I hate people.

(sometimes is implied, but now is one of those sometimes, so….. )

Is there any reason I really need to deal with people? Is there a law? Can I just be a hermit?

I know I’m not the only one. People are complaining about having to learn online, as if the way we taught before was ideal. People learn in different ways. So, the way it was couldn’t have been working for everyone. Some might like online better, but the ones who don’t are screaming the loudest. “So some people die,” they think or say, “but my child can’t adapt. He or she will fall behind. And also, I don’t know how to teach.” First, yes, we do have to put together some of that ingenuity we brag about in the US to solve the problem. There may be better ways to do online learning. But let’s also acknowledge that children are more resilient than adults. Kids can adapt. They weren’t learning the old way because it was best or because they like it better, they were doing it because that’s how adults told them to. They didn’t have a choice.

Socializing is important. Unless you want to be a hermit, like I do, but school isn’t the only place to socialize people, and certainly not the safest place, these days, and not everyone’s socialization experience in school is positive. What if they aren’t popular? What if they don’t have friends?

I’m reminded of that Lewis Black routine where he’s talking about this lifesized Barbie doll they were selling that was designed so that your kid could wear Barbie’s clothes.  “That is,” he says, “Unless your kid is too fat!”

Or what if they’re bullied? What if they just hate school for any other reason?

They are trapped in something they didn’t design. Now they’re trapped in something different that they didn’t design. What’s the big deal? Can we just go with the flow. The pandemic has thrown us a curve.

It could work better for some that’s all I’m saying.  And the others can adjust their swing.

We could stand to re-evaluate how we teach and learn, and maybe this is just the push that we need.

Why complain about having to learn online, when often we weren’t even learning in person (and spending a hell of a lot of time in school to not learn). We push STEM on people who are going to quit it at the first opportunity, and meanwhile those with potential in STEM have to suffer through classes with those who couldn’t care less.

I hate school too. School sucks. It sucked when I was in it, and it sucked up until this pandemic. We spend too much time learning things we could learn in less time and that we often don’t need. By the time we’re done, we go get a job that 73 times out of 100 doesn’t relate to what we studied.

I don’t know why all this means I hate people. I guess it’s cause most people don’t see it that way.

And that’s just one example of things that I see differently than other people. I’m tired of it.

I’m not saying people need to agree with me, I’m just saying I hate them if they don’t.

Kidding.

I’m sure some of the two of you who read my blog agree with me, or at least see my point or accept it without judgment*. And if you don’t, if you like me, for some reason, then I like you too. Especially when you’re out there in the cloud and I can’t be sure you’re real. That makes it easier.

 

*that said, it just occurs to me that one of my recent two readers used to teach in the NYC system – I read your posted bio. Please don’t take offense, I’m generalizing. I had some great teachers. Teachers are beautiful people. Mostly. I will say that the schools I liked the best were the ones with the worst reputations. Those were the schools where the teachers had more freedom to be innovative, I guess, because they had to. Necessity is the mother of invention don’t you know?

My Vote Was Stolen

I don’t trust the results. Because election tampering can and has gone on in previous years and officials defend such practices which suggests intent. The Republican Secretary of State in Ohio, Jon Husted allowed the security features of his state’s electronic voting machines, the feature that makes it difficult to hack and possible to check the results, off. When sued over it he argued to the Republican judge who ruled on the case that it would cause Havoc. Yeah, because people would know that the election was stolen!  The judge ruled in his favor.  That was this year, 2016. This is in addition to under-supplying machines to democratic districts so that the lines are unreasonably line while republican precincts have no lines. Maybe that’s one of the reasons the polls underestimated turnout. Or maybe they didn’t, and the results overestimated the votes.

This is election tampering. And it happened this year. So I’m not even talking about what happened in Ohio in 2004 which gave the election to Bush, or what happened in 2000 with voting machines that counted negative total votes for Gore in Florida (but the total number of votes for both candidates was right), or the purging of eligible voters from the rolls, which occurred in Florida in 2000 as well as Ohio in 2016.

It  makes me suspicious. It makes me wonder why the polls, exit polls even, are always consistently underestimating my candidate. The explanations for this include that maybe exit pollers lie. Why would exit pollers lie? Would they want people to think that their candidate cheated?

Proof that it goes on.  Strange results where polling is inconsistent with the actuals. In GA, where I vote, the year electronic machines were introduced we went completely red. Prior to this we had a democratic governor and one senator. And in races since then, like Jason Carter’s run for Governor when the polls suggested it would be close enough for a runoff he lost by a big margin.

So, no, I can’t prove that the election was stolen, or that tampering made the difference, but I don’t trust the results, because they aren’t trustworthy.

What do we do about it?

it would be quite logical to throw out the results, and have a new election. We have a right to know that the results are accurate. If we can’t now that, if audit features were turned off, if there’s evidence that eligible voters are being denied their rights to vote, if obstruction of the vote us purposeful, if there is a history of election tampering, then what else should we do? Revolution? Or has that already happened? Maybe we need to defend our country.

We Need Pessimists

We need to recruit the pessimists to our cause, the ones who have a hard time believing that anything can be done, the ones that don’t want to invest in something that is futile.

I am reminded of something that I believe MLK Jr said that when they recruited someone to non-violence who hadn’t previously bought into it that those were the most fervent of their recruits. And I get that.

We don’t just want the people who are committed to doing something no matter what, we need the people who don’t do things when they believe it’s futile. We need them to believe that what we are doing is not futile. They are discriminating, and don’t want to waste their time unless it can be effective, so they are the most likely to be effective, if you can get them on board. They have vision, they have foresight, that’s why they are pessimistic, but it’s also why they understand what needs to be done to be effective. We need the people who are optimistic too, they don’t get as easily discouraged, they keep our spirits up, they help us when we are down, but we need the pessimists to drive us with their critical thinking.

We want to keep trying, and we don’t want to stop just because we aren’t sure we’re going to win, but we also want to have our best shot at winning. We don’t want to just work to make ourselves feel better, to feel like we fought the good fight, or that we are not to blame for the outcome. That won’t work. Because it feels bad to lose, even if we don’t feel like it was our fault, and who’s to say we won’t blame ourselves anyway?

The Popular Vote

I would like people to start supporting the idea that the president should be elected not by the electoral college but by a national popular vote. For the following reasons:

  1. There’s no real fair reason why an individual who lives in a less populous state should have more influence than an individual in a more populous state, or put another way, that any individual should have MORE VOTES than another individual, which is what happens for residents of Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, Wyoming, and Vermont. Those states have 3 electorates which means that they have a big enough population for the minimum 1 house representative. California, with 55 delegates, has a big enough population for 53 house representatives, which means there are at least 53 times more people in the bigger state (I say at least because every state gets at least one house representative even if their population is below the amount that 1 usually represents). Yet if you take 55 and divide it by 3 you find they only have 18 1/3 more delegates. 53 times the population and less than 19 times the votes.  This means that voters in those less populous states get almost 3 votes to every 1 vote that residents of CA get.
  2. A friend of mine on the other side of this issue argues that the concerns and perspectives of rural residents would be neglected for the interests of the urban if the president was elected by popular vote. But in fact there are democrats and republicans in rural and urban areas. If NY were to go 60% Democrat, and Ohio, say, goes 51% Republican, it does not leave residents of Ohio underrepresented. 49% of them will still have voted for the winner, by allying themselves with New Yorkers, and if this gets a majority overall, then that seems to me to be perfectly fair. The opposite does not. It shortchanges a still significant percentage of Ohio residents that voted with the majority. In fact, it is the representatives of states who are typically either reliably red or blue that are neglected and for whose concerns there is no incentive for a candidate to address. NY is one of the States with the highest population but was the one in which candidates spent the least money in this latest presidential race. Democrats take them for granted, and Republicans write them off. If there was a popular vote for president, every vote can contribute to the potential result. Every vote in every state will matter to the candidates. Candidates might try to reduce the margin of their opponent, in a state they know they will lose.
  3. It would increase participation. Right now the only votes that count are the votes in swing states. The citizens of all other states, both red and blue, feel like their votes don’t matter, because once you acknowledge the foregone conclusion, an extra vote on either side means nothing. It discourages participation.
  4. It may encourage moderate candidates. The incentive to cater to voters in areas that are typically  not your base can lead to less polarization by region and an interest in pleasing a wider demographic. It might favor more moderate candidates, more holistic policy, rather than the extremes of both parties that typically play better only to limited audiences.
  5. Fraud will be harder to execute. There has been quite a bit of evidence of election tampering in the last few elections, around the vulnerability of electronic voting machines, around the withholding of machines in certain districts to make it harder to vote, around the purging of voting rolls under the pretense of fraud in an attempt to actually deny legitimate voters their rights and around the counting of provisional ballots or absentee ballots (or not) to name a few. Whether you are willing to entertain these facts, or whether you dismiss them as conspiracy theory, the fact is that the electoral college makes it easier to affect a lot of delegates by manipulating the totals of relatively small amount in swing states, Fraud would have to occur on a much wider scale to affect the popular vote, and should therefore be less profitable to even try, or more easily detectable except when the election is very close on a national scale. It would provide an added level of protection against the effectiveness of any real or potential election tampering.

Changing how the president is elected does not change the senate. There is still disproportionate representation in the senate which would give voice to rural interests, and I’m not proposing that we change that.

This  may seem to be an almost impossible thing to change, given that a constitutional amendment would require ¾ of all states to ratify it, and so many states of lower population benefit from the electoral college. But interestingly, ten states have already entered into a compact to pledge their delegates to the candidate that wins the popular vote over all, set to go into effect only when enough states have signed on as to guarantee a majority. This would negate the need for a constitutional amendment, because states are allowed to pledge their delegates by whatever means they choose.

This compact would be in the interest of all states that are reliably either red or blue, in that it would force candidates to pay attention to them. Some states might see it as a risk that democrats are more likely to be the beneficiaries, but in 2004 Kerry was very close to winning Ohio, which would have given him the victory, and there is now good evidence that election tampering affected the outcome and Ohio should have gone to Kerry. However, Bush won the popular vote that year, and so assuming the tampering wasn’t significant enough to affect millions of votes, the rule would have benefited the Republican party. I also think this rule would benefit moderate republicans, those fiscal conservatives who aren’t tea partiers, racist or evangelical, because as argued above, moderate republicans would have a better chance at appealing to Republican and Democrat alike from places where the majority is historically skeptical of their views, and less aware of their perspectives.

My only concern with this is that the first time NY has to pledge its delegates to the candidate that they don’t want, they might question their principles and they only need a majority to leave the compact. It could all collapse a little bit too easily. But it is a step in the right direction and maybe if the compact survives long enough, a constitutional amendment could be achieved, just to make official what will have already been established in practice.

 

It’s My Fault That Trump is President

So what I vote. I could get mad at a person because he didn’t vote or voted for a third party or voted for Trump.

But it would be hypocritical of me to blame others.

I made a career out of something irrelevant. I might as well have been a janitor. There’s no shame in it, no shame in supporting your family, no shame in helping to keep the economy going, but that’s the extent of what I do; I keep a machine running. It’s a machine that feeds people, sure, it’s important, but it doesn’t change the world.

Would I have been good at it, speaking my mind, perhaps, adding my voice to those who fight the good fight? Maybe I would have changed only a single mind; maybe that mind would have reached a million. Maybe I could have become a representative myself. But I didn’t try, so I don’t know.

I don’t believe half of the things people say they hate Hillary Clinton for. The Republicans who hate her are hypocrites if they didn’t also hate W. Bush. I supported Sanders, and I wasn’t particularly fond of the way in which it seemed that she conspired with the DNC against him. I didn’t like that she voted to give Bush the authority to go to war in Iraq, or how she didn’t support gay marriage when it wasn’t politically expedient to do so. She changed her positions, that’s not bad, that could be good, if it’s because she listens to reason, but it sometimes seemed like it was based on public opinion and it casts doubt upon whether I can believe what she says she believes in now. She’s a friend to big money. She is a military hawk whose support of the Arab Spring was a failure. I always felt she was too conservative, which is why I don’t fully understand why they don’t like her. Among my friends there was an epidemic of wishful thinking that she would be more progressive as President than she has ever been. Their blindness to who she, however, pales in comparison to the blindness of Trump supporters to who he really is, except for those who support him because they actually believe in who he really is, which is an even bigger problem.

I hope now that there is reaction. Maybe more people will get involved. Maybe the democratic party put someone up who really is progressive, another woman, even, someone who has integrity, and who has consistently spoken her mind regardless of popular opinion.

I’ve thought that before. How far do we have to fall before we hit rock bottom? I hope this is it.

I really do think I am at fault. I have become a fraction of the musician I decided a long time ago not to be because I felt a calling to service that I never acted on. I could have been a good musician, but instead I’m half assed. And that sacrifice was supposed to be for something. And while I gave up music and acting, things I liked, supposedly for this yearning to do something I considered less selfish and more important, I ended up as an accountant, which is even less important, though maybe not selfish. On the other hand, it has exposed me to conservatives, and brought me to the south, where there are perspectives to understand and opinions I ought to be pressed to change. Maybe everything happens for a reason. But when am I going to do something? I don’t even know how to respond to people who I know are full of shit, because I am not armed with the facts, because I don’t keep myself informed.

And right now, I don’t feel like talking. I only want to listen and try to understand it. I don’t know why but I feel like that would be a comfort. Maybe it is because understanding is the prerequisite to a plan. Maybe that feels like I’m doing something. And when it’s time, when I’m ready, I can still say what I want. We haven’t lost that right, yet and I don’t plan to give it up (they can pry it from my cold dead mouth).

For now, I don’t want to judge anyone. I can’t control them, they live by their consciences. I live by mine.

If my way is superior, if I am smarter than they are, then I should not judge them because their best is not as good as my best or because I failed to convince them of something or didn’t even try. And if my way is not superior and I am not as smart as I think, then I shouldn’t push a view that would be inferior. Either way I should take a step back and listen, as hard as it may be to do, and first understand other people’s points of view. Talking, at least right now, at least for me, probably wouldn’t end well anyway. I might take to calling half the country retarded, but what would be the point? It’s not their fault. We are all to blame. We are all to blame. We are all to blame.

If you don’t believe that we are all to blame I must ask you, do you really think you have done everything you could have done your entire life to make sure that the world is a better place? Some can absolve themselves because they have devoted themselves to a cause. But the vast majority cannot.

Thomas Jefferson: Eternal Vigilance is the Price of Liberty.

George Washington: Happiness and moral duty are inseparably connected.