Don't Look Now
Super Computer Part
Technology continues to be, for me, an achilles heel. I am fairly certain that, if nothing else, without technology, my whole existence would be more dignified. From what I see and hear on television, or in the movies, inasmuch as they are a partially true reflection of reality, technology is producing an unbridgeable divide. Sound the alarms? Yes, because Americans are not as good at this game as the Russians and Chinese, not to mention all Asia. This is only the beginning. But our competitors, let's say, instead of undeclared enemies, have noticed that the back door is wide open. We can hold onto a warhead, but not a vital piece of information. When Homeland Security began, many people complained that it infringed upon their basic rights as private citizens. Now, nary a peep. It is yet another Big Brother intrusion. Does anyone know what Homeland Security does? I do not. I am not even aware of its presence all day, all night. But I assume I have less privacy. If so, so does everyone else. In sum, technology has led to the curtailment of freedom. Freedom is sacrificed for the sake of the commonweal.
Still, it is more a global phenomenon than anything specifically American. The proliferation of gadgetry has cheapened life, maybe, but, since this is the justification, possibly made it safer. There are cameras and microphones everywhere. Satellite photos can tell if our fingernails are clean or not. In truth, it has happened just in time. There is a lot of mischief being done in the course of any twenty-four hour period. People, ordinary everyday people, began to chatter about civil unrest in the late 1980s. It was just an idea then, as it thankfully remains. But it has changed from science fiction into a possibility, however remote. Chicago, Ferguson, Baltimore, San Bernardino -- the list will only lengthen. Back in the 1980s, I used to listen to the police channel to find out what was happening in my own precinct, which had the highest murder rate in Manhattan. Quite an honor. I quickly caught on to how gunfights (drug trade-related), and other serious matters, were about twenty to thirty blocks away. This was a low tech instrument for the purpose of information only. Now, I could not venture a guess at to what innovations have moved the dial on the crime-o-meter toward or away from good or bad.
The New Global Presidency
This might, years from now, be considered an interesting time to have been alive. The reason is that no one appears to know what is going on. My own reluctance to fully embrace technology has to do with the fact that it does not enrich my life. But the country at large has long since entered into an unholy alliance with it. Only consider a handful of CNN videos in which missiles are described, especially at the moment in regard to North Korea. From fifteen minutes to half an hour, either the U.S. or Russia can launch an attack. Neither country is at war with the other, but the prospect looms large and lingers. It is a national dread the Cold War victory failed to completely abolish. What has annoyed many who watch the news is the current administration's lack of initiative, which, I am saying, possibly only hoping, is merely a perception. As such, it could be either right or wrong. I think it is wrong, however, in that no country has dared to indirectly or directly attack the United States. Chance has little to do with it. No response has been called for. There have been random or organized (impossible for the television viewer to determine) acts of violence. One hears the North Korean dictator speak of "losing the age-old fear" of big nuclear nations, or, to be blunt, the U.S. Yet, his best hope to remain in power with his country unharmed depends upon the permanence of just such an emotional obstacle.
The idea of a small nation with nuclear arms flying off the handle has been in the works for quite some time. It is nothing new. Kim Jong Un, however, knows that if he can succeed in some fashion, he will be hailed a hero by an unconscionable number of people. Throughout the years, there have been many "madmen": Gaddafi, Chavez, Castro, and Ahmadinejad, to name a few. None have quite matched their stormy rhetoric with equally catastrophic deeds. But they have stirred up their masses and created much trouble. The infamous Lockerbie Pan Am Flight 103 has been narratively linked to Gaddafi. But it remains unproven. Like so much else, acts of terror are cloaked in mysteries. We never seem to know, as in All the President's Men, how high up the crime goes, or, for that matter, how low. This is the trend as I see it. Outside the U.S., the newer, more uncivilized breed of leader aims to carve empires, possibly caliphates, out of the flesh and blood of the innocent. Yes, it has been done before. But not in modern times underneath our very noses in plain sight.
The voting is sort of like New Years with the old going out and the new coming in, only it lasts virtually the entire year. I mean the election process. All these caucuses, all the stumping, and, to my surprise, all the well-organized factions for or against a particular candidate are shaking many of us up and causing a sense of wonderment and awe that is not necessarily reasurring. There is a fight going on for the heart and soul of America, which is being moved, as it were, across a game board in various, contradictory directions. It seems as though we have lost focus on what truly matters as politicians skip from one issue to another, all valid, but in the final analysis, a tangled ball of confusion.
Today is another Super Tuesday. I cannot help but be interested in the result, though I am much more prepared to be philosophical about the outcome. I have thought a bit about Montreal as a place to live -- if it comes to that. I am not the only one who feels the chill. Others, too, are determined to leave, mostly if Trump is elected. Ultimately, it might not be Trump who drives us away. We do not know who any of these politicians are until, little by little, they reveal themselves. People are unfair, too. Trump is already being blamed for lots and has not yet won the nomination! By the way, the winners and losers in this contest are going to be okay. It is the old game of musical chairs. Further, why do they speak as if they owed us? We know that it is not all about us. It is all about them. Their focus is on the invisible crown.
The Presumptive Nominee
Actually, I think most Americans are not angry. They are only trying to maintain a sense of humor. There are those who think Obama has done a magnificent job. Others consider his years in office utterly disastrous. If I find myself scrambling for cover beneath a descending Chinese bomb, I will definitely fall in line with the latter. But other issues, such as the rise of ISIS (Russia has just yesterday recalled its troops), the collapse of Lebanon, Syria, and Iraq, the spread of hatred into Egypt, the militarization of Turkey, the lifting of sanctions restraining Iran, and domestic tensions that often turn violent, are more to the point. It is possibe that Democrats, with four more years, can in time prevail upon the problems that plagued their regime. At present, Republicans are determined to make drastic changes, but the bitterness and rancor they have stirred up is totally out of character. This is not the look, talk, or conduct of rock-steady conservatism as it is generally understood. Which brings me back to the point: what's up?
I have next to nothing to add to what most everybody knows. I have noticed, however, that I am gradually losing interest. You will not find me at anybody's rally. I never held a picket sign in my life. I do not smoke marijuana; still, I respectfully disagree, lightning is not the biggest thrill. This world has always belonged to the younger crowd. Maybe that was in part how Obama got elected. For sure it has a lot to do with making peace with Cuba. Old fogeys had other plans for the place. Well, that's that. I'm glad the electoral process forced candidates into states like Ohio and North Carolina, where they seldom go. Ever wonder when the news programs show you the exterior of the White House if anybody is inside? I doubt it.