B and I have had several discussions about this topic, but we have not come up with any convincing answers. Maybe you can do better.
The question is: If everything is so terrible, why are things so good?
Donald Trump has taken over the presidential reins, and he has seemed to make nothing but enemies, both for himself and the country. His approval rating by some accounts is below 40%.
The president of Mexico refused to meet with Trump because of what he considers to be rude, aggressive and boorish statements Trump has made about the country and its people.
The Canadians are appalled at Trump's refugees policy. The Germans are worried about Trump slapping on tariffs as well as his seemingly close relationship to Vladimir Putin. Europeans in general think that Trump is rude and boorish, that he is self-centered and only cares about money, that he is uncultured, racist and sexist.
In just one article on Sunday's New York Times our president was described as laughable, terrible, deluded, petulant, vulgar, boastful, narcissistic, and spectacularly wrong -- a freak who screams, hurls insults, makes fictitious claims, flings lies, colludes with the Russians, hallucinates, suffers meltdowns, and who is in "palpable trouble."
Meanwhile, other newspapers have questioned Trump's sanity
and reported on whispers of impeachment -- all in just a month or so since he's taken the job!
A lot of Americans feel the same way. There were large crowds of women who descended on Washington, as well as multiple other cities, the day after the inauguration to protest what they perceived as Trump's assault on women's issues. Protests have sprung up in American streets and airports over the issue of immigration.
As the Washington Post sums up: "We've seen an immigration order stopped in its tracks by a federal court, a national security adviser resign amid questions about his contact with Russia, several contentious confirmation battles in the Senate and a sudden reversal in Trump's approach to China. And there's more -- don't forget Trump's Supreme Court nomination, his awkward phone calls with world leaders, escalating criticism of the media, or persistent, evidence-free claims of voter fraud during the election."
And yet . . . if everything is going to hell in a handbasket in Washington, then why is the American stock market at all-time highs, signaling a more robust economy than we've seen in years? It's easy to say the stock market is controlled by the one percenters on Wall Street -- except in large part the stock markets are not controlled by Wall Street financiers, but by the people running pension funds for teachers, firefighters and other state employees, by nonprofit organizations and university endowment funds, and by the millions of people who invest in IRAs and other retirement accounts -- all of whom presumably see a bright future ahead of us, either despite or because of Trump.
Meanwhile, the unemployment rate is just 4.8%, the lowest in years. And consumer confidence, which measures how regular consumers feel about the economy in general as well as their own personal financial situation, hit its best rate in December in 15 years.
Now I realize that a political situation is not the same as the economic situation. Look at the Chinese, for example, who suffer from an authoritarian government yet enjoy increasing economic prosperity. But are there any countries that suffer domestic turbulence and social dissolution that also enjoy record-high consumer confidence and a growing economy?
Something is wrong here. Either consumers and investors are living in fantasyland, or political commentators in the newspapers, on facebook and all around our communities are the ones who are deluded and spectacularly wrong.
I realize that not everyone is anti-Trump. Maybe some people rail against Trump's personality and some of his policies, but really agree with him on a number of issues -- or they think the political issues don't really touch them on a personal level. Or maybe Trump's critics just don't "get" what he's doing and they're suffering from hysteria. But it seems like the country is split in two -- and Trump supporters do not comprise the larger part.
I don't know. I can't explain it. Just seems like a curious situation to me.