When I was in California I noticed a profound change from just half a year earlier. There were “help wanted” and “hiring” signs everywhere. It being rural eastern California, they wouldn’t necessarily be in leading global industries but jobs are, ultimately, jobs. During the long, grim Obama years there was a pervading gloom in the USA. It wasn’t overwhelming necessarily, but it felt as if there was this grey haze over the country. Whether real or merely perceived, it felt as if the only people who mattered were one-legged, purple-haired black transgender Muslims. Any battler or well-adjusted person was deemed to be worthy of contempt.
Somehow, things seem different. The USA isn’t as depressing as it was under Obama. Not that I like Trump or approve of his rhetoric, but it seems as if something is happening again other than the forced, grim acceptance of decline and lack of opportunity. Many people I know in the USA do not like Trump’s mouth and wish he’d be more careful in his choice of words, but they approve of many of his policies and, for many outside the coasts, there’s at last real hope. More than that, there’s real economic progress being made at last.
Coming back to Europe has been a bit of a denouement. There’s a distinct lack of direction or progress, a sense of drift and hopelessness. Denmark’s economy is doing okay, but there are storm clouds on the horizon. Sweden is caught in social and political drift. For years the current government has existed not because it has any reason to exist, but because the opposition is loath to call another vote as the only likely outcome would be a hung parliament. Britain’s had a rough few weeks. The Windrush Scandal and Alfie Evans affair have made the UK look vicious, petty and cruel. The Lords and Eurobots in the Commons seem determined to penalise the UK for daring to think beyond dying Europe.