Regarding Election

The Closer with Keith Olbermann Video Series

Recorded on November 29th, 2016

Three cheers to Keith Olbermann for his brilliant new GQ series of short videos, The Closer with Keith Olbermann. I feel like all of his past cable TV appearances were just a diluted warm-up for this. No punches are pulled and no fucks are given, but it’s all as cerebral and literate as ever. He’s all the Keith Olbermann he can be in this format, even titling these as “The Resistance” in big letters right at the beginning of the video.

Keith Olbermann on Why Trump Is Not Fit to Be President” is the newest episode, and my current favorite. Olbermann is practically foaming at the mouth with anger. This is the level I’m at now! When I spend more than five seconds each day contemplating how Trump could literally go nuclear after the inauguration, it makes it hard to care about eating right, getting enough sleep, saving for retirement, and staying out of debt. Who cares about all that if we’re going to die in a planet-wide fireball because some oaf-in-chief can’t keep from shooting off his mouth, or his Twitter? I can’t handle 4 more years of this anxiety.

The Jill Stein Wisconsin Petition

Recorded on November 26th, 2016

In the new Guardian article about the Jill Stein petition for a recount in Wisconsin, they link to the full document she filed. Presumably there will soon be similar petitions for Michigan and Pennsylvania. I don’t know her true motives for doing this. Maybe she’s doing it for Hillary, or maybe she really just wants full transparency. Whatever the case, I think she means it and isn’t trying to scam donors out of money. You don’t get lawyers to sweat out a document like this just for kicks.

In the petition, there’s an affidavit from J. Alex Halderman, the computer security professor from the University of Michigan. You may have read his statements on all this already, but this part is super interesting to me, because it could have totally happened:

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Silver Lining

Recorded on November 13th, 2016

A friend told me last night that one good thing will come out of all this: Even though we all naturally wished for this to go the other way and people would be safer and the world would be in a better state if it had, we’re now seeing ourselves organize and mobilize in a way that we may never have done otherwise. This is how we will progress over the long term. Like a muscle that is stressed under load, it responds and becomes stronger.

Unfortunately, I know that because of my sex and race and class, I’ll have the luxury of choosing how to get involved. Countless other people have already been involuntarily forced to be involved.

Would I have ever considered going to a city council meeting, or donating to the Southern Poverty Law Center, the ACLU, and Planned Parenthood if HRC had won? I doubt it. Am I more ready than ever to stick up for a stranger in public if they’re targeted because of their race, gender, place of birth, or sexual orientation? HELL YES.

It’s Like a Loved One Died

Recorded on November 11th, 2016

This election outcome has been like no other that I’ve lived through. I think I visited all the stages of grief — denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance — as the numbers unfolded late in the hours of election night. Since then I’ve come all the way back around to constant depression. It’s hard to work, it’s hard to eat right. I blankly stare ahead and wonder what the point of anything is.

The experience I keep comparing it to is the death of a loved one. We’ve lost parents, grandparents, and peers in the past few years and months. More recently and easier to remember, we lost all three of our beloved cats. In all these cases, we drifted around the house like zombies, unable to focus, eating and drinking and sleeping too much. When we’d wake up every morning, there would be a few seconds of groggy peace before we’d realize that the person (or animal) was still gone and nothing could bring them back.

Our dream of escaping the Orange One is gone and can’t be brought back. We can try to move forward and take control where we can, but the veneer of civility that we imagined was out there is thinner than we thought. When you see a cross section of the earth’s crust, you see how alarmingly thin the layers of mantle and soil are, and that there’s a red hot core just a relatively short way down. That’s the smoldering hate and bigotry we’ve seen unleashed since the election.

As a white male, this is admittedly super-naive and clueless to grasp at this point. All the people who’ve been discriminated against their whole lives should say to me, “Nice of you to wake up and feel a sliver of our pain.” I knew it would be bad. I just didn’t know it would be this bad, this soon.

What Just Happened?

Recorded on November 9th, 2016

They say it’s not over, but it looks really bad right now at 12:26 am. If he wins, it’s on him to deliver on all those empty promises he made, at least the ones that weren’t totally damaging. Let’s see him single-handedly defeat ISIS, take the economy to new heights, create jobs out of thin air, lift depressed areas out of poverty, and improve relations with Russia. I pray he abandons the “wall” idea, and that he doesn’t actually penalize American companies that manufacture their products overseas.

Whatever happens, there is obviously no unseen benevolent secret group pulling the strings and keeping us away from the cliff. We are in uncharted territory with no life preserver.

What Is Wrong With You?

Recorded on November 8th, 2016

To the Republican presidential candidate:

Last year, you shockingly, crassly insulted Sen. John McCain by saying “I like people that weren’t captured.”

How dare you. You, who never served in the armed forces, had the gall to dismiss and belittle a man who was brutally tortured as a prisoner of war for over five years in Vietnam. I can’t even read the full account of what happened to him because it’s too disturbing. You wouldn’t have lasted an hour in captivity. Neither would I, but I respect John McCain and you don’t.

There’s no other way to put it except, What is wrong with you? I thought it was over for you then. It should have been, but here we are. You’ve somehow gotten worse in the meantime. My mind cannot get around the fact that so many people still support you after this episode and all the other vile things you’ve said and done. No one running for president should ever trivialize the terrible, enormous price our military paid and continue to pay. This should make all of us fiercely angry.

I dearly hope that those who want to protest you will vote for Hillary Clinton instead of opting for a third-party candidate.

Debate #1

Recorded on September 27th, 2016

Well, in the end, the joke really is on us. No matter how presidential Hillary looked and sounded tonight — and she did — Donald most likely only emboldened his supporters. Nothing he said, none of the facts he got wrong, none of his misdirections, would have changed the minds of his core voters. We all had a grand time live-Tweeting and live-Facebooking it (including me), and the thumbs-ups are still rolling in even after it ended, but we have to know that we were part of the spectacle. This is what televised debates have become. A massively multiplayer online game where the two prospective leaders of the U.S. are the avatars and we’re all nudging them here and there. Except one of them is grounded in reality and one of them is grounded in reality TV.