An Out Of Country Experience

The movies depict an “out of body experience” as a moment when the protagonist literally floats above his body and watches the medical team perform heroic efforts to save his life. Will he return to his physical body and live?  While there, hovering between life and death, he is gifted with a moment of clarity, an understanding of what really was/is important.

I am fortunate to have not one, but two, “out of country experiences” each year. Though not as dramatic, and with a round trip ticket without any mystery about my return, these trips do provide moments of clarity.

I just spent a week in the Dominican Republic. I didn’t see a single MAGA hat the entire time, not at the resort, not even in either airport.  The current president’s name seldom came up in conversations we had with Americans and never with people from other countries.  If I had stayed off Facebook and turned off CNN, I might never have heard the name “Trump” the entire time.  This is not to say that the resort didn’t have Trump supporters or, more broadly, Republicans.  People were just happier talking about the football games, the beautiful beaches, or how awful the weather was back home.

A week without Trump is a luxury.  He dominates the news at home like no previous president.  The legitimate press dutifully explains the emoluments clause in the Constitution, his negative impact on insurance premiums and the cost of goods, and the court cases involving his inner circle.  His defenders, FOX, the National Enquirer, and his TV lawyer Rudy split their time extolling his virtues (real or imagined) and attacking female Democrats such as Hillary Clinton, Maxine Waters, and Nancy Pelosi.  It is all so tiring, and it is meant to be.  We are being distracted while Mitch McConnell is living the dream.

What have two years of Trump and McConnell given us?

  • Two Supreme Court Justices
  • Countless federal judges appointed for life
  • A massive tax cut for the wealthy that will balloon the federal deficit
  • The dismantling of federal safety and environmental regulations

This might excite some of you. You have a real shot of ending legal abortion in the next decade or so as the courts get packed with right-wing judges.  Or, your income might be high enough that the tax cut benefits you and your company.  But the rest of us?  I bet most of you, the ones that voted for Trump, thought you were getting something else.

Republicans blamed Democrats in 2016 for an economic that moved at a glacial pace. Sure there was job growth and the GDP, but they claimed it was too slow.  In truth, the DOW had rebounded smartly from the 2008 Bush meltdown.  What didn’t recover, what hasn’t grown, are wages.  Ask a retail worker what she is making per hour.  Ask your friends at the local tool and die shop.  Better yet, do you even know anyone working in a machine shop?  What I see is a lot of people treading water.  What I see is wage stagnation.  The price of gasoline may be down, but almost everything else is going up.  When our wealthiest increase their income through effort or tax break it is celebrated as an opportunity for the “job creators” to do what they do best.  When the working class gets a raise it is considered inflationary.

I suspect that you are less concerned about blocking your neighbor’s daughter from having an abortion than the possibility of the Cleveland Clinic blocking your access to their facilities because you don’t have insurance. What’s important to you?  For many Americans the answers are reasonable wages, access to health care, and the assurance that our kids are going to be OK.  Which of our elected leaders, if any, seem to be focused on any of those?

I’m not saying that you should/could ignore the shenanigans at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. I just think we have to put it in perspective.  They didn’t bury me when they discovered my cancerous kidney.  They removed the kidney.  No out of body experience necessary.  My out of country experience reminded me of all that is good about our country.  Almost 250 years of democracy, opportunity, and freedom will not be destroyed by Mitch and Donny.


Picture – A Day At The Beach – David L Cunix