Monopoly – The Game

Reading time – 2:49; Viewing time – 4:03  .  .  .

You’re 12 years old and you’re playing Monopoly with a few friends. One of them is “that guy” – the one who nearly always wins. You’ve played your best, but you’re watching your pile of cash disappear, as you land on yet another of his hotel properties. Your frustration grows and you find you have an urge to wipe everything from the board with both hands, sending houses and hotels, tokens and the Chance cards flying. Been there, done that. And we have a national case of that same frustration.

Many of us watched in horror last November when a thoroughly unqualified narcissist won the election to be President of the United States, commander of the nuclear codes. It took a while for the reality of events to fully register and the press has been chock-a-block with attempts to explain how this could have happened ever since that most fateful of days. How, indeed, could Americans have elected a schoolyard bully, a misogynist, a liar, an adulterer, a know-nothing, a destroyer of things? Last week I found a likely explanation.

I’ve written several times about the enormous impact of globalization and the profound upset it’s causing people in the industrialized world. We haven’t come close to figuring out what to do about this and not long ago it led to Brexit, a knee-jerk reaction by millions of displaced and angry Brits who responded to the uninformed, visceral calls of a braying bully. Just wipe the board. Smash what is. Vent the frustration. There’s a connection of that to what happened here last November.

Jill Filipovic provided insight in her recent essay in the New York Times. Here’s the Monopoly and Brexit connecting paragraph:

Resentful of the changing order of things, some men have simply leaned in to chaos. If the system no longer serves them, it will at least be fun to blow it all up. Which is exactly why the old rules of political engagement don’t work with Mr. Trump or his base.

There are millions of frustrated, angry Americans for whom the American Dream, the bubble idea of the way things work and will be, has burst. It’s a bit like teens who rebel when they at last learn that the world doesn’t remotely correspond to the fairy tales they were told to believe in. There is a mountainous, “IT”S NOT FAIR!” resentment and the echoes of that primal scream get reinforced every day.

There is no question whether the system is equitable; it’s not. For example, you already know about the great productivity gains of the past few decades and how nearly all of the wealth from those gains has gone to the rich, while workers have stagnated or moved downward on the economic ladder. All those globally displaced workers know it, too, and they’re living with the consequences of both globalization and economic unfairness. Little wonder they want to “wipe everything from the board with both hands, sending houses and hotels, tokens and the Chance cards flying.”

Steven Bannon may have left the White House staff, but he continues to be one of Trump’s advisors. Frighteningly, Bannon is specifically dedicated to bringing it all crashing down. Just look at what has already happened to our dramatically understaffed State Department and the other agencies of government that make this country function. We don’t have people in place to do what needs to be done.

I don’t know what Steven Bannon’s and Donald Trump’s psychological issues are, but these destroyers are incrementally wiping the board into chaos. Put some thought into what will fill the void. It’s a different game when you can’t even find the houses and hotels, the tokens and Chance cards that went flying and you probably won’t like what happens.

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Ed. note: There is much in America that needs fixing and we’re on a path to continually fail to make things better. It’s my goal to make a difference – perhaps to be a catalyst for things to get better. That’s the reason for these posts. To accomplish the goal requires reaching many thousands of people and a robust dialogue.

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Copyright 2017 by Jack Altschuler
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One Response to Monopoly – The Game
  1. Joni Lindgren Reply

    When it comes to Trump and his administration, they are systematically destroying what made America great! They are trying to destroy our health care and tax codes so they can pay the corporations and the already wealthy. Trump doesn’t play by the Constitution. His administration uses private aircraft to fly his kids to Aspen and Mnuchin thinks he can take his bride on a honeymoon at our expense. He’s lambasted the press, FBI, media, his own party members …..and the dictator of North Korea. He’s had a White Supremacist in the WH…..Bannon….and I have no problem saying that Trump himself is a White Supremacist and a little dictator who is taking his lessons from Putin….who he still can’t say one bad thing about! According to numerous polls, Trump isn’t truthful, nor do we believe him when he says, “There’s no collusion”!

    And…..he has filled his cabinet with the best of the best corporate CEOs who are not qualified for the job they are assigned and Trump chose each one to destroy the agency they are heading. Take for example…..all the environmental laws Obama and previous presidents have preserved for us all to keep us safe and to enjoy and learn from It’s pitiful. For me, another low point is Zinke and his idea of giving it all to the wealthy and big oil, head of the Interior Department. Zinke is going to minimize, sell off or give away our public lands, National Parks and National Monuments!! These are the places I visited as a kid and have taken my boys to and now the grandchildren are walking those same trails, taking guided walks with Rangers, smelling the scent of the foliage and taking pictures of snow capped mountains for their memory albums. If Trump’s minion gets his hands on these places, just where will we go to enjoy throwing snowballs at 14,000 ft on the snow-capped mountains and to enjoy places where we can feel the solitude and think our own thoughts???

    I’ve been to Glacier, Grand Canyon, Yellowstone, Smokies, Everglades, Rocky Mountain National Park, Dinosaur National Monument, and Sequoia National Monuments and I’m sure you have enjoyed these places too! Who do these Republicans think they are to want to turn these places into oil fields????