How to Prepare your kids for the Trump Administration
The 2016 election is Hillary’s to lose, but with the outcome of the wildly overheated RNC Convention in Ohio and the uninspired choice of Tim Kaine for a running-mate, it is obvious that she is hell-bent on losing it. The polls show that the week where she ought to have gained huge momentum over Trump (the recent RNC convention), she has managed to lose ground to less than 3 points, with even one poll (NBC) showing Donald Trump overtaking her by a point.
Full-disclosure: I am a Bernie-or-Buster but I will never be bullied into voting for Donald Trump. As a proud Democrat with a proud Mexican-American heritage, I cannot condone his policies or ideas. But it is my values as a father that prevent me from voting for fracking, Wall Street coercion and subjugation to the billionaire class that is inherent in the status quo electioneering of Hillary Clinton.
But what I want to write about is not the election: as soon as the Donald Trump pivot happens, Democrats will have lost more than this election – we will have lost our relevance in Washington for four years and maybe more. With the Trump administration more than likely, even my very small children want to get involved.
They can’t change the outcome of the election now and neither can I. But we can do something for our children so that when it happens, they are prepared.
These are the things that I am teaching my kids so that they can prepare for four years of socio-economic catastrophe that will herald a new age of Americanism: the world where being American is no longer relevant.
Have hope. We lived through this before and it was called the Bush Administration.
My five-year-old is an adamant Hillary supporter, which makes sense for a five-year-old who sees the world with a five-year-old’s eyes. “She’s a girl and Donald Trump doesn’t have a kind heart,” Eloise tells me. “You can’t be President and not have a kind heart!”
Oh, my precious child. “I’m glad you feel that way, Sweetheart,” I tell her.
But when she is a little older, like her sister, I will tell her the truth: in this country we tend to elect only the shadiest people with the darkest pasts and the coldest ambitions to office. I felt that Barack Obama was the exception but even he has made decisions that upset me when I think about the future: giving up the public option and cutting in private insurers to Obamacare, nearly invading Syria, supporting benign Dodd-Frank changes as progress to prevent the coming financial crisis that is rolling full-steam ahead, and doing next to nothing to prevent more fracking while advocating for the expanded use of natural gas. But worst of these: appointing Hillary Clinton as Secretary of State and keeping Goldman Sachs in the White House.
Apart from that, I love that President Obama stood up to Bibi Netanyahu and went to Tel Aviv to call this genocidal maniac out on his apartheid bullshit. I am delighted at the appointment of John Kerry, whom I have serious beef with but at least who knows to shame the Islamic world for their blasphemy laws that amount to witch-hunts of ex-Muslim dissidents and atheists and to call Netanyahu’s regime “nearly-apartheid” which is the most accurate description of the Israeli government that any American public official has ever made.
You absolutely can strike a Faustian deal to become President and some are better at keeping their integrity than others. We lived through 8 years of such a soul-sale in the Bush Administration and it was awful and had huge economic and foreign policy fallout but we survived.
We will survive Donald Trump. We are too powerful and too hopeful not to.
If you want to go to college, learn to speak Spanish, Finnish, Danish, German or French.
You don’t need a degree to work in America, anymore. But the rest of the world still values education and all of the economic superpowers post-Trump will be in Pacific Rim, Latin America (Mexico, Brazil and Argentina) and Eastern Europe.
You can study abroad as an American student in a country with very good public University but you have to study in their language – very few courses and degrees are available in English. Studying in America is impossibly expensive and neither Donald Trump nor Hillary Clinton intend to cut the government out of the racketeering of American credit that is our corrupt secondary education system.
Education in this country is bad and it will get worse. If my kids are going to go to college (and we are the first American generation that will not tell them that they should) then they need to prepare young to go overseas. Living expenses in Helsinki or Copenhagen or Berlin are not cheap, but they are still less expensive than tuition and interest in America.
There is one shining exception: Scotland. Scotland allows local tuition after you establish residency and of course, the courses are offered in English. And the schools in Scotland are considered among the best in the world. They aren’t strictly public: there is still a modest tuition but one that is A LOT less expensive than going to school in America.
How to survive in America without a job.
In America, not only are women paid less than men, they get hired less than men and what jobs are available to men are usually underpaid, especially for young people with a degree. Tuition reimbursement programs are one way that kids can get a job and also go to college but are really just a macabre scheme to keep educated skills underpaid and to undercut kids who took a risk on borrowing money to go to school and study their passion.
Then enters the rise of outsourcing. American businesses love to save money on employment taxes and HR costs by hiring contractors and in the new economy that will become a huge part of the employment sector.
There are some skills that will not require an education but do require you to be willing to telecommute, talk to people at odd hours (because they are all over the world) and to be entrepreneurial and a self-starter.
In addition, we are seeing the rise of an economy that values and makes accessible a lifestyle of making and selling digital and online products like books, videos, courses, apps and entertainment like movies and games. This is a great opportunity for self-starters to make their own limits with ingenuity and innovation.
Any way you slice it, the dream of an American “job” is dead and kids need to think differently than we do or our parents did.
We must save for your future and not Daddy’s.
Retirement is non-existent for the Baby-Boomers and it is going to be non-existent for Gen X. God help the Millennials – I mean: they are fucked.
But where our parents expected us to plan for our own retirements while they saved for theirs, we must refuse to be so naive. Wall Street will need a bailout by the next time that we elect a President. And this one will be more expensive to the taxpayer than the last one. I, for one, plan to never put another penny into Wall Street, again and I pity people who are still throwing their money away on it. I am glad as hell that I cashed in my 401(k) and took the tax hit in 2009 before I lost any more money. At least I walked away with some equipment on-hand to work and make an honest living (if that’s even a thing, anymore).
So, I am going to start saving for my kids’ retirements and steering them to do the same as they enter the workforce. Compounding interest is the only plan that we can safely anticipate will work in the future.
I have talked before about how I am likely to commit suicide and this has changed my perspective of the future. I had always thought that I would retire young if I could. Now I see that I will probably die poor but if that is the case, then I will die poor because I saved for my kids’ futures. If I can teach them not to squander that inheritance but to use it to have economic power in their final years, then I will have done the best thing that a father’s love can bring financially to his children.
Once upon a time, a lifetime of hard work could buy a comfortable retirement in America. Today, you need two lifetimes to save up for one retirement and that will only get worse as Wall Street is further deregulated, uber-wealthy individuals and families get bigger tax breaks, mortgage and business loan interest rates rise and IRA’s and 401(k)s fail at epic proportions as hedge funds find out the hard way: there isn’t enough money in the government’s coffers to bail them out a third time.
People fight wars for gods, energy and resources – in that order.
By this time next year, we will almost certainly be at war.
Probably in Syria, possibly in Yemen or elsewhere. The catastrophe of the failed Iraq/Afghanistan experiment will be compounded by these wars and we will send a lot of America’s sons and daughters to die in the Middle East. Mental Health services for these veterans could not make it past the Republicans in Congress under Obama and under Trump, they will be even less likely. And that means that even those soldiers who come home from America’s wars will bring the war with them and suicide will rise.
Our kids are playing today with the boys and girls who will die at war and kill themselves, tomorrow. They will need to know why America kills people and the old “it was them or us” logic that we were sold on just won’t cut it, anymore. These kids are too smart and they will know our history.
Faith in god kills more people than anything else in the world. Muslims kill each other for believing in Allah the wrong way and Americans kill Muslims for not loving Jesus while Jews kills Muslims and Muslims kill Jews over same stupid arguments that they’ve always had.
Now, let’s not kid ourselves: our politicians don’t buy that shit and neither do theirs. They are fighting for access to oil, today, and they will fight for access to potable water before this decade is out. But no one is going to kill on the scale that these wars need to kill at for oil or water. If you are going to murder women and children as collateral damage, you need to think that it is for Jesus to save them or for Allah to punish them or to keep your Allah-loving and God-loving kids at home safe from those savages.
The words change but the dance remains the same. Our kids need to understand that someone has to pull the trigger when the fighting happens and the politicians can’t be bothered with it – they need faithful people to make indiscriminate fighting happen and our kids’ friends who go to fight these wars will likely be indoctrinated in this bullshit. If our kids are going to mourn their friends in a practical way, they will need to make peace with the fact that their friends died for faith, no matter how stupid that is.
I wish my kids could be critical thinkers but I understand that I can’t coerce them into it. I came out of religion by going all the way through it and they will likely have to do the same. As a parent, you want to prevent your kids’ pain if you can. But there is no way to isolate them, entirely. The pain of religion will kill this world if it doesn’t grow out of it.
Race is not really a thing. But heritage is.
Look: it isn’t that race is no longer a thing, it really never was a thing. with the advent of the human genome, we are finding that everyone has heritage all over the world and “Black” and “White” and “Hispanic” or “Asian” are modern phenomenons that truly are only skin-deep.
But culture is not something that happens in a bubble. Religion, as much as I hate to say it, is a huge part of where we have come from. So, too, work is a part of where we come from and love is a part of where we come from and food is a part of where we come from and in a Trump presidency, some of our cultures will be treated as a byword in the new American mainstream but this will not change who we are.
My children are one-quarter Mexican-American. It will not define who they are in the world but I will teach them to be proud of it and to hate Donald Trump’s fucking wall and the racist bigots who call for it.
At the end of the day, we are Americans because we have hope that humanity can do better. Sometimes, we let ourselves down by owning slaves or killing gay people or imprisoning Japanese-Americans or building border fences that have no hope of deterring undocumented immigration. But our children must not inherit pessimism from us.
We must make our legacy to them a legacy of hope.