Friday, July 1, 2016

Twitter Solutions: 140 Character Thinking

Isolationism, protectionism, nativism, wall-building--all are pretty trendy these days with those at both ends of the political spectrum, particularly those who favor "Twitter Solutions" of 140 or less (fewer) characters for all problems confronting us.

Now, I realize that circling the wagons can provide some useful immediate defense when one is actually under attack. But in the long run, if we want to get anywhere (wagon trains had a destination--no one wanted to just "sit tight"), we have to un-circle ourselves, venture out into risky territory, encounter our supposed adversary and either a) fight him (losses on both sides), b) negotiate non-aggression treaties with him (no gain, no loss), or c) cooperate with him in a mutually beneficial way (both sides win).

Note to Bernie Sanders and other anti-free trade Democrats: we can, without sulking in stasis or retreating into resentful protectionism, make legitimate demands on our wagon-masters about how negotiations should be conducted and how benefits should be distributed.

Note to Donald Trump and his crowd of rabid, anti-outsider Republicans: staying walled-up in your little jerry-rigged fortress will never get you anywhere and, moreover, killing all the "savages" (the only other option you seem to like) is undoubtedly the cruelest, costliest and stupidest way to move toward your coveted goal of Greener Pastures Over the Hill.

As medieval Europe, Ming Dynasty China, Tokugawa Japan all demonstrated, walled-in feudal societies tend to stagnate, rigidify, self-mutilate. Anglo-Americans have traditionally rejected such whiny, unimaginative navel-gazing. Therefore, shame on us 21st Century Little Englanders ("Brexiters") and Fortress-Americans ("Trumpsters" and "BernieBots" alike) for our pitifully lazy 140-character thinking.

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