I’ve been replacing my father-in-law’s roof — in Michigan — in July. This is not the smartest thing I’ve ever done, but once I commit to something, I tend to follow through. The temperature has been as high as 95°F (35°C) and very humid as shown by low temperatures that have only dropped to 75°F (24°C) by early morning. On the roof, it’s probably about 20°F or about 10°C hotter.
Side Note/Pet Peeve: I really get annoyed when the local radio news person reports the current temperature and includes, “and very humid” every morning. The low temperature of the day will always be close to the dew point and consequently, those little weather station sensors will always report 90+% humidity. That does not mean it’s going to be a humid day. It just means that the temperature is close to the dew point at the coolest part of the day – as always. To know whether it’s going to be a humid day, just look at the low temperature. If it’s in the mid-50s to low 60s° F (13-17°C), then it’s going to be a low humidity day, but if the low temperature is in the upper 60s to mid 70s° F (19-24 C), it’s going to be humid day.
Back to the roof. I started out listening to audio books & podcasts, but I nearly ruined my phone with excessive sweat. It recovered after spending a night in a container of uncooked rice and now it relaxes in the shade while I’m alone with my thoughts. During the really hot and humid days, my thoughts went to dark places and for a few days, I actually considered voting for Donald Trump In November.
It is not that I agree with his policies or prognostications, but rather that I am concerned the United States is desperately in need of a paradigm shift. This idea had a kickstart from one of the podcasts I listened to early in the week – Common Sense with Dan Carlin. I’m afraid I don’t remember which episode, but in it Dan says that empires can end with an attack from outside the empire, or they can end when they crumble from within. Dan speculated that the popularity of Trump and Sanders might be an indicator of that crumbling from within phenomenon.
My wife and I have become big fans of a new show on CBS called Braindead. Spoiler Alert: Although this is explained in the first episode, American’s extreme political views this year are caused by space bugs eating portions of infested people’s brains. While the show is very funny and has great characters, the crumbling from within explanation seems more plausible. Americans have become more politically extreme during – and this is significant – during a time when there is not a war or major external threat to the country.
Not only that, there has been steady economic growth for years and the unemployment rate is near the Federal Reserve’s target rate for raising interest rates. Housing prices have been increasing and sales are strong. People should be feeling more secure, but many Americans want a drastic change to the way things have been going, and they think Donald Trump is the best instrument for that change.
So, if these are all signs of internal rot in the economic and military empire that is the United States, would a dramatic shakeup eventually lead to a happier populace and a more secure future? Maybe. And that is why I briefly considered voting for Mr. Trump.
The humidity has dropped today and the temperature is a bit lower as well. Under these improved conditions, I now see the faulty logic in that consideration. The reason the country is so angry is because they have been told to be angry. After Barack Obama’s victory in the 2008 presidential election, but prior to his inauguration, the republican leaders of the House of Representatives and Senate met to develop a strategy for the first term of the Obama administration. Their plan: block or hinder every Obama initiative so that the electorate would blame him for the dysfunctional government that couldn’t get anything accomplished so he would lose the 2012 election.
Obviously, that goal was not achieved, but the obfuscation became ingrained. Congressional republicans blocked so many legislative initiatives that the Washington Times published “Capital Hill Least Productive Congress Ever: 112th Fought About Everything” and the Fiscal Times contributed “How the 113th Do-Nothing Congress Lived Up to Its Name.” At the end of the first year of the 114th Congress last December, there were several accomplishments largely due to initiatives promoted by the soon-to-leave politics forever, John Boehner. Many of those accomplishments were expensive, but at least they got something done in the end.
And that is why so many Americans have such a low opinion of Congress and why outsiders Trump and Sanders did so well in the primaries. And that is also why I cannot vote for Donald Trump.
To vote for Donald Trump in November would mean rewarding the obstructionists, although most of them would not view a President Trump as a reward. Still, his election would validate the strategy of slowing down the legislative branch to the point where it brings pain and suffering to the American people, or at least those with limited to moderate financial means. I never want to reward people who consider the wellbeing of others a lower priority than their own political careers. There are a lot of people in Washington who seem to do just that.
No, I think that the paradigm shift the U.S. needs should be in the form of a grass roots organization that breaks expectations and causes change through the force of their insistence. And I think that we have the building blocks for such a group from the Sanders and Trump supporters (preferably the non-racist ones, that is). Maybe all they need is a leader to organize and inspire them.
Perhaps the person for that job is Cheri Honkala with the Poor People’s Economic Human Rights Campaign. They are organizing a “National Fart-In” in which protestors will be fed canned beans for the night that Hilary Clinton accepts the nomination because, “We thought that this process really stinks.” Now that’s a leader with imagination who can inspire people to take some unusual steps to get their point across.
But that just might be the heat and fatigue talking. I’m writing this on my breaks from stripping off the old roof and it’s gotten hotter.