--Lord Krishna from the Bhagavad-Gita
This famous quotation came to worldwide attention after it was uttered by J. Robert Oppenheimer, scientific director of the Manhattan Project, in the early morning of July 16, 1945 upon witnessing the detonation of Trinity, the world’s first atomic bomb, in New Mexico’s high desert. His resort to this Hindu declaration was a warning to humanity about the implications of what he and his 2,000 physicists working on the project had unleashed.
These words seem particularly appropriate again today when contemplating our current world destroyer as he annihilates every remaining norm he has not already shattered in his four years of behaving like a presidential wrecking ball. His attempt to destroy American democracy is every bit as world-altering and consequential as the advent of the nuclear age. His attempted coup d’état may not succeed in keeping him in office, but it may upend what we have come to realize is the fragile democratic basis of our government.
The alternate universe in which Trump’s base resides is unfortunately impervious to facts. This is a huge problem for the incoming Biden administration and for the country’s future, given the base’s delusional belief that Biden is an illegitimate president. I don’t know how or if this Big Lie can be surmounted, but I am convinced that the ability to turn this country around and bring it back to a semblance of normalcy depends upon Biden being able to do just that.
If the economy can bounce back strongly, I don’t think it will be necessary to convince all 74 million Trump voters that facts matter and that President Biden was duly elected. It might be possible to persuade a substantial cohort of them who currently persist in occupying a dream world divorced from reality, notwithstanding that their dreamscape will be daily fueled by the lunatic fringe media intent on continually feeding their delusions.
A robust economy hinges on the execution of four transformative policies that will help them in tangible ways positively affecting their pocketbooks, all four of which were beyond Trump’s attention span or capabilities: (1) Managing the pandemic responsibly and moving past it toward economic restoration. (2) Successfully tackling the opioid epidemic. (3) Creating good paying jobs in exurban and rural areas through extensive infrastructure and retraining initiatives. (4) Focusing on the job-generation that intelligent climate change policies can effect. In short, demonstrating that they are no longer being left behind and will clearly be better off than they were during Trump’s destructive, do-nothing tenure.
A pocketful of cash would be a powerful antidote to fear, anger, resentment and fantasy.
December 11, 2020