Human beings are naturally drawn to bold statements, and, concomitantly, to overstatement. Nowhere is that more visible than in politics, and nowhere is politics more prone to it than when it involves the President of the United States. Such overstatement is dangerous no matter who it comes from, as it reinforces illusions about the world in which we live. Even if the result is more CNN than FOX News, it’s still dangerous.
Bombast like that of the outgoing president is easy to spot and criticize, especially when you vehemently disagree with the person spewing it. More moderate overstatement is just as damaging and common, but it is less obvious. This more subtle bombast has gone into overdrive in 2020, in large part as a reaction to Donald Trump’s term in office and savage attempt at reelection.
As liberals sigh with relief at Joe Biden’s imminent assumption of the Oval Office, we see comments such as this, from J Street president Jeremy Ben-Ami (full disclosure: I have known Jeremy for many years, and, despite significant political differences with him, I like and respect him): “I know you’ll agree: January 20, 2021 cannot come soon enough. Beyond that lies hope inspired by broad vaccine distribution, economic recovery and a new day for our nation marked by new leadership and new direction.”
I certainly agree that January 20, 2021 can’t come fast enough. The reasons are obvious, and virtually all of them have to do with Trump’s exit, not Biden’s entry. But he does not symbolize hope, he is not “new” in any way, and he does not offer either a new direction or a way out of our current morass.
On October 2, 2020, the US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) issued its latest employment report and it wasn’t good news. Unemployment, BLS said, stood at 7.9%. It marked the fifth straight month that unemployment dropped, after the enormous jump from 4.4% in March (itself a significant increase over February’s 3.5%) to 14.7% in April.
But the September decline was only 0.5% and still left the United States well above February’s level when the labor market was extremely healthy. Or was it?
Most of what we hear about the economy, from journalists, politicians, economists, and pundits, is that we need to get back to where we were before COVID hit. But mid-way through October, that seems an unlikely prospect.
Wow. Chris Kluwe, punter for the Minnesota Vikings in a no-holds barred barrage on the weasely bigot and hater, Emmett C. Burns, who is sadly a delegate here in Maryland. The sort of thing that someone who has no desire to really get into politics can write, and bravo to him. This is the sort of thing that really lifts the spirits. I loathe the Vikings, but maybe that might change, at least for a while… Read and enjoy.
Well, as the title suggests, I have no idea if anyone will be at all interested in reading this blog, but I wanted a place to write some thoughts that have nothing to do with Israel and Middle East related politics, or with sports.