Thursday, December 22, 2016

Evanston: an unexpected Christmas gift

        I am sitting in front of the fireplace, a glass of Laphroaig to my left.  Christmas tree to my right.  I was listening to music, Liz Story’s ’17 Seconds to Nowhere’, but have stopped to write this thank you note for the Christmas gift we have all just been given.
        Donald Trump is fulfilling his campaign promises—well, some of them.  His tweet today gives all working Americans, and for that matter  men and women above the poverty level all over the world, a big increase in disposable income without even a tax cut.
        You no longer need to contribute to a 401K or an IRA.  You no longer need to plan for retirement at all because there won’t be one.  Spend it now.  There will be no tomorrow.  You might even consider whether going to the office is the best use of your few remaining days.  The apocalypse in a tweet.
        There are those who believe that this universe is a simulation, like the MATRIX films, that all your joy and pain are nothing more than insignificant details in a distant being’s computer game.  I am beginning to agree.  
        Think of the word:  tweet.  The sound of a canary bird.  Tweet.  Tweet.  And hundreds of millions die.
        Unthinkable?  So was life in the trenches in WW1.  And Stalingrad. And the Holocaust.  And Iwo Jima.  To name but a few.
        The philosopher George Santayana wrote:  Those who who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.
        A few weeks ago on the 75th anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor, an official at the USS Arizona Memorial said that most of the young who come to the memorial don’t know anything about WWII, not even who won.
        The world is too much with me. I long for the beauty, serenity and sanity of the open ocean.