Diary

Hillary and Trump: The world we live in and how we got here.

In my garage, I have the typewriter I used in college.  It was state of the art in 1973 and is still a good machine.  As I recall, it took about one-hundred pieces of paper, written and typed, to complete my first 15 page research paper.  My Grandson the other day asked me what it was and where did I plug it into a monitor.  And, every five years or so, I read my favorite book, Moby-Dick by Herman Melville.  I have read Moby-Dick about 8 times now because I consider it the greatest book ever written by an American.

Another question.  How many computers do you have that are outdated?  I have three great machines, all three have XP and I am told they cannot be upgraded to Windows 10, so they sit and collect dust.  I will take them to be recycled one day but just like my old typewriter, I hate to part with a machine where I spent so much time writing my “Great American novel”.

WHAT IS YOUR POINT!

My point is simple, but one more question.  How many of you stopped reading this and went straight to the comment section?  And that is why we have Hillary and Trump as the two candidates running for President.  The typical American attention span has been reduced to sound bites and what they can read in a minute or two.  I cannot recall talking to someone about Trumps policy on the economy, much less the GOP platform.  It is always about the last statement he made and how it is put forward in the media.

Use to be that Walter Cronkite would come on for thirty minutes, give us the news and “might” have a one-minute opinion piece at the end of the show.  If you wanted talking heads, you tuned in to Face the Nation on Sunday.  Thirty minutes was all it took to pass on the worthwhile news stories of the day and if you add up the “news” in today’s 24/7 news channels that is about all there is today, the other 23.5 hours are filled with someone’s opinion.

Breaking news! Trump passed gas today while giving a speech.   We are now joined by a panel of two gastric experts and a pollster.  First question for the panel:  Will Trump passing gas remind the voters of Hitler who had the same problem? 

How did this happen?

 As technology has changed, Americans have become use to an instant download of the world around them. The 24/7 news channels are 99% opinion because people today will form an opinion about a candidate based on what their favorite talking head told them.  Without getting to deeply into the subject, the GOP ended up with Trump because, in the opinion of the 24/7 talking heads, only an “outsider” could fix Washington.  People did not bother to investigate any of the candidates.  They were subjected to the Trump drumbeat, and because humans are basically a herd animal, they went along with “the opinion” of the MSM.

We have grown spoiled by the instant “download” and I have heard my children and grandchildren complain if a web page takes more than a few seconds to appear on their screen.  This instant need for gratification in politics is why nations end up with a dictator that promises to instantly fix all of the problems facing society.

A few examples of complex problems and instant gratification answers by the candidates that are not answers.

Illegal immigration:   “Build a wall”, “open borders”

ISIS:  “Bomb them”, the other wants to ignore them.

The economy:  “Free trade and higher taxes”, “Renegotiate deals”

Student loans:  “Forgive the loans”, largely silent on the subject.

Infrastructure:  “Spend more”, “Double what she said”

Lots of sound bites but no real answers and the listener is left with filling in the void with what he/she “thinks” the candidate said or will do.

The sad part and in conclusion

The day will come when my children and grandchildren will clean out my modest library and my beloved leather bound edition of Moby-Dick will end up in a garage sale or the trash.   Our generation’s time has come and gone, we had a good run but our society has given way to the 30 second sound bite.

In my opinion, the way we select our political leaders really took off when a President was elected on the phrase “Hope and Change”.  No one knew then or can now tell you what that meant but wasn’t it a good sound bite?