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When Will the Borg Assimilate Hong Kong?: Is Resistance Futile?

Is Resistance Futile for the Hong Kong Spring? (https://www.startrek.com/database_article/borg-cube)

The Borg were a fearsome enemy in the Star Trek universe. They were in numerous episodes of Star Trek the Next Generation and Voyager. They always appeared as the dominant power on the verge of assimilating the starship crews into their collective. Their tag line was “Resistance is futile.” Yet somehow the starships not only did resist but did so successfully. Resistance was not futile.

Everything about the Borg was the antithesis to the Federation of Planets and therefore to the United States of America. We prefer the stylistically sleek and sexy lines in our cars, our ships, and our planes. By contrast the Borg vessel is a clunky metallic cube of no aesthetic appeal whatsoever. They are a society devoid of art in any shape or form except dull metallic grey.

But it is in the organization of the societies where the two ways of life demonstrate the most marked contrast. In the Borg, everything is the collective. There is no individuality. Once a being has been assimilated into the collective, individuality is lost. The Borg have no individual possessions or thoughts. They have a perfection in the order of the collective. They have banished individuality from their cubes and lives.

The dialog between the societies based on the starship and cube models express this difference. In the early episodes, the Borg spoke in a single voice that was a composite of all the voices of the assimilated beings in the hive. They had designations not names. In one episode, a Borg liberated from the collective became known as “Hugh” from “you.” In a longer running thread, the Borg who joined the Voyager crew by accident went from having a designation Seven of Nine for her place in the hive to being named Seven. The ongoing thread of this series focused on the travails and pitfalls of her becoming an individual, of being in touch with her humanity, of connecting to her childhood before she was assimilated.

I thought about the Borg when reading about recent developments in Hong Kong. I did so triggered by the title of an article “Can Hong Kong’s Resistance Win? (NYT July 14, 2019, the day the American President formally launched the culture wars against disloyal traitor Americans of color). Part of the article made me wonder if the author had the Borg in mind when contrasting China and Hong Kong.

If human beings have other wants or needs ⸺ like independent thinking, free expression or person happiness ⸺ well, those are things for our rivals, the Western democracies to pursue. The West’s production model is less efficient than ours. Ours has “Chinese characteristics.”

In these words, one may witness the Borg/Federation conflict in earthly human form.  In the TV series resistance was not futile. Will the same be true for Hong Kong?

In this confrontation one should recognize that China has its own Hannitys and Huckabees. It has its own propaganda machine that even surpasses Fox. The Chinese and the Trumpicans both get their news from a single source – the government-approved propaganda machine. However Americans have alternatives with the Fake News outlets. In fact they are earning record profits. Fox and the President mention the other news sources if only to belittle them. By contrast, China has no homegrown alternative to the official propaganda outlet.

However that does not mean the Chinese are not graduates of the Laura Ingraham School of Spin. As one Chinese professor said in support of the Chinese government against the Hong Kong Spring:

They are obviously actors, not Hong Kong citizens.  

Ingraham could not have said it better herself. In fact, she has said it. Something about children separated from their families at the border having a camp-like experience. And all those supposed “high school” students after the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida.

One danger for the Chinese government is that the longer the Hong Kong Spring continues, the greater the demands are likely to be. For the moment they are contained to specific grievances relating to specific proposed laws and the actions of the police against those participating in the Hong Kong Spring. But over time, the stakes rise.  A protester climbed a flagpole, removed the Chinese national flag, and flung it into the water. Another protester than unfurled a flag in support of Hong Kong independence. Shades of Evacuation Day on November 25, 1783, at Bowling Green when a Dutch American climbed the British-greased flagpole, tore down the British flag, and raised an American flag. As the Chinese protester said:

We’re losing our freedom little by little. Those who don’t support Hong Kong independence will have no choice but to become Chinese.

The call for independence ratchets up the division and makes cooperation more difficult. It also suggests a distinction between the Chinese people and the Hong Kong people, as if two different races or ethnicities are involved.

Back in 2018, before all the current commotion began, a new bridge was opened that linked Hong Kong and Macau.  A prescient article “New Bridge Brings ‘That Kind of Tourist’ to Hong Suburb” (NYT, November 24, 2018, print edition) highlighted that difference. In the first month, nearly one million mainland Chinese crossed over into Hong Kong with the corresponding reaction by the locals to what our president would call an “invasion,’ even if they do return home after a day of shopping. The authors noted:

It’s an early sign that it will take more than a 34-mile megastructure to overcome the resentment that is festering between Hong Kong residents and mainland Chinese.

The article reports that activists who claim Hong Kong has a unique identity that needs to be protected are called “localists.”  They advocate for independence, an increasingly taboo subject. The localists differentiate themselves from mainland Chinese. They do so by employing derogatory language. They call the mainlanders “locusts” [not “animals’] and “invaders.” By American standards, these localists in support of Hong Kong independence are using racist language. They compound the derision by referring to the people of China as being from “Chee-na” instead of “China.”

Pro-Chinese people understand the insults and have responded in opposition to such castigation of mainland Chinese. As one individual said:

We’re all Chinese people with yellow skin. Why are you discriminating against your own people? 

So the pro-freedom and independence people use demeaning language to belittle and mock the locusts who invade their land and overwhelm their communities. The pro-government people refers to the Asian people of color as “yellow.”

Nonetheless, the position of our government on the Hong Kong Spring is clear. Our transactional President who alienates allies prefers authoritarian leaders to freedom seekers. The message the Chinese government should deliver is “Love it or Leave it!”  And if the residents of Hong Kong do decide to leave it, they cannot come here.  They are not Norwegian. They are people of color. And we are full up. So where should they go? What country would welcome them in the face of China’s wrath if they did? Taiwan?

At this point, no one knows how the story of the Hong Kong Spring will end. The Chinese government has the option to accede to the demands of the protesters and simply wait. After all, in 2047 by treaty the two-system approach will cease. China will then be legally allowed to absorb Hong Kong into the mainland collective. Of course, people living in Hong Kong today know about 2047. Many of them will be alive then. So even though 2047 is 28 years away, for the localists the protests now may be the last opportunity to preserve their freedom. The stakes are high and they have nowhere to turn for help. Perhaps in this real-world drama, resistance is futile and the Borg collective trumps the desire of those who want to be free.

Hudson Yards versus Hudson Valley: Where Is Your Field of Dreams?

Hudson Yards (Max Touhey, Curbed NewYork)

Earlier this spring the Manhattan skyline changed rather dramatically. As the front page of the New York Times put it: “A Gleaming Behemoth Rises, for Better or Worse”(print edition March 15, 2019; online title Hudson Yards Is Manhattan’s Biggest, Newest, Slickest Gated Community. Is This the Neighborhood New York Deserves?).   It’s called Hudson Yards. Do you think there will ever be an historical society there? What kind of place is it?

Michael Kimmelman, architecture critic for the paper, was fairly critical of this addition. To the publicity that the Hudson Yards was inspired by ancient Indian stepwells, Kimmelman asserted, it is about as much like them as Skull Mountain at Six Flags Great adventure is like Chichen Itza. Space does not permit a full expression of his criticisms so I will present only some summary comments that go the heart and lack of soul of the complex.

Over all, Hudson Yards epitomizes a skin-deep view of architecture as luxury branding. Each building exists to act as a logo for itself. The assortment suggests so many crowded perfume bottles vying for attention in a department store window display….

It is, at heart, a supersized suburban-style office park, with a shopping mall and a quasi-gated condo community targeted at the 0.1 per cent. A relic of dated 2000s thinking, nearly devoid of urban design, it declines to blend into the city grid….

Hudson Yards glorifies a kind of surface spectacle ⸺as of the peak ambitions of city life were consuming luxury goods and enjoying a smooth, seductive, mindless materialism.

The best feature of the complex is the 1100 feet high observation deck. It will have bleachers next year raising the height of one’s view even more. And that view is spectacular. You can practically see all creation. From there one can gaze upon the most magnificent vistas of New York imaginable…because from there you cannot see the Hudson Yards!

Kimmelman compares Hudson Yards to the beloved Rockefeller Center of Christmas tree fame and the new edifices are found wanting in almost every way imaginable. It’s not a place where Jane Jacobs would live, where organic communities will be nurtured, or where a community historical society will take root.

In the New Yorker, Hudson Yards is the Hotel California of New York, Alexandra Schwartz lambasts “unremitting artificiality” of the place. This supposed “neighborhood of the future” is a high-end corporate park enclave sustained by $6 billion in tax breaks, more than Amazon sought for its failed attempt to locate in Queens.  Schwartz even mocks the seeming triumph of urban reimagination as the “embodiment of this narcotic nowhere-ness” the nearby High Line exemplifies: a beautiful highway that has sliced through a living neighborhood, Robert Moses style, leaving luxury buildings in its wake.” Hell’s Kitchen has character, Hudson Yards has superficial slick size.

A subsequent article Hudson Yards: A City Within a City: New York’s newest neighborhood drew inspiration from Battery Park City, but is filled with 21st-century twists by C. J. Hughes in the New York Times, specifically notes this dichotomy using the 20th-century Battery Park City in lower Manhattan also along the Hudson River for comparison.

While Battery Park City may embody the lessons of urbanist Jane Jacobs, who favored short blocks [as in her beloved Greenwich Village], Hudson Yards can feel derived from her opposite, the master builder Robert Moses, whose approach was often big and muscular.

Hudson Yards is located in New York but is it really part of New York? Where does it belong?

Consider the view of Sebastian Modak, a New York Times reporter assigned to visit every place on the “52 Places to Go in 2019” list (New, Strange and Familiar, It’s Still New York, print edition April 7, 2019; I Walked the Length of Manhattan. Here Is What I Found.

My parents live in Dubai and the only way I’ve learned to like that superlative-obsessed, chrome-and- steel glass city is by gravitating toward the polyglot migrant communities that built the city and the scant traces of the pearl-diving beginnings that haven’t been swallowed up by the drive to build, build, build. To me, Hudson Yards is New York City trying to be the Dubai I’ve always avoided….

Getting back to the Hudson River Greenway was a relief, and entering Central Park made me ecstatic.

In another article (It’s Really Two Malls in One, print edition April 11, 2019; At Hudson Yards, One Mall for the Rich, and One for Everyone Else in New York Times, reporter Jon Caramanica takes to task all those people who have been comparing Hudson Yards to Dubai: “That’s a grave insult to Dubai [!]”

Two different lifestyles are being contrasted here. One is high above the river and for the very rich people; the other is at the street level where the real people live. As the superstar cities from Manhattan to San Francisco increasingly cater to the rich, the stratification increases. Sometimes it reaches a point where normal people cannot even afford to live in the city anymore.

In science fiction, the dichotomy takes on extreme forms. H. G. Wells wrote The Time Machine (1895) about time travel to the future but reflective of his present. The future division of beings into Morlocks and Eloi were a projection of the two classes he encountered: the one who struggled with ceaseless physical labor often underground while the other surface-dwelling leisured class was capable of producing nothing. In the Star Trek episode “The Cloud Minders,” once again there two classes of people. The Troglites mine the earth doing the physical labor while the intellectuals reside above it all in Stratos, a luxurious metropolis which literally floats in the sky. New York did extend the subway to reach Hudson Yards, but I cannot help but wonder if that is more for the people who work there then who live there. How did Gene Rodenberry know? In effect, these Hudson Yard residents are part of a global community like Spectre and not a local or national community.

At the same time that Hudson Yards was garnering unfavorable publicity, Hudson Valley was reaping more positive press. The article “An Instant Community in the Catskills” is about how people created an instant community in the Catskills. It’s about a group of people from the city who all bought homes in a tiny Catskill hamlet. According to the reporter, almost everyone in the group said they have richer social lives and deeper bonds as a result of having bought homes in Sullivan County. Critical to that result was having a sense of community in a place where none of them had lived before. In this case, they brought a community with them and then became part of the larger local [native or indigenous] people who lived there.

A similar pattern occurred in Hudson, NY, according to “Is the Hudson Valley Turning Into the Hamptons?” In this example it was a case of Brooklyn moving north to an Amtrak stop on the Hudson. However, the article serves as a cautionary tale about what the Hudson Valley maybe losing if it replicates West Manhattan aka the Hamptons.

As it turns out even the commuting suburb of Westchester where I live has become part of the story. Once upon a time, post-World War II and Korean War veterans and families moved north in great numbers from the city to find a piece of the American Dream. When they did so, they cut their home ownership or rental ties to the city. A new trend is for people to maintain their city residence while acquiring a second home in Westchester or Connecticut. In a “Close Escape from New York,” a broker exults:

There is the assumption that you have to go far away for it to be wild and natural. But we have areas where, thanks to rocky outcroppings, lakes and streams, you swear you are in New Hampshire.

One such person waxed poetic in her love of her new dwelling in Connecticut:

It was the stone walls that got me. You pass over the Saugatuck River, and there is this little house in Wilton where the road turns from two lanes to one, and when I see it, all of the tension from my neck and back falls away. We see woodpeckers; we see hawks; we see deer. But we don’t see people, and we don’t hear them. It’s a true escape. For us it’s a refuge.

Just as Central Park is for the city dwellers in the example cited above.

Another person making the move to Pound Ridge in Westchester shared similar views.

With young kids, it can get harder to travel. So we created our own Shangri-La up here. The benefit of the location is unbeatable.

The reporter observed of a third couple: “They longed to wake up in nature, by the water, for longer than a weekend.

Or as the couple said:

I feel much healthier out here. It feels good just to breathe fresh air.

Perhaps it is James Earl Jones, resident of Pawling in Dutchess County and supporter of the Friends of the Great Swamp in Putnam and Dutchess Counties who said it best:

For it is money they have and peace they lack.

And all these locations have historical societies too. We need to belong in time as well as space.

Hudson Yards is glitzy, glamorous, and soulless. It appeals to the 1% who want to be above it all living lives of conspicuous consumption. Meanwhile, the real people seek a connection with nature and community. Keep these thoughts and observations in mind when seeking to understand the true issues at stake in the culture wars between Columbus Day and Indigenous Peoples’ Day. Tikkun Olam. Repair the World.

Star Trek (b. 9/8/66) to 9/11 and Beyond

Flight 93 (Courtesy of the Georgian Inn of Somerset)

America, let’s roll.

Independence Day (Courtesy of Amazon)
Independence Day (Courtesy of Amazon)

President of the United States: Good morning. In less than an hour, aircraft from here will join others from around the world. And you will be launching the largest aerial battle in this history of mankind.

Mankind — that word should have new meaning for all of us today.

We can’t be consumed by our petty differences anymore.

We will be united in our common interests.

Perhaps its fate that today is the 4th of July, and you will once again be fighting for our freedom, not from tyranny, oppression, or persecution — but from annihilation.

We’re fighting for our right to live, to exist.

And should we win the day, the 4th of July will no longer be known as an American holiday, but as the day when the world declared in one voice:

“We will not go quietly into the night!

We will not vanish without a fight!

We’re going to live on!

We’re going to survive!”

Today, we celebrate our Independence Day!

The Battle between the Forces of Light and Dark (Courtesy of YouTube)
The Battle between the Forces of Light and Dark (Courtesy of YouTube)

President of the United States: “Get off my plane.”

“Our Banner in the Sky” (Courtesy of Olana)
“Our Banner in the Sky” (Courtesy of Olana)

Ben Franklin: “Now I have the happiness to know that it is a rising, not setting sun.”

There is much that needs to be done

Unfinished Business (Courtesy of Jonathan Bachman, Reuters)
Unfinished Business (Courtesy of Jonathan Bachman, Reuters)

And even more that we can do.

West Point Cadet Alix Idrache 2016 commencement (Photo by Staff Sgt. Vito T. Bryant/ Army)
West Point Cadet Alix Idrache 2016 commencement (Photo by Staff Sgt. Vito T. Bryant/ Army)

We may fail; we have no guarantee of success
But a destiny awaits that only We the People can fulfill.

Earth Rise (Courtesy of NASA)
Earth Rise (Courtesy of NASA)

For as this vibrant ball of blue sails the celestial void,
We stand on the shoulders of the giants of the past.

Their strength supports us.
Their vision guides us.
Their example inspires us.

Freedom's Torch (Courtesy of Liberty Ellis Island Foundation)
Freedom’s Torch (Courtesy of Liberty Ellis Island Foundation)

Freedom’s torch has been passed anew
Testing whether any people so conceived and so dedicated
can long endure the terrible terrors that threaten our time.

We face this challenge to our future

Not in fear but with faith
Not in doubt but with determination
Not in confusion but with confidence

The light of liberty shines brightly,
A beacon of hope to those who cling fast to its ways.
The light of liberty shines brightly,
As last best hope of earth continues on its rendezvous with destiny.
The light of liberty shines brightly,
As the multitudes who have become one in liberty boldly go forth to build a better tomorrow.
The light of liberty shines brightly,
A ray of death to doers of evil who seek to validate their passport to paradise through the massacre of the innocent.

When the document that defines us is amended so more may participate, the journey continues.
Be the Dream!
When the opportunities for life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness are strengthened, the journey continues.
Be the Dream!
When we remember that the eyes of the world are upon a city on a hill, the journey continues.
Be the Dream!
When a person becomes an American by Choice, the journey continues.
Be the Dream!

In the millennia to come, when the sun still rises on the glory of America,

When people note this time, this place, and this generation,

When the rebirth of Ground Zero has become a pilgrimage point for the planet,

People will say with quiet dignity and solemn pride as we have in the past and do in the present about those who met the challenges of their times, that

we saw wrong and tried to right it,
we saw suffering and tried to heal it,
we saw war and tried to end the need for it,

That we did not waiver, we did not tire, we did not falter, we did not fail, and
That government of the people, by the people and for the people did not perish from the earth.

That is my prayer for America.
Sully on the Hudson (Courtesy of Values.Com)

Sully on the Hudson (Courtesy of Values.Com)

These are the voyages of the Starship Enterprise. Its continuing mission: to explore strange new worlds, to seek out new life and new civilizations, to boldly go where no one has gone before.

2001 Space Odyssey (Courtesy of Taste of Cinema)
2001 Space Odyssey (Courtesy of Taste of  Cinema)

Amen

Empire State Presidential Elections (2016): A Day in Infamy

Pearl Harbor: The Original Day in Infamy

New York has not always been the Empire State. When the United States was first constituted, the nation’s first capital was New York City (meaning Manhattan). During the American Revolution, Washington spent more time in this state than in any other. New York, the city that he had abandoned, remained an elusive target even though physically fixed. He constantly hovered in the vicinity hoping to be able to dislodge the British but he never succeeded in doing so. Now he returned to the city as president of the country.

Philadelphia was still the premier city of the land. It remained so for a few more decades but then the torch was passed to a new powerhouse. New York became the Empire State during the 1820s. One might associate the timing with the completion of the Erie Canal (the bicentennial of its construction begins in 2017). However even before, the handwriting was on the wall for all to see. Immigrants poured into the state from overseas and from New England. Emblematic of the change was Tom Cole’s relocation from Philadelphia to Manhattan and the birth of the nation’s first art form which was named after the Hudson River.

As an emerging political power, the Empire State immediately became involved in presidential elections. The Virginia Dynasty had reached its end. The jockeying for position in the 1824 election witnessed the transition from the first party system of Federalists and Republicans to the second party system of Whigs and Democrats. Donald Ratcliffe’s new book, One-Party Presidential Contest: Adams, Jackson and 1824’s Five-Horse Race was the topic of a session at the annual conference of the Society for the Historians of the Early American Republic (SHEAR) on July 24 which I attended.

In hindsight, that election served as a preview of the 1828 election. The winning ticket then consisted of Andrew Jackson and Martin Van Buren. Van Buren succeeded Jackson as president taking office in 1837, the first New Yorker to become president of the United States. Jackson and Van Buren formed the first diverse ticket for the white male voters of early American history. Jackson was Scotch-Irish and Van Buren was Dutch. Based on the racial classification system today, they both would be classified as dead white men. However, in their world, they represented two constituencies not previously in national office. They lived in a world where people knew if they were German Palatines, Scotch-Irish, French Huguenots, Congregational English, Anglican English, and so on. Together, Jackson and Van Buren shattered the Virginia/Massachusetts dominance of the presidency.

Prior to be coming president Van Buren served as governor of New York. His lived at his home in Kinderhook, Columbia County, for 21 years and was buried in the Dutch Reform Church cemetery nearby. His home is now a National Park Service historic site.

The Dutch ancestry continued with two famous and distantly-related Empire State presidents, Teddy and Franklin Roosevelt. These two well-known luminaries need no introduction for their impact on American history. Both Roosevelts served as New York State governors before becoming president as did the less well-known Grover Cleveland. There are three National Park Service sites for Teddy in New York: his birth place in New York City, his home for decades in Long Island, and the Buffalo site where he was unexpectedly inaugurated following the assassination of McKinley. Franklin and his wife Eleanor have homes, cottages, and the first presidential  library in Hyde Park where he grew up and was a local historian.

It seemed as if Roosevelt would be succeeded in the next presidential election after his death by another New York State governor. Millions of people went to sleep on election night thinking that Thomas E. Dewey had defeated Harry Truman generating one of the most famous newspaper headlines in American history. His defeat in 1948 was his second one. In the 1944 election, two New Yorkers from Dutchess County, the current governor and the former governor, squared off against each other, the only time such an event occurred in American history.

The 1944 election represented the height of Empire State presidential elections. Another prominent New York State governor, Nelson Rockefeller, repeatedly sought the nomination without ever attaining it. Because of fluke circumstances probably never to be repeated, he did end up becoming Vice President under Gerald Ford. Rockefeller’s home never became a National Park Service historic site but the Rockefeller-initiated Historic Hudson Valley operates his Kykuit estate.

Governor Mario Cuomo, the famed Hamlet on the Hudson, appeared on the brink of declaring his candidacy on multiple occasions but never announced. If elected he would have become the first Italian and Ellis Island president. To date their never has been either.

Governor Elliott Sptitzer had ambitions of becoming the first Jewish and Ellis Island president but that vision was abruptly curtailed. As it turn out, Brooklyn-raised Bernie Sanders was the first Jewish candidate to win a presidential primary in a national party election even though the party establishment actively worked against him.

Governor Andy Cuomo has ambitions to become president but the chance to even seek the nomination seems unlikely. The opportunity for a white ethnic whose ancestors arrived at Ellis Island seems to have come and gone without it ever happening. The best way for someone of Italian ancestry becoming president appears to be if that person arrived not via Ellis Island but on a jet from Latin America where the ancestors first had migrated.

This brief survey brings us to the election of 2016 where once again there are two legal residents of New York State running for president of the United States. These two candidates share much in common. Neither one ever was governor of the state as were the previous New York presidential candidates. In fact neither one has ever held any political office of executive power in New York or anywhere else: never a mayor, never a town supervisor, never a county executive. Now in the Medicare years of their lives, for the first time, suddenly they want the buck to stop with them with the promise that it won’t be bankruptcy #8 or #18 or #118 or from Wall Street. It’s not as if they won D-Day or rescued the Winter Olympics either. They share a lack of experience in real-world executive political decision-making. Let’s gamble.

The National Park Service will be hard-pressed to select a house or home for winner. The Democratic candidate has no real home. She has no ties to Illinois and her youth and no ties to Arkansas which was a stopover on the way to where she really wanted to live. At present, she has a home in Chappaqua for legal purposes so she can return to the beltway which is the only place she ever wanted to live. From 1993 to 2025, unlike George Washington from 1775 to 1783, she will have spent more time in Washington than New York by far. In fact, she will have spent such little time living in New York she probably doesn’t even have to pay New York State income tax even for speeches given in the same neighborhood where Washington presided. By default, the National Park Service may have to operate the infrequently used house best known for hosting a server that exposed her to be a recklessly careless liar where she was tested and failed at crisis management. As the cherry tree is for George Washington and the log cabin is for Abraham Lincoln, so the server will become the symbol of the woman who never tried to achieve on her own. Everyone will take a selfie there. That should be some NPS tour.

Our two Empire State presidential candidates share even more in common.

* They have the highest unfavorables of any two candidates in American history.
* They are the most disrespected by people of their own parties.
* They aren’t remotely capable of being the nation’s comfiter in-chief.
* They aren’t remotely capable of healing the wounds that divide us.
* They aren’t remotely capable of rising to the occasion.

NYT (8/4/16): “Allies [of the Democratic candidate] remain skittish and say that by many measures, Mrs. Clinton is a weak candidate with a muddled message who faces an electorate in which a majority of voters do not trust or like her. But Mr. Trump’s inability to seize on his own party’s convention and emerge a more disciplined candidate has eased early concerns that he could appeal to a broader electorate in the fall…[A political consultant] has pointed out that no candidate has come out of a convention with unfavorable ratings as high as Mrs. Clinton’s and gone on to win the White House. But unlike most candidates, Mrs. Clinton faces a fall contest against an opponent who is even more disliked.

Teaching this election will be a nightmare future teachers will try to avoid.

Our two Empire State presidential candidates are not identical. Since everything you need to know you can learn from Star Trek, it is appropriate to turn there for insight. In the episode, the Children Shall Lead, the children on an outpost are rendered orphans but display no trauma over the horror of losing their parents. The cause is a beast called “Angel” by them and named Gorgan. The richly-costumed sleekly-haired human-looking monster is skilled in exploiting their   pain to service his gain. He dominates them and in the ways of science fiction takes control of the Starship Enterprise.

Not to worry. Kirk’s dedication to the spirit of Star Trek prevails. His hero and role model is, after all, Abraham Lincoln. He takes back his ship. He takes back his crew. He returns the Enterprise to its rightful path. He defeats the monstrosity that has temporarily commandeered them. In the final showdown between the forces of light and the forces of darkness, Kirk calls on the deceived children to see the ugliness of the monster who led them astray. He tells them:

Without you children he’s nothing.
The evil remains within him.
Look how ugly he really is.
Look at him and don’t be afraid.

With each phrase, the children see more and more of the truth and the image of the monster becomes uglier and uglier. In the end, Gorgan is revealed as the grotesque monster he always was underneath his superficial exterior. As befitting his debased nature, when exposed for the disgusting ugly incarnation of evil that he is, his parting words to his former admirers who now spurn him are:

Death to you all!
Death to you all!
Death to you all!

Who knew this story set in the 23rd century really was about 21st? What happens if the party of Lincoln seeks to take back its party from ugliness? What happens if non-elite heterosexual white males who love their country and are in pain catch on that they are being slicked, conned, hustled, flim-flammed, bamboozled and lied to by a staggeringly ignorant narcissist who just as easily would rip them off at his phony university for their desire to live the American Dream as he would for their vote?

Consider now the words of the Democrat/Republican Roosevelts from the time when the Empire State produced presidents who were giants:

We stand at Armageddon…
And have nothing to fear but fear itself.

Contrast those words of American history with the teeny-tinies today:

It’s midnight in America.
Jabber, jabber, jabber, I am a woman. Jabber, jabber, jabber, I am a victim. Jabber, jabber, jabber, it’s my turn now. Jabber, jabber, jabber ad nauseum, ad infinitum.

The election between a junior high-school smart-aleck and a high-school good-little mean girl guarantees that our next president will not be a thinking adult. For generations to come, Americans will have to explain how we allowed to occur this self-inflicted day of infamy.
NYT (8/3/16): “It all has left her [a voter] uncertain of which candidate, if any to support.

Hillary?
“No. Next question.”
Trump?
“No.”
Well?
“I’m really praying that between now and November there’s some clarity, that somebody shows some leadership.

The Final Balloon Drop