global issues

Red White and Silicon Valley – Notes on the 2016 Presidential Election

Everyone gets to have their say in politics, so here’s mine. Ready or not… oh, I guess you could just click some other more interesting link, but why do that when you could read the opinions of some random internet stranger?

People like hope and change as a mantra apparently. I should remember this if I ever make the mistake of running for political office.

This election I anticipated to have a rather low voter turnout. Well, in a sense that was correct; people didn’t go to vote for a candidate, they went to vote against a candidate. Last I read on some news source (probably a biased one, but where else do we get news?), around half of the people voting for Trump were actually voting against Hillary Clinton and simply didn’t want to throw away their vote. Likewise, half of the voters for Clinton were voting against Trump. (An interesting historic note: J.P. Morgan heavily funded the campaign of Teddy Roosevelt – a man who Morgan couldn’t stand – because he was better than the alternative. As an ENTJ type personality (same as Trump), Roosevelt wasn’t “bought”, and he persisted in making laws that frustrated Morgan’s manipulative efforts.)

A few months ago, I had a discussion on politics with a very left-leaning metro-area resident. Incidentally, he and I both felt unrepresented this election. During the primaries, I had my eye on only one candidate who was nevertheless rather disappointing to begin with for a number of reasons. I won’t specify who he was, only that he was better than Trump in etiquette.

Here’s the funny thing, though. While the belligerence of Trump was beyond remarkable, he probably did it knowing full well that it would work the same way it does for every actor: it gave him free publicity. It’s hard to take the camera off a guy who won’t shut is mouth. In effect, Trump won the debates in the one way that mattered most: getting everyone to look at him. What’s ironic is that, as much as the media hated him, they gave him all the publicity he wanted. All he had to do was open his fat mouth and say something stupid to be on the headlines of every major newspaper the next day. He ended up spending less money for his campaign and receiving more articles than Clinton, or at least more presence (I didn’t count the articles, in case you’re wondering).

But I’m not going to talk about the campaigns and whatnot or about what Clinton did wrong. I’m actually interested in discussing something else first: namely, the mentality of Silicon Valley and the leftists that I’ve read or spoken with (obviously, I can’t speak for everyone, so no offense intended if you don’t fit the prototype of the person I’m speaking to).

I read the typical geek sources: Slashdot, Hacker News (YCombinator), among others. There are a number of people who believe education will make Americans (and the world) a better place more liberal (to be precise). Allow me to offer a more accurate alternate opinion: Living in the city tends to make you more left-leaning. While living in the city (albeit for a short time), I noted even my own mentality starting to be shaped by my surroundings and city life. I was more considerate of bikers and pedestrians, more conscientious about pollution and how we all need to work together as a society to guard each others’ backs. It’s no wonder people in cities feel strongly about humanitarian efforts and gun control laws. And there’s nothing wrong with that from their perspective. The problem comes when you want to apply those same principles to the entire nation, disregarding the lifestyles, customs, terrain, distances between neighbors, animal populations and woes, etc. etc. What’s right-for-me-is-right-for-you is a mentality that the left both hypocritically promotes (e.g. saying homosexuals can be “married”, which is impossible, but more on that at another time) and attacks (e.g. saying abortion is a “right” and that people shouldn’t force their decisions of their conscience on others). The conservative right isn’t any different. We all have strong opinions on morality, and morals and politics are inseparable just like morals and religion are inseparable, and no amount of wishful thinking will change those two facts (perhaps I’ll write on that subject later). Mainstream media outlets (and many in the populace in general, I might add) have changed the rhetoric to using “right” instead of otherwise moral-implicative terms, but that’s nothing short of self-deception. I’ve already written about the fact that “rights” don’t exist in the modern sense of the word.

One of the biggest delusions (or at least stated delusions – whether people put their heart where their mouth is, I can’t say for sure) that makes its way around is the mentality that there is “no one smart on the other side”. Sure, if you only read smart people on your side and big mouths on the other, it’s should be glaringly obvious why you would come to such conclusions. If you think this way – regardless of your political stance – you need to meet more people and you need to meet people from different social bubbles outside of your usual one. There are a number of people who would probably strongly disagree with me in many ways, but I can still appreciate their intelligence. They’ve come to different conclusions on things than I have, but more because their starting information was different from mine than their measure of intelligence. I find it deplorable when people declare the other side “full of idiots”, esp. when I know full well they haven’t met 99% of those people nor do they know anyone who has. They certainly have not spoken to each one individually to find out exactly why they believe what they do. Maybe trying to show respect for people would win them more friends. But maybe wisdom such as this isn’t a blessing most of these people possess (*rolls eyes*), or maybe they are simply forgetting (or refusing) to exercise it. But I guess we can’t assume everyone wants to act mature. It’s easier to throw mud.

As a college graduate, I can say that being around college peers has a definite impact on your point of view if you’re not adamant about maintaining your point of view. At the same time, many in academia are delusional. When you’re a professor whose entire living is sitting around theorizing and teaching a captive population dependent on your approval (for a grade, but real reason doesn’t matter to the ego), you start believing more and more in the crap coming out of your mouth. I’ve seen this with both liberal and conservative professors. It’s a natural human tendency apparently. The isolation on a college campus results in a collective mentality that makes college kids out of touch with the world the rest of us must deal with. (The term “real world” is both presumptuous and condescending, so I’d rather prefer to be respectful in this case… and not use it.) It takes being out of school for a while for you to escape the residue of the collective mentality and find what’s actually going on. Of course, if you get hired immediately and work for a company buzzing with that collective mentality, you’re probably doomed to retain that narrow-mindedness (or part of it) until you’re without a job (or perhaps working remotely) for quite some time (which gets you away from the group). If you ever get to be alone for a long time – no coworkers, no family members, no other influences on your opinion – you may finally get that chance to examine everything from that unique and intelligent perspective of yours (that you’ve been downplaying in order to fit in), and you may come to the conclusion that no one in politics actually cares about you. Or if they do, they only care that you agree with them on certain issues – perhaps enough for you to hit the “vote” button or punch the ballot in their favor.

I’m an example of someone who started with a mostly Republican background and has turned to the middle ground, but at the same time, I’ve also become very much disillusioned with the idea that somehow politics and government structure are the solution to anything beyond national defense. The fact is, the only thing that matters is society. If you have a good, moral, forgiving society, it will raise up its people and raise great leaders. If society is horrible, it won’t create leaders who are worth a flip. But people are evil. Maybe not entirely evil, maybe not even mostly evil, but they are evil. Asking for a good society is like asking for rain to rise without sunlight.

And so, here we are now. This nation rewards the self-seeking and spiteful (and that’s true whether you’re a pion trying to climb the corporate ladder or something else – if being  a selfish benefits you, all the more reason to do it, right?), and consequently, this nation was rewarded with two things: a liar and a big mouth. Or to put it in the above terms: a self-seeker and a basher. Not that half of America even wanted them, but that’s what our society rewards, so that’s what we have: a self-entitled aristocrat and a flippant corporate leader.

Clinton’s Loss

There was a very strong feeling of betrayal in the democratic constituency: betrayal. People wanted Bernie Sanders. But that’s not how the Dem Party works. The Dem party is controlled by insiders, elitists and their friends who have a sense of entitlement. (As much as any conservative would like to say that it’s a reflection of their constituency, clearly its not… at least not entirely.) The Republican party is much the same way with regards to being controlled by insiders, but its principles are more about less government, less elitism, and more about competition, which is why it has had more candidates. Even still, Trump had to overcome the Republican party that wanted Ted Cruz, and Trump promised to run independent if he didn’t win the nomination. He managed to overcome that aristocratic barrier, whereas Sanders was unable to. Had Sanders won the nomination, I think the race would have been much more interesting and may have tipped in his favor. I’m not a Sanders supporter, but admittedly, I find him to be a less repulsive candidate than Clinton, who (people seem to have magically forgotten) was involved in some deep scandals some years ago for which the witnesses magically died were murdered (I don’t believe in magic), or so the story goes. I haven’t seen her change much in character since then, even if her public face has changed. But that’s only the make-up.

People have a variety of reasons to vote for Clinton over Trump, so it’s no surprise that the popular vote ended in a 50/50 tie. One could argue Clinton “won”, but all the votes weren’t counted, and the percent difference in the margin was so small that Hawaii dropping into the ocean would have made it all even (or Utah voting Trump instead of for McMullin). People whining about what Clinton did wrong this election aren’t looking at the fact that this nation keeps voting 50/50 and it’s likely to stay that way for some time, esp. if in another 8 years, the incumbent party on their way out decides to nominate a worse clown than the other party (as they seem to do). Clinton didn’t really “fail” to win all that much less support than any other Dem candidate… she just failed to win the support in key places. That was the only thing that mattered. Of course, there were a number of reasons for her to not win those key votes. Maybe it helped that she expressed – in her emails – adamant hatred for Catholics (the majority of whom, I’m told, used to vote Democrat, but my stats here are speculation). Maybe it helped that women weren’t bothered by the remarks Trump made to certain people (whether they considered his remarks jest, his platform more important, or some other reason has yet to be polled, but I do believe women – and men – care more about what you do and less about what you say on a moment’s notice). We could speculate for hours, but there are other opinion blogs, er, I mean “news” sources for that.

Funny story: Some Californians have threatened to leave the union… Maybe they should take lessons in protesting from the Texans that requested secession. (At least it was more serious than the Death Star construction proposal.) As serious as California’s suggestion is, it’ll be as much of a joke (and maybe more so) on California as it was on Texas. Not to mention, the Chinese are buying property right and left, so that makes me wonder how California would handle the Chinese land-ownership situation.

On that subject, there are a number of people supporting globalization of the economy that I don’t quite understand. As a person with interests in overseas goods (as should be evidenced by this blog), I’m well aware of how Trump’s policies are going to effect me personally. I can even admit that it affected my buying habits just recently. I’m also aware of how a number of companies benefit – much to my dismay – off the slave labor in other countries, and a more global economy would simply give them more areas to suck wealth from. But there seems to be another class of people whose reasoning I’m not aware of. Insights would be appreciated. Not that I can’t take a guess. I’ll just take a really wild guess and say it probably has to do with money. Oh, was that not wild enough? (I’m only joking.)

Concluding Thoughts

I had a bunch of stuff written up, but it’s too early to talk about that stuff yet. If you’re pro-Trump (or anti-Clinton) (as neither “conservative” nor “liberal” are fitting descriptions anymore – as if for whatever reason they ever were), you now have a President-elect who promises to serve your interests. If not, you can still sleep well because it’s not like Trump being POTUS guarantees his proposed policies will be implemented. Remember: after all those campaign promises by Obama of pulling troops out of Iraq, the very first executive order he signed was to send more troops. Hypocrite? Or did he finally learn military intel his supporters didn’t know? I have no doubt Trump will leave no less of a mess in his wake than Obama and every president before him who had a nation to make a mess with. I, for one, am not interested in building a wall in front of Mexico, but despite Trump’s opposition to China, someone should remind him, the Chinese are pretty good at building great walls. XD

I understand there’s going to alot of resistance towards Trump, but I’d like to see people supportive of the things they believe in whether it be Trump or some other actor who is elected. If you want something done these days, you can’t wait around for the next election. Sadly, it seems people would prefer sabotage their own efforts to improve the nation so long as they can tarnish a reputation (be it the President or someone else). At least that’s what they say. That’s just wasted effort. But I’m sure Obama supporters said the same thing to McCain and Romney supporters years ago. Who knows if anyone is acting on it. Life will go on.

Time for bed. If I’ve said something that sounded incohesive, odd, uninformed, or stupid, it’s because it’s 2:40 at night.

5 thoughts on “Red White and Silicon Valley – Notes on the 2016 Presidential Election

  1. id probably agree with most of what you said except the part where its “impossible” for anyone to get married. its actually pretty freaking simple to marry. ive married, and unmarried, and getting married is the easier part.

    now some people will tell you its “impossible” to get divorced, and thats equally silly– you just do. theres a set of rules, and if you follow them its done. nothing more to it whatsoever. you can say “well i dont follow these rules, i believe in these rules instead. and my rules say its impossible.” thats fine– for you. really. its just not “impossible” for someone that thinks your rules arent relevant to them. or that your interpretation is narrow or biased, which it could be. but so could theirs, right? i mean fairs fair. other than that, i think your post made some great points and people should consider them. id also be interested in reading your take on why you think homosexual marriage is “impossible,” but i figure anything i will have to say on that is probably already covered in this comment. best, and thanks for letting me know about your experience with the notifications.

    1. I seem to have missed this comment, so I’ll respond now… several months later. *sigh*
      I would argue that it’s impossible based on my current worldview. Obviously, if you prescribe to the idea that a judge gets you married, then anyone can get married. In that sense, you could marry a horse if you wanted. But it’s a meaningless procedure with some words said by a judge and some paperwork. Nothing more. (There’s more to say along those lines, but I won’t do it here.) I believe marriage is far more than that, but I have to dedicate quite a long blog post to it (more than what some of my poor readers will have time for, so maybe I should do it in segments… hm…), and other people have said it better than me (so maybe I’ll do some word borrowing). That said, I’ve been meaning to also post my thoughts on homosexuality and such relationships, and that topic itself deserves a complete blog post. Stayed tuned. I’ll probably get around to writing these posts at some point.

      1. in fact i think its going to come down to special pleading. im sure you know what that is, but if you have a quick refresher on it before you begin, it will probably help you weed out some of the weaker things you could say on the matter.

      2. I’m not quite sure what you mean, but to give you a hint, there will be more than simply begging people to abide by a definition… cherry or no cherry on top. But perhaps synthesizing my thoughts might also make it easier and faster to read.

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