Tuesday, August 30, 2016

ABC

I found this at Whisper.sh
I'm going to follow the wind today.

It's gone way past ridiculous. LGB turned into LGBT, then LGBTQ, etc. At each attempt to make people feel special, other people feel left out and offended. Then they have to be included explicitly, which offends someone else. So they have to be included. So now it's LGBTQIAPD, which stands for "Lesbian, Gay, Bi, Trans*, Queer/Questioning, Intersex, Asexual/Aromantic, Pansexual/Polysexual, and Demisexual".

In other words, ABS ("Anything but straight"). Or if you prefer the newer terminology, ABC ("Anything but Cis"). These are shorter and easier to remember... and they still mean exactly what's intended by the longer alphabet soup.

I don't care much about labels. Call yourself a gazebo, and it won't bother me. But if you're picky about your own label, then I do have to remind you that imposing a label on other people is a completely dick move. So if someone tells you that they're Straight -- not Cis -- and you want to correct them, then you're the jackass*. That's your label. Wear it with pride. And because I am a dick, I have no problem saying that or using "ABC".

Of course, to be all-inclusive you have to just drop the labels entirely and treat People as People. But that's not the point for people who collect letters of the alphabet.

--==//oOo\\==--

This actually came to mind today by way of analogy, from an unrelated conversation, so I'm going to let myself wander back into a completely different interpretation of the ABCs.

Hey, STEM folks... an Artist made this!
Created by Colleen Simon for opensource.com
In education, STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math), has relatively recently given way to STEAM (the "A" is for "Arts").

It's another case of being "inclusive" so as not to offend, even though in the process you dilute your message. (The "Black Lives Matter" group understand this for their own movement). I joked that this would eventually become STEAM HEAT (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, Math, History, English, Athletics, and... uhm... "Things" (gotta make it spell stuff). In other words, "school".

It's not that the listed things are objectively more important overall than those things that aren't explicitly listed. Rather, they're subjectively more important to those who focus on them. That's why the focus exists. But really, it's all important, as you learn from the people you exclude the moment you make your focus public. The people who aren't doing STEM are often feeding the people who are. Take them away and see if they're not important.

Personally, I don't think you have to "push" STEM, and I say that as someone who works in a STEM field. We should offer it, but not push. People who are interested in it will seek it out, and those who don't tend not to be very good at it. The people who are pushed into it are often resentful and leave it for something more satisfying. And those who weren't pushed sometimes just fall into it. Surprisingly few of the programmers I work with received computer-related degrees.  I think we are waaay too focused on technical fields as the panacea for all educational problems and a road to The Good Life. Our educators are so focused on their vision of society that they forget that they're neither the boss nor the architect of that society. They get too enraptured by quotas to remember to allow people to choose what they want to do for themselves. As a result people are made to feel bad about becoming skilled workers, and feel like failures for feeding their own families with satisfying, paying work, whatever that might be. If you're going to be offended, be offended at that. It's an outrage perpetrated by people who think they're doing good.



Monday, August 29, 2016

The Right Complains; I Answer

I'm so used to taking the Left to task that I'm happy to answer criticism from a Right-winger for a change, if only to prove to my Leftist friends that it does happen.

When I posted "Why I'll Vote Libertarian in 2016" in June, it was met by the usual complaint from the Right, which I'll quickly summarize in paraphrase:
You assume Gary Johnson has a shot at winning this election. He doesn't. A vote for Johnson is a vote for Hillary, and she will then select the next Supreme Court justices. If Hillary is allowed to make those appointments, you can kiss any conservative comeback in our lifetimes goodbye. America as we have known it will have the final nail hammered in the coffin. The stakes are just too important to allow that to happen. This would be suicide for the Right, so we need to suck it up and vote for Trump.
It was also specified that gay marriage and on-demand abortion are two issues that are "already decided", so they're red herrings used by others to "spook you into voting for them". The irony is that this particular argument is itself exactly crafted to spook a conservative into voting for Trump. It is exactly what it denounces. But I'm getting ahead of myself...


My Answer to the Right:

I think you missed it. I don't assume that Johnson has a shot at winning. I don't assume any candidate does. Rather, I'm telling you why I will not choose between your turd sandwich and their giant douche. No candidate has any chance of winning without votes. It's how voting works.

The hilarious part is that this argument... a vote for Johnson is a vote for the other side... is exactly the same argument offered by Democrats, practically word-for-word with only the names changed. It's the same bogus logic that a hostage-taker uses: "Give me what I want or their death is on your head!" Neither of you are right. A vote for Johnson is a vote for Johnson. It's not a vote for whoever the hell you don't like.

Perhaps it's been so long since they've had something to vote for that this is now a foreign concept to many voters. The first thing to understand is that I am neither Republican nor Democrat. I don't give a damn what the team colors are. I'm focused on Liberty for all Americans in all aspects of their lives. Not "the right" and not "the left". So when I have a chance to vote for Liberty, I'm not going to piss it away because you want to control my vote and use it on voting against something else... especially since that strategy of compromise is a clear and proven disaster.

Just look at your attitude about marriage and abortion. You speak as if you're not interested in a resurgence of anything. Rather, you're somewhat desperately trying to cling to what you have, constantly writing off loss after loss as the new status quo. Compromise simply means that you will lose more. It's inevitable given the rules under which you play. The Right seeks a "conservative resurgence" that will NEVER happen so long as their strategy is to move the halfway point after every occasion when you're already "met them halfway".

You anticipate a "nail in America's coffin" that was pounded in when people decided to stop voting on principle and start voting "strategically". Since that time you have not seen one single step toward any conservative comeback. Not one. Instead you've seen more government, more intrusion, more taxation, more usurpation of your rights no matter who takes office. You've seen bigger budgets and more spending under Republican and Democratic Presidents with both Republican and Democratic congresses. Conservative Republicanism is a zombie already. It's a pity that the dead know no pain, or else you'd feel it.

Know that I would give this same speech to the Democrats, except I would phrase it as the death of Liberty, and I would point out drones and surveillance and other things that matter to them. I would remind them of their own greed by exhuming Kennedy's exhortation to "Ask not what your country can do for you..." and invite them to examine how far they've strayed from that. I would remind them of their own hate and intolerance through their policies of censorship and repression and ridicule.

We will continue to have more executive orders to usurp the constitution and a constant stream of compromise whichever of these idiots takes office.

When most people are polled with questions of policy, not party, their answers are decidedly Libertarian. And yet, pundits tell them that though most people feel this way, they "can't win" if they vote their conscience. Obviously, if they all voted their conscience, they would. The problem isn't with their principles, it's that they have allowed other people to control their vote. They've been taught by politicians that politics is a team sport, and that there are only two teams. That's the bullshit thinking I want to get rid of in politics. From my perspective, the problem here isn't that I'm voting my conscience... it's that you don't yet value your Liberty enough to break this cycle.

My position has nothing to do with a desire to sit back and smugly say "told you so" when you lose. It has nothing to do with my satisfaction.

In fact, I'm intensely dissatisfied. I would not be doing this otherwise. In all of History, change is only effected through dissatisfaction. Nobody ever changed the way things are by saying, "yeah, that's not so bad." They will just weather the next incremental usurpation of their rights like a frog who will sit there in a pot until cooked if you turn up the heat slowly enough.

I want the winner to fall far short of a majority.
I want voters to know that others are willing to vote their conscience.
I want ranked-choice voting as a means of encouraging people to vote for policy over "teams"
I want them dissatisfied enough with the current process to take action to make that happen.
I want you and others as dissatisfied as I am.
I want you so pissed off that you won't continue to be the frog in the pot.

But most of all, I want to accurately let my position be known so that whoever wins will know that it exists and at least has the opportunity to govern accordingly.

It's not just your kids that live in this country; it's mine, too. And they're ready to vote for a new party... one that will actually represent them. Neither the Republicans nor the Democrats have been here forever, and there's no reason why they should be. They have no Constitutional standing, and their demise has nothing whatsoever to do with the structure of this country. There is no fantasy involved in the promotion of a third party. It has happened before and it will happen again.

Given the crap-ass choices that we have this election, I will vote for my candidate so as to more accurately reflect that neither the Red nor Blue candidate is won because the country voted for them.

An election is not an office pool. The purpose of an election is so that the People may make their will known. It cannot serve that purpose when you don't vote your will. The current divisive state of affairs is because of it. The problem with Trump is that he is exactly as you described... he doesn't give a shit what you think, except as a means of telling you what you want to hear. He will do what he wants to do, checked only by an obstructionist Congress. The problem with the system is that the problem with Clinton is exactly the same problem as the problem with Trump.

You who say you believe in one thing and vote to support another will never have an opinion that matters, because you have never expressed one that can be believed. I will vote my conscience with no regret whatsoever, and leave the rearranging of the deck chairs on the Titanic to you. I'm willing to let you lose it all slowly through a "win" or quickly through a loss in order to gain back Liberty, maybe not in this election but the next. If you lose this election, then it is because you have not felt enough pain to get you to stop running down the same stupid rut you've been traveling. If you lose, it's because you need to lose. As for me, I will always choose Liberty.





Thursday, August 25, 2016

ATMadness

This actually makes sense.
Sometimes things are perceived as stupid, and that perception is the limit of the stupidity.  For instance, drive-through ATMs (banking machines) commonly have Braille text on the buttons. That seems ludicrous until you realize that walk-up tellers need to have them by law, and it's cheaper to make one kind of button for all of your machines. And suddenly it all makes sense.

So it's certainly possible that what I'm about to rail about is simply perceived stupidity. Nevertheless, as is often said, "Perception is Reality", and I'm having a hard time accepting any explanation for this as sane.

It's the ATM again. Not all of them... but a lot. Notably, mine.

When I put my card in my local cash machine, the first thing it displays is this message:

PLEASE WAIT WHILE WE SEARCH FOR YOUR ATM PREFERENCES

The very next thing it does is ask me for my language.


Now, I don't know about you, but I can't think of any preference of mine that's a more iconic example of a preference than my language. And yet, although the programmers of this machine have made a big show of retrieving my preferences, not one of them employed by this multi-million dollar operation thought to include it in the preferences which are the very first thing retrieved by the ATM.

Now, I'm a programmer myself, and one who's very interested in making his user interfaces as devoid of "surprise" as possible. Surprise is almost always bad. Remember the last time you were "surprised" by the Blue Screen of Death? Or how about an incessant parade of "Are you sure?" dialog boxes after you've already instructed the machine what you want? Surprise is good in pretty much one instance... where both of these conditions apply: 1. You don't have to do something you thought you were going to do, and 2. The computer did whatever it is you would have done had you done it yourself. Note that this is not what's happening here. Instead, I'm told that the machine is retrieving my preferences; then it blatantly proves that if it did anything of the sort, it did it incompletely and poorly.

If I were of a political bent (and I am), I would note the nature of the question and the fact that a great show is made of it. I would cynically conclude that the bank wants me to know that they care about providing multilingual services.

Never mind the fact that the only languages offered are English, Spanish, and French. The Korean dry cleaner (and get off my back, my dry cleaner IS Korean) may not be well served, and neither are any of the many Asians in town, but they care.

In Panama they use a lot of easy-to-interpret icons
Photo by ThinkPanama via Flickr
Never mind that once you've prepared your interface, adding new messages and labels are fairly simple, so you could have accommodated those Asians... and Russians... and Germans (there's a BMW plant down the road)...  and so on.

Never mind that if you actually stored language with preferences, then the interface is simplified and there's one less bothersome, unnecessary question between your users and their money.

Never mind that if you put yourself in the place of a world traveler that you'd be comforted and made to feel welcome by an interface that "knows" you and automatically accommodates you.

Never mind that if the bank did care... for real, and not for show, they'd make it so that you'd approach the ATM, slide in your card, and just work with it, comfortably, as you prefer.

It's important for you to know that they care... to see how much they care by having their caringness shoved in your face by making you select a language every single time you use your card. They want you to know that. It's far more important than your ease-of-use. And as a result they know your favorite color, but they don't know what to call it.

Now, I can see an argument that rests on the claim that perhaps someone else is using my card... someone who does not share my language. I can also see myself laughing in the face of the person who made that argument. If someone takes my card to use in an ATM without my supervision and doesn't speak my language, and this makes it more difficult for them to access my funds, then I count this as a bonus.

This is a Bank of America ATM login screen.
While it's *meh* OK, it can be further improved.
Photo by Salim Virji via Flickr

Note that an alternate, ever-so-slightly-less-stupid way of doing this that still puts the bank's ultra-mega-caringness in other people's faces is to simply put more than one OK button on the screen. Such as, "Press Here to Continue", "Appuyez ici pour continuer", etc. The bank is more limited in the number of languages they can present, but that was never the goal in the first place.

Saturday, August 20, 2016

Speech is Free; Tweets Aren't

ECNmag.com reports:

Last week, a federal judge dismissed a lawsuit against Twitter that accused the company of supporting Islamic State by allowing it to sign up for and use Twitter accounts. The judge agreed with Twitter that the company cannot be held liable because federal law protects service providers that merely offer platforms for speech, without creating the speech itself. At the same time, Twitter stressed that it was working to combat violent extremism on its service.
I think the suspensions are quite possibly a mistake. I'm not talking about any value judgments of the accounts that were deleted (although I think there's a hell of a lot of value in letting terrorists identify themselves). I think it was possibly a legal mistake. I think a savvy prosecuting attorney could argue in future cases that Twitter is not protected by federal law because it does not "merely offer platforms for speech without creating the speech itself." The reason is that Twitter is now exercising editorial discretion. Twitter picks and chooses the messages that are persistent, and those that are banned. In so doing, it creates an overall editorial message that could be regarded as original speech.

When you select what to print,
you also generate a new original message

I don't think Twitter can successfully argue that this is done merely in cases of terrorism and violent extremism. At least, in order to do so they have to resort to unique and shifting interpretations of "violent" and "extremism". By many reports, Twitter has banned or "shadow-banned" users for holding particular political opinions, notably peaceable conservative ones. And the abuse policies they cite are so vague that they could be paraphrased as "we'll ban you when we feel like it."

That could be a problem for them. This time, a judge bought the argument that Twitter is merely a platform for free speech. Next time they may not be so lucky.

I'll also hold you accountable if you act on it.


Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Innocence, Murder, and Gary Johnson


There has been an 800 pound gorilla in the room when it comes to my discussions of politics. It's not so much noticeable from the Left, but my acquaintances on the Right notice it big-time.
  1. I vocally express the opinion that Abortion is murder; 
  2. I vocally support Gary Johnson, the Libertarian candidate for President;
  3. Gary Johnson is unabashedly pro-Choice.
"How is it possible," I am asked, "that you can support this man for President."

Well, I'll tell you, but I'm going to get to it in my typically circuitous fashion.


That's the title of an excellent blog post by L. Jagi Lamplighter. Click the title to read it. I'll quickly summarize that in it, she recounts that she, as a Christian, opposes abortion; but that since her decision was the result of religious belief, she felt that she must support choice in deference to the First Amendment. An atheist friend of hers offered her a view of abortion that she had not considered. It is murder, for the purpose of convenience or expense rather than self-defense or the defense of others. He then asked, if that is OK, then why can't we murder our senile old grandparents rather than endure the inconvenience and expense of caring for them in their old age?

I had a similar question asked of me today. Upon sharing Lamplighter's post, I was asked if this line of thinking apply to the death penalty as well? Perhaps this was intended as a "gotcha" for the mean old right-winger who would presumably like nothing better than to kill off the criminals, but frankly I find Gandalf's admonition to Frodo to be compelling: "Many that live deserve death. And some that die deserve life. Can you give it to them? Then do not be too eager to deal out death in judgement. For even the very wise cannot see all ends." So my answer was "Should it not?"

And though I will not print my friend's name here in deference to his privacy, I will give you his response verbatim, because there is quite a lot packed into this short statement:
"There are so many easy ways to solve the abortion issue but too many groups on both sides are invested in fighting it that it will never be solved. We have forgotten how to compromise in this country."
I believe each of these three sentences carries a misconception: 1. This issue has easy solutions; 2. People are invested in fighting it; and 3. We've forgotten how to compromise. And this led us into the nature of compromise, and it will ultimately lead us back to my choice for President.

In the course of this conversation I pointed out that one form of compromise that has been discarded is to stop believing everything is the job of the Federal government. Murder itself is not a Federal offense unless committed on Federal land or against a Federal official. Some things... and particularly those things that are controversial... are best left to be decided closer to the People. That leaves open the opportunity for people to "vote with their feet", to join physically with like-minded individuals and be governed according to their local community standards. This is something that a central government cannot solve. Any attempt breeds dissent, as we've seen so often in the news.

I went on to say, "I can't help but observe that this is not a word that can be applied to the subject of death. Would you propose to half-kill someone? It's dead or not-dead." He suggested making abortion illegal but having the Right compromise on sex education ("so that children and young adults can make responsible decisions about sex") and agree to free birth control for all. I suspect he perceived this as another gotcha, because he concluded, "but both sides are unwilling to concede anything."

Now, I don't know about you, Reader, but I'm confident that I could talk any Pro-Life conservative in America into accepting those terms, Christian or not. An end to the murder of innocent children in exchange for the price of some free condoms? And sex education which, if it is to be responsible at all, must necessarily point out that a pregnancy means carrying a child to term?

I agreed immediately. But I wasn't sure he did. Obviously he thought it could never be acceptable instead of the being the slam-dunk it is. So I asked him outright if the Right agreed to every term he listed, did he think it would be acceptable to the Left?

Well, of course it wouldn't, because... and I'm going to make this as fair as possible again with a direct quote:
"Nothing is going to fly because, as I said before, no one is willing to compromise. We as a nation founded on compromise have forgotten how to do that. Your recent response proves that. Instead of discounting my argument why don't you offer a counter proposal? You can't because you are unwilling to compromise."
This is despite the fact that I had just acceded to every term he listed; despite the fact that I'm sure any conservative Christian would do the same given only a short explanation; and had already offered a counter-proposal of my own, that of leaving this issue at the level of the individual States.

This isn't limited to this guy, whom I have counted as a friend for many years (and still do!). Nor is he in any way disingenuous or evil. He does not recognize the heinous act of abortion as a heinous act. He believes sincerely that he is advocating Good. And he sincerely does not recognize the many compromises that have been made as compromises. He did not recognize a thing when it was laid before him on a silver platter.

Understand that my main point in what's to follow is not to declare "this side is right, that side is wrong," though I leave you with no doubt as to where my sympathies lie. Rather, it's to point out that this is a difficult issue on which the religious Right is not nearly so illogical and unbending as you on the Left may believe; and there are solid stone walls where you don't think they exist. If you've read Lamplighter's blog post, or even my summary, you know that it was the religious woman who was the pro-choicer, and the atheist who was not... and both were on purely rational grounds.

My friend alluded to the founding of our country in compromise. The fact is unassailable that this nation was founded in large part on the notion that there are rights that are unalienable... that cannot be compromised; that cannot be abridged. They structured the Federal government to be small and limited in scope, thereby allowing the People to make their own decisions in these matters, both for themselves and their communities. And though the right to Life was one of those unalienable rights specifically mentioned by the Founders, today's compromisers would have that read "unless it's inconvenient". I shared Lamplighter's blog because it puts the difficulty of this position in sharp relief.

And as to the matter of "compromise" and what we have forgotten... let's not lose sight of the form taken by the compromises of our Founders. Non-Federal control of Abortion is a huge compromise for those who believe that abortion is murder. It is as big a compromise as allowing slave-owning states was for the idealistic Founders. And it is hardest on those morally predisposed toward Life, just as it Slavery was morally hardest to accept for those predisposed toward Liberty. People berate our Founders because of their "hypocrisy" in allowing the slave trade. This is pure nonsense. They made a very hard decision to accept the best compromise they could negotiate.

Remember the arguments for Slavery... getting rid of it would be inconvenient: an expensive hardship. Slavery was a pro-choice argument: not pro-choice for the victims, of course... they had no say in the matter. But it was pro-choice for those who were privileged to make the choices. Today's abortionists make all the same noises. How might we think of them in a hundred years?

Let's hear no more nonsense about forgetting how to compromise. Local control is exactly the form of compromise that our Founders would and did choose.

--==//oOo\\==--

Now... back to Gary Johnson. Where does all of this rumination get me? Well, let's see...

Gary Johnson is a Libertarian. You can argue whether he's a "good" one or a "bad" one, but I think these things can be set aside for a moment. I think that at this moment in time it's more important to break the two-party stranglehold on government than it is to worry about the purity of your candidate's ideology. Once that has been done even once, even by a mediocre Libertarian, it will be easier to elect another, better Libertarian in the next election.

His positions are the correct ones far more often than not. For instance, the illegal Mexican population in the United States has been shrinking. And we can grant work visas and tax people without making them citizens. This is far more rational than trying to net 11 million hardworking people and build a billion-dollar wall with the money they send home to their poor families (money that won't exist when you catch them. See the funding problem?). And our country's drug laws have incarcerated millions of Americans who might otherwise be working and paying taxes. And for what? To control a substance that's less dangerous than the beer you can buy at a gas station.

Yes, we disagree on Abortion. But Libertarians can disagree... it's part of being Libertarian. And this is an honest disagreement. Yes, he's pro-choice. But as you will have read in Lamplighter's piece, that does not necessarily make a person pro-death. He's pro-choice on rational Libertarian grounds, just as I am pro-Life on rational Libertarian grounds. He is defending individual choice. I subscribe to the view that the non-aggression principle would have me defend defenseless innocents, of which none are more defenseless or innocent than the unborn. (I've blogged about this previously here, and here, among others)

Gary Johnson will not make it worse.  As a Libertarian, he's more likely to listen to opposing views and take them into account. And he really can't screw it up. Abortion is already legal. Partial-birth abortions are already performed. And changing this on a national level by sheer force of will is beyond the ability of a President. Selecting a new Supreme Court Justice is important for sure, but depending upon this to overturn Abortion on a national level is... well... less likely to succeed than Gary Johnson's Presidential bid. But what is more likely to succeed is returning more power to the States in respect of the Tenth Amendment. In the end, this is more generally beneficial than the abortion litmus test alone.

Remember the Founders' compromise on Slavery. If they had held out for the purity of their vision, there would be no United States of America as we know it. Instead, they took a longer view. In the Constitution they explicitly put off any action against the Slave Trade until 1808, at which point they quickly banned the importation of slaves. But it took many more decades and a Civil War to rid us of this immoral institution. I believe we can rid ourselves of another immoral institution without a war, but it will require that we adopt a long-term vision as did the Founders. What's broken here far more than our country's laws is its heart. There is no "easy" fix for that.






Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Wisdom


Today, while my son was signing up for additional educational debt, I asked him, "Now that you have a degree, are you still impressed by them?"

His response: "No, not really."

That statement made me so proud. If he learns nothing but this, then his time in college was worth it.


--==//oOo\\==--

My house is full of books. All but a smattering of them have been read. I think that learning is a wonderful thing. And it sometimes surprises people when I express my opinion that a college education does not benefit everyone and that it doesn't benefit society in the slightest to require it of everyone or shame those who do not pursue it.

Nothing drives this home more effectively than actually going to college -- even for a while -- and paying attention while you're doing it. I think that for some people, nothing demonstrates the severe limitations of a college education more than getting one. Education is neither intelligence nor knowledge. Achieving a degree is the beginning of an education, not the end of one. It is not an indicator of encyclopedic knowledge of a subject. It's only an indicator that you have been instructed in how to approach the subject and demonstrated that you have absorbed this to your instructors' satisfaction... maybe only marginally so. But frankly, it doesn't indicate whether you have actually done so.

If you have an education, understand that anything you got in a classroom can be gotten outside of it. As you should well know, your own education took place inside your head or not at all. You have no idea what is in someone else's head until you talk with them, and their ideas are to be judged on their own merits. There are people who treat a degree as a table of contents for their brain, and who act as though the lack of a degree is the same as a lack of content. Don't be that person... sooner, rather than later, you will regret it.

If you don't have a higher education, or can't afford it, don't let that stop or discourage you in the least. Do not let it diminish your confidence. The Internet and your library are full of resources. The rest is supplied by you alone. But once you have established that you want to learn, then the very next thing you should do... something that embarrassingly few college students master... is to learn to reason. Before you apply your mind to anything else it's vitally important that you learn about logical fallacies; about the application of reason; about the scientific method; about the difference between religion and superstition; about Rhetoric. These should be required learning in the first year at any college, and they are not. I am not exaggerating when I tell you that this gives you a huge advantage. Do not let a degree intimidate you when you believe the person holding it is wrong. Make them prove their point. Appeal to authority is not proof.

The title of this piece is "Wisdom", but it contains no wisdom; rather, it's about wisdom. It's a reminder that the beginning of wisdom is a greater respect for ideas than authority. You don't know anything about a person until you've talked to them with respect. That goes for everyone.




Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Bad Meme about Bad Presidents


I've seen this meme (on the right) floating around quite a bit lately:

"Y'ever notice the people who think that Trump will be a bad president are the same people who thought that Obama will be a good one?"

Well, duh... that goes without saying. Obama's a Democrat and Trump's running as a Republican. It's not even an interesting observation. It's certainly not thought-provoking.

It's also not entirely true. Look... we know that memes use absolutes for dramatic effect, so we have to just infer qualifiers like "some", "many", or "most" (though which one you infer is subjective). But the far more interesting observation is that many of the people who thought Obama would be a bad president also think that Trump would be a bad one. Those people foresaw the narcissism, the inexperience, the self-aggrandizement, and the willingness to ignore the legislative process and rule of law that Obama brought to the White House. They have a proven track record predicting bad presidents. And they see exactly those same tendencies in both Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton.

And here's a corollary I have noticed... that many of the people who think that Obama's a bad president want to elect an unqualified narcissist who is very much like him in many important respects. They would follow up what they think is a bad president with another bad one... only this time it's ok because he's on their side.

It has nothing to do with policies or sense... common or otherwise. It's pure Team politics, rooting for the Red or the Blue without regard to anything but "winning". Of course, "winning" doesn't ever have to be defined. Trump certainly never does it. But he'll tell you when you're winning, and there will be "so much winning" that you'll be tired of it. Don't think about it.

So little thought is necessary in Team Politics that you might want to imagine those words -- and most "insightful" political comments -- emblazoned over an image of Jim Carrey's persona from Dumb and Dumber instead.

In the South, we could just replace
that bottom part with
"BLESS YOUR HEART"
and it would mean the same thing.
Or you might consider whether the actor whose image you're using actually endorses your views. After all, anybody can stick some words on a picture. I found this with a Google search on "Sam Elliott politics":

By the way, that same search turned up links that claimed that Sam Elliott's politics are "none of your business" or that he's conservative; but also that he himself declares he's pro-choice. I don't know what his politics actually are; but he sounds like a man who speaks out to the issues, and doesn't cheer for the team.