I didn’t watch the debate last night (10/22/2020). I’ve been paying attention for the past 4 years and feel like I’m informed enough about both candidates. But this exchange from the very end really shows, to me, a huge amount of each candidate’s character.
This was the question: In your inaugural address, what would you say to Americans who didn’t vote for you?
President Trump’s answer: “I am cutting taxes, and he wants to raise everybody’s taxes, and he wants to put new regulations on everything. He will kill it. If he gets in, you will have a depression the likes of which you have never seen. Your 401(k)s will go to hell and it will be a very, very sad day for this country.”
Joe Biden’s answer: “I am an American president. I represent all of you, whether you voted for me or against me. And I’m going to make sure that you’re represented. I’m going to give you hope. What is on the ballot here is the character of this country. Decency, honor, respect, treating people with dignity, making that sure that everyone has an even chance. And I’m going to make sure you get that. You have not been getting it the last four years.”
Obviously Biden’s answer most reflects where I want this country to be heading. I’m tired of cynicism. I’d like a little hope. I don’t necessarily want everything to be “bipartisan”. But I’m okay with a President not actively and in their words attacking a state of the union and withholding disaster relief from them just because the state is “blue”.
And yeah, actions speak louder than words. But Trump can’t or won’t even bring himself to say the words.
Cory Doctorow has an excellent article today on fiction, specifically science fiction, and the need for less cynical scenarios of the future and more hopeful stories about what people do in times of crisis.
This is something that I’d started to think about with my own reading and writing. Do I really want to put more cynical dystopian things into my life and out in the world? Things are already bad enough out there. We are already living with the most cynical political situation of my lifetime.
Here is the quote from Doctorow that really drew me in:
This is the thought experiment of a thousand sci-fi stories: When the chips are down, will your neighbors be your enemies or your saviors? When the ship sinks, should you take the lifeboat and row and row and row, because if you stop to fill the empty seats, someone’s gonna put a gun to your head, throw you in the sea, and give your seat to their pals? I’ve committed this sin myself. Right at the start of the first novel in my Little Brother series, a character gets stabbed in a crowded subway by someone who is apparently just knifing people at random in a crowd. That’s never explained, and no one has ever asked me about it. It’s just people being awful.
But according to Denning, this isn’t just fiction—it is the stuff we’ve fueled our intuition pumps with. The problem is, it’s wrong. It makes for good stories, but those stories don’t reflect the truth of the world as I see it. Humanity is, on balance, good. We have done remarkable things. The fact that we remain here today, after so many disasters in our species’ history, is a reminder that we are a species of self-rescuing princesses—characters who save one another in crisis, rather than turning on ourselves.
I really recommend you all read this article. I really do believe we could benefit as a society with new and different stories. Well written ones that give us some hope and a different way to look at our neighbors.
Sci-fi doesn’t just imagine the future, it imagines human nature. We need to take that responsibility seriously.
So Super Mario Bros. 35 came out on October 1st. For those that don’t know what this game is, this is from wikipedia:
Thirty-five players simultaneously play through separate platforming levels styled after the original Super Mario Bros., collecting coins and defeating enemies, while simultaneously trying to survive and also sending obstacles and hindrances to their opponents’ play fields. The last player still alive wins the match. Similar to Tetris 99, players can either manually target their opponents or choose from four choices on the type of opponents to attack; players with the most coins, players with the least amount of time, players who attack the player themselves, or simply random players.
There is an overall time limit counting down with players earning extra time by defeating enemies and completing levels. Collecting 20 coins allows players to unlock a Question Mark Block that randomly gifts players a power-up. In addition, outside of matches players earn coins based on their placing, which can be used to power-up Mario before starting each match. Players can also practice any level that they have cleared in the main game mode.
Anyhow, it’s a really fun game. And it’s a good one to just pickup and play and not nearly as rage inducing as say, FIFA. Or maybe I’ve just been preparing myself for this game for 35 years.
As far as strategy goes, if you want to play it really safe and OP item in the game is definitely the fire flower. If you have that you can just keep all enemies at a distance and send them to your opponents. The only way you can die then is falling off things.
However, if you kill enemies by jumping on them you get more time added to the clock than you do just blowing them away with fireballs. So a player is rewarded a bit with playing a more daring way.
So far my best showing in the game was 2nd place and I died in a really stupid way that time. I’ve placed top 5 a number of times. My goal for this weekend is definitely to place #1.
Anyway, if you have a Switch and Nintendo Online I recommend downloading this game. I really hope Nintendo changes their mind and doesn’t end gameplay On March 31, 2021.
Trump is a Christian when the cameras are on. But that’s all his base really needs. The “R” beside his name and words that they like about their religion.
The president’s alliance with religious conservatives has long been premised on the contention that he takes them seriously, while Democrats hold them in disdain. In speeches and interviews, Trump routinely lavishes praise on conservative Christians, casting himself as their champion. “My administration will never stop fighting for Americans of faith,” he declared at a rally for evangelicals earlier this year. It’s a message his campaign will seek to amplify in the coming weeks as Republicans work to confirm Amy Coney Barrett—a devout, conservative Catholic—to the Supreme Court.
But in private, many of Trump’s comments about religion are marked by cynicism and contempt, according to people who have worked for him. Former aides told me they’ve heard Trump ridicule conservative religious leaders, dismiss various faith groups with cartoonish stereotypes, and deride certain rites and doctrines held sacred by many of the Americans who constitute his base.