It’s America and it’s 5 days after the 2016 election during which Donald Trump was elected President. I’m afraid, because I don’t think the new political regime under Trump is going to be able to help the disenchanted middle Americans who voted him in. I actually don’t think any president could. Why? Because the train has already left the station. Factory jobs in steel mills are not going to come back. Every major industry, whether it is agriculture or automobile production, has turned to technology and increased automation. In the coming 5 to 10 years, self-driving trucks and cars are going to become reality, and literally millions of people who drive for a living will face a new reality where drivers are not needed anymore. The problem can’t be solved with more taxes or less taxes, it won’t make a difference. Tariffs won’t be able to protect American jobs. Holding back technology may slow the loss of jobs, but will cause the country to become uncompetitive on a global scale. People need to plan for change and they need to retrain themselves. But it’s not that easy. The pace of economic change is faster than the pace at which we humans can change. In a single lifetime we can only retrain ourselves so many times, maybe not at all.
I am afraid because Trump has appointed Steven Bannon, chief exec of an alt-right media outlet called Breitbart, as the White House chief strategist. Bannon wants to “bitch slap the Republican party.” I am afraid because today on the 60 minutes news hour Trump confirmed his plan to deport 2 to 3 million undocumented criminal immigrants. That seems like a whole lot of people. How will these people be rounded up? It sounds like the beginning of a series of ethnic purging. Maybe I’m just paranoid, maybe mass deportation and ethnic purging are not going to happen. Okay, back to disenchanted middle Americans. Are Americans going take the jobs that these undocumented criminal immigrants are working? Is this going solve American economic problems? No.
It doesn’t matter if the President-elect never succeeds in his deportation plans. His supporters have taken the anti-immigrant racist messages to heart. On Friday a close friend went for a drive to enjoy the weather. In a bar outside of Portland he heard two unrelated groups of people talk about getting their guns and ammo to shoot protesters. Later on Friday evening a protester was shot. This weekend swastikas and racial slurs were spray painted on the walls at Reed College.
I’m afraid because I read the Diary of Anne Frank when I was young. I’m afraid because I am an immigrant.
I honestly wonder when the people who voted for him, and those who voted third party, and those who didn’t vote at all, will understand what has happened. I wonder when we will all understand what has happened. I’m afraid this is just the beginning of things getting worse. I would be grateful to be proven wrong.