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Wanna Go for a Ride?
It can be perilous to let yourself get too carried away with wishful thinking. You risk getting too high on some seductive hypothetical and end up crashing so hard when it’s over that you lose your perspective completely… and maybe even your grip on reality.

Unless, of course, the trip is a short one. Like the one I am on right now. The shelf life of my fantasy is so short that I will know whether it can come true within a day or two. So I can, in good conscience, invite everyone to join me on board my little joyride. I promise: no one will get hurt.

So here it is: this time next month, Donald Trump will no longer be President.

You have to admit that’s a pretty attractive notion. I know what your’e thinking, but hear me out. (And remember, you’re welcome to bail anytime and catch an Uber back to the real world.) If you stay with me, however, I advise you to hang on tight, because things are moving pretty fast in my little imaginary world. And that is also the beauty of this fantasy. We will know almost immediately whether this unicorn we’re riding can actually fly…maybe even by this weekend. If it can’t, we’ll all have to head back to the real world. And think about it: does that really sound so bad right now? Impeachment is coming, and Trump is on the run. That’s a much better world than the one we’ve been living in for the last two years.

I see that you’re intrigued, so let me continue. I think that Republicans are dying to get rid of this turkey just as much as we are. He makes their lives miserable. They’ve been humiliated at every turn. Plus, he’s a crook. If they had an excuse they could sell to The Base, they’d already be climbing up on this unicorn with us. That is why they voted unanimously yesterday in Mitch McConnell’s Senate to demand that the whistle-blower’s complaint be released. If there’s something in there that further implicates Trump, they’ll be on it like a shark on a rump roast. Oh, they’d cloak their response in solemnity and sorrow for the nation, but they’d be more than happy to flush away the Orange Mess. If that happens, come next month, we’ll have (shudder) President Pence in the East Wing of the White House.

So that’s it.That’s the whole premise of my fantastic best-case scenario. It could even happen in real life. Let’s talk again on Sunday. Next Thursday at the latest.
As Luck Would Have It
I don't want to get too sentimental about the Incas. They were a handsome people with an impressive culture, but like most empires, theirs was marked by conquest, slavery, and more than a little bloodshed.

I can't help feeling, though, that they drew a pretty tough hand in the high stakes game of human history. By the middle of the fifteenth century, they had reached a peak, thanks in part to the drive and organizational prowess of Yupanqui Pachacuti, "the first Inca." He was, no doubt, a world-class control freak, but he seems to have led his people to primacy over the many other cultures west of the Andes. Under his rule and that of his immediate successors, the Inca empire came to encompass a domain along the west coast of South America that was roughly half the size of all Western Europe.

His people continued to battle among themselves, brother against brother, for nearly a hundred years, but at the same time, they created a culture that managed to distill the wisdom and skills of all the peoples they absorbed, including astronomy, mathematics, and the know-how to produce some of the most stunning feats of engineering the world had ever seen.

It was their misfortune to be coming into their own just as the Spanish arrived in force -- massively armed and on horseback, no less. The opposite end of the human diaspora out of Africa arrived at the absolute worst time for the Inca, and they just didn't have the strength to survive the collision. Like the other pre-Columbian societies that had thrived in the Americas, their achievements were all but buried under the advance of another, more powerful, conquest-hungry society with its own brand of high-end control freaks.

We can only imagine what might have happened without this colossally bad bit of bad timing. Perhaps the Inca empire, as so many empires before it, would simply have collapsed of its own weight. They did not have a written language, which can be vital in sustaining and growing any culture. They had the wheel, but it never really caught on in their mountainous realm. Still, they might have gone on to greater things. We'll never know.

They never saw what hit them, really. The blow came out of nowhere...a sucker punch. That kind of bad luck is a big part of any game, including human history.
More Near Wisdom
Find a niche, and scratch it.
Hope Floats On
Greta Thunberg arrived in New York last week. The Nobel Prize nominee had come from Sweden on an emission-free racing yacht to join other activists protesting the climate crisis in front of the U.N. She is 16 years old.

She also brought with her something special just for me: hope. I think of myself as a hopeful person; she is too, but hers is the purer, youthful version. "It's your fault," she has correctly informed me about my role in global warming. "You shit on my future." Thanks, I needed that.

The young survivors of the Parkland High School massacre have that same brand of clear vision. and so do other young doers willing to do things their elders either will not or cannot do. I am warmed by their clarity and directness and certainty. I need as much of that as I can get. It’s like my hope is half buried by tradition and gridlocked among cultural restraints I don’t even know are there…old-guy restraints that the youth do not even acknowledge.

Maybe it’s just that cool zero-emissions yacht. Or Greta’s long pigtails and quiet, bold assurance. Whatever it is, I like it, and I need it. I’m happy to admit that they have a greater claim to the future than I do. As long as they keep bringing the hope, I am on board the yacht and ready to sail.
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Trump supporters are people who know what they believe.
~ JC, Bonny Doon