Tuesday, June 04, 2019


This is from a New York Times chat between op-ed columnists Bret Stephens and Gail Collins:
Bret: ... After this presidency, will we ever be able to recover a sense of solemnity in our politics?

Gail: Would you hate it if I said that trivial times breed trivial politics? It’s true we have many, many profound issues facing the country — climate change being maybe the biggest of the big. But we’re not in any major international conflict and the economy is really good. In 2016, a lot of voters may have felt they could enjoy the luxury of being cranky and polarized because there weren’t any crises calling us to pull together.
In the past, I've liked Gail Collins. The silliness of her style seems dated -- rooted in the era of Art Buchwald -- but she generally stands for decency, for the underdog rather than the overdog, for feminism. She's much better that a couple of other Times columnists I could name.

But this? She seriously believes Trump was voted in because life was too comfortable for ordinary Americans in 2016?

She may not be completely off base -- life probably was (and is) comfortable for many of the white Baby Boomer retirees who felt that a vote for Trump would protect their gated retirement communities and long days of golf from marauding hordes of terrorists, "urban" criminals, and undocumented Central American children.

But even they voted for Trump because they thought America was going to hell in a handbasket. And for much of the rest of the country, including voters across the political spectrum, life really wasn't good in 2016. Declining wages, opioids, student debt, the lengthy and inadequate recovery from the 2008 near-depression, endless wars in the Middle East, gun violence, police brutality -- Collins shrugs all that off, presumably because she never missed a paycheck, ducked a creditor, faced down a cop's gun, or developed a habit in the last dozen years, and it's unlikely she knew anyone who did.

If you're well past retirement age and you're as out of touch with the country you're writing about as Collins appears to be, you should resign. There are many other writers who could replace you, people who still know what life is like for ordinary citizens without lifetime tenure at a very nice wage.

No comments: