I guess they could lead one to just not try . . . to “eat, live, and be merry.” But perhaps the better take-away is: it’s time to get serious about tackling the species’ existential crises and finding ways to get along with each other on this fragile blue dot.
One thing that would help: restoring respect for American leadership — and then leading . . . as we did with the Iran Nuclear agreement and the Paris Climate Accord and the TransPacific Partnership.
This weekend, Michelle Obama finished recounting for me the story of her life. Remember when honor, dignity, reason, humility, and compassion defined the White House? An administration fully staffed with top-quality people committed to making the world safer, fairer, and more sustainable? (A Nobel-prize winning physicist heading the Energy Department, for example, instead of the guy who forgot it was one of the three departments he wanted to abolish?)
Mike Bloomberg and Kamala Harris, anyone? Joe Biden and Beto O’Rourke? Amy Klobuchar and Admiral McRaven? Sherrod Brown and Stacey Abrams?
And the conversation continues.
As I noted in a post last month, Carl writes me almost every day. I thought that airing a little of our back-and-forth here publicly might encourage him to open his mind or raise his game.
It did not.
In response to Tuesday’s Wyoming v. California post, suggesting practical ways America might move toward majority rule, Carl cut and pasted this snippet . . . “On November 6, 1860, voters went to the ballot box to cast their vote for President of the United States. Lincoln won the election in an electoral college landslide with 180 electoral votes, although he secured less than 40 percent of the popular vote.” . . . and went on to chide: “Really! I think you should rethink your blogs. Or at least present both sides!”
What Carl seemed not to have taken 30 seconds to find out about the 1860 election is that that Lincoln was running against three other candidates, not one; and that he got the most votes of any of them by a wide margin.
Even if he hadn’t — even if he had won the presidency with fewer votes than his leading opponent — how would that have made a good case in 2018 against handing the presidency to the candidate with the most votes (like Gore or Clinton) instead of the one with fewer, like Bush 43 or Trump?
I don’t believe in presenting both sides on issues that have only one reasonable side. I am not going to say, “here’s why smoking may not be harmful to your health” or “here’s why the climate crisis may be a hoax perpetrated by the scientific community” or “here’s why we should reduce the estate tax on billionheirs” or “here’s why voter suppression is a good thing,” or “here’s why states should not accept Medicaid expansion” or “here’s why Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin may be more trustworthy than Robert Mueller and the Intelligence Community” or “here’s why it may be true that more people turned out on the mall to cheer Trump’s Inauguration than turned out for Obama.”
Just not gonna do it.
Quote of the Day
A penny saved may be a penny earned, but it's one boring penny. A penny invested, on the other hand, bounces around. It gets bigger one day, smaller the next. A bit player in the drama of global finance, that penny buys a guy a balcony seat in the theater of macroeconomics.~Susan Stewart
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