Random thoughts and links

November 12, 2016

Most of this will be about the election, but first I want to note the passing of one of my favorite song writers, Leonard Cohen. He wrote a lot of good songs, but since everyone else is linking to them, I decided to link to an affectionate parody.

To all the people having the vapors over Trump’s win: his victory was not really about racism. It’s less that Trump won and more that Clinton lost. He got fewer votes than Romney, but she got a lot fewer votes than Obama. Hillary was a lot better at motivating her opponents than her supporters.

Speaking of his supporters, I expect that many of them will sound like Wash’s Stegosaurus before a year or two have gone by. I hope that’s true of the so-called “alt-right” that was so vocal in his support.

And speaking of the “alt-right”, it’s important to see that that movement is just standard left-wing identity politics, but pro-white instead of anti-white. Maybe the people who have been pushing identity politics will be able to see how ugly it is now that it’s pointed at them.

I wasn’t expecting that

November 10, 2016

So Donald Trump won after all. I agree with Larry Correia:

I’m not happy Trump won, but I’m ecstatic that Hillary lost.

He says our choice was between Brain Cancer and Colon Cancer, and Colon Cancer came out on top. I was thinking about this analogy, and, well, I already survived colon cancer once. Hopefully our nation will survive this.

Moral voting

November 6, 2016

While I firmly believe that the time will come that we will each appear before God’s judgement seat to give an accounting of our deeds, I won’t be surprised if he never asks who we voted for in any election. Much of the polarization in our politics comes from people believing that their political opinions make them morally superior to those who vote differently.

Of course we should take our responsibility to vote seriously, and prayerfully select those we feel would best fill the positions. This doesn’t mean, though, that other people won’t equally prayerfully come to different conclusions. We should have the humility to acknowledge that we might be wrong, or at least that those who disagree with us are sincere and not evil.

I chose to vote for Evan McMullin (I did the early voting thing on Thursday) but I understand the arguments for the other candidates, and I don’t think my choice makes me morally superior to anyone. More than who you vote for, the moral choice is to respect the choices of others.

It’s what they do

October 4, 2016

A few months back, a young student at the University of Texas was walking back to her dorm after a late rehearsal (she was studying dance) and a mentally disturbed, homeless teenager killed her. It was a sad and tragic event for everyone involved.

But of course, the response of a bureaucracy to everything is to Do Something™. So now the building where I work is covered with posters.

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I don’t know how much it cost to print these posters and attach them to all the walls, but I’m sure we can all agree it was money well spent.

Write in

July 26, 2016

I’m thinking of starting a write-in campaign for Michael Jordan. Or maybe for Dallas Police Chief David Brown. Either one strikes me as an improvement over anyone who’s been nominated.

Acculturation

July 19, 2016

One of the issues that has helped Trump win the nomination is immigration. Immigration isn’t the problem, though, it’s the failure to assimilate. Instead of expecting people who come here from other countries to embrace American ideals and values, most of the leading voices in our nation tell them that such an expectation is racism or imperialism, and that immigrants should cling tightly to their foreign identities. This sort of thing just enhances the tribalism I worried about in my last post.

In contrast, consider this by Sarah Hoyt, an immigrant from Portugal:

Here’s the thing: acculturation is not easy.  As much as I was in love with American ideals, getting used to the way people do things every day; getting used to the way people interact, when I came from a highly formal gender/class divided society; getting used to the food; learning the history; learning the popular culture; learning why and how and when things were done — all that was massively difficult.  Not intellectually but at a baseline, gut level.  It was important and difficult, and sometimes I felt as if I were being mentally torn about.  There weren’t many days the first five years that I wasn’t homesick to the point of pain for the familiar sights and the big city I’d left behind, while I was stuck in Rock Hill South Carolina.  (And yes, part of that is that I am and will always be a city girl.)

If there were any way to avoid acculturating while reaping the benefits of being American, I’d have done it.  But I wanted to BE American and so I put myself through untold pain.

Change is hard, but if you make a change in where you live you should also expect to make other changes. Why did you leave, if you didn’t see something better in the place you left for?

Tribes

July 10, 2016

3 Nephi 7:2–3:

And the people were divided one against another; and they did separate one from another into tribes, every man according to his family and his kindred and friends; and thus they did destroy the government of the land.

And every tribe did appoint a chief or a leader over them; and thus they became tribes and leaders of tribes.

It feels like our society is following the same path as the Nephites. We’re relating to people more according the identity groups they belong to than as fellow human beings. This won’t end well unless we reverse it.

We see this in the tragic shootings this past week. There are bad cops out there, in two different senses of “bad”. There are evil cops, people who enjoy asserting authority over others, or who are corrupt, or who judge people by their skin color or other characteristics. There are also incompetent cops, people without the temperament or training to choose well in the kind of stressful situations police often find themselves in. There are undoubtably cops that fall into both categories. The burden of bad policing, like most bad things in this imperfect world, falls disproportionally on the Black community, but if we treat all cops as oppressors the resulting chaos and lawlessness will also disproportionally harm the Black community. The appropriate response to bad policing is to improve policing (as the Dallas police chief—who is black—has been trying to do) and not to target cops indiscriminately.

Another example of tribalism is what I was discussing in my last post. Too many Democrats see Republicans as the enemy, and support Hillary Clinton out of fear that their rival tribe will come out victorious. Too many Republicans support Trump for the same reason, with the tribes reversed. Neither side sees the other as fellow humans and judges them as individuals by their actions instead of by their affiliation.

There’s a famous Peanuts cartoon where Linus says, “I love mankind. It’s the people I can’t stand.” However, we need to love people as individuals, and see them as more than just members of groups.