent success of the bringing down of Dilma in Brazil, the exposure of widespread corruption in Brazil, and others. We are being forced to take a long hard look at our values.

However, disappointment in anything is the lack of fulfilment of an expectation that we have, and nothing more than that. It is not a reflection, necessarily in those people or institutions. That can only be ascertained after questioning, acceptance and only then deciding on how to approach something.

What we have seen is that people do not value something they have until they lose it, whether that be rights, privileges, gifts. Nor have we paid sufficient attention to that which is held to be good and already in place. We learn to value democracy when we thought it to be challenged. Was America great or any less great than before? Was it because we thought it was or it wasn’t? I suggest the answer is all of the above and none of the above, for various reasons and in different circumstances. Is he UK really united? I think these are good and useful questions to consider.

Trump is acting as a mirror for us, and to the extent that he provokes horror or a certain hope that this is for the better, we should take a more careful look at what we see and why we see it. He is showing buffoonery and dishonesty, using words that do reflect what we are like. He is like the medieval court jester, entertaining the king, but the court is also spellbound, but when those who are unable to bear what they see speak out against it, it is not that they are completely wrong, rather that the situation is so terrible that it must change, eventually finding some equilibrium and harmony.

The question of Brexit has been bothering me ever since it became obvious to some people that the bureaucracy was having a detrimental effect on the conducting of business in the broadest sense of the word, in my case about twenty years ago. However, the idea of being included in something with international scope will inevitably bring up complicated issues for many people, involving us in change, which can be uncomfortable and having to re-assess what we had taken to be true or ´right` and so forth.

I briefly celebrated the referendum decision, saying to myself or others that we, the Brits, have given the blighters a bloody nose, which we did, but a lot of people felt hurt or shocked by that result, and now we have to grow up and actually settle this like civilised people, if we are able, rather than on the school playground. Resentment is not a good basis for making decisions, although some people must see the reasons that brought the situation about.

We are in a learning situation, for the Brits that like it or not, we have a role to play in the world, for the Europeans that we have legitimate concerns, for the neoliberals and overly wealthy, that things must and will change into a more beneficially distributed system of doing things, for the anti-neoliberals, that the crystallised forms of thinking about national or class issues no longer work, for the Trumpistas, that America already is great, so why not learn that there is a whole other world out of real, actual people out there beyond the U.S. borders, for the anti-Trumpistas, that opposing something because it comes in the guise of your pet dislikes or hates does not mean that your knee-jerk reactions to it are correct or properly thought out.

On the question of national sovereignty, it is sobering to reflect that there is a kind of sovereignty already, that the Brits have the kind of government and balanced Parliament that reflects the current situation, and similarly for the U.S. and Brazil, leading us to recognise our crystallised way of thinking.

Impossible or unsustainable situations must be differentiated from the unthought of possibility that something has happened, is happening or will happen. These are often confused and although sometimes it is distasteful, we do not recognise good food unless we have known what bad food is like or its effects on us.

After I wrote this piece, I found this video by Scott Adams, the creator of Dilbert, which echoes my thoughts.