Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Living in LA LA Land And Wondering How It Will All Turn Out!

     For those of you who don't know, I live in California; Palm Springs, CA in fact. Palm Springs is  a city with a multitude of distinctions ... land of the winter snowbirds, retirement city, Gay Capital of the U.S, home of Modernism Week, film festivals, prestigious art festivals, huge outdoor music concerts, a weekly street fair that closes down the main drag every Thursday night, HOT summers ... the list really can go on and on. That said, I also live in a state that voted 66% for Clinton and hates Donald Trump. As just about everyone in the world knows, California is a liberal, to many, a very liberal state. Bill O'Reilly, the ultra conservative, once observed that the Los Angeles Times should use a hammer & sickle in their masthead, it's that liberal.
     It is a state led by Democrats in both houses of the legislature, the governorship and just about every other office in the Golden State. It is also replete with those elected officials that think they know better than you or I. If they did I might add, we would be living in paradise ... however, we aren't, and they don't know much more, maybe, from the many I have met, less.
     What is interesting however, is the breakdown of the state. In the north from San Francisco to Oregon you have a strong loyal, liberal base. However, in the far more populous south, Los Angeles, it is liberal but moderately so, some might even say shakily so. It is these population centers that wag the dog. As you can clearly see, the majority of the landmass with far fewer people is either moderately or extremely conservative.
     What brought this to mind was an article in the Sunday Desert Sun that, with the media still wringing it hands, wondered how California would bear a Trump Presidency. They observed the actions of Texas where the attorney general of that state filed lawsuits against the Obama Administration daily as a matter of course. The editorial urged our newly appointed attorney general to do the same thing.
     I guess the question remains, when will liberals, and by that I mean the media, talking heads, pundits and those that "know" how to run a political campaign realize, and admit that much of the result of the Trump presidency was of their own making. One insightful article by a renowned journalist admitted the hubris of the liberals including himself. When by chance he ventured out of the beltway to Podunk Iowa, what he heard and saw convinced him in June that Trump had a chance. Why? Because the administration wasn't looking out for them. Democrats were convinced the working class was theirs. Only the working class felt it wasn't being served and protected by the Democrats with decades of their jobs going overseas, a slower than normal recovery had left them near starvation levels. Their hope for a better life had vanished. They took a chance on Trump. You have to realize, that no matter how cheap products are, if you don't have a job you will not be able to buy them. The only winners in NAFTA, the now failed Pacific Trade Agreement and any other trade agreements were the CEO's who would make even more money and the countries that got the jobs exported from here, certainly not the workers who lost their jobs. Watching PBS specials interviewing the workers who had lost good paying jobs many felt that Trump being vilified by both Democrats and Republicans was enough of an outsider who just might actually do what he promised. Certainly the deal he wrought with Carrier saving about 1400 jobs from going to Mexico proves, in their minds, he really does care about them.
     However, it wasn't just a few jaded voters that voted for Trump. Take a gander at the entire United States and see how they voted county by county. All that red is a sobering reminder that while we have more voters in our cities, there is a great disconnect between the citizens of this country. It is the issue that has and may well continue to divide this country.
     Many of my friends still can't get over the election results. There is a sense of foreboding in the Gay community, many of the residents in the valley are undocumented and many of the grand projects of California (Big Brother) seem to be in peril.
The election may be over but the feelings haven't!
     How will it all end up? No one knows. Hopefully, the status quo is broken and finally, as one journalist admitted, its time for everyone to stop talking to themselves and talk to the people of this land. What is needed and done in New York City, the beltway, and just about any large American city is, as we have seen, very different in the heartland. If you are a small merchant, farmer, oil field worker, fisherman, there is a good deal of brokering. The art of the deal is alive and well. Isn't that what Trump has said about himself all along? Once filled with strong blue-collar voters, decades of jobs fleeing overseas has seen our workforce decimated and both parties are held to blame.
    And all blame cannot be placed on the Democrats shoulders either. The GOP has been as intransigent and acting like they know better yet have refused to sit at the table and compromise. If there is any hallmark to the success of the United States beginning with the creation of the Constitution, it was that various political followers 1. talked to each other, 2. learned the spirit of compromise. Nothing is perfect and on this earth nothing most likely will ever be. To move forward you have to do some horse-trading, do a little give and take so that while no one ever gets everything they might want, the country moves forward, both sides give some and get some. As everyone knows, not much of compromise on anything has been done for something like about 16 years. The country has become polarized and it has been become a battle between competing ideologies.
     Watching "60 Minutes" last Sunday was sobering. First Paul Ryan, a voracious critic of Trump says that he is willing to work with him. They are united in undoing much of Obama's legacy.
     The next feature talked about the "Golden Triangle" in Alabama that has had a resurgence in new industries that have slowly begun to replace the ones that fled to China. However, even here the sobering fact remains ... what will we do with all the people when the requirements for any new factory is a fraction of what it was? Fact, a steel mill used to employ around 4,000 workers. The new one, with great pay for the 500 workers is the problem. Much of the old muscle work has been replaced by robots and men and women now sit behind computers monitoring every action in the mill. Industries my be moving back to the US but the job requirements will be far less than before.
     There is a reason robotics are replacing more and more jobs; they can work 24/7, need no breaks or lunch, vacations, health care, 401K plans. Sure they require maintenance but nothing like the numbers of workers once required.
     Education is the key but for what? No one can predict the future but the days of a high school diploma being enough isn't good enough anymore. In fact, even a four year college degree is looking pretty slim to many companies.
     While I can't predict an answer here, I can predict that if both parties don't sit down and talk to each other, work out a plan that protects their constituents, simplifies the daily business of both small companies and their employees there will be even more drastic election changes opening up even more extremes that will continue to polarize the country.
     If there ever was a need to design a plan of action, that time is now! Write your congressman, your senator, any and all of your elected officials. They are to represent you, not themselves. TELL them what you think. Make them hear your voice, not the voices of each other. I tell friends vote incumbents out ... each and every one. When they tell me their incumbent is good I reply, "No they are not. They are part of the problem!" Think about that and let your fingers do the walking over those keyboard keys.

Thank you for reading my blog. Please, take the time to read earlier blogs where the emphasis here and always is to explore the ways design and art affects our lives ... and always has. 

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