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As the Trump Era Dawns: What Now?

Bookwitty By Bookwitty Published on November 9, 2016

By Mort Rosenblum

Since my olive trees have more sense than human beings back home, I’m sitting under huge old Emiliano in search of clarity. No luck. Like all other sentient fauna and flora, he’s too worried about his own survival.

During four centuries, Emiliano and his pals on the terraces down our steep hillside have seen mankind at its worst and best. Within my life span, he witnessed American troops storm ashore under fire from Hitler’s desperate southern flank.

When we found the trees in the 1980s, they were dying under tangled jungle. One by one, we restored the survivors among them to vibrant life. That was fitting in broader context. France and its neighbors, scars healed, were thriving together.

Now a Hitler is back, elected just like in the 1930s by a self-serving elite and a groundswell of fearful, ill-informed people ready to hand their freedoms and their humanity to a deranged demagogue who promised to protect them from the Other.

As a correspondent since the 1960s, I’ve seen people across the world face tanks in the street and risk death squads for a chance at democracy. And this is how we have squandered ours. But that’s how democracy works. The votes are in.

Each of us must now make our decisions. I’ve skirted the edge of advocacy because I believe objective reporting can no longer be on-the-one-hand-this-on-the-other-that. My near-advocacy stops now, but not my reporting. Watch this space.

My overriding concern, like Emiliano’s, is the climate chaos that was shoved aside during that ludicrous schoolyard campaign. Believe what you want. The facts are dead clear. The trees are nearly bare this year, and I am oiling the chainsaw.

Those who will suffer most from collapsed ecosystems, drought and food shortages are those largely responsible for the Democrats’ debacle: “millennials” who believe a nonstop flow of bullshit across their screens amounts to knowledge. 

Many of them despise Trump but, duped into hating Hillary Clinton for no real reason, they voted for him anyway. My heart sank as I watched Florida returns. Just as Ralph Nader did in 2000, Gary Johnson tipped the balance.

That’s Gary Johnson, as in “Where’s Aleppo?” Aleppo, like Mosul and Raqqa, are in the real world. Soon, I fear, we will learn the hard way why they matter so much on a small planet we choose to ignore.

As a life-long reporter who now gags at the word, journalist, I am sickened to the core at how so many news media executives sold us out when we needed them most. Yes, at CNN, for starters. Now we must deal with the consequences.

Our first challenge is to identify and support professional reporters and editors along with solid schools that must train young people in essential ethics and skills. If we cannot rescue truth from the edge of death, we are lost for good.

Think about it. In our ignorance, we let ourselves be swayed by Julian Assange, Vladimir Putin and our own FBI. For many, reasoned analysis of complex local and global issues came down to a simple brainless chorus: “USA, USA.” 

The outlook is bleak. In post-election celebration, when a divided nation is supposed to come together, Trump crowds chanted, “Lock her up.” Thugs reminiscent of Berlin brown shirts strutted with fist-pumping swagger.

It is not over. But it will be if people who stayed home on Tuesday do not realize what they cost America and the world. We need schools and parents to teach kids to think. We need competitive competent news organizations. We need to care.

Please let me know any ideas you have. No rush. For the next few days I’ll be out shoveling shit on Emiliano, a reliable source I can trust.


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