Sue Lempert

Your answer may depend on your age, your income, your race, your education level and your politics. But for many young people, from what they see and hear, the system is definitely rigged against them.

If you are of my generation and have lived through the end of the Great Depression, a world war and significant ups and downs in the economy, you know the system has always been rigged in the sense that who you know is more important than what you know but overall we have confidence that things will eventually turn around. At least they have in the past.


The recent mismanagement of the loans to help small business is a case in point. For some reason, the federal government decided to give the job to the banks and the first loans went to big banks and their favorite customers. A second attempt to get the funds into the hands of small businesses so they could keep workers on the payroll for eight weeks (then loans would be forgiven) stalled because there were too many applicants to process online. And too many small companies were left out in the cold. Then came the headlines about those who had received loans, the Los Angeles Lakers, major restaurant chains, etc., some of whom have returned the millions they received but most have not Why did this happen? Because in the rush to get the money out requirements were loose and in truth because the Small Business Administration and the Treasury did not know how to handle it. But for young people, there’s only one explanation. The system is rigged.


And for the generation of high school and college students, there’s only one answer to the following — why is the buffoon, who is advising people to inject bleach or Lysol into their bodies to kill the corona virus, the commander in chief when he was not elected by the vast majority of American people. The system is rigged.

And for this generation whose hopes were pinned on college and/or career, the future is bleak. It’s not their fault that the greatest nation in the world is unable to handle a pandemic in a systematic way and is painfully slow in mitigating the resulting death toll and the economic turmoil and return to normal. It’s not their fault they will have to pay for the enormous debt enhanced by the buffoon’s tax cuts for the wealthy and favored projects like a wall and beyond requested military equipment. And now the required spending to patch things up adds even more to the outrageous debt they will have to pay.


These kids have seen what happens when kindergarten children are murdered at Sandy Hook, when dozens of their classmates lose their lives at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Florida, where young people like themselves are killed at movie theaters and concerts. Nothing. Nothing happens at all because a powerful lobby which represents gun manufacturers has enough power to frighten lawmakers into not doing anything even though a majority of Americans believe we need controls. Obviously for these kids, the system is rigged.


We used to be taught it was bad to lie. Our first president, George Washington, was on a pedestal because he never lied. But today, the buffoon and his allies lie multiple times a day and we have become immune to the lies. We expect them. We’ve given up fighting them or reading about them. We blame others. No one takes responsibility for their actions starting with the commander in chief. Obviously the system is rigged.

We will eventually find a way out of the pandemic but we are still a long way from protecting the planet from warming temperatures and devastating weather impacts. Young people have been in the forefront of supporting efforts to combat global warming but they see their country under the current leadership pushing coal manufacturing, withdrawing from the Paris agreements, loosening regulations to protect the environment and people’s health. Why have so many elected officials and their supporters made a Faustian bargain to surrender what’s good for mankind in return for money. Obviously for our youth, the answer — the system is rigged. That’s why so many supported Bernie Sanders. And his agenda may win in the long run as young people become adults and call the shots for the system to be unrigged.

Sue Lempert is the former mayor of San Mateo. Her column runs every Monday. She can be reached at

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(13) comments

Christopher Conway

Sue- the only buffoon here is you. Look in the mirror or read your letters and you will see that the once prominent politicians you were has been overshadowed by your partisan Democrat tirades. I have completely lost respect for you and will look forward from this point on in opposing you and the comfortable Democrat club you keep company with on the peninsula.. You calling our president a buffoon, kettle meet pot.

Mike Caggiano

REALLY excellent column Sue. Says it all. Buffoon indeed!!! I put in a column that was even more edgy but it didn't make print. Glad you make you point so sharply.

All the best. even to the ninnines!

All stay well so we can throw tomatoes at each other tomorrow.


Great article Sue !

The young MUST turn out and vote in all future elections

One thing that does bug me...whenever hear news reporting XYZ has more campaign money than 123...says to me...the voters out there are swayed too much by political ads

they should do their own research and yes, some of the ads do provide information, but look past the marketing verbiage and again, research some more

Frank H.

Rigged by Sue... Please do not reference the Big Lie by your media sources do a little bit of research to what President Trump actually said at the time regards disinfects. Their were to media people that actually said this. First, Charles D Jackson who tweeted Trump "urged Americans to inject themselves disinfectant". Later former speech writer for Obama Jacob Maccoby tweeted "Trump downplayed the virus then called … then told people to drink bleach" At no time did Trump say suggest say either of those things. Easy to find both of these references and to find Trump's actual statement on the subject of disinfectants. Rigging your column to make a point is disingenuous. On the subject of the Small Business Loans to big business. Didn't happen Big Business is not funded by Small Business Loan Money from Gov. First round of dollars were sent to major banks. The money was to be used by companies who would apply to take the money to maintain their workforce. It was to keep employees on the payroll so as not to have to apply for unemployment plus pay overhead associated with this goal. Any company receiving the loans had to apply. The Lakers must have applied and if so were given money if they indicate it was for stated purpose. Why they or any other business returned the funds can only be answered by the companies. Maybe it was a decision they would not retain employees after all and would not be incompliance with the terms of the borrowing. The big banks also make loans to small business but the first round of dollars ran out. The second round replenished that supply plus expanded dollars to community banks to help their small business customers. Community banks are not lending to the likes of the L A Lakers or the other major companies such as big restaurants mentioned. So much for the rigged world we live in through the eyes of some.


Sue, Congrats you succeeded in bring the Trump zombies to the comments section. [beam][thumbup][beam]


Sue: From the insanely stupid comments you get, it looks like even certain Trump-infested brains are rigged, - rigged not to grasp even the most obvious of your points, and instead rigged to harp up the same string of oft repeated, unrelated words, which of course sounds like seductive music in the ears of the steadily shrinking minority still fooled by Trump and his incessant lies.


Each new Pro Trump maniacal follower's post makes Jorg's words echo so so true.

Dirk van Ulden

Catch your breath Jorg. Your string of superlatives is just a cover for your unfounded hatred. You must be proud of yourself having a dog eared dictionary.

Terence Y

Jorg, with you, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe said it best, "Nothing is more terrible than to see ignorance in action." You may want to take a "brake" from commenting until your blood pressure goes down.

Dirk van Ulden

I could not help but laugh reading Sue's latest diatribe. Has she forgotten that it is her, and my, generation that is running this country now? We, who vowed in the 1960s that the country needed a major change. What did we get? According to her, a rigged system. Yes Sue, you are right, it is rigged and you are one of the system's architects. Now go back to sleep and quit blaming our President who is trying to straighten things out. Thanks.


Well said, Mr. van Ulden........ You bring up a major crux of the current problems. And President Trump has taken more insults than probably any other human being could ever withstand...... and he still loves us and this country.....and leads on for our success. Let's show gratitude and humility.

Terence Y

Ding, ding, ding. You win the trophy for today's most irrelevant TDS-inspired column. Congratulations, you are now entered in the pool for the lifetime TDS award. By the way, don't forget Obama's lie of the century, if you like your plan, you can keep it, if you like your doctor, you can keep them. In current news, maybe everyone should Reade all about candidate Biden.


Bravo Sue, Great article!

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