Data analysts, policy makers, economists, the media, and multiple other political, social, economic, cultural, and environmental stakeholders speculate and debate over whether or not the “glass is half full or half empty.” If you are a local microbrewer from Maine you know that the glass is half full and if you are drinking the beer you know that the glass if half empty, but that is beside the point. Nobody can predict the future, the path is uncertain, there is no magic ball to tell us what 2018 will bring globally and locally, but we can connect the dots.
The political realities of the present time lead some to believe that the glass is more than half empty while supporters of the present administration finally see the glass getting half full. This is not going to change, the minds of the “people” are set no matter what media from both sides of the political spectrum try to construct through their less than professional strategies. Knowing that we live in such a wasteful economy, I predict that in 2018 media decision makers and constructors of propaganda will continue to invest millions of dollars in the bombardment of expert commentary and more repetitive cycles of political and social scandals in order to change the minds of individuals, communities, and institutions but the outcome will not change.
The glass will remain half empty for those who want President Trump impeached, leaving them once again dependent on a “Hail Mary pass” that will never even make it into the end zone. Tax reform, tighter borders, the threats of abandoning the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), the abandonment of the global climate change accord, economic and social protectionist initiatives, increased militarism and nationalism, pro-Israel foreign policy initiatives, and a shift toward global “big stick” diplomacy will not provide or secure financial stability for those working class Americans that catapulted Donald Trump’s political career. For them the glass will remain half empty, unless you intrinsically believe that isolationism, protectionism, and nationalism are signs of a glass half full.
If such is the case, then our absence from the 2018 soccer World Cup in Russia will be insignificant. Who cares that the superpower of the world is incapable of successfully competing in true global sports like soccer (actually called football) or Formula 1 (F-1) when we have our own version of “world” sports like baseball, American football, basketball, and NASCAR where we compete among ourselves (with some Canadian exceptions) and declare our local teams “world champions” without even competing against other nations. If you believe that the center of the world is the United States then the glass if half full for sure, but if you are one of those that believes that we are just one of many nations that make up the community of global citizens then the glass if probably looking half empty.
We all have our own world views and see daily events with a positive or negative lens. I try to find a positive interpretation most of the time but I am also realistic and understand that our human nature sometimes impedes us from acting rationally and with social justice. I still firmly believe in western religious morality but I also believe in John Lennon’s vision of a world with no countries where there is “nothing to kill or die for and no religion too” where all people would live “life in peace.” It is an aspiration and hope that quickly vanishes with just a tint of realism.
It is therefore certain that the U.S. national soccer team will not be missed at the global tournament in Russia this summer, and that our own propaganda systems will continue to fabricate the idea that the next Major League Baseball champion will be the “world champion.” In commitment to seeing the glass half full, I have high hopes that the Maine Principals’ Association will revise regulations for soccer so that kids may play the sport like the rest of the world, removing obsolete norms that impede the adequate formation of new generations of athletes that will allow us to be competitive at the global scale. Let the policy makers of the geopolitical game play isolationism but let the children of America play the sport the way the rest of the world plays the sport from its developmental stage onward. How about we “make America great” in soccer once and for all?
If we are going to isolate ourselves from the climate change accord, then lets be pioneers in climate change solutions and technologies. Lets use our capitalist might to change the world for the good of humanity; lets “make America great” in climate change solutions. I am optimistic and continue to see the glass half full but I am also realistic.
Our absence from the advancement of the Paris Accord and our incremental isolationism within the United Nations is beyond predictions; it is a fact. Like the wealthy selfish kid that is rejected by its peers because of its self-centeredness and arrogance, the U.S. will be sidelined from the critical transnational and multilateral conversations that will shape the global environmental and trade dynamics of 2018. If you believe that being corned by those who once were your “friends” is a sign of strength then things look good for your in the new year, but if you see this as a sign of weakness then the glass will tend to look half empty.
The globalization of the market will continue to move forward with or without us. Like Steve Jobs, we could be kicked out from the world we invented. I believe that in 2018 the current administration will come to the realization that the forces of globalization have out powered the nation state, forcing the decision makers to either increase our isolationism in hopes that the rest of the global economies move in that direction or revise the strategy once and for all. The glass will remain half full for those who believe that our capitalist economy may sustainably thrive by isolating itself from the global economic system that we invented after World War Two and that allowed us to emerge as the superpower of the world. It will however look quite empty for the transnational corporations, the small and medium business sector, the workers, and the consumers that have benefitted from the incremental globalization of the market of the past thirty plus years.
I predict that in 2018 the anti-globalization rhetoric of the current administration will shift toward a local focus, capitalizing on the opportunist spirit of current media in order to distract the public away from NAFTA negotiations and other transnational trade deals. Unable to fight the forces of globalization, the current administration will deviate from the sacred promise and refocus on the local economic miracles.
I also predict that a few hundred dollars worth of tax returns across the households of the American working class will erase many anti-Trump sentiments, and that the benefits of the corporate tax cuts will earn the current administration many new friends across the American capitalist system. It is unbelievable but true, a few more dollars in our paycheck makes us see the glass half full always. Surprisingly, the Democratic Party has not learned this lesson.
I am realistic about local and federal politics and believe that the Democratic Party will continue to waste its resources and its time on the continuous effort to dig for new and more creative scandals in order to downplay the current administration instead of concentrating on the development of a long-term strategy that will bring them back to power under a platform that links them closer to the “people.” The glass therefore looks half full for the Republicans.
I am realistic about global issues and will continue to share these views with my students in this New Year. I am certain that humanity will not end global hunger, war, human rights violations, social injustice, drug addiction, and systemic violence, but I can predict that millions of optimists around the planet will continue to strive for a miracle, working locally in their communities and in their neighborhoods in order to keep the flame of hope alive. Nothing will change the fact that change begins locally and collectively it has global impact.
In 2018 I will continue to see the glass half full as I have always done. It is what I found out happens to you when you live in a country like the US, shoulder to shoulder swimming in the melting pot of Americana, where optimism prevails. If not ask Bill Belichick, Tom Brady and the Patriots when they are down behind in the score with less than a minute to go in the game clock.
Talking about predictions; I believe that the Patriots will win another NFL title, that the Brazilians will win the World Cup in Russia, that the Canadians will legalize pot, and that there will be no nuclear war with North Korea. That the Maine Principals’ Association will remove the mouth guard policy from the soccer rulebook, that the summer will be hot and the winter will be cold, and that hopefully another microbrewery will be opening up for business here in Maine.
Happy New Year to those who read “The Glocal,” I look forward to continuing our exploration of local and global dynamics and how they impact Maine. Keep a close eye on China, Russia, North Korea, South Korea, Yemen, Syria, Saudi Arabia, Israel, Venezuela, Afghanistan, Ukraine, the global refugee crises, Haiti, Puerto Rico, Central America, Mexico, Brexit, NAFTA, Germany and the EU, Catalonia, and Colombia. Lets keep an eye on the US House of Representatives elections and the Maine gubernatorial election.