Saturday, July 23, 2016

Election Miscellany and More

Nothing but miscellaneous stuff for today. First, I saw this on Facebook, though it appears to have been originally written by someone named stimmyabby on Tumblr:

Sometimes people use “respect” to mean “treating someone like a person” and sometimes they use “respect” to mean “treating someone like an authority.”

And sometimes people who are used to being treated like an authority say “if you won’t respect me I won’t respect you” and they mean “if you won’t treat me like an authority I won’t treat you like a person.”

And they think they’re being fair but they aren’t, and that’s not okay.
This point about treating other people as humans with equal significance (as Jo Walton puts it in The Just City and its sequels The Philosopher Kings and Necessity) is the key thing we human beings need to work on if we're going to solve most of our interpersonal and structural problems of oppression.

Letters about Trump

Then there were a couple of letters in the Star Tribune about Trump's convention speech that I thought were worth excerpting. From Thomas Wexler of Edina:
Donald Trump says he has the answers that will assure us of safety, but apparently he will share those answers only if he is elected. Much of the violence that concerns Americans today is caused by our own citizens, not by illegal immigrants. If Trump has a plan to stop that violence, please share it with us now. Let’s not wait another day to put that plan into action. If he also has a plan to end the threat of international terrorism, let him explain that plan and how it differs from the knowledge and experience of our military leaders.
The next writer, John Hottinger of St. Paul, joins me in my suspicions about Trump's "plan":
[his] frighteningly demagogic statement that on Inauguration Day “you will be safer” [is] an insult to every law enforcement officer in the country. Crime is primarily managed at the local level — not by the president. That’s the way it was envisioned in order to make control of the police local, not with the national government. The national crime levels are very low compared with the Nixon years, when “law and order” became a political cover for race-baiting. Unless Trump plans to declare martial law and abrogate our Constitution — his model, Turkey? — his boast is built on myth, fearmongering and his incredible ego.
Finally, Maria Bales of Minneapolis had this to say:
No point “fact-checking” the Trump speech. Many will do that. I just want to point out that while Trump promised to restore the jobs of steel workers and coal miners, he said absolutely nothing about global warming and the environment. And, to their shame, the PBS commentators I was watching did not notice or did not care to talk about this omission.
Thoughts on Tim Kaine

If there were a person with Tim Kaine's political resume and geographic base who was also a person of color or a white woman and didn't leave a Senate seat to the Republicans, I would be all for that person. However, there isn't. Kaine is actually close to unique in having been a mayor of a large city, a governor, and a senator. He's won statewide in Virginia despite opposing the NRA and a range of other right wing issues.

When I first heard his name being mentioned as a serious contender, I wasn't sure who he was and had him confused with some other one-term Virginia governor (since there are so many). But a quick read of his Wikipedia page relieved a lot of my nascent discomfort, especially knowing that his career roots go back to working against housing discrimination, which is the underlying issue behind much of our ongoing school resegregation, wealth inequality/poverty concentration, and generally not knowing each other enough to treat everyone as human beings.

Kaine and his wife also get points from me for sending their kids to the Richmond public schools, which is not something many in his position do (I'm looking at you, former Minneapolis mayor R.T. Rybak, not to mention the Clintons and the Obamas).

I'm not thrilled about Kaine's history on trade, but he's good on many other issues. No one is perfect. He seems affable and smart.

Here's what I think about the other options:
  • Cory Booker: would be replaced by a senator appointed by a Republican governor (Chris Christie). Well-positioned for running in the future after he's had more time in the Senate. I disagree pretty strongly with his record on education as mayor of Newark. Terrible geographic range from Hillary.
  • Elizabeth Warren: would be replaced by a senator appointed by a Republican governor. We're better off with her in the Senate, especially if the Democrats regain control. Bad geographic range from Hillary.
  • Sherrod Brown: Good geographic range and popular in an important swing state, but would be replaced by a senator appointed by a Republican governor. We're better off with him in the Senate, especially if the Democrats regain control.
  • Julian Castro: I really like Castro and think he would have been a good choice. Great geographic appeal (imagine if Hillary could carry Texas). He's really the only one of Hillary's other options that I would have fully supported, though he's still a bit light on career experience at this point. However, I think in all honesty that his last name would be a liability in a national race, especially in the second position. When he runs himself, he's able to overcome it as he has so far (similar to how Obama has overcome his name in this xenophobic culture). But Clinton-Castro is just terrible as a marketing line. I have no idea if this factored into Hillary's decision.
  • Tom Perez: I also really like Perez, but I think his resume is too technocratic/legal and not based enough on electoral office. Not great geographic range from Hillary, either (born in Buffalo, mostly based out of Maryland).
  • Bernie Sanders: It was a total pipe dream to think Hillary would name Bernie as her running mate. And we're better off with him in the Senate, especially if the Democrats regain control.
Oh, and late in the week,  I learned about an interesting bit of tea-leaf reading: You can tell who is about to be nominated by looking at the editing history of their Wikipedia pages. If the page has been edited a lot recently, that's the person who has been selected.

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