• Silver Lining in the Trump Cloud?

    • Posted on Feb 05, 2017

    Today's Courier column--there really will be some good to come of Trumpdom--and it will come from the artists, writers, filmmakers, creators of all stripes.  


    Even the blackest clouds contain streaks of light, those silver linings we need during terrible storms.  Are there silver linings over Trumpland? 

    When times are crazy, when everything seems upside down, when fools get power and destroy most certainties, creative arts flourish.  The American sixties, a decade of protest and turmoil, produced a flood of music and art that lives on.

    It’s happening again.


    • All expectations are off.  Civility, rationality, trustworthy leaders, even simple factual truths have been disappearing like frost on a sunny morning.   We’re seeing rank amateur “politicians”—billionaires—put in charge of huge, complex government operations that will certainly suffer from their ignorance and arrogance. Even Republicans are protesting, and some will certainly defect.  

    As of this writing, after ten days of Trump: chaos and protests worldwide, with no end in sight.  Protests mean marches, music, slogans, drama, all of which are grist for artists and art, and more power to them.

    • Apathy, that bane of good times, has disappeared.  Everyone has taken a stand,some with utter certainty that “alternate facts” support their leader, others who insist that proven facts stay proven.  A comeuppance is on the way, and artists are watching. 
    • Activists are getting busy.   Shortly after the election, “Cedar Valley Activates,”  a group of local citizens concerned with taking local action, was born out of a desire to tackle real problems—instead of complaining.  

    At their first meeting in Cedar Falls on December 4, well over a hundred citizens showed up and formed groups focused on health care, children’s health, poverty, environmental degradation, alternate energy, mental illness treatments—all issues that need attention in the Cedar Valley. 

    They met in Waterloo in January, and they will gather again at the end of February to connect with local agencies to help find solutions. And they’re determined to stay non-partisan.   

    According to organizer Eric Giddens, “We want to stay as apolitical as possible,” he told me, “Since we’re all in this together, cooperation is the only way to get things done.”

    Hard to argue with that.

    • People are having to decide where they stand.  Wishy-washy won’t cut it any more.   I vividly remember having to rethink my own ideas in the late sixties when the Vietnam War was gearing up.  I read, listened, discussed, argued, formed opinions, and helped support worthwhile causes.  I felt alive and challenged, as I do now.  

                I’m excited to ponder more, read alternative sources, engage more, create more blogs and other writings.    

    So turmoil isn’t all bad.  

                As Harry Lime, the Orson Welles character in the 1949 film noir classic, “The Third Man”  put it,

     "You know what the fellow said--– in Italy, for thirty years under the Borgias, they had warfare, terror, murder and bloodshed, but they produced Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci and the Renaissance. In Switzerland, they had brotherly love, they had five hundred years of democracy and peace – and what did that produce? The cuckoo clock!”

    Let our Renaissance begin. 

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    Posted in
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    • Predictions
  • Brave Caucus Predictions

    • Posted on Jan 31, 2016

    Here is this morning's (1-31) column where I go out to the twigs on the end of the limb. Still, I've been right twice before going out there.  Eight years ago today, before the 2008 Iowa caucusses (cauci?) I predicted Obama would win not just Iowa, but the November election.  So I feel very slightly qualified to do the same today for tomorrow's first political test.   


    Not to brag, but days before our 2008 caucuses, I correctly predicted the outcome, not just of Iowa’s caucuses, but the 2008 election.  

    Here’s what I wrote here on January 30, 2008:  

     “The GOP will collectively decide that they have confidence in McCain’s presidential appearance and nominate him, despite his advanced age and moderate stance on a number of social issues. 

    “The Democrats will opt for making history . . .and nominate Obama.  Hillary will go down fighting, but she will definitely go down. 

     “So come November, we will be choosing between the old candidate who looks presidential, John McCain, and the young candidate, Barack Obama, who looks like no other candidate in our history.  

    And we will choose Obama.”

    Then I explained why voters wanted real change, citing George W’s Bush’s presidency as one of the weakest in history. This was pre-Palin, incidentally. 

    Again on October 6, 2012, just before the Romney-Obama election, I wrote:  “I predict here and now that Obama will win the election over Romney, simply because Romney is the weaker candidate on all fronts.”

    Now, eight years later to the day before the Iowa Caucuses, I’m ready to predict again. Three out of three?   

    Remember that no one has witnessed an election season remotely close to the current political roil and muddle.    

     A billionaire loudmouth who’s never supported anyone but himself runs in front of the GOP pack? Beside him, Bartleby the Scrivener of politics, “I prefer not to” Cruz?   And all the other uncivil Republican candidates carping at each other endlessly and destructively? 

    Democrats supporting the oldest candidate ever to run who proudly proclaims he’s a “democratic socialist” and means it?  And his opponent, the same candidate who lost to Obama in 2008?   Have we entered the Twilight Zone?  

    All pundits and prognosticators have been, are, and will be, trumped (sorry) by this election season’s off-the-charts unpredictability. Only wild cards sit in the deck, including a possible Michael Bloomberg candidacy.  

    Nevertheless I forge ahead, knowing being right isn’t completely out of the question.  

    So:  Sanders will win Iowa tomorrow. Democrats will flirt with idealism and enthusiasm in the form of the Bern, and this will certainly affect Clinton’s campaign.  She must admit that Bernie’s the candidate of change, and much of what he says makes good sense.   

    Then when Sanders loses the Democratic nomination, he will graciously throw his support Clinton’s way, which she will more than graciously accept. 

    A semi-enthusiastic Democratic party will support the Clinton/Joaquin Castro ticket overwhelmingly as their best hope of continuing and enlarging Obama’s legacy. 

    Trump wins our caucus tomorrow.  Still,  the GOP, after months of turmoil, gets the message and  realize that Trump’s blustery emptiness only works for their hard core. 

    He alienated too many potential voters, and Republican straight-ticketers aren’t a majority.  

    They will nominate Rubio, their young candidate of (mild) change. 

    So “experience” will face off against “change”—as in 2008--only with the parties reversed. And who will win?   

    This time, Clinton’s experience wins, because Rubio’s own party fatally undercut him with incessant in-fighting.  Essentially, the GOP will self-destruct.   

     Mark my words.   

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    Posted in
    • Predictions
    • Conservatives/Liberals
    • Politics
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“Even before the advent of the Internet, Cawelti’s columns went 'viral' in the Cedar Valley… the role of a columnist is to be thought provoking, to take tacks that shed a different light on an issue or possibly cause a reader to reevaluate a position. At the very least, it should bring clarity to a particular perspective, whether you buy into the commentator’s worldview or not.

Scott's work does just that.  Enjoy this collection of his writing.”

-Saul Shapiro, Former Waterloo-Cedar Falls Courier Editor
Read Shapiro's entire introduction.


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