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Letters from Down under

Ignorant Glory

Submitted by Lindsay
Melbourne Australia!

From ignorance our comfort flows, the only wretched are the wise. Matthew Prior, 1692

(8/2017) Flags arenít waving as SS America pulls out of the dock. Thereís no water cannon, no big bands, very little press. The ship itself is all lit up, and the strains of C&W float over the silence. Thereís laughter, the clink of glasses, with lots of smoke from the funnels and an enormous bow wave.

The great ship is leaving harbour for destinations unknown. The commander, brash and cocksure, is surrounded by the resplendent navigator and the gold coin purser, while the rest of the officers stare glumly into their shot glasses. No one is sure of its destination, except that itís not going to call at foreign ports, and everyone is now sure it will cruise around the southern states selling memorabilia and nostrums.

Yes, I know you think this is a fiction, but it isnít Ė itís an allegory for what is actually taking place in your country, as seen by outsiders. That is, everyone else in the world. And, fortunately, quite a few of you who live there - which is rather amazing, seeing the power that Google and Facebook hold over your information.

This conflation of a digital free for all and a having a byte head in the White House is a first. Yes, the Brits had mad King George, and other nutcases have adorned the halls of power from time to time, but never has someone so incapable of understanding a world on the brink of meltdown ever been elected. Well, we know that democracy is a cot case, but this drives home just how much sense has also been lost. America has been dumbed down until ignorance is the driving force in popular belief, an ignorance ripe for pillaging by the heirs of the me first society.

And, it is now apparent, an ignorance in full bloom in your president. He has certain attributes, no doubt, but making anything great is not one of them. The one thing going for him, unlikely as it is, is his non-conformity. Madness for the masses, anti-bellum showmanship. Itís scary to the rest of us, this ignorant glory, and a golden opportunity for our enemies. These are not terrorists or Muslims, but the dictators who run China, North Korea, and Russia. So Putin is not a dictator? Only because heís too wise to adopt the title, but the aims are there.

Now thatís the rest of the world, but the truly astonishing thing is the defection of the Democrats. Iím pretty sure most of us were sure theyíd have mounted such a vociferous campaign of dissent by now that some of it would have reached the mainstream press, even the electronic versions. But no, not a murmur so far as can be told. Tell me Iím wrong. Iíd love to eat humble pie. Yes, the Dems donít have much power in either house, the popular press is anti, but boy, they have some prominent people in their ranks, and some high profile coverage.

There seems to be more anti Trump language from Republican members of the senate and the house than them, so I have to ask Ė if there is no real opposition, how can the remnants of Democracy be expected to work? And this is where the real wave of ignorance comes into its own. The majority of Americans seem to be happy with his leadership, even as it fails to deliver jobs and security. Bear in mind that the resurgence in the job market is the result of policies put in place by the previous administration, that nothing Mr. Trump has done has helped that, and that many things he has done are bearing against it.

And the majority donít care about the rest of the world, that part of the globe over the seas that has nothing to do with them. Which many of them could not identify, happy as they are in their tweeted knowledge and facebook favourites, but itís the rest of the world that should concern them. The top financials of the world, meeting recently in Hamburg, the G20, turned their back on his childishness and the Utube montage of his greatness. No, thatís wrong. Vladimir Putin didnít. He smiled the condescending smile of the tiger as Mr. Trump apologised for having doubted his friendship, although even he must know of Russiaís interference in your recent election.

But thereís one thing clear about your president: He doesnít care that America will be only great again in his eyes, nor that its role as leader of the free world has been taken off the table; it doesnít trouble him that climate change is real, so he has no plans to try and mitigate it. It bothers him not that Mexico, his favourite whipping horse, has thumbed its nose at him, and it certainly doesnít concern him that China is now the predominant country in influence, power and cyberfuge.

And it doesnít seem to bother him that his own party (well, heís no Republican, just using the name) want to disown him. Heís riding high in popular folklore, a mad masked crusader saving his people from a fate worse that death. And that will be his legacy. Death of American society, a thousand cuts inflicted by the greedy and power mad of which he is the catalyst.

If you have any wisdom at all you will, like me, be wretched in your assessment of the future. For everyone of us It is going to take a supreme effort of cooperation, unstinted work and communication to sink that ship of ignorance as we prepare for a brave new world. Bravery being the operative word. We have a big job ahead of us.


Perturbed and determined in

Melbourne Australia

Read Past Down Under Columns by Lindsay Coker