Covid-19 – 18 months on

It has been a historical last 18 months in the battle against against an invisible enemy. One which we cannot see but has claimed over 600,000 lives in America and over 4 million globally. It has dominated our airwaves as we have struggled to get back to some semblance of a normal life. What has been most upsetting is the ability of the media, politicians and public to turn this into political theater. We have argued about the origin of the virus, have looked to others to blame for our own failures in dealing with the outbreak. When a solution was offered we were slow to accelerate the delivery of a vaccine. We are a society ripe to be seized by outrageous conspiracy theories, creating elaborate schemes out of thin air. We choose to live in fear rather than enjoy what life provides us every day. Reviewing the past 18 months of life can be both upsetting and therapeutic. It has been a journey none who lived through it will forget.

From my own perspective it has made life in some ways simple and mundane. I have worked from home since March 2020. I have no commute time, I simply get out of bed walk down the hall and grab my laptop and log on. Things I did before work, such as shower, eat, get dressed now occur during the day – sometimes early, sometimes later – all depending on what the days schedule has in store for me. The end of the day comes quickly and routinely. No need to worry about commute home, which has made my life at home simpler and more enjoyable. In how our family has interacted outside the home we have abided by the scientific recommendations and done our best to socially distance and wear mask coverings. I never found this to be an infringement on my individual rights as outlined in the Bill of Rights. In many ways life was better as it allowed me to focus on what are my core values. I was lucky on some fronts my children were all over 16 when the pandemic began and the adjustment to online learning was somewhat routine and easy. Not a lot of parental intervention was needed. They maintain a high GPA and one even graduated from college and had a job lined up, so our stress levels were low. Life mor eor less has been on cruise control.

What of course happened around me was of another concern. Anti-Vaccers claiming they knew the truth, they just could not explain it. They claimed they were better read than the rest of us, but cited no sources (or sources were on the fringe of the political spectrum). When vaccines were made available they would not be in line. What the alternative they were proposing as a solution to Covid we will likely never know. We had the anti-mask people who placed their individual liberties above the health and well being of their fellow citizens. If they truly believed what they were saying they should have gone to hospitals and told those on the front line they were being deceived, but they seemingly lacked the courage. Social distancing? Many hosted their own super spreader events, seemingly not understanding its not just what spreads when you are at the event but when you leave the event. It was there individual right to spread based on their own warped logic. Determined to make their way of life continue, while spreading death to those closest to them. What was frustrating is Covid is a influenza, just like the flu that comes every year (which many get a vaccine for). It is a airborne illness. It can spread just by someone close you breathing in your general direction. I think we all know at this point in life that if a friend has the flu I am not going over to their house and giving them a hug or a kiss, because we all know how contagious the flu is (in short we are practicing social distancing). With Covid-19 which is more transmissible and far more dangerous we have decided to plead ignorance.

There were of course those who could not understand why we would shut down the economy and to them I do extend sympathy as the way this was handled was not equal. Large retailers were open while mom and pops were closed. We needed to social distance. Where as large stores offered wide open spaces, the small stores were deemed dangerous. In a country where the economy looms ever larger we had to take a step back and those that got hurt those most were those that could least afford it. Once again the poor were asked to shoulder more of the burden of a nation’s suffering. In the meantime my stock portfolio continued to boom, i was doing well. Rich states who had advanced industry were much better positioned to weather the storm. If you worked for a Apple, Microsoft or Google working from home was a simple email and the rest was done via Zoom. Our service workers suffered the most as restaurant’s and many other social gathering places were forced to shut down

During this time there were things that happened that caused what was already a distressful situation to further escalate. We had the killing of George Floyd that led to Black Lives Matter and mass protest across the nation. We had a President, whos own words never masked his stupidity. We had an election that was contested without evidence, but has led to calls for recounts (recounted – unsuccessful). We had a Michigan militia plot the kidnapping and murder of the states governor. Wild fires ravaged the west, destroying the city of Paradise, CA. It seemed like over the last 18 months we could never come up for air. Everytime we tried to turn a corner and take a step forward we took two steps back. It highlights the fact that no matter the crisis they cannot shield you from social unrest, especially in an age where information is everywhere

Now that in the US we near the finish line, though covid variants and anti-vaccers will push that line out a little further, the war rages on. In the US it has become a state by state test as to who will succeed and who will fail. How do we define success? Vaccination rates. Because the vaccines were approved as an emergency measure there is fear among some in public that the vaccines are not safe. I worry about this lack of urgency to get vaccinated as numbers start to rise again with a new variant on the march. The numbers are clear where states low on vaccination rates versus higher, the lower is not doing well. Death rates will start to increase again as the newer Delta variant which has proven to be more lethal and more selective. We seem to vilify experts, with more emotional reason than scientific reason. In the end we will get what we deserve. As the Delta variant begins to encroach on our lives and pull us back down a path we have been before. As I write a large part of the world does not have access to vaccines and now must battle the variant and in parts of the US the numbers have started to climb due to ignorance.

I wish I could say we are at the end, but there are those who view this as a hoax, a government conjured scare. An attack from the left of the political spectrum. At the end of the day it will be self created and self inflicted fake news. The only thing that ever mattered was saving lives and nursing to health those that had been infected with COVID-19. In the end we will get the death toll we deserve and the historians will be left to write the epitaph of our nations failure, because politics was more important than life.

Good Night and Good Luck

Hans Henrik Hoffmann July 28, 2021

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Terminal Velocity, Technical Atrocity

I grew up in the tech industry, more by accident than by design. I grew up in the suburbs of Seattle, where not far from my house, Bill Gates had an idea to start a company. After college I would join that company, more by luck than by intelligence and drive. It would challenge me and change me to be a disciple of knowledge. I would be wrong more than I was right. I would fail and be humbled. Once shy and easily shamed, I would develop thick skin and welcome criticism rather than turn my back on it. I would question those I felt needed to be questioned. I learned my limits but developed new areas to explore. I embraced change as it wrapped its arms around me. I always looked over the horizon, trying to learn and understand what was to come next It would open a new world for me, one I have not once regretted in over 30yrs.

At the end of the day technology is really about disruption. When I first started, the word processor was killing the typewriter. The spreadsheet was reducing the need for a handheld calculator. Companies that made these devices all of a sudden needed new revenue terms, some made it and some did not. That trend would continue through the dawn of the internet and the birth of the cloud. As humans we feel naked and vulnerable without a smartphone. We are always connected and any information we need is accessible at our fingertips. Financial market move at the speed of light. People make millions at the click of a button. As we moved forward more disruption will take place as the move to autonomous vehicles is underway (Domino’s will deliver Pizza via autonomous). Artificial Intelligence is in full swing allowing us to make better decisions based on data (the more data the better), across any vertical Oil and Gas, Financial Services, Legal, Retail etc… Internet of Things (IoT) allowing us to capture and analyze data on billions of sensory devices across the globe. All of these technologies have one thing in common, the desire to eliminate or minimize human involvement. To kill jobs.

Throughout our history in the United States we have tended to dominate new industries and rush forward at breakneck speed, often with little thought given to the consequences of our actions.. Sometimes they were environmental costs, such as the Cuyahoga RIver Fires in Cleveland back in the sixties. Sometimes direct assaults on the US labor force as we crippled labor unions and offshored manufacturing in favor of shareholder value. Leaving a wasteland across the middle of the United States. We now enter a new phase as technology moves at an ever faster pace and displaces jobs at a foreseeable record pace – paralegals gone, cashiers gone, taxi cabs drivers gone, FedEx drivers gone, Long haul truckers gone, lawyers gone (ok we can stop and cheer this one) etc..The refrain from many will be they just need to find new jobs. My immediate response is – What new jobs? How long will it take to find? Do they need to get more education in this new the profession? Professional certifications? All while they still have expenses – families, typical children expenses, mortgages, rent, food, cable bills, mobile phone, etc..

How quickly can humans adapt to change? Part of it is generational. Younger generations have grown up comfortable with technology, being wired shortly after they are born. We can thank Steve Jobs.. Older generations struggle more just to keep up with change. We have watched our middle class slowly shrink as if caught in a death spiral. We have a real unemployment rate hovering around 9% (unemployment sits at 5.8% but that does not include people who have just dropped out of US workforce). It gets back to education in the end and for all the emphasis on STEM, not all school districts in the US are equal. If you live in a poor area of the country your chances of a decent education go do, since a large part of public education is funded locally, usually by property taxes. Not everyone learns the same, not everyone has an aptitude to learn, but they are still human and have a right to dream and hope for a better future,

If tech has brought something along with a movement away from big government to free markets, it has brought a boom for the mega wealthy. The below illustrates how wealth is distributed across the globe. Global wealth distribution 2020. % of adults worldwide whose wealth is:

<$10K 55%

$10K-$100K 32.8%

$100K-$1m 11.1%

$1m+ 1.1%

-Credit Suisse Global Wealth Report 2020

Wealth is power as it has always been and as we consolidate it among a smaller and smaller percentage while the gap between top and bottom increases, we do so with little discussion of the ramifications. In America we talk of the poor we just don’t like to see them. But as we displace jobs at an increasing pace, without change the number will only grow and more and more poor people will suffer the wrath of displacement. While the 1% will grow at an exponential pace.

The thing that I think a lot about is as we rapidly move towards a future based on technological progress, how many people will be lost or left behind? Will real unemployment rates increase to where 15%? 20%? 25%? becomes the norm. History has often taught us when change occurs so do jobs. As we moved from agrarian age to industrial that the jobs created would benefit society. As we moved from industrial to the information age this once again happened, but now as we look at transformation again the jobs created story will not be so simple. According to 2018 census data the US employs 9.8 million cashiers. Amazon is mastering cashierless checkout. Companies as usual will look at cost savings while increasing margins. Where do 9.8 million people go for work? Many are working jobs that pay at minimum wage or just above. They likely receive minimal benefits (paid vacation, health care, retirement etc..not available). This is not skilled labor, but what they are is human. They deserve the right to a decent life. I understand the movement against left wing elitists, who claim to have answers without a core understanding of the people they are talking to. It is easy to propose solutions when the solutions you offer will never cause you any pain.

The new world we head into will be disruptive in ways never imagined in human history. It will transform how we live and how we work. It seems futuristic and dreamy but it will also create new challenges and new sufferings. Technology has the ability and opportunity to make us far more efficient in how we operate – managing energy infrastructure, transportation, water supply, food production etc..these are all things that need to happen and will happen, the only question is when. The flip side is it will create displacement. There will be many who either do not have the opportunity to participate or the inclination to participate. As I said at the outset Technology by definition disrupts and that disruption knows no boundaries, least of all being human life.

Good Night and Good Luck

Hans Hoffmann 6/29/2021

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The Death of Science

I am not a scientist. My background in science is very shallow, both professionally and academically. My knowledge of science comes from what I read and what my wife educates me about (she does have a background in science). With that being said I have a tremendous amount of respect for those who devout their lives to science, usually with the goal of making the world a better place and providing a better understanding in how the world functions. More importantly, how we as humans are to function within its confines. Which has made the current public discussions and assaults on science somewhat unnerving. It is OK to question but too often the topic becomes a political topic and not a scientific topic. Rather than listen to science we say it is an attack on our civil liberties and individual rights, an assault on American values by the extreme left. I am not sure when science became the dominion of the left, but in any case that is where we are. In the end however scientific conclusions are based on data gathered over time, analyzed, and conclusions are developed. Science is the search for the truth and as its basis are facts. Politics is very emotional and sometimes irrational. Unfortunately both those traits have woven their way into the assault on science.

Throughout history science has made invaluable contributions to help our society progress. How each nation has progressed is somewhat uneven. The United States is very wealthy. Nigeria is not nearly as wealthy. But if we look at the United States so much of our success is tied to scientific endeavor. We sent a man to the moon. the work of Norman Borlaug and the Green Revolution which has been key in allowing us to feed the planet. The Manhattan project which would end the second world war and foster in the Nuclear age. Breakthroughs in Aviation, medicine, Computer Science all led by American intellectual curiosity and economic expansion while positioning the US as a Global leader in the world of politics and the world economy. We have so much wealth and prosperity to thank for our status and yet when science provides a narrative we are not happy or comfortable with we turn our backs on science and choose not to believe in what it is telling us. We bite the hand that feeds us.

Many times that progresion comes with unintended consequences. We learned early in human history we needed heat, especially the further north you lived. Early on we used coal to heat homes and continue to use coal for many things today when it comes to energy, but both the mining for coal and use of coal has health consequences. We polluted our streams with waste from manufacturing facilities. We polluted our air with countless smoke stacks and the exhausts of millions of motor vehicles. In the meantime the global population has swelled to 7.7 billion people. The domographers say we will peak by 2100 at 11 billion people on the planet. All those people will need the bare necessities of food, water, shelter tec.. How abundant is the earth? Can we actually put a strain on the natural resources that are available to us? Some seem to think the Earth’s supply is infinite. I struggle with that narrative as in many places on earth where there was abundance there is now scarcity. We see populations of species dwindle from the Polar Bear in the arctic to the White Rhino’s of Africa. Fishing seasons, depending on the fish are not as plentiful as they were when I was a kid in the seventies. If the earth is forever why do so many believe time is running out? Science will be key to managing the inevitable growth, it will be key to maintaining the health of the planet.

For whatever reason these breakthroughs in science which have led us to lead a comfortable life, eradicate diseases, build huge economic opportunity, and envision a future rooted in science fiction, falls short for many. What the scientist’s are saying has become a threat to the way we live and our pursuit of happiness. The outbreak of COVID-19 is a perfect example, where some turned face mask into an assault on individual rights. Though the history and evidence were clear there will always be those who refuse to believe fact and choose fiction. In today’s world it is as if we are taught to live in fear and see evil around every corner. If you ask me why so many doubt science, it’s because that very science that led to all those breakthroughs is shattering their pursuit of the American Dream. It fundamentally goes back to human basics and something we have neglected in this country for generations. As we have forged ahead with our free market and technological innovations we have neglected a large swath of the US population who have watched jobs move overseas and technology wipe out jobs. Union were shunned as an assault on the income statement. If you did not pursue an education in STEM you were told the US would be left behind and you would be left behind. All those really smart people were right and what we were left with was a marginalized and growing white supremacist movement.

Then came “An Inconvenient Truth”, I have actually not watched the movie but it sums up what has followed (I have seen and met Al Gore as he discussed Climate Change). A lot more government regulation, climate control summits, pandemics, etc..As these arguments progressed and the villains were identified – the first being “Big” government, then the tech companies who tend to view the world more liberally, the social movements etc..the anger in ensued. It is a shame and a danger to our nation to not listen based on a perception and not being grounded in reality. But then the people being the most impacted are those who have more to lose than to gain.

We can choose as a nation to ignore science, but if we do so we do at our own peril. Much of the rest of the world is tackling the climate crisis and building new industries. In the US it is a political issue. Science has provided options to stop the spread of COVID-19 – Social distancing, masks, and vaccines. The response is I do not have to get a vaccine, it’s my right. The people who use this argument have a habit of defending their individual rights while violating yours. As David Brooks said, “We are not asking you to storm Iwo Jima, we are asking you to walk into a CVS”. But the hatred of science goes beyond COVID-19 to climate change. In California climate change is creating jobs as we look to alternative fuels, but again we have powerful lobbyists to combat the truth.

What science is telling us, is sometimes the answer to your demand will be “No”. An example is one of the major contributors to greenhouse gasses are cows. Livestock contributes about 14.5% of greenhouse gasses with cows a major contributor. Today on earth there are over 1 billion cows. They feed us either as dairy products or beef. We would be wise to cut that number in half. The problem is behind that number is a large cattle industry complex that employs millions of people. In addition if we culled 500,000 cows short term there would be a glut on the market, long term beef and dairy products would see significant price increases. th ejob losses would hurt and people who love burgers may see a change in availability. There are those that will scream “bloody murder”, but what the science tells us is true, as Neil Degrasse Tyson said, “The good thing about science is its true, whether or not you believe it”.

In the end we can choose to ignore science, but we do so at our own peril. Those who do choose will see their world (and frankly everyone else) begin to shrink around them. Golf courses need water, in the future if we ignore science we may not have as much available. Fish need to spawn, but if we keep building dams no spawning less fish. Climates that get too hot become deserts. As life disappears ecosystems become impacted. Snow pact is important for water supplies. More cars on fossil fuels means poor air quality (China can attest to this – look at Beijing skyline if you can see it). It becomes an endless list but if we chose not to listen to science and more importantly choose not to trust science we seal our own fate. If science dies, so does the human race.

Good Night and Good Luck

Hans Henrik Hoffmann June 9, 2021

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A House Divided Cannot Stand

I do love it when I am labeled a liberal or a socialist, it provides those who call me such names an air of superiority. They are patriots and I am under the vice of Lenin or Stalin. Ignorance is bliss and I suggest picking up a book before issuing such declarations, but my call for knowledge will be in vain. I spend probably too much time reading social media, but one thing I have been reluctant to do is chime in when political topics get hot. They are hot these days and the question becomes how hot it too hot? There have been many times in history where things just begin to run away and people get swept up in the moment and forget their past and their future. The French Revolution was an example of how dangerous things can become, with the Reign of Terror and the extensive use of the guillotine. The Spanish Civil War when the left and right became split leading to a holocaust of half a million people – not due to race of religion but simply because of perceived political views. The Nazi’s call for aerion purity. It seems as if we are trending down this path again. As Mark Twain said, “History does not repeat itself, but it often rhymes”.

The words of Lincoln seem somehow prophetic these days, uttered during his legendary debates with Stephen Douglas as they vied for the senate seat in Illinois. The nation was torn on the subject of slavery and Lincoln stated, “A house Divided cannot Stand”. In the US political parties are more interested in becoming unified on their opposition to what the other party is proposing, rather than solving issues for American people in need. Do we need social programs or tax cuts, whatever the easiest path is selected and always by the party that holds the majority in the House, the Senate and the Oval Office. Then once roles are reversed the Majority party tries to undo what the other party did. In the end we move sideways and not forward. As a nation we tend to think in the short term and for our our own self interests. In our eagerness for self worth we fail to see what is happening around us until it stares at us in the face. The idea of the greater good has seemed to lose all meaning in our desire to protect our individual rights, however flawed that may be.

The question becomes how long can we remain in this current mindset before things begin to run away from us? They almost did on January 6th. Like it or not there were people who stormed the capitol building with the intent to kill, who in the name of violence called themselves patriots. They would have benefitted if they had a plan but instead behaved like a mob with a mob mindset. It did, however highlight a undercurrent taking place in America, something hidden to many. The insurrection never had a chance of success. There revolutionary zeal lacked leadership and its prospective leader had taken a limo home, Imagine if George Washington had crossed the Delaware in a luxury yacht. Great leaders seldom, if ever, come from the lap of luxury, Can another January 6th occur? It certainly could and if it did it would be larger, but I have yet to hear of anything imagining a brighter future or having a vision of a future America. It it does happen it will just be another globally embarrassing event, just with more blood shed.

Like a leaking water faucet we listen to the torturous slow drip of the American belief system slowly run down the drain, a drain rusted by neglect. Now it seems there are these “secessionist” movements. Not from the country, but a desire to secede from a state and create a new more American state or join a neighboring state more in line with local residents values, Whatever the reason it is not very well disguised, it is simply a power play. A desire to repress those in which they do not agree with. It is also very shortsighted in its thought process. The long term prognosis would be the disbanding of the American political system (which means the Constitution would be dead). The debate about the founding fathers, would reach a fever pitch, with the only truth being that the founding fathers are very disappointed in their legacy as they had higher aspirations.

Division sews mistrust. Not just mistrust in their government institutions but mistrust in their fellow citizens and private institutions. I find it funny and yet horrifying that the US there are those on the far right who view American universities with contempt. Yet it was those same institutions, when I went to school, who spread the ideas of Laissez-Faire and the beauty of free markets and less government. Now many of these schools are being asked to focus on STEM and preparing the US economy for the rest of this century and beyond. Our university systems is the best on the planet and the envy of the world. Thousands of students come each year to take advantage of the great education we provide. We teach not only skills but to try and expand each students thought process. As Albert Einstein said, “The value of a college education is not the learning of many facts, but the training of the mind to think”.

The current fracture in the US democracy but they are just cracks and can be repaired, but left unchecked they will grow. As these fissures in our society grow they will increasing turn to the lesser of human emotions, hate, anger, loathing etc..these emotions make us less of a people, less of a nation. Our ability to succeed will become clouded and slowly slither its way through our fingers, never to be seen again. The mutterrings of civil unrest remain, The hope is they die down, the fear being that they grow louder. We have arrived hear not overnight, but through a long journey. Are we divided? There is no question. Can we stand? If the current drip continues for another decade things will only have gotten worse and the leaks will begin to run and as they flow the water will gain strength, until the nation starts to crumble, Can we stand?

Good Night and Good Luck

Hans Henrik Hoffmann

May 24th, 2021

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Make America Great Again

I have spent a lot of sleepless nights thinking about this campaign slogan, even now that that period of American history is temporarily behind us. Something thrust upon the American political landscape 5 yrs ago. Trying to understand its essence and relevance. The owner of the campaign theme never really provided a vision for what it means or what he wanted it to become. That required a level of deep thinking and understanding of public policy that was just not of much interest. The mantra by the mear use of the word “again” seems to refer to some past history, some point in time when America was truly great, how we define great is an open question. Regardless it resonated. It became etched in the public discourse. Maybe more importantly it speaks to an idea of America ceasing to be great. A loss in belief of American exceptionalism. Ronald Reagan delighted in thinking of America as a shining beacon of light on a hill. A place where people could come to share in mankinds manifest destiny. To live out their dreams however they see fit. To provide their children opportunities that were denied them. Yet somewhere that belief became lost to many and they became angry, very angry.

Growing up in the US in school you often learned about the serenity that seemed to surround the 1950’s. It was portrayed in popular TV shows like “Leave it to Beaver”, “My Three Sons” and “the Dick Van Dyke Show” to name but a few. Life was simple and literally black and white. The President was WWII hero Dwight D Eisenhower, who played a lot of Golf while acting as President. The American Family took on a definition on Husband, Wife, Two kids, 2 cars, a house and a TV. On the global scene America had a thriving economy with well paid front line workers at Ford and General Motors. These were union scale jobs and unions were strong at the time. The middle class was thriving. America emerged from WWII a nearly unmatched global power. It was a dream land for a dream time, but as in history things get put on pause. There were undercurrents of discontent. Jim Crowe still thrived. Technology was creating weapons of mass destruction that would annihilate the planet for centuries to come. As history has taught us, as simple as the fifties seemed the horizon foreshadowed what a was to come

The sixties arrived and change was in the air. The wars we had won were now in the past and new wars emerged, but not as black and white as WWII were it seemed to be good versus evil. We were now fighting perceived idealogical battles for the soul of the planet. America became torn as the battle versus Jim Crow raged in the streets. Violence would mar much of the sixties. Assassinations of many a great man – JFK, RFK, MLK and Malcom X. The Vietnam War, something we managed to inherit from the French tore at the fiber of the nation. The summer of love, The Beatles, Divisive politics and much more happened. If we are trying to make America Great again this is probably not where we would likely want to go back to. It was a period of social and cultural awakening. I

The Seventies were dull and that is about all I can say about that. Sounds like Forrest Gump. There was continued upheaval but it was the beginning if the end for the labor movement in the US. The free market economists had been making noise for sometime and though corporate CEO’s were receptive to their message, they had neither the will or strength to radically alter the status quo. The economists were left with one choice, go to the halls of power and convince those that mattered: The politicians. Milton Friedman became a god as did Michael Porter. Less Government regulation and market driven solutions. Manufacturing in the US was doomed at this point. It’s path set in motion it would only accelerate in the next decade. The idea of the American middle-class would begin to fade revered more as fantasy than reality.

The Eighties came about with the rise of conservative politics, led by a former Hollywood Actor, Ronald Reagan. It gave life to the idea that government is evil. The idea as a nation we needed less government. We were all introduced to Supply Side Economics and the Laffer Curve. It is interesting part of history in that there is no signature Reagan piece of legislation, no military activity. The biggest issue facing America was it’s battle with Soviet Union and the escalating tensions of the Cold War. The economy did well under Reagan and if anything it led to a rising belief that Americans vote with their wallet, a shallow endeavour but a belief that has held to this day. Is this where Americans want to get back to? It’s interesting MAGA supporters were tried and true Democrats, but Reagan set in motion what would eventually kill them, the destruction of organized labor. The Reagan legacy lived for 30 years after he left office, but now his star has begun to dim as the conservative movement is being replaced with something more radical. Reagan viewed America as a shining beacon of light on a hill. A welcoming nation. The new veneer is you can visit but please do not stay.

Since the end of the cold war we have slowly become adrift as the simplicity of what is right versus wrong has dissipated and though for years we led the world when problems arose the responsibility began to weigh on the average American. Part of Make America Great was now it’s time to isolate. America would cede its leadership role in the world stage. This was not stated in the campaign of 2016, but it was implied. If you need assistance you are welcome to pay for it, but the era of protection as a charity was over. By default we were creating a global power vacuum. As history has shared many times before power vacuums rarely remain vacant. It turned out there was a country waiting in the wings to do what the Soviet Union could not: split the west. China, a country with its own global aspirations has begin to assume the void left by American unreliability in the wake of the last four years

If history has shown us one thing it is that empires do not last forever. The seeds of destruction are usually self inflicted. Arrogance has a price. American exceptionalism is on the decline. A lot has been written and discussed on how empires fall due to taking on too much debt. Financing is a bit different these days than it was even fifty years ago. The knowledge of being considered a global power affects citizens of an empire. Being powerful impacts people’s psychological being. An example would be Russian President Vladimir Putin, who has called the destruction of the Soviet Union a disaster. He still longs for respect and relevance on the world stage on his terms. I along with millions of others grew up in a time when the United States was riding the success of being the deciding factor in ending two world wars. But in the Russian mindset that desire to return to something more concrete and more stable stable time, where the world feared and respected her.

I have no idea what “Make America Great Again” means outside of the fact that it does not want the status quo to remain the same, but status quo’s are meant to die. If America is one thing, it is always evolving and trying to improve. We live in an era driven by fear. Where people digest information that makes them feel relevant, too often that relevance comes at the cost of playing the part of the victim. The government screwed you. White people screwed you. Illegal immigrants screwed you. Tech companies screwed you. I have news for you, no one ever succeeded by playing the victim. The Rush Limbaugh’s on the world were not helping you they were playing you, playing the victim. Cut your taxes and you will be free, 50% of the US Stock Market is owned by the top one percent, they thank you very much for their tax cuts. If we increase the US minimum wage we will hurt US Companies. Is it fair to ask who is helping the 34 million in poverty in the US (A number higher now due to COVID) – when you are poor a tax cut will help by additional groceries, it will not lift you out of poverty. It does enable the billionaire’s to buy a new mansion. Maybe this is what MAGA is, maybe it is something else. After listening to if for over four years I find us no closer to this illusive “vision”, whatever it may be. Perhaps my one suggestion is look to the future and not to the past. Reflecting on past greatness is for historians, but we live in the present and it is how we deal with issues that confront us now, that will determine if America will continue to be great tomorrow.

Good Night and Good Luck

Hans Henrik Hoffmann

May 11. 2021

Categories Uncategorized