04:24:02 am on
Friday 28 Feb 2020

Reflecting
AJ Robinson

We’ve reached the end of another year and, as always, special. It’s not merely the end of a single year. It’s a transition into a new set of numbers, the 2020s; this may make us roar or whimper.


Not the end of a decade, yet.

I’d like to say it’s the end of a decade, but I know that’s not the case. I remember back in 1999, people were all excited about the new millennium. The pundits and experts had to burst their bubble by pointing out that, factually, the millennium would change at the end of 2001. It has to do with there not being a year zero.

Still, we are changing from the teens to the twenties. That’s significant. It is good to be precise.

At midnight, on 31 December 2019, we slipped into the 2020s. I remember as a kid seeing an animated television show called, Sealab 2020. I always thought it was a cool show.

Sealab 2020 depicted life under the sea in a city on the ocean floor. It was set in the year 2020. Mind you, this was in the 1970s, so this was fifty years off in the future and unlike many sci-fi stories of that era, it kept the fiction reasonable.

I loved watching Lost in Space, partly because it was sci-fi, which is one of my favourite genres, but partly the family was essentially my family; at least when it came to the surname. Having it set in 1997 was a bit of a stretch. As a side note, the Cartoon Network took clips from Sealab 2020 (above) and turned it into one of their Adult Swim shows called Sealab 2021, which, most definitely, is not as upbeat and positive a vision of the future as the original.

That’s what makes me think of the series, the original and, shall we say, the sequel. The optimism and excitement I once held for the future, as in the original show, is gone. Nor is it replaced by the comedic aspects of the bastardized sequel.

No, instead I see all the most negative elements of the Sealab 2021 series reflected in America, today. The commander, portrayed as a buffoon, which seems to reflect realism in American, today; the black doctor, the man of science who was usually right; he was ignored, made the butt of jokes and even beaten.


A problem with non-linear stories.

Ravaged, nature and the underwater city, the crowning achievement of their labours, face repeated destruction. Oh, and, as with so many other non-linear stories, it and any cast that die return, miraculously, for the next episode. I guess the reboot was actually prescient, wouldn’t you say?

Thus, I have limited hopes for the coming year. I know I’ll do reasonably well. I’m a middle-aged White male, with a highly skilled job in a decent-sized company. When it comes to the rest of the community, I’m not as confident.

The economy is shaky, right now, despite superficial signs of strength. Although we’re still chugging along on the Obama Boom, the damage the Great Orange has done is going to start showing soon. His tax giveaway to the rich is sending the American deficit sky high.

Trump continues to attack and damage all of our institutions, “Moscow” Mitch packs the federal courts with extremist judges, most of whom aren’t qualified, so they will roll back environmental and safety rules; ignore Climate Change and healthcare costs.

Then there’s the impeachment trial. Mitch has made it clear it’s going to be a sham, not that I’m surprised. It’s a forgone conclusion that the Republicans don’t have the courage or devotion to our country to remove that criminal. I just worry as to the ultimate outcome, the lasting legacy of their treason.

Once cleared, Trump will crow of it right up to and through the election. Given all the obstructions in place to prevent a fair election, such as voter suppression, voter apathy and tampering by foreign governments, there’s a good chance Trump will win re-election. As will Mitch McConnell, Lindsey Graham and all the rest.

I know people are hoping for a truly huge Blue Tsunami, but merely talking and hoping won’t put votes in the ballot box. Potentially, that means four more years of damage; one, maybe two justices to the Supreme Court and most definitely a massive recession. The signs of impending disaster are everywhere.

Of course, Trump will blame the Democrats for all the ills America faces. I have a tiny hope for the future. Ironically, it comes from that silly Sealab 2021 show.

I keep coming back to Sealab 2020 and all the people always restored at the start of the next episode. Granted, we humans aren’t quite so resilient, but I take that aspect as more of a metaphor for America. Someday, and it may not be for quite a few years, Dumb Donny, Mitch, Lindsey and all the rest, even their incompetent appointees, will be gone.


Only a hat away.

Someday, I hope in as little as a decade, if not a year, we’ll be reading books and online articles about this era of our history and people will look back in disgust to revile these criminals and traitors. Someday and, maybe I’ll live to see it, we truly will make America great again. It may only be a blue hat, with the words Making America Great Again emblazed on it.

Combining the gimlet-eye, of Philip Roth, with the precisive mind of Lionel Trilling, AJ Robinson writes about what goes bump in the mind, of 21st century adults. Raised in Boston, with summers on Martha's Vineyard, AJ now lives in Florida. Working, again, as an engineeer, after years out of the field due to 2009 recession and slow recovery, Robinson finds time to write. His liberal, note the small "l," sensibilities often lead to bouts of righteous indignation, well focused and true. His teen vampire adventure novel, "Vampire Vendetta," will publish in 2020. Robinson continues to write books, screenplays and teleplays and keeps hoping for that big break.

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