Bill Gates says mortality is “just a software problem,” Ray Kurzweil says average longevity will soon be increasing by more than a year per year, and you read here yesterday about the entrepreneur who plans to download our minds into cyborgs by 2045.
Having now had a little more time to think about it, I’d like to expand on yesterday’s advice.
(Yesterday’s advice: “Invest for the long-term.”)
I would add:
(3) avoid buying stock in companies that write annuities
But the main thing?
The main thing is this:
It really, really matters that we, as a species, get things right — or as close to right as possible — these pivotal next few decades.
And since world leadership still resides significantly with America, it really matters which vision gains ground here in 2014 and 2016 – the vision that (for example) nixes investment in infrastructure and picks a climate change denier to chair the House subcommittee on climate change . . . that fights to keep wages low for those at the bottom and taxes low for those at the top . . . or the vision that stresses investment in a sustainable, equitable future.
What a shame it would be, on the cusp of astounding possibility, to screw it up. Already, I have — in my shirt pocket — a symphony orchestra, an alarm clock, a flash light, a camera, a phone, today’s newspapers, virtually all the books and music ever written, and a team of researchers to find me, more or less instantly, whatever I need and guide me, turn by turn, whether by foot car or public transport, to whatever destination I seek. In my shirt pocket! Imagine what the next few decades could bring.
Ceding more control to the current Republican Party, in my view, would not bode well for any of the things most of us care about.
Which is why I am obsessed with turnout in 2014, when Nate Silver thinks Democrats may lose the Senate . . . but when, in fact, if Democrats register and turn folks out to the polls, we not only hold the Senate, we take back the House, win governorships and flip state legislative chambers our way.
It’s really “just” a matter of doing it.
> The potential for gains is enormous. Voter turnout in 2008 and 2012 was 62% and 60%. In 2010, not quite 42%. We won’t get a Presidential-level turnout in a mid-term election . . . but could we improve from 42% to, say, 45%? Or 47% or 49%? Everything would be different if we could – and we can. Especially among the groups that Republicans are working so hard to disenfranchise. Those efforts get people so mad they could actually backfire again as they did in 2012. There are more than enough House seats in play for us to confound the conventional wisdom and regain control of Congress.
> Independents, who broke heavily for the Republicans in 2010, now lean heavily our way.
> Obamacare, which we’ve done such a bad job selling, will by then have begun to sell itself. Where it hurt us in 2010, it may actually help us in 2014, as people gain advantages that they won’t want to see taken away.
So here’s the thing: Most of the money that goes to politics gets saved up until next fall, then plowed into a sea of TV advertising. It’s necessary; but it doesn’t persuade a lot of Republicans to vote for Democrats or inspire a lot of Democrats to register or vote. If anything, all that advertising, much of it negative, turns people off. The sweet spot – the leverage – is in the neighbor-to-neighbor ground game that gets people who already lean Democratic to vote. Once at the polls, they vote not for just for one candidate whose ads they may have seen, but, typically, for all the Democratic candidates.
In 2014, the technology and infrastructure that underlie this ground game are the responsibility of the DNC.
If Democrats want to win – and when I see how much progress the Republicans have blocked us from making, I desperately do want to win – then we have to fund this technology and infrastructure.
Not least because laying the groundwork to win in 2014 also improves our chances for 2016. (For starters: Voters we register in 2014 remain registered for 2016.)
But laying that groundwork is like planting seed corn. It needs to be sowed well in advance of the harvest. Like . . . now.
The two parties have never been more polarized . . . or Congress more paralyzed . . . and if 2014 and 2016 don’t turn out right, we could regret it for the rest of our lives. Which could be very, very long.
So click. I’ll see it right away to say thanks.
Quote of the Day
Probably the greatest harm done by vast wealth is the harm that we of moderate means do ourselves when we let the vices of envy and hatred enter deep into our own natures.~Teddy Roosevelt, 1902
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