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A search for Hope in a time of Trump

So it’s now a week past Trumpageddon. What a shock. What an outrage. Like a violent fall into a deep dark pothole. Actually let’s make that a rabbit hole, leading to a Mad Hatter’s teabagging party, featuring Sarah Palin, Steve Bannon, Newt Gingrich and more – a whole cast of cartoon baddies that we all assumed had been walloped into history already. But no, they’re back, only now with ultimate power.

The night it happened, there could be some consolation, of sorts. The markets fell off a cliff edge. There was talk of a world recession. Yet that could come with a silver lining. The 2008 world recession saw a down turn in consumption, therefore of manufacturing, and therefore of emissions. Of course, recession means human suffering, but maybe, just maybe, if the down turn was big enough, it might buy us some time. It might give us a chance to develop cleaner technology. Maybe a culture of consumption could change. And perhaps a recession might teach the great angry unwashed the error of their neoliberal ways.

But no. Within 48hrs the Dow Jones hit an all-time high. Industry loves Trump. 15% corporation tax? Yaaay! Let’s get busy making stuff. Let’s dig, frack and burn. Now is an exciting new Age of Stuff.

Ok. Let’s root around for Hope elsewhere. So the economy has an upswing. Maybe that wealth could lead to progress. Look at Scandinavia – rich from oil but carbon neutral within decades. But wait. There are other actors at play in Scandinavia. Like an educated populace and feminism, two things are inextricably linked; the mother’s level of education is the single biggest indicator of the child’s future achievement, a model that plays out worldwide (WHO). But Americans didn’t vote for feminism; they voted for a pussy-grabber. Of course, maybe the misogyny and racism really was just a thin layer of foul icing on the Reagonomics cake, which is debatable and scant consolation because you can’t solve humongous new problems with failed old ideas.

So what happens? First, in this new artificially inflated economy, there will be boom. Then there will be bust. After bust comes anger.

And we’ve seen the forces that anger can unleash. So that’s where the Hope is.

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