Historical Revisionism


What makes this so hard for me is that I know he is a smart guy. I have known Jack for at least 20 years. Our kids were friends. Our wives were friends. We have probably drank a small brewery of beers together. We have camped together, watched cars circle a track 10,000 times together. We have dissected every topic you can imagine together typically coming to opposite conclusions. But over the last five years or so we have drifted apart primarily because of our political and social beliefs.

In 2009 Jack lost his job. He says he quit which is fine but the bottom line he was no longer working for the company he had been working at since college. I remember we had lunch not long after he “quit”. America was in the beginning stages of the “Great Recession”. Barack Obama had just been elected President. Banks were failing. Manufacturing was failing. Unemployment was high and the stock market was in the dumpster. My own personal business was not good but I had some savings and residual income coming in that helped.

Jack told me about his plans over lunch. Ideas he had for new ventures. His plans would take advantage of the textile plants need for work. But he needed money. He needed partners. He was looking for cash in a market that was short on capital. Banks weren’t loaning money and investors were sitting on theirs. What he would also soon discover is that “partners” in a down economy don’t always have your best interest in mind. Desperation turned otherwise honest people in to charlatans, swindlers, and cons and Jack met a few of those. In the end his ideas turned into dead ends and he wasted a lot of time and sadly money he could ill afford to lose.

Fast forward 10 years later. I ran into Jack at a burger place we both frequent. We caught-up on children, wives, people we knew in common. I asked what he was doing. He was still chasing a few ideas. He had made a little money on some of them and overall he was optimistic. But the source of his optimism is what surprised me.

In Jack’s mind Obama was to blame for the “Great Recession”. The world came crumbling down on top of him because of eight years of Barack Obama. Finally, he reasoned, business, the economy, and the stock market had been stabilized with the election of Donald Trump.

I was stunned, not surprised given both his political and social leanings, but stunned none the less. I lived through this same period. I experienced the same business downturns that he had. And I also knew when it all started, not with the election of Barack Obama but after George Bush made some of the same regulatory changes that Trump is making today.

Bush, like Trump, believed that big business didn’t need the government looking over its shoulder. That market forces would take care of any corrections that needed to be made and that CEO’s making 100 million dollars a year were smart enough NOT to screw their meal tickets, the men and women working on the floor making widgets, happy just to have a job. CEO’s have one loyalty and one loyalty only do whatever needs to be done, hook or crook, to keep stock prices-up, and stockholders, of which they are one, happy. That single minded focus and lack of oversight is what caused the “Great Recession” and Barack Obama was the reason this country clawed its way out of it.

In three short years Trump has convinced a segment of the population that he alone has saved our country from utter ruin. That he alone is responsible for the record earnings in the stock market, low interest rates, and low unemployment. He has convinced the Jacks of the world that he inherited an economy on the brink of disaster. That he has not only saved business but our political and social lives as well. And Jack has bought it hook, line and sinker. Why? Because in Jacks mind a Democrat, a socialist, a black man wasn’t capable of doing it.

There are all kinds of charts and graphs that prove the point that the Great Recession was caused by Bush, fixed by Obama and that Trump is just riding on Barack’s coattails. But I don’t need charts and graphs, I lived it. I remember the struggles. I remember trying to come-up with college tuition. I remember dipping into savings to make house and car payments. And I remember the pain of selling stock, investments I was counting on in the future, to pay taxes on earnings I didn’t see. Barack Obama didn’t cause that pain, George Bush and the Republicans did and sadly Trump and the Republicans today are taking this country down the same rabbit hole, short term prosperity for long term liabilities.

“How do you impeach a president who has won perhaps the greatest election of all time, done nothing wrong (no Collusion with Russia, it was the Dems that Colluded), had the most successful first two years of any president, and is the most popular Republican in party history 93%?” – Trump tweet

It’s a small city and I am sure over the next 10 to 20 years I will run into Jack again. When we do we will catch-up on children, maybe grandchildren by then, wives, and people we know in common. My hope is that Jack will have mellowed his views some, he certainly has both the smarts and the capabilities to do so. I would suspect that there will be a treasure trove of documents and books about Trump by then. Information about his corruption, his and his family’s dishonesty, and the Russian connection. All of these issues and concerns about Trump are plain as day to me now, but not Jack and millions like him. Maybe information in the future will change their minds but my bet is it won’t.                                 

About ends and beginnings blog

I am a frustrated writer and poet waiting to be discovered. A stand-up philosopher performing on a street corner near you. A Christian with questions but I don’t want to hear your answers. A Buddhist with a bumper sticker on my truck to prove it. A collector of quotes. A grower of lettuce. The Patron Saint of earthworms who name their children after me. A cyclist whose big ass strains the seams of his Lycra bibs. I am American by birth, Southern by the grace of God. My goal in life is to leave an imprint on the lives of the people I love not a footprint on the earth. I am a son, a husband, a father composed of 65%-Oxygen, 18%-Carbon, 10%-Hydrogen, 3%-Nitrogen, 3%-Diet Coke and 1%-Oreo.
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5 Responses to Historical Revisionism

  1. Nan says:

    As always … EXCELLENT post! And as always … there will be those who will deny … deny … deny everything you wrote. Like Jack, they look but they cannot see.

    Liked by 2 people

    • And I hate that Ms. Nan. I hate it for Jack. I hate it for my Uncles and Aunts. I hate it for all the people I love and care about. But something very interesting is happening in my Lindsey Graham state, I no longer feel alone. I no longer feel isolated. More and more people are speaking up. Maybe it is just my city in this state but it is a start.

      Liked by 3 people

  2. This afternoon, I finished writing and published my latest article. I’ve had the impeachment debate playing in the background. (It keeps the extra voices in my head occupied so that I can think. 😉 )

    I keep wondering whether most of the Republican speakers really believe what they’re saying. Some may simply be sycophants following the old adage “If you have the facts on your side, pound the facts. If you have the law on your side, pound the law. If you have neither on your side, pound the table.” There are others, like Mitch McConnell and your “friend” Lindsey Graham who will do and say anything to stay in power.

    I suspect that many others are what I call “wantonly ignorant”. They really believe what they’re saying because they choose to be blind and deaf to anything that might disturb their belief systems. This behavior can be almost totally unconscious. Our species has an amazing quality for self-deception … especially when we believe that anything outside our current belief system threatens our deepest being. In this case, they believe “Republicans good; anyone else no good”. Jack, seems to be suffering from this condition.

    Incidentally, several of the Democrats are demonstrating wanton ignorance too, but they’have the option of acting self-righteous about it. They have some facts on their side, but seem to be stretching some a bit.

    I’m glad I’m registered as “Undeclared”. (At some point in the past, Massachusetts had a party that called itself the “Independent Party”. “Undeclared” was the best they could come up with for those of us who don’t want to be tied to any official political ideology.)

    Liked by 2 people

  3. One of the Republicans yesterday based his dismissal of the impeachment on his erroneous boast that a President who is leading the country’s best economy ever and lowest unemployment ever should not be impeached. Both statements are blatant lies, but even then, does nothing else matter anymore? What happened to loyalty, to integrity, to civility, to moral compass? Have we become a value-less country where only money matters?

    Liked by 2 people

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