Some interesting comments and questions about Carl, Jeana, & Michael. Nature vs. nurture? Why didn't Jean come forward? How could Carl be so stupid to have unprotected sex? I think I finally wrapped them up at the start of 158.
I get recurring questions about what will Carl do about various problems facing the country, or facing the world, or destroying either of the above. Why hasn't Carl solved global warming? What will Carl do about the transfer of jobs overseas? Why hasn't Carl fixed the American political system? Why doesn't Carl end the hopeless drug war? Why is Carl only doing the easy stuff, like balancing the budget and not going to war?
The fact is that Carl is simply one guy, and he has a maximum of 7 years to accomplish anything. One thing I have learned in writing this story is the utter impossibility of one man changing everything. Many of the problems facing the U.S. have been building for 30 or 40 years, and won't change overnight. We spent decades working our way into this mess, and it might take just as long to work our way out.
For instance, when I was blocking out chapters for this book months ago I thought, why can't Carl end the isolation of Cuba and renew diplomatic relations with them? By any stretch of the imagination, the current policy has been a total failure, with no effect on the Cuban political system and terrible effects on the Cuban people. If Nixon could go to China, why couldn't Carl go to Havana? The thing is, when Nixon went to China, millions of Chinese Americans weren't going to scream. Any American President who tries to make nice with Cuba while either of the Castros is still alive will permanently lose Florida to the other party for the next 20 years. If Carl had done it in his first term, he would have lost the election in 2004. If he does it in his second term, McCain never wins election. The same could be said if a Democrat was the President. There won't be a good answer to this until Castro and that generation die off.
So Carl does what he can, and tries to limit the worst abuses of the system, and prevent things from getting worse. I leave it to the reader to decide if that puts him in the above average category or not.
Anyway, I am taking a one week hiatus. I need to do some research on Katrina, which will be coming up shortly. If you happened to be in New Orleans or at the Superdome during the hurricane, I would dearly love to hear from you. Thanks.