Optimism is in short supply this Christmas.
Half the population of the USA is wailing and whining about the result of the recent election of Donald Trump as the next President. Refusing to accept that the law has been followed, the die is cast and it’s time to get on with life.
Many liberals in other countries, including Canada, are equally distressed.
An amazing example of the power of biased media to convince millions of people that a credible candidate for the most powerful job in the world is the personification of the devil, while ignoring the illegal activities of the other candidate.
Optimism is under attack from other sources too. ISIS, global warming, climate change, ageing populations in the developed nations, automation, robotics, technology and much more.
There is cause for optimism.
Whether one loves him or hates him, the new USA president is from a different background to his recent predecessors. Leaders who have succeeded in knocking that country from its pedestal as the world’s most powerful and successful nation. Leaders who have also succeeded in dividing the nation to a degree not seen since the civil war.
For evidence of that division, look to the continuing attempts by the losers in the election to upset the results, organise protests and pressurise electoral college voters to break the law. Most recently, to organise a protest inauguration celebration to steal the limelight from the real one. The mind boggles.
America, and as a result, most of the world will be different in four years time. None of us have crystal balls to accurately predict how it will be different.
- Will the new president deliver on all his promises? Unlikely.
- Will he deliver on some? Probably.
This is not the time or place for an analysis of what may or may not happen politically, over the next four years. However I have enough optimism to believe that life in general will improve for most North Americans and many in other parts of the world.
Automation and Robotics
There is no question that automation and robots are taking jobs. Destroying optimism for the future of jobs in many industries. Creating redundancies for workers who cannot or will not be re-trained for service sector or computer based jobs.
That is a real fear and there are no easy answers.
However, I don’t let it affect my optimism. As a member of the Boomer generation, I have already lived over three-quarters of my expected life span. Many of this generation have made the right financial choices during their working lives to live the rest of their lives in relative comfort. Many others, myself included, have adapted to the electronic age and can generate income to survive.
There is another more important reason for my optimism.
Mankind has been down this road before. Many times, changes are all part of a process. Stages on a journey.
The fall of the Roman Empire led to the redundancy of hundreds of thousands of members of the military, clerks, officials, and teachers.
There were casualties. Life went on.
The Industrial Revolution was forecast to make huge numbers of artisans, labourers and agricultural workers unemployed.
It did, Luddite mobs burned cotton mills, the huge migration from the rural areas to the cities began.
Life went on.
The introduction of motorised vehicles was expected to make thousands of draft animal drivers, trainers, breeders, carriage and harness makers redundant.
It did, life went on.
The two world wars brought death, injury and destruction on an unprecedented scale.
Mankind survived.Life went on.
Despite the 20th century concerns of nuclear holocaust, dread diseases, wars, political brinkmanship. Despite the natural disasters of the 21st century, turmoil in the middle East, refugees and economic crisis, we are still here.
Life goes on.
I do have concerns about the future for my children and grandchildren, but I don’t believe that society is on an irreversible downhill slide into oblivion.
I believe we are nearing the extremity of a swing of the pendulum, a swing that has taken us too far from common sense and what is good.
The pendulum will swing back. It’s a law of nature, driven by gravity. That’s why I have great optimism that life will continue to go on.
Mankind is not doomed.
My gift to you this Christmas is the suggestion that you embrace optimism and believe that we will survive.
Wishing you a Merry Christmas and a safe, successful and secure 2017.
nativity graphic courtesy of prawney / freedigitalphotos.net