Monday, May 16, 2016

Turning to the general

Good morning class,
 Please allow me a short moment of personal reflection.  I was thinking the other day (yes that does still happen) about how this journey of mine which brought me back to the farm in Nebraska has opened my eyes up to a broader perspective of what Americans face each day.  I get  up, as I always did, very early and make my coffee, and read the news on my phone.  I read the NY Times, the regional news, the two major papers in Nebraska, and various political sites.  But now, when I read the times, I envision myself back in LA, recalling the places I saw, the roads I traveled, the people I met.

That has meant that I can never think of LA, or anyplace, for that matter, without putting it in the context of the people that live there.  As Americans, we all have some similar interests, but we also have local interests, views and problems that are distinct and different from other citizens elsewhere.  The last two weeks here have been rainy, and this weekend we approached a late frost. And the neighbors worried about the damage to the crops that had already emerged.  Agriculture is king here, and weather is its master.  We dont sweat traffic and mass transit much.

But that does not mean that we should think that those who do worry about how to get to work, about the cost of building faster and more convenient and sustainable ways to move  people in huge urban areas are wasting our time.  What I am seeing more and more is that while we are a big country, we have very different issues that effect us in very different ways.

What we need to understand is this: we have a very large, and very diverse country. It spans a continent, and is unique in its political complexity because it provides a means to address those broad and narrow issues. There are times for a national solution and there are times for local ones, and that has been, and remains, the essential value and conundrum of federalism.  Take, for example, the current controversy over transgender bathrooms.  We have national values intended to promote fairness and end discrimination for all our citizens; but we also worry and wonder about protecting the privacy of citizens in public places.  The battle (for the most part, despite what the media has depicted) is not about Caitlyn Jenner; it is about which solution we choose for our students at Emoryville Elementary in rural Kansas.

Onto the election:
Is is not yet over, but the Republican establishment (anyone holding elective office for more than 12 months or anyone who thinks Trump ought to hold more conservative views) has swallowed hard and decided, well, maybe we can work with Trump if Hillary is the other choice.  Hillary is still facing Bernie, and he is still winning primaries, which does not really hurt her chances because she still is winning super delegates.

But the fact that she is losing elections, after nearly everyone knows she will be the nominee (absent a criminal referral or indictment on her mishandling of secret government documents), is troubling. Many Republicans think Trump ill-suited to be President, but it  seems that just as many Democrats prefer someone other than Hillary.  This looks like an election which may turn on getting people who have never voted or people who couldn't care less about character to vote.

What might be different now is that Hillary is living in 1999, where she thinks Former President Clinton is an asset.  For those who like him, it is likely that they already like Hillary.  Yesterday, she used him by indicating he will be THE jobs engine in the election. She believes that Bill is that because of his record in the 1990s, (remember the boom... ignore the bust), but how many of the voters looking at Bill on the stump are reminded of that?  And can her campaign accuse Trump of his ill-treatment of women with Bill on the stump,

And is Trump really Teflon?  The real questions are this: which of the two will win more of their bases, and which of the two will attract more new voters?  Romney and Obama each won a very high percentage of their party's voters, but Romney failed to bring in many new voters.  Trump is having a hard time right now with his base (and Hillary faces issues with Bernie supporters), but it is Trump that brings more new voters to the table.  This may be THE election where an intelligent VP pick actually helps with one of those two issues.

Well, enough for today. The first purple iris of the season is blooming (my Mom's favorite) and I have work to do.
Stay faithful my friends, to the ideals Americans affirm, and fight for the solutions that make them real.



Susan said...

Great perspective on the diversity of the country....look forward to your comments every week!

Barry A said...

Right on, we in LA think we've got the whole picture.
Obviously, we don't. Helps to explain what we can not
explain from out here.