Is Everything Terrible?
I was a young boy in the early 1980s, and I distinctly remember the dread of the Cold War—the feeling that any minute, now, we would look out the window and see the nukes.
The above still is from The Day After, which aired in 1983, when I was nine. I’ve never seen it. I’ve avoided it, thinking it would be too upsetting. It was directed by Nick Meyer, who can stop reading now that he’s seen his name mentioned.
I never saw Testament, either, which came out the same year, even though we released the CD of the James Horner score.
For that matter, I saw Schindler’s List once—in theaters, when it came out—and never again. When that guy gets shot by the Nazis on the city street and the down stuffing goes blasting out, I was like—holy shit, that could’ve been my dad. Or grandpa, as it were.
When the Soviet Union collapsed—the Cold War ended, and we “won”—that was amazing. I remember thinking, good thing we don’t have to worry about that anymore!
When we invaded Iraq, the first time—January 1991, I was a high school junior—I thought, well, here we go...they’ll write about this in the history books (I was sitting in history class) about the start of endless war.
So it was pretty amazing when it resolved relatively quickly (though not without consequences).
Let’s see, 9/11—a friend called to wake me up, he was always the guy who knew where the L.A. parties were, and liked to be “first”: “Hey, Lukas, you’re from Boston, right?” I said, close enough. “Turn on the news.” And holy shit.
For the days after that, there was the distinct feeling that a tactical nuke would go off in Los Angeles at any second. That was freaky.
Of course, the movie studios quickly pulled ancient police stock cars out of storage and parked them in front of their gates to deter terrorists. So, Osama, don’t you dare try to hit Warner Bros.—T.J. Hooker will stop you!
Reaching middle age, and having none of these things come to pass—no nuclear war, or terrorist attacks in my neighborhood—was like...I guess we shouldn’t have been worrying? Why did I waste all that time and energy when I should have been enjoying life?
Today, there is a distinct feeling that we’re all doomed—and I sincerely wonder what my wife and I have subjected our kids to. Sorry, kids! What can I say, except that I hope we make enough money that you guys can ride it out?
Jeez, how awful—and selfish.
First and foremost is climate change. I can’t bear to expound on this. It’s real and we’re screwed. Anybody read Jared Diamond? Collapse is a great book.
This pandemic is insane. I never in a million years would have thought the problem would be that a huge proportion of the population refuses to take the easy, ingenuous mRNA vaccine (really, a modern miracle how fast it was made) that prevents the worst outcomes.
But they do. And as far as I can tell, the biggest reason why they won’t is that...they don’t like anybody telling them that they should.
How you get over this, I have no idea.
I am a lifelong liberal Democrat, and I don’t shy away from saying that. I don’t write often about politics because I made a simple cost-benefit analysis:
Potential benefit: I’d enjoy expressing myself, and a handful of people who agree with me will read and go, “Uh-huh.”
Potential cost: Trolls will find me and make me miserable. And, to a lesser extent, some friends on “the other side” (I have many) will feel put out and it will come between us.
There has definitely been a major shift in this country, starting with Gingrich and climaxing with Trump, to turn politics into a state of nonstop culture war.
It used to be, let’s say, liberals were maybe naive and annoying, and conservatives were grumpy and mean-spirited.
But the parties generally agreed on major concepts of facts, decorum, American democracy, and putting aside politics to compromise and get things done.
Today, it’s just insane. The level of distrust and downright hatred towards the other side is off the charts. And you can’t get anything done in that climate.
While the far-left can be irritating and unrealistic—the “word police” and all that cultural stuff—it is Trump and his lackeys who are at fault.
Now, how can I say that—when they say the same thing about us?
Because, fundamentally, you either have some measure of good faith or you don’t.
Good faith means an adherence to facts and logic. And that’s the opposite of the giant conservative media structure which is consistently and deliberately filling people’s heads with hateful nonsense.
I know, here come the trolls. We’ll see. Should I prove it? No, I’m not going to prove it. This is just a hobby. The good news is that almost nobody reads this blog anyway.
The only way this will possibly stop is if the vast majority of the Republican party realizes they will lose by following Trump’s path.
And that will only happen if they actually do lose.
This would require the entire Democratic party to mobilize to reach the 10–20% of Republican voters who hate what Trump has done to them—but hate liberals more.
It means the left would have to stop their stupid “defund the police” lemming behavior which make the normies go, these people are crazy. And frankly, there’s a huge part of the left that is the woke Twitter crowd who aren’t going to change.
I’m no political strategist. I don’t know how the Democrats could do this, when they are historically so terrible at it.
It basically means dropping everything to meet people where they live, eat corn dogs and tell them they’re okay.
Isn’t it that simple? Hillary calling these people “the deplorables” doesn’t do any good. You have to tell them they’re beautiful people.
I have to stop writing because I’ll say too many quiet parts out loud.
I hope Trump goes to prison.