New Year’s eve day in Paris was very cold, but sunny and clear. Today, it is warmer, but overcast with no sun. I wonder is this some sort of omen for 2020? The New York Times International Edition’s headlines since I arrived imply a similar forecast.
December 24:“Ransomed at the border:” What has really happened to the Central American refugees blocked at our border. How drug lords have literally tortured many and stolen what little they have.
December 27:“Glut of ‘sold’ signs raises fear of a bubble:” Prediction of a possible European-based real estate bubble that may affect the world.
December 28-29: “Big money and America’s lost decade:” The effect of our rich taking even more from the growing poor.
December 31: “A decade of feeling disillusioned:” The psychological consequence of 2000 – 2019.
But, there was also the optimistic story by columnist Nicholas Kristof.
December 30: “Why 2019 was the best year ever.” Kristof’s yearly summary of facts documenting how the condition of the earth’s people is actually improving.
The dominating trend I see emerging from all of these stories is the increasing wealth of the minority wealthy versus the increasing poverty of the majority poor. Beyond climate change and our faltering politics, beyond technology’s benefits, this financial gap casts doubt upon even Kristof’s singular optimism.
No doubt, Kristof’s statistical facts show that the condition of the earth’s people has been improving since recorded history. What has also continued under the surface of society, however, questions whether his optimism is valid.
History’s history is the periodic backsliding of human progress. Just like financial markets, human history has its repeated ups and downs as it appears to improve the hoped-for advance of humans.
Almost all its backslides have been caused by one minority group of humans or another capturing most of its civilizations wealth, and consciously denying life support to the remaining poor majority.
Study history and it is clear that any civilization which does not take care of all of a societys people inevitably creates its own destruction. Our time is clearly no exception. History documents that the wealthy have in their self-absorption always missed this point.
A wealthy minority cannot permit a poor majority to fail. The men and women and their children in the street are the foundation of any society, not the wealthy few who lose sight of their humanity in their obsession with themselves.
Is theirs a form of stupidity? Yes, I believe it is. Currently-evolved Capitalism, being our arch economic philosophy, is built on the idea that we all – theoretically – can and should feather our own nest.
Lost along the way is the concept that the wealthy should be held responsible for their manipulation of the planet’s assets upon the whole of humanity. This is our present Capitalism’s Achille’s Heel.
One would think that a nation’s people, 90% claiming to be Christians, would see this, and by common agreement strive to actually control their economic behavior in a manner to protect all members of their society.
That is not so, however. Studies document that the wealthy build a psychological wall about themselves that denies the effect of their economic behavior on their fellow humans.
In America, the fact that every single one of us, including original Native Americans who long ago crossed over the land bridge from what is now Russia to what is now Alaska, have been and are immigrants. Our ancestors have all been immigrant refugees of economic need from somewhere.
We were all seeking a better life, escaping some civilization that was misusing us. Now that we Americans have allegedly found our better life, facts show that we too have forgotten our economic heritage and our social responsibilty to all of us.
Currently, our political process is trying to deal with the most evident symbol of this behavior through our impeachment process. Our historically immigrant president himself denies history, which he admits never having studied, denies science, and – although an alleged Christian – denies the human racial variety which has, through immigration, continuously defined our country and been our strength.
The fate of what has happened to the immigrants he has condemned to the Mexican drug lords is appalling. And the thirty million followers of Mr. Trump, preaching America First do not represent rational thinking.
They too deny both science and they violate their own alleged religious beliefs. They are a minority that has gained strength through their allegiance to an intellectual oaf. The rest of us, whether wealthy, middle class, or poor, hold the responsibility to end their rejection of the basic ideals that actually form the foundation of our society.
Is this a far-fetched notion? No. I submit it is not. We now have a year to bring to heel this minority, which has subjected our country, and many would say the world, to the whim of their ill-conceived thinking.
What has a visit to Paris shown me? It has given me an increased perspective on the importance of the present political impeachment process and the 2020 election. Simple common sense tells us plainly and irrevocably that treating all others, worldwide, as we would be treated makes common sense.
You don’t even have to believe in a God to understand that.