In the Beginning
The meeting was called to order by our illustrious president Bill Gilbreth who introduced our visiting Rotarian Ross Atkinson and his lovely wife Patty from Ojai West. We had many guests: Bill Brothers, our new Mayor Johnny Johnston, Marquita Flemming, John Mirk, Bryant J Huber, and Sandy Treadloell.
Welcome and Congratulations, Rod Owen
Betsy Watson did a heartwarming job as always introducing our newest Red Badge, Rod Owen. Sponsored for membership by Marty Babayco, Rod is an open friendly and gentle Hoosier transplanted back in 1979 while still young enough to jump into a new pond without looking. After cutting his hair, a problem he no longer has, he went to work for TRW, and moonlighted as a security guard protecting the Laker players at the Forum. We also have it on good authority that he was a bouncer at several bars too, so much for the “Gentle” statement.
Rod met his wife Jenny in the mid-80s in Florida, with a short stint back in Fort Wayne Indiana before moving to Ojai in 2000. He has been head of security at the Santa Barbra Bowl, where the fore mentioned ‘source’ tells me he would move his friends to the best seats in the house or in the rail right up front.
Moving to California was an eye-opening experience for Rod, but the best story is where he ate King Crab legs and when his date noticed he started getting “hive like welts asked if he was ok, not knowing what was happening he told her it was the alcohol. One has to love that kind of honesty. Even if it was a little misguided.
We are very lucky to have Rod as our newest member. Please introduce yourself and make him welcome.
The Program-John Broesamle
“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity”. The opening lines of ‘A Tale of Two Cities’, by Charles Dickens. Is the perfect opening for this amazing fiasco we have just experienced in our recent election and our President Elect Donald Trump. Keeping with the wonderful programs that have been forthcoming by Patricia and her committee, we had an Ojai Living Treasure and scholar John Broesamle present an insightful and moving presentation on our recent election and the reason someone like Mr. Trump was such a lightning rod of hope and desperation for so many in this country.
There were many things in this election that were not new or unprecedented. There has been racism, extremes in the concentrations of wealth, immigration issues, even outright lies and slander of and by the candidates. But there has not been the anger and deep cutting divisiveness since the election of 1860s; just prior to the Civil war when Lincoln carried the Republican ticket. There has never been an election where both candidates were as widely mistrusted. Nor has there been any known meddling in a presidential election by a hostile foreign country.
“Make America Great Again” This is a paragraph in four words and the best slogan in history, says Mr, Broesamle, and it begins to explain the rage engendered in the Trump phenomenon.
According to John, 1/3 – 1/2 of Americans have seen their incomes stagnate for the last 40 years. Since 1979 America has lost over 7 million good, high paying, Union factory jobs. This is not only an American problem. Mr. Trump’s core supporters are the same as Brexit voters in England: predominatly middle class, white males, earning between $40k and $50k per year. The forgotten Class. Those voters blame Globalization, immigration, and trade agreements like
the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and the Asian Free Trade Agreement (ASEAS) for the loss of the life they witnessed in their parent’s generation.
Trump tapped into the anger and frustration of the blue collar working class and their fear that the country, ”their country” was changing and the elitists in Washington no longer cared about their welfare! And they are right, according to John. This has driven the radical political candidates we are seeing
with the Brexit and Trump vote and the upcoming elections in France and Italy.
Yes, the best of times and the worst of times, an epoch of incredulity, Truly!
Maybe we can take solace in old Irish toast:
“May you live in interesting times”