Absolute power and the economy…

These are mighty strange days.

For two years the world has been dealing with a pandemic and while it seems like it is somewhat receding -thanks to vaccines and better treatments- I suspect we’ll be dealing with the fallout of this for a while.

The economy has been impacted and I suspect will remain impacted for a while. There’s a Toyota car dealership I pass by now and again, a fairly new very large one that was completed a couple of years before COVID, and each time I pass it I take a look at the parking lot. Before COVID, their very large parking lot was literally full of new vehicles for sale. Nowadays, even up to this past weekend when I drove by, there are maybe 1/8th of the cars there.

Other things have changed as well.

From little things like finding disposable paper coffee cups (8 oz are hard to find in paper for some reason) to movie theaters having a hard time getting back to pre-pandemic levels. It seems streaming films might have hurt the movie studios as there are many people who perhaps no longer desire going to a movie theater to see the most recent works. That’s not to say all recently released films are facing fewer audiences, but going back to way the things used to be isn’t happening immediately.

I don’t know if it’s related to all this, but I’m also seeing all kinds of personalities express some wild crap.

I mean, there was always provocateurs like Alex Jones (Rush Limbaugh was a predecessor and we’ve always had the craziness of the Fox network and their “news”) but it seems like there are more and more personalities who are making really out there statements and engaging in out there actions.

First on the list, perhaps, is Elon Musk. From the time he proposed to buy, and then did buy, Twitter he’s been really out there, making oddball statements and, frankly, acting like someone who’s out of control.

There are reports that since he took over Twitter the platform has displayed more and more right wing comments, and one wonders just how far to the right Musk has gone. An odd thing, certainly, as I suspect most of the clients who purchase his vehicles don’t have such ideologies. One can’t help but feel like his pronouncements and ideological shifts are going to hurt the bottom line of his most prosperous company… and its a shame because I still feel Tesla is a terrific company and releases terrific products.

It was startling, after so much bad press regarding Musk, to see them formally release their Semi truck and look good doing so (there are those who feel the Semi truck is smoke and mirrors but I don’t know. It may not be “perfect” in its first iteration but like all products whatever “problems” or limitations it has, I’m certain, will be dealt with in time).

Donald Trump has continued his ranting and raving and there are those who suspect it may be in part due to the fact that all his legal woes are coming to a head and he may be about to face some real consequences to his actions.

I dunno.

Part of the problem this country has with people in very high office is that even while people talk about justice being blind, there also exists this “treating people with kid’s gloves” philosophy, particularly when it comes to people on the higher echelon of our society. And what is a higher echelon than being an ex-President?

The reality, I strongly suspect, is that if anyone other than Donald Trump had engaged in his many dubious activities, they would have met a far harsher reality from the justice department than he has. In the case of Donald Trump, there’s a sense of being overly cautious and making sure whatever they are investigating and whatever they may charge him with, that the case be beyond solid.

I have absolutely no love for Donald Trump. I feel he’s a blowhard and a nasty piece of work. But I don’t think he’s stupid. The other day he stated the Constitution should be suspended and he should be put back into the presidency. Is it a tell that he realizes the long legal road he’s been on might reach something of an end?

And speaking of Donald Trump, he would have a big dinner and invite Kanye West, aka Ye, who seems to be another person who’s really fallen off the deep end. His latest rants are -incredibly- pro Hitler and anti-Jew and he seems oblivious to how hurtful and harmful these words of his are. There has long been a feeling that West is “out there” and that he suffers from mental issues. In the past few days especially, his behavior may seem to reflect that and, if this is indeed the case, I do hope he gets the help he clearly needs.

There was a commentator on the news who stated the behaviors of Musk, Trump, and West are displays, to varying degrees, of the old adage of “absolute power corrupting absolutely”.

All three of these men have had decades where they’ve been at the top of their game. Trump has lived his full life being close to, if not at, the top of the real estate market. Musk, similarly, has had a string of successes after a rocky start with Tesla. West is considered -and has been considered for a while now- a musical genius and has a legion of fans.

Each of the three men have likely not faced people who have dared to tell them no and, perhaps, this is why they stray outside the boundaries of what most of us may feel are appropriate.

Today we have the internet and the ability to scrutinize each and every move any of these people is assured, so maybe their actions are being exposed more than for similar people in power in the past. And I do wonder also if the pandemic and the extraordinary situation we’ve gone through has also had some effect.

Either way, one hopes in the coming year we glide into a better normal.

We’ll certainly see.