It’s Thursday, January 20, 2023.
— The midway point of Joe Biden’s term isn’t noon today. It’s noon tomorrow. Everybody conveniently forgets the leap year thing.
Of course, there’s a chance it’ll only be the one-quarter point. As someone averse to risk, I’d take that over what looms if he doesn’t run for a second term and some Republican gets in.
— I haven’t written a blog post in a long time. I’d say I’ve been busy, but I’m retired. So anything I’ve been doing is just keeping occupied in another form.
I want to write more in 2023, so this is me trying to do that. Let’s see how long this lasts.
— I won’t share this post on Twitter because I’m through providing content for Musk’s Folly.
I will share it on Post (@firstname.lastname@example.org) and Mastodon (@MMMRaisin@newsie.social), both of which I’m finding far more rewarding that having to block the right-wing posts that keep cropping up on my feed.
What I really wish would happen is that some other information sources – particularly those that inform me about how the Mets are doing – would either abandon Twitter or sign on to the two worthy alternatives. Then I could get rid of Twitter once and for all.
— Given everything that’s come out about George Santos – I’ll talk more about him in my next post in coming days – does it make you wonder why he hasn’t fled the country?
At some point, he’s going to become grist for this country’s legal works – the criminal system, the civil system or both. Wouldn’t it be better if he were on, say, some Caribbean island or any country that doesn’t have an extradition treaty with the United States?
Yeah, he’d abandon his seat in the 118th Congress. But if he doesn’t resign, the seat won’t be up for grabs – there’s no chance Kevin McCarthy and his lemmings will expel Santos. The people of New York’s 3rd District won’t get the chance to reconsider until November 2024 – they’d just have no actual vote in Congress for nearly two years.
I would think the disappearance would be a better look for him and the Republicans than a perp walk or the scrum up some courthouse steps.
And given the money that somebody must have put up to fund this fraud, there must be more that wants to help avoid revealing who that somebody is.
Fleeing seems to make some sense. I won’t be surprised.
— China’s revelation that deaths exceeded births in 2022 also shouldn’t be a surprise. This is part of a demographic trend that has affected other advanced world economies – northeast Asia, western Europe and North America.
What came as a surprise was that it happened so soon.
It boils down to a simple fact: We’ve raised a generation of kids that doesn’t want kids of their own.
After discussing this with one of my two representatives among the millennials, the one who’s living in South Korea, I gleaned some of the rationale for this attitude.
There is economic insecurity. It costs a lot of money to raise children. And millennials generally don’t have a lot of money – they haven’t found the career opportunities that they expected and, if they did, they have incredible financial burdens.
Rents are high, housing prices are ridiculous and the credit they need is zapped by the ridiculous student loan burdens they carry.
That’s not just an American problem. It carries to all these other places – now even to China. Until millennials sort that out, they’re wise to avoid the crazy expenses of children -day care health care, education, and whatever the hell toys and video games cost.
Then there’s a bigger issue: Why would you want to subject a child you love to a world like this one.
There are two facets to this problem.
One is climate change. There’s a reason a younger generation takes this issue to heart – these people are going to have to live with whatever climate they have, supposedly for a long time. In just the past month, we’ve had the craziness of wave upon wave of storms in California and the polar vortex that squeezed in around Christmas between periods of unseasonably warm winter weather in the East.
This is not just here. It’s too hot in a lot of places – a lot hotter than it used to be – and it’s not going better. Why would you subject a kid to a problem you seem unable to solve yourself?
The second problem is the seeming abundance of horrible people occupying the planet in 2023.
Vladimir Putin. Elon Musk, Donald Trump. Xi Jinping. Mohammed Bin Salman. Ron DeSantis. Tucker Carlson. And so many others.
It’s like my favorite line from the movie “The Great Santini,” when Robert Duvall’s character, reading the paper, screams “God, why did you have to put so many stupid people in the world — at the same time?”
It’s a freakin’ rogues’ gallery. And these idiots have power in one way or another.
Take Russia. Why would a young adult want to bring kids into a society that’s rigged toward oligarchs, that drags people off the street when they object to policy, that’s at risk to being sent off to commit genocide against people with whom they have no quarrel.
In all of these countries, the problem is this: If there are fewer kids, they are not going to grow into the working adults needed to support elderly people too addled to contribute their labor to society.
So millennials are using the one weapon they hold. Their bodies. They’re not using them to procreate – in both male ways and female ways.
It’s why you’re starting to see a fight, particularly among the right wing in the United States, about birth control. Conservatives gained the upper hand in the battle over abortion with the horrendous Dobbs decision from the Supreme Court – now there are efforts to curtail methods of contraception.
And this is not something that will stay in the United States.
Young Chinese adults, accustomed to living in a one-party state, know this. Many of them grew up hearing stories about baby girls screaming as they were thrown into rivers by parents who wanted boys under the draconian one-child policy.
They understand that a government that forces limits on parenting can also try to force women to bear children.
After generations of fearing a world of overpopulation – which can still be a problem because these issues are not as prevalent in less developed countries – advanced industrial states now worry that their populations will be unbalanced toward the elderly.
What will it take to solve this problem?
Probably something kids say to parents all the time: Get off our back.
The effort to restrict access to books, the constant harping on the culture, is only going to backfire. Why would I want to raise a kid who isn’t encouraged to be curious?
I taught for a few years at a university in New Jersey. What my peers told me to expect was an entitled generation that did things when it felt like.
What I found was a bunch of young people of incredibly diverse backgrounds who were willing to work two jobs and still attend school because they thought it would help them succeed.
That’s the generation that’s out there. It’s a shame they don’t want kids, because they’d make fantastic parents. That they’re not is a problem we really should think about solving.