If the present is built on the past, what then does the future build on?
If a person seeks to build a sound tomorrow it’s necessary to start with a realistic view of the here and now.

I had several occasions over the past holiday where I felt it best to dress. In recent years it seems more and more people arrive at clothing choices as if they were made them at a discount big-box pharmacy, building supply, or a sporting good center. I’ve hold nothing against casual. Many situations are exactly that, but too many have come to be treated so from apathy. Casual is easy, and easy doesn’t carry a high level of effort. It’s lazy. Casual wear might as well have a warning label MAY BE HABIT FORMING. FREQUENT USE CAN DEVELOP INTO CONDITIONS OF SLOTH AND SLOVENLY DISREGARD. IS NOT PART OF A WELL ROUNDED DIET.

Any event, as I was putting on a tie to go out I saw the tag for Harry Allenfall. I paused to wonder, How long has it been already? I’m sure there are some who remember Allenfall’s in the Medical Arts. There’d been a men’s clothing at that address before the Medical Arts building went up. It’s gone now, isn’t it? The same can be said of McNulty’s in Port Arthur, now Thunder Bay. These are gone perhaps from the same cause Tacitus observed of the late Roman Republic. “The charm of indolence creeps over the mind and in the end we come to love the inaction that at first we detested.” Sloth is easier, but keep in mind it’s not apt to be either too creative or progress minded.

New years are made of old things. In fact the future is made of many of the same things but with slightly different tags on them. We had eight years of griping and sniping about Obama. Do you think it will be any different for Trump? Let the grousing continue. It is our right. But I do think it would be a right better exercised if done with an aim better than mockery and belittling. Empty criticism like sloppy dress is easier to wear, but if you are after a more lasting good it might be necessary to apply effort. However, the problem may be that once a population is deeply vested in casual wear and thought they may not recognize a better fabric or know what to do with it even were it to run up a leg and tickle their fancy. They’d not know. A properly fitted Hickey Freeman three piece is lost on the citizen who thinks Bosco’s Two for One Emporium is where it’s at.

See what can come of simply taking out a tie for wear on a special occasion? It’s not the same as is gotten in a sweatshirt or whatever those ugly rubber shoes are called. I’ll ask you. Do you think I tied a Windsor or a Four in Hand knot? I’ve ever only used the one. It is a limitation and a vanity I know, but there it is. At least it was not a clip on or a tuxedo T shirt.

One slightly new thing this time around is the surprising number of Canadians in a mortal funk over Trump. He worries people, doesn’t he? In ways this may be to the good. I say that because the price of being nice too often may be in not getting as much accomplished or at least put on the table for consideration. Could it be SO bad that China is annoyed or we will toss aside the pot of woe from the Obama stumble that created ISIS as an alternative to Assad? If Mexico worries about our possible border policies maybe it means high time they got serious about addressing the issue on their side. It is not, is it, the case that border security and illegal immigration are new. Too much niceness and compromise has let it run on. Has this helped American workers? Should we not ask the real cost of cheap labor and low cost tomatoes? Is it perhaps the case that easy going answers are like casual wear? Improvement is based on effort. Remember the time of No Pain No Gain? That was before the time of Everyone Is a Winner, a stance that never says how little is won that way.

To be blunt, I’m not keen on Trump. Best hope is the responsibility of high office will steady and refine him. But I am not with those who fault him for speaking his mind, however annoying he may be. So what? Let’s hope we will never have thought and speech police, though there are those dogmatists ever working to accomplish that. The new danger, one larger than a candidate, is an old danger that freedom of expression, freedom of speech, will be subverted by the laziness of good intentions trying to sweeten the harshness of reality. Correctness, hate speech law, and that of blasphemy are all the same poisonous saccharine aimed at silencing dissent very often with the intent of hiding ills far worse than open criticism of what one has cause to dislike and oppose.

The New Year is much like the old; our human and social frailties come with us. I was reminded of this when a friend expressed sympathy with a Muslim woman, a neighbor of her son in Toronto, who said she’d be afraid to come to the US with Trump in office. It would be too dangerous. That’s a point of view, to be sure. But as an active fear I think the worry might be better placed avoiding public holiday gatherings in Berlin or even the Boston Marathon. None of those dangers was caused by the current or future US President. It is not a failure of American Democracy that so many reject it in favor of something not democratic at all.