The most difficult thing to accept is the real and ever-unfolding truth that the future will not be exactly as I expected it to be. I am not a prophet, and I am not even that good at gauging human nature on a large scale to predict which way our present day society will go. It isn’t hard to envision a future scenario fifty years from now where the entire country has been mostly decimated by nuclear and civil war, or a New World Order manifestation of the progress toward the first global leader of humanity, who is in all likelihood the Antichrist. It is easy to imagine a future where people pretty much live the same way that they do today, with perhaps a few adjustments here and there that can be expected as the earth’s natural resources continue to be depleted and technology fails to keep up with sequestering carbon and removing plastic from the ocean. But, it is much harder to imagine a world where none of this happens, and America simply sinks into an ignominious oblivion, pretending that it can still manifest itself on the world stage as a glorious superpower, but not really–sort of like a poor man’s Great Britain. It is harder to imagine a country where life expectancy begins to diminish, but no one really does much of anything about it.
I never would have predicted that popular culture would end up being what it is today. The combination of technology and humans’ willingness to indulge themselves in utterly shallow music and motion picture entertainment seems to be boundless. And yet, there are well-crafted television shows–probably more of these than there are well-made movies now. Except, you can’t get most of these shows with a basic cable package. Are people dumber in 2016 than they were in 1986, or is the country simply polarized around these insular realities where truth and facts are completely denied altogether by individuals who want so very badly for their reality to be the correct one, or at least the winning one?
I can’t make any great predictions about what will happen to this country under Trump. Every bit of my gut instinct says that things will be terrible–that we will be lucky to get out of the Trump years without him declaring martial law, pushing nuclear buttons, starting any significant wars, wrecking the economy in a major way. I fear for my son’s future, and I feel less empowered to change my world than I ever have. I think that most empowerment young people receive to change their world is utter bunk–only a select few will find themselves in positions where they really feel like they have mastered their environments. Most of us will slide off into a latter period of life where we are utterly at the mercy of forces beyond our control and mostly beyond our comprehension. The feeling of being incapable of controlling much of anything that will happen in the future can be a liberating one, until the day arrives when you have to choose between seeing your family starve and going down to some bureau to have your forehead or hand stamped with a permanent tattoo and microchip.