Wednesday, November 25, 2020

My 16th Annual Thanks/No Thanks List

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone. With five weeks remaining, very little could change the fact that 2020 has been a massive annus horribilis.  I've personally had worse years (longtime readers will remember my issues in 2009 and 2010) but I don't want to take away from anyone reading this that is struggling during the pandemic. Nearly everyone has had their lives upended this year, to the extent that we can't even enjoy ourselves with family. It's hard to feel thankful this year.

This year, I'm thankful for friends that may not be physically anywhere near me, but can be contacted on social media, as well as by phone or email. I joined Facebook 15 years ago this month, and for all its flaws it remains my primary means of communication. I'm also thankful to be working, even though I'm just as far from a real career as I was a decade ago.

Also, on this most unusual Thanksgiving I give a hearty "no thanks" to Qanon, anti-maskers, gaslighting (still), people in general that conflate minor inconveniences with liberty, and Sen. Mitch McConnell. I guess you can tell what's often on my mind. Yes, I know some of those things overlap.

To you, my loyal readers, onward and upward as we navigate the rest of the year together.


Friday, November 20, 2020

Dispatches from Arm's Length, Part 13

History will remember Trump as Thomas Hobbes gone wrong. Trump is not conceding. I doubt he ever will. But I digress.

Two of my school districts have gone all-remote, and the other three will likely follow. Once the apparent standard for handling COVID, the state of Illinois is now flooded with cases. (New York received more media attention.) Mayor Lightfoot is discouraging Chicagoans from leaving their residences outside of necessities, and it's just a matter of time before Gov. Pritzker announces another statewide lockdown. Suffice to say, we're bracing for a long winter.

In the event schools close again, I'm not totally screwed financially. I have a seasonal temp job on weekends, something that if all else fails will keep me afloat through New Year's. I have minimal retail experience, but so good so far. If that somehow falls though, then I have Lyft. In the meantime, I keep worrying; everything could shift again in a matter of minutes. 

Next Week: my 16th "thanks/no thanks" list.


Tuesday, November 10, 2020

Epilogue for a Disputed Election

 I spent most of election night *not* watching news coverage. After the mercurial election cycle of our lifetimes, I had to take a deep breath and step back. I saw a glimpse of early election results on a 60" TV as I was driving early that evening, then after dinner I spent most of the evening writing and filling out a job application.

The fact that the presidential race was so close is appalling. My worst assumptions about how Trump supporters won't waver were confirmed as Tuesday night dragged on. Even more disturbing is that 56% of white women voted Trump, which is a 3% increase from 2016. (I'm not even going to bother looking at the white guy vote.) Biden's supporters were a tight alliance of people of color, the marginalized, or both. That was what carried Biden to a razor-thin victory.

As I write this, only Georgia and North Carolina haven't been called, but it's a moot point now. This election was a rebuke of the entire Trump administration, and it's clear that more Americans than not have had enough. Trump's lapdogs are assisting him in disputing the election results, claiming voter fraud without any substantial evidence. A litany of frivolous lawsuits are pending.

Joe Biden and the Democrats did not put together a great campaign. In fact, it was almost Hillary 2016-level incompetent. Stronger campaigns were built around weaker candidates during the primaries. And yet, Biden 2020 didn't have to be well-run. There were enough exasperated Americans to get Biden over the hump.

In the end, America will get what it needs, rather than what it wants.