2015 Election Thoughts / First Post!!
I decided to try Medium because I wanted to start a blog and was already in the process of looking at the differences between the major pages. I already love the sleek design and easy editing. It also seems to be the “hip” new hosting site that still has a wide-enough reach (Remember when Facebook was cool? I…almost can’t). My ultimate goal for this platform is to get better at writing, because even “creative geniuses” need to practice their craft. Medium is also incredibly accessible, which helps because it can be hard to have fully-formed ideas at the drop of a hat (it’s my understanding that writing/art in general doesn’t really work that way…)
Like, remember in the show House where the titular character (portrayed by long-time British actor, Hugh Laurie) has a lull near the end of almost every episode? After getting the initial diagnosis wrong, he spends time doing other “creative activities” (think reading, playing guitar, throwing a ball against the wall of his office) to try and come up with a unique solution. And, because he’s a creative genius, (and the show’s namesake) he typically comes up with a unique solution to that week’s problem. Despite protests from his superiors, his best friend, his team, the nurses, orderlies, and…I don’t know, the janitor(?), House does the unorthodox procedure and it works much more often than not. You’d think the other characters, (or at least his one friend) would eventually learn to listen to him even though they disagree with him because he is just so much smarter than everyone even though he’s a jerk…
TK — better segue (segway?) from House to my point
ANYWAYS…why did I bring up that show? Is it because I’m a really big fan of a series that ended three and a half years ago? Did I just finish the famous Japanese horror movie from the ’70s with a similar name? No! — It’s because creativity is hard to just “turn on”. You have to have enough mental energy, be in the right mood, and even then a lot of the time it still doesn’t come.
That aspect of the show seems to have a solid basis with how the artistic process works, even though it’s just a writing tool for the show (Wow first post and I’m already coming off like an arrogant ***!). Hear me out: by doing different activities, you use different parts of your brain. The old trope about people “only using 10% of their brain” came from a media outlet misinterpreting an experiment where researchers used a brain scanner on volunteers. The scientists measured the brain waves of the participants while the subjects were doing complex mental tasks. At the time, they could only identify portions of brain activity at any time. But for different daily activities, including sleep, their entire brains lit up. Mental activity is fluid and there’s still a TON we do not understand, but subtlety doesn’t sell newspapers — leading to this is still somehow being misunderstood to this day.
By reading books, solving puzzles, or playing musical instruments, our brains make different neural connections. This happens at the same time as our subconscious mulls-over other ideas that are in the back of our head. I’m sure most of you have come up with new ideas after “sleeping on it” or even taking a shower.
TK — better segue to Election
So the local elections were held a few days ago (yay Virginia?). After going through the process to culminate my past month or so of campaigning a few things came to mind.
First: there was a noticeable difference in how the two parties were handing out “sample ballots”. The party that was more popular in my area had a nice woman that was about middle age, wearing comfortable clothing (I voted in the afternoon and it looked like she was there since the early morning. The party that was at a relative disadvantage at my polling station seemed to have a different strategy. Now, I’m going to preface this by saying what they did seems 100% legal and after two seconds of thinking about it, was not surprising. But that didn’t stop it from being very amusing! Their volunteer was a woman in her early twenties with long dark hair and a tan. She had a great smile and a lot of energy. She was wearing bright colors and shorts. Now — it was an unusually warm November so you can’t fault her for that, but taken as a whole, all these things seemed to add up to making whatever she was “selling” more appealing. It’s a fun strategy and whoever came up with it was probably thinking: “what the heck, if we don’t do something like this, we’ll definitely lose”.
Next: the incumbents CRUSHED it. I know that’s it’s common knowledge that they win about 90% of the time...I guess that I was just thinking, since, again I had been working 30+ hours a week “making the sausage” for a local election — that all this would be different. To my credit though, the candidate that I spent the most time on won to become a new member in the House of Delegates. She ran against an incumbent last cycle and lost by less than 50 votes, so when her opponent retired, the opposing party’s “new guy” was at a disadvantage.
John Oliver actually mentioned one of our state’s senate races because the incumbent, Dick Black (his actual name!) is a crazy person. This man personally emailed Assad essentially thanking him for “protecting Christians” in Syria. Assad (or whoever runs the President’s social media accounts) then posted a copy of the email to his Facebook page to basically say “see, this elected American official likes me! I am not doing anything wrong!” Earlier in his political career, Mr. Black handed out plastic fetuses on the day of a vote on abortion issues in House of Delegates. He also compared same-sex marriage to polygamy but said that he ultimately favored polygamy over it because it “functions more biologically” and “is more natural”. Tricky Dicky (nickname provided by me) won his race by 5%.
Finally, I looked ahead an entire year, to the 2016 presidential election. On the Democratic side, it’s Hillary’s race to lose. A lot of “Bernie bros” hate to hear that, but…c’mon! When was the last time someone as extreme as him one the nomination? He’s a soon to be 74 year old, Jewish man that is the senator of the smallest, whitest state in the country. He also calls himself a “democratic socialist”. I know there is some nuance to that title, but I don’t know how far the public will pay attention. Obama had 80% of the minority vote in 2012. Even if minorities show up with numbers similar to that election, I don’t think Senator Sanders would get that “split” (and newsflash, they almost certainly won’t have that high of a turnout).
But also, to have any shot of winning the general election, the Republican Party almost HAS TO nominate Marco Rubio. He’s a young contrast to the Democratic candidates and isn’t white (even though his views on immigration aren’t super progressive). Just…if you crunch the numbers, he’s far and away the best shot at a competitive election (unless a REAL scandal happens in the next dozen months). Ben Carson and Donald Trump have really hurt most of the other candidates (Christie and Huckabee just got relegated to the “kids table debate” and a handful of other seemingly legit contenders have already dropped out) because of funding. Elections are weird, yo