By Hannah Brandt
My dad died of pancreatic cancer 12 years ago last month. I know he’s in a better place now. If he was suddenly given the ability to come back to life in the U.S. today, I’m not 100 percent sure he would. Of course, he’d want to be with his loved ones, but it would be putting it mildly to say he would be shocked to drop into the middle of the current election.
The fact that Donald Trump is a presidential candidate would be more bewildering to him than the reality that drones powered by (licensed) ordinary citizens can now fly over our heads, that the camera in a smartphone can take clearer photos than his Nikon could or that we can watch news reports live streamed on Facebook. He completely missed Facebook and Twitter, smartphone apps and wearables, the gig economy and Siri.
Although it’s only been 12 years, in so many ways the world is totally different now. For better or worse. Even though he predicted some of the changes in technology, the world would feel somewhat like the Jetsons to him. When he was struggling through the last months of his life in the summer of 2004, we were in the midst of another presidential election. He died before seeing the results of that one.
He had high hopes for John Kerry and would definitely have been unhappy with the reelection of George W. Bush. It would have been pretty unfathomable to him that things could get worse than they were given the horrible U.S. wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the rich getting richer through Bush tax cuts, and education being gutted through No Child Left Behind.
As someone who studied politics and history, he would have been amazed and happy by the election of Barack Obama. Like many of us, he would not have seen that coming. But he would be disgusted by Obama’s continuation of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and his expanded use of weaponized drones in the region, as well as his expansion of surveillance and harsh treatment of American whistleblowers and journalists amongst other offenses.
He’d likely have a similar mix of feelings about Clinton. Still, the rise of Trump would feel like a punch in the gut in a dark alley. I think his first reaction would be to say, “How did this happen?!” Followed by: “How did a vehemently racist, deeply misogynistic, reality star billionaire with blatantly predatory business practices and no experience in government become the presidential candidate of a major party?!” Unfortunately, we could cite many reasons for it.
Those of us still here have one more month before the election to make our voices heard at the ballot box and in our communities. Express yourself!
I have an unrelated note regarding last month’s edition. The photos of the Kennedy Club were taken by our own Richard D. Iyall, Cowlitz. I want to apologize for missing the credit and thank Richard for all his hard work taking wonderful photographs for Community Alliance. We appreciate all you do!