A vote for simplicity

I’m as surprised by the outcome of the U.S. election as anyone. I wondered what happened and how a person with such simplistic and flawed (and vague) policies could have been elected. The policies that he did have were crude and simple for problems that are long standing and complex.

Then it hit me. Much of the appeal would be the simplicity. We are overloaded as a society and many of the problems we face are complex and require a strong focus, expertise and ongoing monitoring and adjustment to move in the right direction much less solve.

What Trump had was simplicity.

  • Want to stem illegal immigration: Build a wall
  • Want to deal with the large number of undocumented overstayers: Deport them
  • What to deal with ISIS: Bomb them
  • Don’t like the previous healthcare: Repeal it

All dead simple solutions. All unlikely to resolve anything but at least iof people understand the response, they can feel like something is being done about it.

Personally, I think it was a popular vote for simplicity. These problems aren’t simple. What is heartening is that it seems Trump is listening.

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Things will never be the same…

For centuries, we have labored under a polite fiction, the fiction that political candidates win over the electorate with rational policies and arguments. This has been proved massively untrue by the events in the U.S. where a come from nowhere demagogue has used pretty much raw personality  to become one of the two main contenders.

Initially Trump ranked tenth with only 3% of the votes but through sheer force of personality, and unrealistic populist policies such as a ban on Muslims and a wall between the U.S. and Mexico, backed by numerous policy flip-flops he is now the Republican Party Presidential Candidate.

The genie is out of the bottle. Where Sarah Palin peeked under the carpet, Trump strips off the veneer and exposes the awful truth, that politics is just like anythings else, won by soundbites and emotion.

Perhaps this is the beginning of the end. As politicians absorb the lessons from this election, expects things to head in a new direction. Perhaps politics will start to use some of the same tricks used in other industries such as the fast food industry.

We may get an election or perhaps two based on the current fiction, but in 2028, will the winning candidate be endorsed by a line of bikini clad models? The only one who can stop this is you, the voters, by caring and listening and thinking things through. There’s never been a more important time to be a voter and protect your democracy.

Writing Inspiration: Isn’t allowing the most colourful and engaging candidate with the best sound bites win, the same as voting at random.

Trump Wins the U.S. Presidency!

May as well hear it here first. I know there’s an advantage to being the first news outlet to report breaking news so I thought I’d get in real early. It’s not that I want him to win, or support him. I just think he will win. And the only reason is people are voting crazy. The 99% movement. Brexit. The rise of the right in Europe. Wherever there’s a protest vote, people seem to be taking it. I wonder what the voters regret for bringing in Trump will be called?

Is this going to be bad? Who knows. The choice is for Clinton who almost epitomizes the political system. The same system that people don’t trust. That they wanted Obama to change eight years ago. Or Trump, who will more than likely kick the shit out of the system or attempt to. Maybe it’s for the best. It would take a no holds barred, skin like an elephant character like Trump to affect the system. The risk is what he replaces it with.

Maybe, Trump can’t break the system but instead demonstrates beyond all doubt that it is broken and people wake up. If we are lucky. We’ll know if that happens when Democrats and Republicans start to agree on key issues. That’s the sign of a healthy democracy, when the opposition agrees on things that make sense. Watching the bickering over the past decade has been hugely disappointing. Once the U.S. represented democracy and the free world. I’m note sure now. I don’t know which country does. Where is democracy healthy these days?

Demagogues like Trump are the sign of an unhealthy democracy. One that wants to expel the sickness. Will Trump be as bad as people make out?

My pick is that we will get to find out. My other pick is that it’s not as bad as people fear. The systems is too resilient for that.

Writing Inspiration: A lot of alternative histories are based around ultra conservative governments. For once, we have one ahead of us. What does that do to the world?

Black People are not Aliens

This is my response to a question by another writer asking about whether to include a black person in their story. Others were tending to say that she might struggle and should write what she knows.

Write what you know does NOT exclude black people. You know them. Even if you have never met one. You know them because they are people first. They do not define themselves by their blackness. The minor character in your story will define herself as a person, as a friend, as a mother, as a lover, as a doer of whatever she does for fun or money. Write a person. Describe black skin. It will will succeed. Guaranteed.

The correct short name for black people isn’t blacks, it’s people.

Achievemephobia?

I’m not really sure what to make of the appointment of Boris Johnson as the new British Foreign Secretary.

Let’s have a look at the people he needs to impress.
1. The Americans
2. Everyone in Europe

Let’s have a look at the list of the people  he’s insulted:
1. The American President
2. Everyone in Europe

Achievemephobia or genius. Only time will tell.

The Changing Face of Power

America has a new image, a woman staring down almost impossibly armored riot police in Baton Rouge.

Powerful as this image is in the contemporary setting in which it was taken, what’s more revealing is what it reveals about the changes in our society over time. Let’s imagine this scene playing out at different times.

In the middle ages, protesting against authority would have been viewed as treason. Likely outcome: burned at the stake.

In 1800 in Baton Rouge, an act of defiance like this would have been dealt with as a slave discipline issue. Likely outcome: suspended upside down and whipped until unconscious.

In 1900 this would have been seen as an afront to authority and a black person interfering with white folks business (use of a public road). Likely outcome: brutally dragged off and locked away by a sham court process.

In 1960 this would have been seen as an act of civil disobedience. Likely outcome: arrested and violently dragged off. Probably charged and released unless they could pin something significant on her.

2016? Quietly arrested and a symbol of the protest movement.

Across all time periods if she was armed and prepared to fight? Likely outcome: killed on the spot by the authorities.

Guns don’t make you strong. In fact, the more civilized the society, the less relevant guns become for resolving conflicts. Now, they are a hindrance. Bring a gun, and you undermine your moral position.

Story Inspiration: Where could this end up? Owning a gun becomes proof of antisocial tendencies? Politicians being asked if they owned guns just as currently they get challenged on whether they ever smoked dope?

How are the Cops like an Abusive Spouse?

Wow, read this for some perspective on the current problems with the U.S. police. This author describes U.S. cops (who happened to be presenting to schoolchildren) as saying the same things that abusive spouses do. If we stop you and kill you, it’s your fault…

…go figure.

Writing Inspiration: If the police keep heading down this line,  what would our society look like? Any infraction could have unintended consequences. The Black Lives Matter want equality when being stopped by the police, one form of equality is that everyone gets treated the way they do when stopped!