Bret: Idealism is great unless it sours into fatalism. Or if it demands more than people are willing to give. I worry that the current young generation of Greta Thunbergs is merely going to spawn the next generation of cynics and reactionaries. It reminds me of the great Philip Larkin poem, “This Be the Verse”:
They mess you up, your mum and dad.
They may not mean to, but they do.
They fill you with the faults they had
And add some extra, just for you.
For the record, Larkin used an, um, slightly different version of the phrase “mess you up.” Anyway ….
Gail: OK, that is a truly non-cheery poem. Try to repress it.
You know, the holidays tend to be happy-making. A lot of folks go shopping for a tree, look forward to family visits. And in between get-togethers, at least one member of my household of two will point out that there are a ton of good games to watch. That’s the one thing I love about professional sports. Even if darkness descends, there’s a little ray of cheer here when the Patriots win.
Bret: We’re just wrapping up Hanukkah. It’s the miraculous story of Super Bowl XLVI, when the underdog Giants beat the overconfident Patriots the way the Jews beat the Seleucids — assisted by miracle.
Gail: Hehehe. See, there’s always a little sunshine …
Bret: Oh, that reminds me of one thing I am feeling optimistic about. We’re about to get a better mayor in New York, Eric Adams, who, unlike his dumb-as-he-is-tall predecessor, understands that the city won’t thrive until people feel safe, which in turn requires a police force that isn’t afraid to do its job and enforce the law.
Gail: Yeah, the de Blasio departure alone deserves a holiday toast or two.
Bret: My hope is that his election represents a definite turning away from the kind of progressive governance that’s done so much damage in cities like Chicago, Seattle and San Francisco, and that has also done a lot of damage to the Democratic Party’s reputation. If Adams succeeds, he’s going to be a force to reckon with in American politics. Are your hopes high?
Gail: Sure! We’re about to enter a new year, and the rule is that optimism reigns at least until the second week in January.
But seriously, I think we can celebrate Eric Adams without trashing progressive government. Not when there’s such a long list of conservative mayors, governors and police departments that have made things much worse for their people.