Political Pendulum

For those who value character and honesty, politics has become increasingly depressing. To put it mildly. There never really was any hope the enthralled and craven Republican members of Congress would defy their cult leader. It’s a pity the Democrats didn’t play their hand better, but at least we got the asterisk in the history book.

And then we get kicked in the nuts by Iowa in what, make no mistake, was a stunning case of incompetence and stupidity. This was an unforced double (or triple) error I’ll rant about more when I learn more details.

One thing is clear: This is going to be a very strange — and no doubt very ugly — 2020 political season.

I’ll start with that I am not a fan of Bernie Sanders. To be blunt, I wish grandpa would stop yelling and go to bed. He has absolutely no business being in this campaign.

Firstly, it is not ageist to not want an 80-year-old man as POTUS. It would also not be ageist to reject a 16-year-old. We can rationally reject extremes without prejudice.

Just consider what the stress of the office does to younger men. (At least those 44 that took it seriously.) Just compare pictures of any modern (serious) President before and after their term.

Secondly, speaking of rejecting extremes, the last thing this country needs right now is another ideologue.

That Sanders doesn’t step out and put his massive support behind a better candidate reveals his ego and ideology. (That many of his supporters likely wouldn’t go along with it scares me.) He’s another POTUS-45: “No one but me can fix it.”

Such conceit.


And I’m afraid Elizabeth Warren gets the (very definite) thumbs down from me for also being an ideologue. Why would anyone think that’s a good idea right now?

We’re in this mess, in part, because the country swung too far left and people on the right rebelled. Losing was bad enough, but modern culture tended to either ignore or actively disdain them. Little wonder they are pissed.

And believe me it irks me to have to say this, but right now, until we heal and get our shit together, maybe what we need is a very boring, very conventional, very centrist POTUS.

We should, firstly, heal the country, which necessarily means meeting in the middle. Secondly, we must repair our reputation around the world. Thirdly, focus on infrastructure, education, equality, jobs, and uplift. Once we’re healthy and ticking along, we can think about the fun stuff again.


I do appreciate the more centrist approaches of Joe Biden, Pete Buttigieg, and Minnesota’s own Amy Klobuchar.

I think Ol’ Joe should put down the torch. (In the first debate, when his age came up, he said he was still going to carry the torch.) Call it what you want, but I want a younger POTUS. (Is it ageist when I’m old? I don’t want an old guy because I know old from the inside.)

Which leaves “Mayor Pete” and “Our Amy” — which I think would make an awesome combined ticket. Two good centrist Midwestern souls, good political experience, and one with a military background.

A Road to an Inclusive Future!

Whadda ya think? Good ticket?

§ §

I’ll write more about politics down the road (as I did in 2016, for all the good it did). For now I want to focus on the socio-political pendulum.

It famously swings back and forth: The “Roaring Twenties” gave way to a conservative 1940s and 1950s. But the pendulum swung back to the hippie revolution of the 1960s and 1970.

So it goes.

As children react to their parents — either rejecting or embracing their ideas — generations also react to the perceived issues and advantages of previous generations.

But why doesn’t the pendulum ever settle down in the middle?

I think it’s because there’s a positive feedback effect.

In the exact middle, it’s balanced on the razor’s edge — pushed and pulled equally by forces on both sides.

If it does deflect to one side, now more people, including those in the center, exist to exert force to pulling it back. The tendency will be for it to overshoot which means more people on the other side exerting force.

One key is that the center tends to act in concert with the losing side — possibly why many independents voted for P45. Generally, the more the pendulum swings, the more force exists to pull it back. Historically, this leads to a society that hovers generally around the middle point.

Another key is that, unlike a real pendulum, there’s no damping on the socio-political pendulum. In the real thing, friction damps out the energy. Without a supply of new energy, the pendulum slows and stops.

But the modern world makes the system chaotic. Small inputs result in wild output swings. The system acts like it has positive feedback, and the pendulum swings can become more and more extreme.

At some point the mechanism probably breaks.


Getting back to ideologues, if you think about a pendulum making extreme swings, those swings tend to meet at the top. (At least until those extreme swings break the thing.)

Minus a few details, there often isn’t much difference between those on the extreme left and those on the extreme right. Both tend to be exclusionary. As centrist, I find them both repellent.

[I likewise see hard-core theists and atheists as essentially the same. Extreme positions have a weird way of wrapping around and almost touching.]

History makes it pretty clear that middle of the road is the stable position for a society. No one totally gets their way (so no one is thrilled), but no one is completely left out, either.

With the needle pushed to either side, someone always gets disenfranchised.

And here’s the thing: If we really truly believe in American values — if we really truly believe in the ideals at the heart of us — then we have to support enfranchising everyone with a good heart as best as we can.


That “good heart” part is important. Citizens — good citizens, anyway —are required to participate. We have no call to enfranchise crooks or cons.

How a society deals with those who refuse to participate says a lot about that society. Options include second chances, attempts to change behaviors, punishment, banishment, or in some cases, even death.

One of our values is “once a citizen always a citizen” so we don’t banish people. (Australia is occupied now, anyway, and we’re not quite ready to banish people to, say, Mars. Or even the Moon.)

Maybe, given our need for infrastructure work of all kinds (from cleaning to construction), we should think about making Community Service more of a thing.

§ §

It says a lot about our culture these days that such a blatant con man was able to steal the Presidency. It says even more about us that about a third of us are still deluded about this monster.

Or, if not deluded, so incredibly blindly partisan — so cult enthralled, or maybe so stupidly angry — that they’re willing to shoot their noses off to spite their faces. They’ll tear down America because they don’t like their lot.

At the least, if we want this shit to stop, we — yes, we, all of us — need to pull our heads out of our asses and start participating. We need to stop letting culture make us stupid.

We need to learn to share the road and drive forward.

Stay centered, my friends!

About Wyrd Smythe

The canonical fool on the hill watching the sunset and the rotation of the planet and thinking what he imagines are large thoughts. View all posts by Wyrd Smythe

53 responses to “Political Pendulum

  • Wyrd Smythe

    Another metaphor that strikes me is of a plane in a steep dive. If we don’t pull up soon, it’s all going to be a moot point.

  • SelfAwarePatterns

    I’m purposefully limiting how much attention I pay to politics, mostly as a mental health defense.

    I do know I’ll vote for whoever wins the Democratic nomination. While I wouldn’t mind seeing the country take a leftward turn, I agree that a far left candidate would result in a bad year for the Democrats.

    I’ve also been keeping an eye on Bloomberg. A lot of Democrats rule him out because he’s rich, but I don’t share the loathing most liberals have for business people, and I’m impressed by how fast he’s managed to organize a campaign. And he’s relentlessly attacking Trump.

    I think a lot of what’s happening right now is a reaction to globalization. It’s why we see it happening in so many different countries, a nationalistic backlash by people losing under the economic changes. That almost no one is actually addressing this leaves me feeling pretty hopeless that we’ll pull out of it anytime soon.

    • Wyrd Smythe

      In a way, the core problem is our own success as a species combined with our tendency to leap first then look. Our success led to a huge population that requires a large economy, and that economy benefits itself from globalization.

      There was no clearer sign of our mistake than a legal ruling by the SCOTUS that corporations are effectively people with rights. Or that we’ve allowed “too big to fail” to be a real thing — a valid thing, since we’ve become dependent on many sectors of that economy.

      Toss in an increasing rate of technological change. Add a dash of secularism that undermines moral values and promotes interests of the self. Fold in a billion-dollar entertainment industry dedicated to amusing us to death. Amplify social differences to create a polarized society using a global communications system that links and gives power to fringe groups. Undermine, in so many ways, the very idea that facts matter…

      And we’re in a real pickle. I’m not sure this isn’t the end of the American experiment. The rate at which it’s been getting worse is accelerating. We’ve gotten numb to it. Or we’re ignoring it. I don’t think we can just assume it will get better.

      Maybe it’s inevitable and, to mix metaphors, all we can do is fiddle while the ship sinks.

      Maybe (as some suspect regarding climate change) we’ve already hit the iceberg. The only question now is how many can be saved — what can be saved of “life as we knew it.”

      One irony here is that the very group who has fought so long for the right to bear arms explicitly in order to fight a corrupt or tyrannical government is the group dumb enough to fall for the con man. They actually support the corrupt tyrant.

      It’s depressing and enraging, but at least I can vent. It helps. A little.

      The trouble with Bloomberg (or any minor candidate, and this really gives me pause regarding Klobuchar) is the potential of wasting a vote. In the primary, I mean. Especially when the field is large, votes get diluted. It’s why I wish Sanders and Biden (and even Warren) would drop out and put their resources behind what’s truly good for the country rather than Sanders, Biden, or Warren.

      I was glad to see Buttigieg did so well in Iowa. If he, or Klobuchar, became really viable, I’d gladly vote for one of them. I probably will anyway, but I also probably won’t decide until Primary day. And, as you say, obviously I’m voting Democrat. No way I’d waste a vote on an Independent this time. There’s no luxury to do anything other than beat P45 as decisively as possible.

      I do agree relentlessly attacking trump is key. Even more than 2018, this election is about what kind of country we want to be anymore.

      • SelfAwarePatterns

        Bloomberg has been rising steadily in the national polls, but by the time we finally get to states where he’s on the ballot, it might too late for him. Hopefully he keeps punching Trump even if he’s not the nominee.

        Louisiana doesn’t vote until April, by which point it might be over. I won’t decide who I’ll vote for until much closer to then (or if I’ll even bother with the primary this year).

      • Wyrd Smythe

        Our primary is March 3, so it will be interesting. I’d really like to vote for Our Amy, but it’s quite a few weeks to go yet. I’m pretty sure it’ll be Klobuchar or Buttigieg. Or, I suppose, if Bloomberg seems really viable by then, he’d be an option.

        Definitely won’t be Sanders, no way. Almost equally won’t be Warren. I’d be okay with Biden, but would really prefer someone younger and who is hauling less freight. I have a sense that, as relative new-comers, Klobuchar and Buttigieg might be slightly smaller targets for Republican bullshit. They’ll try to do to Biden what they did to Hillary Clinton in 2016 (and 2008).

      • SelfAwarePatterns

        You’re voting on Super Tuesday. Have fun with that media frenzy.

        That will actually be the first time Bloomberg is on the ballot. Hey may only look viable if no one else is dominating the moderate faction yet.

        It is striking that so many of the candidates are in their upper 70s.

        On Republican attacks, I fear we’ll see them regardless. They’ll use dog whistle attacks against Buttigieg for being gay, Klobuchar for being female, or Bloomberg for being a New Yorker (despite Trump’s origins), but I think they’d really have a field day with Sanders.

      • Wyrd Smythe

        One nice thing about living in a small suburb on the outskirts of the lesser of the Twin Cities is that the local License Bureau (DMV, etc) and my polling place are rarely crowded. I rarely wait any length of time, if I wait at all. (And being retired, I can pick an off-time to go, so it’s all pretty painless.)

        The R’s will hit Sanders with all “Socialism!” guns they can, you betcha. And with Biden, it’ll be his son and whatever conspiracy they can cook up. Warren seems to have less baggage. With her, Buttigieg, and Klobuchar, it’ll be personal attacks, but they don’t seem to have the easy targets Sanders and Biden do.

    • SoundEagle 🦅ೋღஜஇ

      Hi Wyrd Smythe and Mike Smith,

      My long-term concern is that even if the far left such as those leaning towards democratic socialism were to ascend to the White House at the next election, how much fundamental change is indeed going to be feasible and sustainable when both the GOP and the Corporate Democrats who run the DNC will still be around, and also when the political arena can be very fickle and has been undergoing such wild swings from Bush to Obama to Trump. What a “Political Pendulum” indeed!

      We human beings have been so problematic and intractable that I would prefer to see an extra-terrestrial and benevolent leader with superior intellect, sagacity and wisdom in the White House. 😉

      As a species, we have been quite flawed on many fronts. The next expansive post that I shall publish will discuss this over eight dimensions or domains.

      • SelfAwarePatterns

        Hi SoundEagle,
        I think that’s right. The president’s actual powers are fairly limited. Without a congress on board, their ability to do much, outside of what is possible with executive orders, is nil.

        OTOH, a victory by a far left candidate would be a strong indication about where the country would like to go. If they won by a substantial margin, it’d be seen as a mandate. But even with a mandate, it takes a lot of political skill and compromise to transform that into actual legislation.

        But while I’d like to see the country move leftward, I don’t know that it’s ready to do it yet, and if faced with a choice between a far left ideologue and the vicious clown we now have, a fair number of swing voters may decide the vicious clown is the lesser evil, or to just stay home.

      • SoundEagle 🦅ೋღஜஇ

        Hi Mike Smith,

        Indeed, there is such a big sociopolitical mess now that I only have this to say, not with more words but with a stylized cartoon that I created in the parlance of political satire at https://soundeagle.wordpress.com/2017/10/18/the-quotation-fallacy/best-quotation-to-win-an-exclusive-loyal-contract-to-make-pig-boss-company-great-again/

        I would like to inform you that I have made a very long reply to Wyrd Smythe just a few minutes ago. You are very welcome to read it.

      • SoundEagle 🦅ೋღஜஇ

        Hi Mike,

        You might not be able to see my said reply to Wyrd Smythe yet, for it is awaiting moderation.

      • Wyrd Smythe

        It got caught from having two links embedded. I thought the setting was more than two, but when I checked I saw it was two or more, so I bumped it to three or more.

      • SoundEagle 🦅ೋღஜஇ

        Thank you, Wyrd. I am busy reading people’s comments still, including yours. You are an excellent commenter and astute thinker on the whole.

      • SoundEagle 🦅ೋღஜஇ

        Hi Wyrd Smythe and Mike Smith,

        I would like to continue on our earlier discussion. It seems that the sociopolitical arena in the USA is spiralling into a catch-22 situation that is potentially very dire and intractable.

        I really wonder how much worse things may become in 2020 and the coming years. The resulting post-truth world and win-at-all-costs mentality have been so highly problematic, egregious and insidious that I have identified some of the most salient underlying causes, including their quotational, informational, interpersonal, social, cultural, political, behavioural, cognitive and existential aspects in my post at http://soundeagle.wordpress.com/2017/10/18/the-quotation-fallacy/

        We really need to take the time and inspiration to shed some light on, and provide certain solutions to, the many vexing phenomena and chronic situations created or exacerbated in the era of post-truth politics, fake news, disinformation, sensationalism, alternative facts, false reality and historical negationism, as well as demagoguery, ochlocracy and narcissistic leadership.

        If you know of some pertinent information or sources, please kindly let me know so that I may incorporate them into the said post. Thank you.

        For your amusement, I am including the following video.

        The song may in time become viral. It is only about ten days old.

      • Wyrd Smythe

        I offer two solutions: Let’s just kill everyone we don’t agree with. Failing that, let’s educate them. At gunpoint, if necessary. 😉

        Seriously, I do think right kind of education is a key component. By that I mean an education that teaches people to think for themselves. And education that teaches people to absorb information critically.

        Even so there will always be differing worldviews, and that’s something we need to learn to manage. We need to learn to live comfortably in a world with diverse people — many who will disagree with us.

        Basically, we need to be smarter. We do know how, we just don’t chose to often enough. Modern culture allows us the luxury of being stupid. Until that changes, nothing else will.

      • SelfAwarePatterns

        Cool video!

        I don’t have much to add to what Wyrd said. Shooting the idiots does sound appealing, as long as no one labels me as one of the idiots.

        But more seriously, I think the fact that Trump like figures have been rising in so many countries shows that this isn’t about one man. Trump is a symptom, a result of a class of voter who is being disenfranchised by globalization, or at least perceives themselves as being affected that way. Until our answer is something other than, “Sucks to be you!”, we’re going to continue seeing similar clowns who are willing to play off those people’s fears and frustrations.

        When I think that way, I do wonder if Sanders wouldn’t be the best candidate, since he’s really the one on the Democratic side speaking to those issues. But it’s hard to let go of the memories of what happened when far left candidates like Walter Mondale or George McGovern got the nomination. But those were both several decades ago, so who knows.

      • SoundEagle 🦅ೋღஜஇ

        Hi Mike,

        I agree with your assessment of the current sociopolitical state.

        Yes, Walter Mondale and Geraldine Ferraro could have indeed changed the American history had they won in 1984. Some would say roughly the same or similar about Al Gore in 2000, or even Clinton in 2016.

        Whilst Pluto has been demoted to a dwarf planet, the planet of America has ascended to Plutocracy.

      • Wyrd Smythe

        Only eight? Humans have so many! 😉

        It’s a good illustration of how unlevel the playing field is between the relatively honest left and the almost utterly dishonest right. Essentially, the right is out-numbered, so they refuse to fight fair, which just makes the left hate them all the more. (And because they’re out-numbered and losing in a big way culturally, the right hates the left.)

        It all has caused increasing polarization to the point I can imagine another Civil War in the USA. Really, there’s a Cold War going on right now (and the left is losing). The question is whether actual armed conflict arises. What if P45 refuses to leave office? What if his brain-washed brain-dead army of zombies continue to support him?

        What bothers me about the far-left is I see them as just as extreme and, thus, a Bad Idea. As far as I’m concerned, neither extreme gets to win in America. We need to embrace both sides. Not doing so is a big part of what got us in this mess in the first place.

        I’d like to believe the far left, if it did get in power, would struggle to change direction (think ocean liner), but we’ve seen what P45 has managed to do in a short time. There have been significant actual (i.e. legal and legislative) and political changes since 2016 — changes that should scare the shit out of any rational human who values traditional American values.

        The thing about societies like ours is that size and technology create a “viral” environment that allows something to snowball into an avalanche. It’s part of how fringe groups that never mattered, that had no power or voice, now have noticeable social and political power.

        So if the social mood and counter-swing of the pendulum found a resonance and energy, yeah, it’s possible the far left could have their way. Five years ago I would have doubted it, but P45 truly has changed everything. Simply put, that fucker shit in the wine barrel. And one of life’s realities is that shit wins unless the Good Guys don’t fall asleep at the switch.

        It isn’t just that we’re so flawed. It’s that we’re turning our backs on what progress we’ve made — something I’ve been (for all the good it’s ever done) ranting about for over 50 years! This “post-empirical” (“post-factual”, “post-truth”) era they talk about is us returning to the Medieval Dark Ages. (And there are some very scary parallels between the USA right now and pre-WWII Germany. Really very scary.)

        Keep in mind, a lot of anti-vaxxers are college-educated liberals. The corruption is everywhere.

        As for alien rule… ever read Childhood’s End, by Arthur Clarke? Or To Serve Man, by Damon Knight? Two rather different takes on the idea… 😀

        But yeah, it’s easy to wish the Hairy Thunderer and Cosmic Muffin would return from their vacation and demand in voices of fire, “What the HELL have My Children been up to!”

      • Wyrd Smythe

        BTW: That kind of driving social resonance is exactly what Sanders is banking on. He and his supporters even call it a “revolution.”

      • SoundEagle 🦅ೋღஜஇ

        Eight is enough! These are the most critical and consequential ones, as well as the most detrimental to our species, other species and the environment. It will be a very long post. After all, just look at the depths that I have to dive into in order to tease out the ongoing and also worsening problems and issues that we humans have even just with respect to quotation in my expansive, book-length post published at http://soundeagle.wordpress.com/2017/10/18/the-quotation-fallacy/

        Please be informed that my blog will benefit from being viewed on a large screen of a desktop or laptop computer, because many of the multimedia posts published on my blog could be too powerful and feature-rich for iPad, iPhone, tablet or other portable devices to handle properly or adequately.

        As for the future of humanity and migrating to other extra-terrestrial world(s), I have the following to add, whether or not a reset or reboot is forthcoming or overdue (as the sixth mass extinction progresses further).

        Let me quote just a paragraph from one of my fellow bloggers by the name of Robert Elessar as follows:

        Of course, as physicist and pioneer of quantum computation David Deutsch argues beautifully in his book The Beginning of Infinity, we humans—and our descendants, whether biological or technological or both—have the potential really to become significant on a cosmic scale. As he also points out, there is no guarantee that we will do so, but there appears to be nothing in the laws of nature that prevents it. It’s up to us** to decide.

        Furthermore, I would like to add that the culture of expansion and exploitation as well as the ever-burgeoning population seem to be both the crux of, and the bottleneck to, our becoming significant on a cosmic scale.

        Since the human species has not (always, adequately and/or consistently) been a good custodian of the environment and the Earth (not to mention countless wars, atrocities, resource depletions, species extinctions, environmental degradations and so on, plus an area of rainforest as big as 100,000 football courts is being cleared or destroyed everyday), there is no assurance that once the human species migrates to another planet, the same problems would not again surface and plague us, perhaps at an even quickening and/or devastating pace as a result of better and greater expansion, production and technology. We would indeed export our baggage and problems to other worlds!

        Another blogger, Matthew Wright, commented to me on 16 July 2013 at 11:39 pm as follows:

        I think if we went to Mars, we’d deal to it the same way we’re currently dealing to Earth. Richard Attenborough summed it up when he referred to us as the ‘scourge’ of the planet. Caused an outcry, but it seems to be true. Jared Diamond has published a good analysis of it, if a little deterministic for my liking. The reason would seem to be a faulty survival mechanism – hard-wired techniques for maximising resources that worked when we were on the ragged edge of extinction in the ice age, but now serve to create problems.

        Perhaps we could also liken humans as cancer cells on the petri dish that is Earth.

        Extinction is a euphemism for extermination, considering how many and the manner in which members of many endangered species have met their fate and untimely end.

        99% of all species that ever appear on Earth are already extinct since life began.

        The average lifespan of a species is one million years. The human species (counting the early hominids) has lasted six million years. Extinction is the rule; survival is the exception.

        Even if humanity were to survive and later conquer other planets, there will be no guarantee that humanity will not repeat its mistakes and export its problems to other extra-terrestrial worlds.

      • Wyrd Smythe

        “Please be informed that my blog will benefit from being viewed on a large screen of a desktop or laptop computer,”

        To be honest, the overhead of your blog is a little much for me. I like simple. (At this point in my life, I don’t even have anything hanging on my walls. I used to thrive on a busy visual field — you shoulda seen my cubical at work — but I’m in a much more monk-like mode these days. After a life crammed with variety… I’m standing down! I’m exhausted!!)

        But I will try to give your “book” a read. Just know my TODO list has a lot on it already.

        “It’s up to us** to decide.”

        It always has been. One problem we humans have is we decide different things. Some decide towards progress, growth, change, technology, and some decide towards conserving, going slowly, preserving the past, being careful about technology.

        These can all be legitimate decisions. There is no one right way to be.

        If humans expand to other worlds (something I find dubious right now), I’m sure we’ll consume them as we have this world. And keep in mind that consumption allows us to be doing the things we’re doing today. At tremendous cost to us and the planet, but, hey, we all got cell phones!

        The thing is, what — if anything — will ever make us change? Make us grow up?

        “Extinction is the rule; survival is the exception.”

        Ah, but there’s a Joker in the deck — our vaulted intelligence. That’s what makes us different than any other species. That’s what’s let us inhabit every possible corner of the planet (from Borneo to Barrow).

        The sick irony is that our intelligence may make us unique in another way: we just may exterminate ourselves. No need for a giant asteroid strike — we’ll kill ourselves off with climate change.

        I’ve always thought there might be a correlation between high intelligence and moral behavior. It’s interesting to compare Captains Kirk and Picard. The former trampled all over the embedded idea of the Prime Directive, and the original show simply reeked of human über alles. But by Picard’s time, our society had already shifted sensibilities. Picard believed in the Prime Directive, and that show had more of an our place with others in the universe feel.

        Humanity very, very slowly does seem to evolve to better moral positions. We backslide and go off-road into the swamp sometimes, but — at least until recently — it seemed our sights were set upwards. We understood about our reach exceeding our grasp.

        Lately it seems we’ve given up. How temporary this is remains to be seen. Whether the USA extinguishes itself, allowing some other entity to rise, remains to be seen.

        I’d like to believe this is a bump in the road, but it might be a sawtooth curve of rising to the point the crabs we leave behind pull the rest back down, and things have to start over.

      • SoundEagle 🦅ೋღஜஇ

        The intellectual progress or evolution as observed in Star Trek is definitely correlated to some progressive ideas and paradigmatic shifts in the social sciences (sociology, anthropology, archaeology and criminology) as well as the natural sciences since the franchise began in the mid-1960s. Indeed, I agree with you that one of the key indicators is the Prime Directive.

        As a science-fiction afficionado, I have been a fan of the franchise and even mentioned Star Trek and its main characters in the special eulogy cum biography that I published at https://soundeagle.wordpress.com/2019/08/31/khai-khim-for-always-and-beyond-goodbye/

        In the said post, I also mentioned some surprising facts about our birthdays in relation to Star Trek and two of its main characters.

        Given the escalating social problems and ongoing environmental crises on Earth, it would be easy for those like us to imagine that we could be citizens in the kind of morally and technologically advanced societies portrayed in Star Trek. Unfortunately, we were born several centuries too early. Sometimes one might indeed feel that it would be very nice and emancipatory to join Roy Neary in the movie “Close Encounter of the Third Kind” and to leave the Earth for good so as to achieve or awaken interstellar or (inter)galactic Spiritual Revolutionaries!

        Many sci-fi films have pushed the frontiers and envelops of existential forms, issues and possibilities. I really like the ending of the first Star Trek movie entitled “Star Trek: The Motion Picture”, in which the highly evolved space probe Voyager 6 called “V’Ger” unites and merges with Captain Willard Decker to become a new form of life that is incorporeal and travels into other dimensions!

      • Wyrd Smythe

        “Indeed, I agree with you that one of the key indicators is the Prime Directive.”

        Part of what interests me about that is that Roddenberry came up with it back then. Some people have always been more evolved intellectually and morally than current society. Throughout literature we find moral and intellectual ideas. For example, there were always people who decried slavery even when most of society saw nothing wrong with it.

        Since you’re new to these discussions, I should probably mention that somewhere around the 50th anniversary of Star Trek I decided I was over it. 50 years was plenty. I was there, glued to the screen, already an SF fan for years, when Kirk first squared off against the salt monster.

        And Abrams Trek ain’t my Trek. I gave it a shot, but the ethic basically died with Roddenberry.

        That said, there are a lot of posts under my Star Trek tag. (33 to be exact. The tag ranks #17, just behind the SF tag at #16, which has 34 posts. (I’m vaguely surprised the count is that low. Sloppy tagging most likely. The science fiction tag (#2) has 62 posts, so… I think I need to do some tag maintenance.))

        “…to join Roy Neary in the movie “Close Encounter of the Third Kind” and to leave the Earth for good…”

        😀 😀 I notoriously hated that movie. It was the mashed potatoes scene that did it. And I’m not a Spielberg fan. I don’t like his blatant, often shallow, emotional manipulation.

        But, yes, don’t we all dream of someone taking us away. I’d vote to be Ron Mills (Jon Lovitz) at the end of My Stepmother Is An Alien. 😀 😀

        “Many sci-fi films have pushed the frontiers and envelops of existential forms, issues and possibilities.”

        Just consider Metropolis!

        The literature even more so. SF has always been a magnifying glass held up to society. All really good literature is, but SF allows authors to explore what might exist in addition to what does. The best SF always juxtaposes humanity and technology.

      • SoundEagle 🦅ೋღஜஇ

        Although some of my posts (and pages) are very expansive or even encyclopaedic, they have navigational menus with clickable headings to allow you to jump to any section of a post instantly so that you can resume reading at any point of the post over multiple sessions in your own time.

        The navigational menus also provide at a glance the organizational structures of the posts, besides offering instant access to the major sections (and sometimes also the audio-visual components) of the posts.

      • Wyrd Smythe

        I’m afraid it’s a style thing. As I said, nothing hanging on my walls these days. 🙂

      • SoundEagle 🦅ೋღஜஇ

        The navigational menus are not just some “style things” or ornaments; for they are functional entities, which are quite essential for very long posts with many sections.

      • Wyrd Smythe

        What I’m saying is that I find the overall design baroque for my sense of style. Even your handle, with the Unicode eagle and what I believe are Thai characters is ornate.

        Which absolutely must not be taken as advice, pressure, or motivation, to change anything. (I suppose it’s unavoidable that I will offend you though.) Your sense of style is yours; mine is mine. As you mentioned, your blog is best viewed with more capable machines. Your handle, likewise, will suffer in an environment that doesn’t have full Unicode. Making the style choices you have has certain implications regarding resources and, thus, universality.

        There is also that I grew up when 16K was a lot of memory, so I’ve always appreciated approaches that don’t make heavy demands on resources. I just tend to shy away from ornate or busy.

        FWIW, my experience is that universality works better for me than high style. Make no mistake: I’ve done my share of high style, and style can be great when it’s the primary mode. But my view is that, if content is important, then it should be as transparent as possible — that is say, as style-free as possible.

        Style can interfere with a good message. And it’s often used by frauds to mask a bad message. It makes me a little suspicious of high style. Anyone can buy a nice suit.

        There is also that even the best style necessarily has strong flavor, and that means the universe of people who will take to that flavor is smaller. That’s exactly why McDonald’s burgers (or nearly any fast-food burgers) are so tasteless.

        What can I say? I’m kind of an ascetic these days.

      • SoundEagle 🦅ೋღஜஇ

        There has been no offence committed by you. I have always been a very eclectic person, and therefore I easily understand what you were saying, not to mention that I am aware of, and has practiced and embraced simplicity, as exemplified by some Eastern philosophies. Please see my article published on my other blog at https://queenslandorchid.wordpress.com/2015/06/17/ikebana-lessons-with-orchids-minimalist-flower-arrangement/

        Stylistic and aesthetic issues are very complex and multifaceted, and I do not have time to elaborate on them here. It suffices to state that my use of styles is not just for the sake of being baroque or elaborate, as the styles are integrated into the presentations and functionalities as well as the graphical user interface of the posts and the blogs. For example, read the post at https://soundeagle.wordpress.com/2013/06/24/use-with-caution-or-not-at-all/

        As for film-directing styles, I am very eclectic and appreciate what different directors and producers bring.

        I appreciate “Close Encounter of the Third Kind” for many reasons and on many levels, including also the music in the movie, as well as what the musical collaboration entailed for a period of seven years, quite unheard of then and even now for any movies, whether they are sci-fi or not.

        I have never found myself enamoured with small screens. There are many other reasons to doubt or even reject cellphones and mobile devices, given that they are especially plagued with unresolved limitation in functionality, rapid obsolescence and problems of disposal, resulting in millions of these portable devices going to landfills and poisoning the environment every year.

        In addition, it is just a phase that current mobile devices have such tiny screens. They will have (very) large screens in the coming years, when, in the not too distant future, scrollable, paper-thin technology will arrive, and the ultra-thin mobile device will have a screen as big as a newspaper or magazine, yet it is very light, foldable and/or scrollable, meaning that it can be collapsed or folded up to put in one’s pocket. So, when such foldable, collapsable or rollable mobiles become available, most or all of the current web apps developed for small screens of current mobile devices (and the need for, and limitation imposed by, texting and SMS messaging) will be obsolete or superfluous, whilst the usual websites will continue and function as they have been for many decades in the past, and many more decades into the future.

      • Wyrd Smythe

        “There has been no offence committed by you.”

        Well, that’s good. You might be surprised (or maybe not) at how many people seem to take offense to the things I say.

        I’ve always been a bit surprised at how many people take offense when one doesn’t like the same things they do. “Whadda ya mean Batman wasn’t the greatest movie ever? You demon, I hate you!!” 😉

        “I have never found myself enamoured with small screens.”

        I started off with entirely negative feelings myself, and I definitely still have mixed feelings, mainly having to do with the touch interface, but I’ve found them quite useful in many ways.

        There’s what, for most, is the main thing: a high-tech mobile telephone plus a pretty high-quality video camera that takes seriously great (software-aided) still photos. And you can carry all your photos and videos around in your pocket so you can inflict them on anyone.

        Having my entire music library (60+ gigs) in my pocket is nice. Having an increasingly large library of books is nice — ebooks have lots of advantages: virtual bookmarks, virtual highlighting, the ability to touch a word and look it up, the ability to search through the text.

        It’s also useful carrying around a street map of pretty much the entire world in my pocket. Not to mention the satellite photos and street views. Map apps are pretty awesome. I can locate a restaurant (maybe from my embedded list of “Places To Go”), scope out the route and current traffic, and make a reservation.

        It’s handy having a set of powerful weather channels in my pocket. Alerts, updates, weather radar. One app lets me explore the weather models the pros use for forecasting. Fun as well as useful.

        Speaking of fun, I also have two different planetariums in my pocket for star-gazing, plus I’m tapped into the Keplar project to check out exoplanets. That one comes with a 3D VR galaxy that lets me actually visit those stars. (One of the planetariums, Red Shift, can do that, too.) On top of that, I always know exactly where the ISS is, and when it can be seen in my skies. (No matter where those skies are.)

        Recently I’ve discovered I can also stick the ATC audio of nearly every major airport in the world in my pocket. Not very useful, but fun to listen to the ATC of my local MSP. There’s even a web app that lets me track the planes on “radar” and view the stats of any particular flight. (As in: where it is right now on a map, how high it is, how fast it’s going, and how on time it is. Jaw-dropping!)

        Turns out a small screen is okay for a lot of stuff. Many people are taking to “watch” devices now, which have a really small screen. But if all you want is a little data and minimal input — which is fine for many things — then why not play Dick Tracey?

        [Maybe aliens won’t take us away to a better world, but the SF future is kinda here in a lot of ways. (It may depend on how old one is. I’m old enough to have participated in serious discussions about whether the year 1984 would be anything like the book. And old enough that 2001 once seemed like the distant future to me. Old enough to have seen audio technology transition from tubes to “solid state” and TV from B&W to color. Some of the TV shows I watched made that jump between one season and the next.)]

        FWIW, I would never watch a movie or TV show on my iPad or iPhone, but I do watch YouTube videos on my iPad. And I’ve noticed how my iPad at a comfortable length is visually the same size to me as my 65″ TV as seen from my couch. (OTOH, I can sit closer for a “big screen” experience.)

        I get it. I have strong Luddite tendencies, and I’m a very late adopter. I’m askance at technology and conservative about its use, but at the same time I embrace its value. Technology is morally neutral; it’s how we apply it that matters. Even atomic bombs have a positive application.

        There is also, like it or not, that these mobile devices are here to stay. I’ve had to acknowledge that many people who visit my site do so with mobile devices — maybe even using the WordPress app (which seriously limits things). My menu structure, for example, acknowledges that mobile users likely only see terminal pages, not the node pages. It means the node pages can’t contain anything that would be missed.

        All in all, it’s not a battle I found worth fighting, and I’m forced to admit mobile devices are really handy. But, obviously, YMMV!

        “They will have (very) large screens in the coming years,”

        It’s possible, but I’m not sure screen-size is the real constraint here. What makes mobile devices so different from (so inferior to) a PC is the user interface. A keyboard and an accurate pointing device make a huge difference.

        A voice interface can take some of the load, but has its own set of disadvantages (e.g. privacy, noise). My sense is that mobile devices are consumption devices, which is fine for most people, because that’s what they do: consume resources (such as all the ones I listed above).

        But for creators, it’s a different ballgame. We need a lot more control. I can barely stand to send text messages on my iPhone, and I won’t do it for long. (But it’s great for quick stuff.) The bigger (virtual) keyboard on the iPad makes it more doable, but if I find myself in a text conversation, I’ll grab the Bluetooth physical keyboard.

        I wouldn’t dream of writing a post, or writing code, without a full-size full-featured physical keyboard and two-button mouse. Anything else would be a straitjacket.

        I would assume that what we’ll eventually see is “epaper” we can, as you say, roll or fold just like regular paper. But it’ll still have a touch interface. The game-changer will be an interface that gives the same precision and accuracy as a mouse and keyboard.

      • SoundEagle 🦅ೋღஜஇ

        I do not mind those fantastic apps that you mentioned, as they provide useful information and services. I just do not appreciate the limitations of any device with a small screen, which to me is the Achilles’ heel and a deal breaker.

        The “epaper” is going to be great since it has enough screen estate to provide a virtual keyboard for us to type on its screen. And you can resize and slide the virtual keyboard to any part of the large screen. Furthermore, “epaper” can interface with any plug & Play device such as a mouse, pen, keyboard, printer/scanner and so on. “epaper” can also be a high-quality photo and video camera, and is very light and pliable so that it won’t break should it fall to the ground on a hard surface. And I like it that I can fold and/or roll it to any size. It is the ultimate portable virtual desktop that has all of the functionalities of a smart phone but can do so much more.

      • Wyrd Smythe

        Well, let’s hope it lives up to your expectations!

      • SoundEagle 🦅ೋღஜஇ

        It must live up to (y)our expectations!

      • Wyrd Smythe

        Ah, but mine are much lower. 😉

      • SoundEagle 🦅ೋღஜஇ

        Self-deprecating or underselling does not suit you.

      • Wyrd Smythe

        ROFL. Not of me; I have high expectations of me. It’s future technology I don’t.

        For instance, sure a larger screen allows a larger virtual keyboard. (I mentioned my iPad keyboard is much easier than my iPhone keyboard.) But typing on a touch screen sucks. And there is something of a trade-off between a flexible surface and a good hard typing surface.

        And if you’re going to resort to wireless keyboards, then why not just carry a laptop?

        Epaper sounds great, and will be great for lots of things. Content consumption, mainly. But I create as much as I consume, so I want what I see as more powerful tools.

        As just one example, while cameras in phones have gotten really good (I’m amazed at the pictures my XR takes), I find the shape of the phone makes for an unwieldy camera. A machine made to be a camera has way better ergonomics. I can’t imagine epaper will make a great camera, either.

        You mentioned the waste factor. That won’t change with larger screens. If anything, our race to better and better devices generates all that much more.

      • SoundEagle 🦅ೋღஜஇ

        “And if you’re going to resort to wireless keyboards, then why not just carry a laptop?”

        Because the screen on a laptop is still too small.

        “epaper” will be using new technologies and biodegradable/recyclable materials. And since it has a very large surface, it can recharge very quickly using solar power.

        If you want a physical keyboard or even a musical keyboard, you can connect it to “epaper” physically or wirelessly.

        In contrast, smart phones and the like are very wasteful, toxic and have poisoned as well as caused neurological diseases in workers at factories.

      • Wyrd Smythe

        “Because the screen on a laptop is still too small.”

        Ah. Okay.

        “‘epaper’ will be using new technologies and biodegradable/recyclable materials.”

        One hopes. There are constraints with electronics. AFAIK, current solar cell and energy storage technologies require unfortunate materials. So do electronic circuits. Phones are problematic that way for a reason. Only certain materials work the right way. In some cases, the performance hit from even slightly better materials is significant.

        But one can hope.

      • SoundEagle 🦅ೋღஜஇ

        I am not referring to solar cells, which is already old technology. New solor technology uses ultra-thin films or paints as well as new class(es) of batteries or energy storage.

        There will be also new electronic circuits that are much smaller and are molecule-based, not necessarily or no longer silicon-based. Then there will also be increasing deployment of nano technology, and possibly later, quantum computing.

      • Wyrd Smythe

        As I’ve said more than once: Or so we hope.

      • SoundEagle 🦅ೋღஜஇ

        Some of the new technologies are in their conceptual/research phases; others are in early trials.

  • rung2diotimasladder

    I’m afraid I’m not at all hopeful about the situation. I think Trump is likely to win again no matter what. I don’t think people are as sick and tired of Trump as liberals like to think. He’s got a good economy to ride on, and even Republicans who don’t care for his style still think he’s doing a great job.

    That said, I can’t see the point in going for a hum-ho centrist. A centrist would be refreshing to moderate Dems, but are independents really angry enough with Trump to vote against him? Has anyone really changed their minds? Even if they have, it might seem easier to just turn the channel and watch something else, especially when their retirement portfolios are looking good.

    Biden is a no go. I saw that in the first debate. I’m worried he might be in the early stages of dementia. Then there’s the thing with his son. Not good.

    Buttigieg is gay, and I don’t know if that’ll fly. I’m actually amazed at how well he’s doing, given that. Personally, I like his style and his intelligence, but do I think he can beat Trump? I really just don’t know. He might be too articulate, too Obama-esque. I’m afraid he’ll come across as yet another ‘elite liberal’ who’s out of touch with the working class. And black people.

    Klobuchar. Being a woman is a negative right now. I think the less she talks about being a woman, the better…certainly after the primaries. We need to stay far away from identity politics—I think this may be the reason Trump won. People are fed up with it. I’m fed up with it. That said, I find her likeable, unlike Warren, unlike Hilary. But her agenda’s amorphous, at best. I’d be curious to see if she can do something to stand out more.

    Reaching across the aisle in any way shape or form seems utterly impossible nowadays. We tried that with Obama, but Republicans didn’t want to play ball. Eventually he stopped trying—what choice did he have?—and the Republicans had the audacity to whine about him jamming his agenda down their throats. They wouldn’t let him appoint a Supreme Court Justice and look where we are. I’m so mad about that. How dare they.

    So why do we have to be the ones to go centrist? Screw it. I think it’s payback time, time for the pendulum to swing the other way (maybe over a a vast period of time the actual policies that get passed come out somewhere in the middle?). Time to bring out uncle Bernie, let him get red-faced as he screams about the top one tenth of one percent, let him scare them with his so-called socialism. That would at least give me some catharsis after putting up with Trump’s rants for so long. If we’re gonna lose anyway, why not go out with a bang? It would be quite a showdown: Wannabe Socialist vs. Wannabe Fascist.

    Anyway, even if Bernie became pres., he wouldn’t be able to accomplish most the things he talks about (free college, universal healthcare…that’s about as likely as getting Mexico to pay for the wall), so there’s really no reason to fear a socialist revolution. Remember how hard it was for Obama to do anything.

    The truth is, I have no hope for politics. Especially now. But I would like to see Bernie give Trump a rough time, and I think he can hit him where it hurts. That would make me feel ever so slightly better.

    • Wyrd Smythe

      “I think Trump is likely to win again no matter what.”

      I don’t know about “likely” but “possibly” strikes me as likely. 😉

      So much depends on whether people in the middle, many of whom saw him as better than Hillary, are singing a different tune after four years. The economy is definitely a factor, but it’s been better for those with money than those without, and it’s possible some of his followers have felt the sting of his bad trade deals.

      The word I’ve heard is most Republican leaders secretly can’t stand him, but are terrified to death of him. I’m not sure how many actually like or respect him. Some certainly see him as a means to an end.

      The pity is we’ve sunk so low as a culture that character and honor aren’t really factors here.

      I agree about Biden. He’s this election’s Hillary. Lots of baggage, past his prime, seriously targeted by the right. And I have not liked his debate performances — I agree about his mind.

      Buttigieg, yeah, there’s the gay thing, but I’m not sure how much that matters. He did well in Iowa, of all places, so maybe that’s not a big thing anymore.

      “Reaching across the aisle in any way shape or form seems utterly impossible nowadays.”

      Has been for years, now. Obama… I don’t know what he was thinking, and I always thought he played a poor hand that first year. It was obvious Repubs wouldn’t work with him. I figured he was giving them rope he’d later use to hang them, but he never capitalized on their behavior. Instead, as you say, he let them whine about his behavior.

      As I recall, he had the House and Senate in that first two years, and why he didn’t leverage that better I’ll never understand. The whole SCOTUS thing… yeah, pisses me off, too.

      “So why do we have to be the ones to go centrist?”

      I think it’s the only way we move forward.

      Conservative and progressive views are both legitimate and must be embraced if we’re to call this a fair and free country.

      I totally get the revenge thing. I, too, want to make those assholes pay. But P45 was elected, in part, to make us assholes pay (and we are). Perpetuating that will never help.

      As you said, “We need to stay far away from identity politics—I think this may be the reason Trump won. People are fed up with it. I’m fed up with it.”

      Me too, and I very much agree about identity politics.

      We’re seeing a reaction to having LGBTQ+ issues jammed down our throats along with the ethic that, if we dare disagree — or even offer a critical word — we’re some sort of stone-age asshole.

      You can’t force people to have different views than they do, you can only try to educate and lead them. (And even that is hugely prone to fail.)

      “The truth is, I have no hope for politics.”

      Me, either, but tragically that translates to having no hope for our society and its values.

      We are, and have been for a few years now, a species in (one hopes temporary) decline.

      • rung2diotimasladder

        “I don’t know about “likely” but “possibly” strikes me as likely. 😉”

        Eternal optimist! 😉

        “The economy is definitely a factor, but it’s been better for those with money than those without, and it’s possible some of his followers have felt the sting of his bad trade deals.”

        Yes, and healthcare is another big factor—the Republicans screwed that up royally. I wonder if people will remember that they had no plan?

        As for those who’ve been screwed over by the trade deals, I hope they’ll change their minds about him, but I sort of doubt it. Some of those affected who voted for him don’t seem to mind suffering…at least for a while.

        On Obama, I think he was in a certain way too thoughtful, which made him somewhat indecisive. Of course, being the first African American pres. had to be a lot of pressure. He wanted to do what he said he was gonna do and reach compromises. And he did. But in some cases he was too weak, especially on big banks during the housing crisis.

        “Conservative and progressive views are both legitimate and must be embraced if we’re to call this a fair and free country.”

        I agree, but the devil is in the details, right? Actually, I agree with some conservative viewpoints. Out here at least, they are not at all like their public representatives. For instance, many of them believe in climate change wholeheartedly and would sound like liberals on certain topics. For instance…

        “Buttigieg, yeah, there’s the gay thing, but I’m not sure how much that matters.”

        I’m not sure either. It’s the Bible belt that might not take too well to him, but on that front, he’s also a Christian and sounds rather sincere about it. Hm. So, yeah, who knows. It will be interesting to find out.

        As for Bloomberg… His ads were so lame I totally forgot about him. And after watching the debate last night…goodbye Bloomberg! Warren totally creamed him. He was shockingly unprepared for her questions on the non-disclosure agreements. What the hell was he thinking? Aside from the issue of sexual harassment, his being that unprepared for his first debate, one that the media anticipated would be about knocking him down, is in itself enough to disqualify him in my mind.

      • Wyrd Smythe

        “Eternal optimist!”

        I think there is truth to that. I’m a cynical (misanthropic) optimist or something. Life and literature show me what we can rise to, so I have both high hopes and high expectations.

        But also a lot of disappointment.

        “On Obama, I think he was in a certain way too thoughtful,”

        Totally agree! I used to call him “Professor Obama”. I loved the intelligence and level-headed but a leader needs some fire. He was too mild to lead Congress when he had the chance, and once the Repubs got any power, it was all over.

        The damn Dems… they just don’t get messaging or unity in the face of greater peril. (I missed it ’cause I was dog-sitting Bentley, but apparently the last debate was a circular firing squad.) “Like herding cats” indeed.

        “Actually, I agree with some conservative viewpoints.”

        Part of the problem is genuine conservatives are kind of without a party right now. The Repub party is a “Our Faithful Leader” cult that only pays lip service to conservative values.

        This only really ends when his followers catch on to how they’re being conned.

        “It’s the Bible belt that might not take too well to him,”

        The thing about gay people is they exist everywhere so most families have some exposure to someone close. They always did, they just didn’t always know. It’s become open enough these days people are more likely, I think, to be aware of someone they know.

        It just might not be the issue it used to be, although that’s just me guessing. It’s been a while since I’ve heard overt anti-gay news. I hear about anti-Jewish stuff still — certainly anti-Middle East stuff. Now some anti-China stuff because of the virus. And always anti-non-white stuff (why can’t we get over paint jobs?).

        But “woke” people pushing trans-sexual and queer issues seems to have moved the needle to the point where plain old gay isn’t so much a thing anymore.

        I suppose we’ll find out as the race heats up. At the moment, Buttigieg lost my vote for going after my Amy. (And I had hopes they might share a ticket. 😦 )

        “And after watching the debate last night…goodbye Bloomberg!”

        So I’ve heard. He was never more than a minor blip on the radar to me — a “well, we’ll see if that thing flies at all” view. (Same for Andrew Yang and others I see as just wannabes.)

        Warren, apparently, is looking strong and, inexplicably to me, so is Sanders.

      • rung2diotimasladder

        “The damn Dems… they just don’t get messaging or unity in the face of greater peril.” So true! More on this in a sec…

        “This only really ends when his followers catch on to how they’re being conned.”

        That’s the thing, they aren’t likely to catch on when the economy is doing well. On the other hand, healthcare…it’s a mess. But how much of a mess? I dunno.

        Same goes for how Buttigieg will be received as a gay man…I dunno. I do see your point, though. And now that I think about it, it’s not likely anyone who has a problem with it would vote Dem anyway, so maybe it doesn’t matter.

        “Warren, apparently, is looking strong and, inexplicably to me, so is Sanders.”

        I’ll tell you why I think Sanders is doing well: authenticity and consistency. You may not agree with what he stands for, but he’s stood for basically the same things throughout his career, so far as I know (minus the gun thing, which has indeed changed with the times, as one would expect). He’s not just another politician. I think he believes what he says. Imagine that! Not having to hem and haw before answering a question—that’s a serious plus. Of course, Trump never hems and haws, he says whatever the hell he wants, but this is clearly different, as Trump is utterly utterly empty and not afraid to show it.

        But, back to the first topic. Bernie’s message is clear…perhaps repetitive, but definitely clear. See how I’ve come full circle? 🙂

      • Wyrd Smythe

        Yeah, I see what you did there 😉 , and I agree. It’s a lesson I wish politicians would take to heart. People catch on to being bullshitted and glad-handled, and while they might disagree with someone, they do respond to authenticity and a genuine “I don’t care what you think” approach. It’s how nearly all of our storybook heroes behave.

        But politicians act more like a fast food joint or cola — as bland and generic as possible so as many people as possible won’t be offended by them.

        So, yeah, I think you’re right, and lately I’m feeling more pessimistic, which is where you started. I keep trying to have high hopes, but… I’m not encouraged by anything that’s happening lately. 😦

      • rung2diotimasladder

        I hope nothing I said was the cause of your pessimism! I was hoping you’d convince me there’s a reason to be hopeful rather than the other way around.

      • Wyrd Smythe

        It’s kind of what everyone is saying that’s got me discouraged.

        But, FWIW, in 2016 just about everyone was convinced he couldn’t win (and I was terrified he would). There was some thought his win was, in part, due to people not taking it seriously and not showing up. (Despite a popular bumpersticker suggesting that half of life is, in fact, showing up, but we rarely practice what we meme.)

        Maybe if people are convinced he will win the psychology will be to show up in a desperate attempt to prevent that win?

        But if Bernie turns out to be the guy,… well, I don’t know what we’re thinking there. I kind of just give up. Apparently people are okay with a world like this. Who am I to argue?

    • SoundEagle 🦅ೋღஜஇ

      Hi Tina,

      I would like to inform you that Wyrd Smythe and I (and to a lesser extent, Mike Smith) have been having a great deal of discussions here, as you can see when you next revisit this post. I understand your concerns and reservations. In any case, all four of us are more or less on the same page. I have also included a video in one of my comments.

    • Wyrd Smythe

      Talking about Obama’s professorial mode, I saw this video shortly after our conversation:

      At first I thought it was an SNL routine, or a Key and Peele routine (they have a running bit about the Obama anger translator), but this is entirely legit. From the Correspondents Dinner. (I’m sure Obama secretly loved Key’s anger translator!)

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