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  • Todd

Fighting the Preppy Cross

My family arrived here illegally in 1634 (my ancestors likely waited for the cheaper second or third boat. Regardless of their actual arrival date, the Iroquois Confederacy/Nation failed to ask for their papers). Revolutionary War, Civil War, Great Depression, World Wars, Red Sox... every generation since has experienced trouble. Perhaps this is the fight of our lives.

Even a cursory glance at Trump's right-hand man Brannon's behavior and tactics makes a pretty compelling argument that he is, indeed, a fascist (a word I most certainly do not use indiscriminately, especially considering my fledgling presidential campaign). I imagine a paisley, gilded swastika to depict this frightening, fancy new right. A fascist fleur-de-lis.

And, yes, the fact that Brannon owns a percentage of Seinfeld.... there's something wrong with that.

Let's call him a white supremacist/Nazi sympathizer. It is perfectly fair to suggest that a White-Nationalist White House has the potential to be a hostile actor in our lives, especially if you're not white and not Christian.

I naively thought 2016's great conflict was to be the scientific method vs. Paul Ryan & the pre-Galileo GOP. I'd planned to encourage any Republican to debate my first grade son (he possesses a pretty astute understanding of evolution & biodiversity). We're a dark, anti-intellectual age. I'd been hoping a Renaissance loomed on the horizon.

Now we need a Resistance. Dang. Thankfully, we have 3 outer branches of government that still adhere to empirical thought.

1 - The Fourth Estate needs to do its dirtiest work & dig deep into the muck. Compared to fabricated conspiracy theories, investigative journalism is a ridiculously slow process. But it only takes one or two diligent journalists to topple corruption. Surely there's a deep-throated hacker out there with tales to tell and files to share.

2 - Next, we're gonna need to bake capitalism a loaf of banana bread, with or without nuts... whatever sounds most delicious to industrialists, CEOs, and venture capitalists. The left has a history of demonizing the corporate world and its lobbyists. Much of this animosity has certainly been justified and, frankly, anti-capitalism been the source for a majority of my favorite punk anthems (a post topic for another day). But in the shadow of an extreme right oligarchy mixed with an anti-science, anti-immigration theocracy, Corporate America might be our greatest ally.

I've prepared enough power-point presentations for boardrooms to know executives adore empirical data and evidence. I can make ridiculously pretty slides full of clever illustrations and complimentary colors, but they only dwell on the spreadsheets. Time and cost. Demographics and revenue. They're more addicted to data analysis than sabermetric baseball freaks. It's why we get the same movies every summer. Data. Focus groups. Competitive analysis. Predictive modeling.

We artists and designers can't run with wild, hubristic hunches anymore. Everything is scrutinized by mathematics. It's awful. But here are a few topics that might resonate as computational output: shrinking intellectual/creative workforce, a smaller audience/consumer base, and the un-sustainability & insensitivity of anti-science. These metrics equal risky business.

Adam Werbach achieved success when he moved from presiding over the Sierra Club to advising Walmart on sustainable good governance. This sort of pragmatism is filled with peril and is decidedly non-idealistic. But money talks... and there's a heap of money right here in Northern California (socialist states make fortunes, conservative states make trouble... that'll fit nicely within the aforementioned punk post).

3 - If the pressure on Corporate America proves insufficient, there's also the military. It too acts empirically and tactically. Both of my grandfathers fought totalitarianism overseas. One continued to thwart regimes as a spy in the CIA (he was a citizen before the cold war turned the CIA into South American thugs). There's a rich tradition of brave thinkers and a tremendous diversity in our current armed forces. We don't need a military coup, we just need military cooperation.

All three branches can be persuaded to pressure aristocratic fascists. We can demand a better future. This lawsuit just might show the way.

Apologies for a decidedly unpresidential spiel. Perhaps this missive will someday be cataloged in my presidential library* as one in a series of cathartic sermons.

*to be located in a weathered shack on the grounds of Fort Cronkhite.

Post's Song Accompaniment: Minor Threat: Rise Above

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