Make yourself great again, 2016.

Published on: November 3rd, 2016 Written by:

manufacturing_america

The way to ‘make America great again’ isn’t by kicking and screaming that ‘they took our jobs’. Globalization happened, the horse left the barn over 20 years ago. NAFTA was written by the teams of GW Bush 1, Carlos Salinas de Gortari, and Brian Mulroney. You can blame both houses Bush and Clinton for that one. Here in my hometown, NAFTA helped close one of the last big blue collar employers (eagle electric – makers of light switches, outlets, etc). It was a bad deal for many people. It was also a good deal for a lot of people in terms of cheaper priced goods.

Un-doing NAFTA sounds cute but is the US in any position to start a trade war with Canada and Mexico? Where is your new car going to come from? Where are you going to get that new light switch for your home improvement project? It would take a lot of work to reopen factories here in the states. And here in LIC, forget it. Nearly every former Eagle factory is a residential building now. New factories would need to be built (somewhere else). Do you know who would pay for them? You, the consumer. The cost will be past down to you in higher prices, for just about everything.

Those factories ain’t coming back, and even if they did, they would take years to locate and build. They would be so heavily automated that they wouldn’t produce many jobs. Robots took your jobs, not a secret Muslim black guy in the white house who bailed out the auto industry. Without him, there would be no auto factories in the US at all. Period. Unregulated banks (lead by greedy white men) destroyed this country just before Obama ever made it to the white house.

Those coal mining jobs? They are never coming back either. No one heats their home in this country with coal anymore. Those power plants that ran off coal? Most are long abandoned, killed by the simple economics. Don’t believe me? I have plenty of photos of their rusted, looted, decaying remains. They are never coming back. No one would want to live anywhere near one of those asthma/cancer inducing filthy power plants again anyway.

Northern Vermont lost a lot of jobs when the asbestos mine closed, but I suspect we can all agree that place should never reopen and we shouldn’t start wrapping pipes in our homes with the “miracle mineral” again right? Who cares about cancer let’s just get rid of the EPA. Right? Because de-funding science and prohibiting the use of stem cells has lead to a cure for cancer, right?

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Long abandoned coal-fired power plant, 2016

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Long shuttered Vermont Asbestos mine, 2005

Most of these blue collar factory jobs didn’t require a whole lot of education. The world has changed. America isn’t great at education. Russia, Japan and Canada kick our ass at education. CUNY colleges offer basic classes in Math and English because high school grads right here in what is suppose to be one of the wealthiest cities in the country lack the basic skills to even start college. College students here graduate with huge amounts of debt that literally take 10-20 years to pay off. You want to make America great again? Make college free, or cost far, far less. We will NEVER be able to compete with any other country with kids who can’t afford college at all, or young adults saddled with so much debt they can’t afford to buy a home or even a car.

The future of this country, and entire planet, depends on cultivating a population that is highly educated and eager to resolve the complex problems that past generations never faced. The uneducated deniers say climate change isn’t real. Anyone living in Broad Channel or Tybee Island can show you how wrong they are at high tide.

The future of this country, and entire planet, depends on cultivating a population that is highly educated and eager to resolve the complex problems that past generations never faced.

We’re going to need some really smart people to turn this planet around. People who can figure out how to convert NYC’s biggest export (garbage) into carbon neutral fuel. People who can come up with innovative methods to grow enough food to feed an ever growing population. We need smart people to sort out bringing the cost of health care back in line with reality-including everything from out of control drug costs to the red tape of doctors visits and insurance companies that believe we have a choice whether or not to have specific tests performed as we age. Getting rid of pre-existing conditions was barely a start to the reform we need in health care going forward, and a public option would have created real competition.

We need to shake off a lot of dumb things that people still debate out of hatred and ignorance, like abortion. New Rule: No one without a vagina or an advanced medical degree gets to tell women what is best for their lives. Why is that so fucking hard for some privileged penis-packers to understand? It’s not your body and it has never been your fucking choice. Roe v. Wade was decided 43 fucking years ago. Get over it. Don’t like it? Move to the ISIS caliphate and take whatever version of sharia religion you believe in with you.

And don’t get me started on ‘it’s just locker room talk’. Are you a parent of a daughter? Do you think it’s acceptable that we have a candidate literally proud of promoting the rating and sexually assault of women? Is that the future you want your daughters to live in? To be treated like meat and underpaid compared to less qualified men? Do you want their right to vote repealed – which is an actual alt-right rallying cry? What’s next, forced arranged marriages and legally mandated breeding? And if you have sons, do you want them raised in a country lead by a lunatic who by his actions says it’s ok to not respect women? He can say whatever he wants today on this subject, but judging on actions is far more effective. Pussy is grabbing back, and any male raised to believe he can do whatever he wants to whoever he wants so long as he has money in his pocket is going to be in for a really rude awakening-in a jail cell-by some random guy desperate for sex.

You want to know who is actually making America great again? People like Hamdi Ulukaya, a kurdish immigrant employing two thousand employees who are treated far better than most American companies treat their workers. He bought his first yogurt factory off Kraft foods – an America company that closed it and fired all the employees. It’s being made great by people like Charles Boyce, a highly educated technology inventor who still insists on manufacturing products right here in L.I.C. despite the added costs (You might have seen some of his work on your commute: help point subway intercoms.) He’s a very charitable man, though so modest you’ve probably never heard of him. And even though I hated his last few years as NYC Mayor, Michael Bloomberg is someone making this country and city great – employing nineteen thousand people. A literal self made billionaire, his wealth far surpasses Trump’s, and he gives a ton of it away to charity.

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Hamdi Ulukaya, American hero.

Greatness isn’t the ability to get on TV every day making fun of reporters with disabilities and rating women like livestock. Greatness is not living like a king and not paying a penny in taxes. Greatness is not attacking the parents of a solder who literally gave his life for this country. Greatness is not having your most famous words be “you’re fired”. Greatness is not stiffing people who were conned into working for you, for fun. Greatness is not promoting a culture of speaking down to people and stealing their labor, money and livelihoods.

Greatness is building something real, with your own money, blood sweat and tears. Greatness is not bragging about it, and giving back without the expectation of anything more than the gratitude of those you’ve helped. Greatness is hiring smart people, and supporting them any way you can.

You want to make America great again? Wonderful. Do it. Do it by giving people a hand up instead of the spit of contempt. Do it by learning. Do it by teaching, and paying it forward. Do it by creating jobs no matter how small, and tending to your own god damned business when it comes to things that have absolutely nothing to do with you (other people’s reproductive rights and medical care). Do it by not cheating anyone or being a horrible person. Do it by not blaming everyone else for your failings or crying that the system is magically rigged against you. Do it by casting aside racist fears and xenophobic nonsense about races and religions of people who you’ve probably never actually talked to at length about one god damned thing, ever. This isn’t rocket science. Honesty, ingenuity, and integrity is all we need. Yeah, those are traits that you can easily question either major party candidate possessing (one far more than the other), but I’m not talking about them anymore. I’m talking about you and I’m talking about me. Your friends, family and loved ones. You want to make America great again? Guess what? We are America. Stop crying about what everyone else is doing. Stop giving in to your worst instincts. Get over your own bullshit, and make yourself great again.

One response to “Make yourself great again, 2016.”

  1. doug fisher says:

    I just found this, and all I can say is this is a spot on bullseye. Not ,I’m afraid, that it would have changed the outcome of November’s horror show, but you absolutely nail the sad facts that make recent campaign promises such nonsense.

    Sadly this all began years and years ago, when education became a favorite target for loudmouth budget cutters. We’ve lost critical thinking skills, an understanding of history, and healthy skepticism. The rest of it just followed.

    Thanks for writing what so many of us think as we fulminate in frustration

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    Joseph Anastasio

    Design & History nerd, open space & infrastructure advocate. 
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