First, the son:
This makes us say:
- "Thanks, Obama!"
- "Consumer confidence" is the prevailing "vibe." It is odd to ask people to feel grateful for or impressed by their own attitude toward their own purchasing power. We need to compare perceptions against facts. The bank deregulation pending in Congress includes only modest "changes for consumers that ought to be a given,” according to Marcus Stanley of Americans for Financial Reform. In the longer term, consumers are likely to be hurt by the bank deregulation, which is the main legislative change in progress.
- Regarding the hashtag at the end, are these things really what "Make America Great"? What else could be missing from the list?
- To whom do we give thanks for this? A leader? A divine agent pulling strings? Other people who share our opinions? Can we name anyone who worked hard to make good things happen?
- It's ill-mannered to ask a nation to direct their holiday gratitude for something you or your father supposedly did, no matter how significant or well deserved. It's called Thanksgiving, not Thanksgetting.
- Giving thanks for statistics is dicey. We should pay attention to the real human beings in front of us. This tweet may not be welcome, productive, or sensitive Thanksgiving conversation if one of the individuals at your table doesn't have a job or is on food stamps.
A few hours later, the father:
- Since our country is only "starting to do really well" and the military is only just now "getting really strong," what does that say about our history?
- The Department of Veterans Affairs is always supposed to take care of veterans. That is its mission.
- We have nine Supreme Court justices. Which one is great — the one you appointed?
- The "highest Stock Market EVER" doesn't directly help the half of Americans who aren't invested in stocks.
- It isn't clear exactly what "record" is being set by cutting what kind of regulations and what that is supposed to achieve.
- The unemployment rate was under 5% in 2007 when the financial crisis began. The crisis occurred in large part because there weren't enough regulations on banks. Obama was elected in 2008 and began working on legislation to fix the problem, introducing regulations like Dodd-Frank. Unemployment (which takes months, if not years, to begin to correct) spiked to 10% in late 2009 and then it dropped during the last seven years of Obama's presidency. It was 4.6% when you were elected in Nov. 2016, 4.8% when you were inaugurated in January, and 4.2% in Sept. 2017. You have aimed to eliminate Dodd-Frank via the Financial CHOICE Act. Without adequate regulations, over the very long term, the country may set itself up for another financial crisis.
- Indeed, the last time unemployment was any lower (3.9%) was in the final month of the Clinton administration (Dec 2000). Bill Clinton's administration is the benchmark to beat. Since we are at the "lowest unemployment in 17 years," it sounds as if jobs already came back so you can stop taking credit for them "coming back."
- "We will build the WALL" is not even an accomplishment. It is imaginary and ideological. It is aspirational — if you are a fascist.
Published in early 2017, Stephen Cataldo's Cognitive Politics helps left-leaning folks work through strategies for meaningful conversations with people with whom they have political disagreements.