This is a thing I wrote quite some time ago, but I never published it. I decided to go ahead and do that, and then I’ll provide some additional comments at the end.

Imagine two teams are playing basketball. Both teams have spent a long season to get where they are, many seasons cultivating their team, and now they face each other, again, as they have repeatedly. Early in this particular game, a player from Team Blue shoots a three-pointer and makes it. A player from Team Red calls foul and claims the player from Blue had his foot out of bounds when he took the shot.

Not wanting to stop the game, it progresses while the officials review the play. After a few minutes the officials come back and say “We reviewed the footage from several different angles and have determined that the player was in bounds and therefore the three-pointer counts. Play on.”

Team Red doesn’t like this answer. Despite all evidence to the contrary they know in their hearts that the player from Team Blue, while she might have technically been in bounds, was out of bounds in spirit, and that the points shouldn’t count. The cheerleaders from Team Red begin a cheer about how Team Blue is bad and illegal, and the Team Red fans get whipped up in a frenzy.

The officials repeat that they’ve checked the footage, Team Blue was in, the points count. But Team Red and their fans aren’t having it, so they keep yelling for another review of the play.

Team Red’s play style shifts. Rather than trying to win the game by scoring points, they are now primarily blocking shots from Team Blue and holding the ball whenever possible. They are delaying the game while calling for another review of the perceived foul play. Finally, the officials give in and say they’ll review the footage. Team Red demands to also see the footage and have a vote in the outcome. Not wanting to further delay the game, the officials agree. Members of Team Red accompany the officials to a room to watch the footage on the big screen. Every time the footage gets to the point where the player from Blue shoots and his feet need to be seen, a player from Red jumps in front of the screen blocking the view and yells “See?! He was out of bounds!” The officials try to review the play but Red keeps getting in the way, but eventually they see enough to maintain their ruling, the play was good, the points count.

Team Red returns to the court shouting that they’ve been robbed, that the officials are lying and Blue must be in cahoots with them, and they are ruining the game for all the fans, not just Red Fans, but ALL fans. All true fans.

The game resumes, and Red continues their delay of game tactics. Blue manages to score every now and then despite this, but every point they earn is met with more and more cries of “Illegal!” and “Doesn’t count!” or “We allowed you to get that because fans want to see scoring!” Over time, the Blue fans get quiet, and the fans of neither team in particular start to shift their seats toward Blue’s side, but the Red fans are getting louder and louder. Even as some Red fans begin to quiet down or even switch sides, the remaining fans pick up the slack and then some. The roar of “Foul!” “Illegal!” “Disqualify them!” and more is deafening.

Since the initial foul call, Red has not scored a single point, but have managed to halt Blue almost as much and delay the game in every possible way. The majority of fans are bored, some are leaving the arena while others are paying more attention to their phones than the game. The minority Red fans, however, continue chanting, even as their numbers dwindle.

Eventually, the clock runs out on the game. Blue is tired from trying to play the game. Red is super pumped, running on almost pure adrenaline. They are ready for the next game.

The original version of this was written in *checks notes* 2014 in response to Mitch McConnell and the Republican controlled Senate basically refusing to do anything. A skill they would fully employ to hold a Supreme Court seat open for nine months claiming “the people need to decide”, a position they would show they didn’t hold at all when they filled a seat in barely more than one month, just 8 days before the presidential election in 2020.

I revised it a few times over the next 8 years as the GOP has shown time and time again that they have no interest in nor ability to actually govern this country. They have become a party that supports stripping rights from women and minorities, that is eroding the separation of church and state, nakedly lining the pockets of the wealthy (look, there are Democrats who do this too, but they usually at least do it under the guise of helping the average American out and we do often get things out of the deal), and most recently just outright eliminating democracy altogether in favor of an authoritarian regime who is only really trying to regain power to protect himself from all the crimes he committed and is being brought to justice for.

It is just sad how far team Red has fallen and doubly sad all the people who support them that team Red will happily sacrifice for their own ends. It is depressing how many Americans will vote for a party because that party hates the same people they do, even though that party also hates them, as evidenced by all the things the party wants to destroy that those people rely on.

I keep hoping that the party will implode or explode or something. What this country needs is a good solid four full years of absolute Democratic Party control, where they can pass all the laws they want with overwhelming majorities in the House and Senate while holding the White House. We won’t get that, but maybe, just maybe, team Red will break apart and a more sane party will rise in its place.

Discrete Math and Sociology

Sometimes, when discussing education, a question that comes up will be “What was the most important class you took in college?”

As it pertains to my degree in computer science and my career, the answer has always been and will always be Discrete Math. The professor I had, on the first day, described the class as “math without numbers”. It was all proofs and logic. It helped me immeasurably when it comes to programming and crafting logic for IF statements and loops and such.

When it comes to everything else though, it has to be the Sociology 101 class I took. The first day of class, everyone took their seats, nothing assigned, just people naturally sitting where they wanted to sit. The second day of class, everyone sat in the same seats they’d sat in before, but this time the teacher made everyone switch. He made us invert the rows. People who sat in the back had to sit up front, and people who sat in the front were moved to the back, and he informed us this was now assigned seating, and we’d be expected to stay in these seats for the rest of the semester. Then he asked the class why we thought he was doing that.

I had been sitting in back, and now I was sitting up front. I knew why I sat in the back, so I put up my hand. “People who sit in the back often do so because they don’t want to be called on, they want to avoid attention or participation, and people who sit up front are usually more eager to participate. So by putting the talkative people in back, you are making them involve the entire class, and by putting the hiders in the front, you are forcing them to be involved.” I was right. That’s why he did it. And it worked. More than any class I had in college, that one, by far, had the most participation by all students. Putting the naturally engaged people in the back helped increase the engagement of the people who would normally hang back.

As a semester long project in the class, we had to watch the news. Specifically the “6 o’clock news” and then the 10 or 11pm night broadcast. And we had to take notes. The type of stories, were they national, local, good news, bad news, etc. And how long was spent on each. What he wanted to illustrate to us was that the news wasn’t aimed at actually delivering information, but in controlling emotion. Every day there would be new news, and if there wasn’t they would just rehash a previous piece, but despite what happened in the world, the news always followed the same patterns. A certain number of minutes on local, a certain number of minutes on national, uplifting stories always appeared in the exact same spot in the broadcast, there was always crime. It became so weird to know that after they returned from a particular commercial break they’d have a story of a particular type for a set number of minutes. The news presentation was manufactured, precisely. And it always ended with feel good news – someone doing a good deed, or footage of the new otters at the zoo, or something that was unquestionably upbeat. Never ending on death, always ending on life.

In class we would talk about how in a day there might be three important bad stories that should be on the news, but only one or two of them would be, because to cover all three would throw off the balance. These stories were clearly all more important than some of the fluff and filler used to hit their “good news” segments, but the format was more important than the content.

Now, because I’m old, this was before CNN and the 24 hour news cycle. But not a lot has changed. I still have trouble watching the news because of the things I learned back then. MSNBC will be on as background noise while we do things, and there will be three separate hours of news, hosted by three separate anchors, featuring different sets of guests, but all covering the same news stories, with the same facts, and the same clips and quotes, and even though the guests were different they’ll bring up the same discussion points. It’s eerie.

Anyway, we did cover more than the TV news in that class, and all of it was interesting. The core principle though was just to be critical yet open minded. It probably did more to shape who I am today that any other class I took. It definitely was a pretty big slap in the face to the conservative/libertarian privileged snot who walked in that first day and sat in the back of the class.


Last time I posted here is was February of 2023. On a good note, the steps I took to prevent hacking of my sites appears to have worked as they didn’t get hacked again. On the other hand… I protected it from hacking so that I could essentially do nothing with it. Will that change in 2024? Probably not. But maybe…

I missed posting my usual January 1st post because I was on a boat in the gulf waters just off the shores of Mexico. It was a lovely cruise. The COVID I brought home from it less so. It’s hitting me like a bad cold, so not too bad, but still a pretty shit way to end my vacation before returning to work.

Work. I still like my job. Three years in and I don’t see myself leaving soon. The works is fulfilling, and the pay is good, and the people are nice. Not a whole lot more you could ask for. I mean, you could, I guess, but there are a lot of people who have it a whole lot worse. I went to work on a lot of Tuesdays, and quite a few Thursdays too once they started their “Return To Office” which was basically asking everyone within 50 miles of the office to come in twice a week. Sadly, they only provide lunch on Tuesdays, not Thursdays. But it is nice to occasionally share space with people – though this recent bout of COVID has me questioning that a little.

Reading. I read 36 books in 2023. I would have read a couple more, but slowed down at the end of the year. I read my way though all of Grady Hendrix’s books, Becky Chambers’ Wayfarer series, some romance, and finished up the Iron Druid series. I really loved the Iron Druid. Especially the way that it wrapped up the story. Just superb. I’ve set my goal for 2024 to 24 books again, just to keep myself from setting a goal too high.

Writing. As far as actual writing goes, pretty shit. But I did so a lot more planning and research on stories I’ve thought up. Character sketches and world rules and bits and bobs. I really do want to focus more on writing this year.

Exercise. Went really well for most of the year. And then we (being my wife and I) just fell off at the end of the year. There was a month where we really burned ourselves out, and then we just didn’t get back on again. In 2024 I’m going to focus more on sustained exercise regimen, with more variation, and a bit of going outside.

More… another year passed without much guitar practice, maybe 2024 will be the year. I will probably try the Making Art Everyday thing again this year, but on my own pace, which will be very achievable since they decided to release the prompt a month at a time instead of weekly or daily.

Looking back at last year’s post I wanted 2023 to be a more “calm” year before the 2024 election cycle shit show, and it absolutely was not that, but also it kind of was. The Biden administration has been pretty “regular”, doing normal government stuff, and as with all the Democrat administrations since Reagan they’ve been good for jobs and the economy and for people in general. Of course, the country still has it’s Red-run hell-holes bent of stripping people of their liberties in the name of protecting “freedom”. And when they GOP retook control of the House at the beginning of last year, they predictably have don’t absolutely nothing but try to generate soundbites and animosity for future elections and fundraising grifts. They don’t have any solutions that actually help people. But they will happily claim credit for any benefits people have seen from the administration they are actively fighting. Anyway, I don’t want to get off on too much of a rant, maybe I’ll do that in another post, but 2024 looks like it is going to be a full year of a fight to save democracy… with one side trying to save it, and other side saying the only way to save it is to destroy it and elect and authoritarian regime.

Well, that was a downer way to end this post. So let’s all promise to vote for saving democracy and also to enjoy some books, some board games, some video games, some outdoor sports, some food, some drinks, and the company of others.

Happy New Year, everyone.

Millennial Farmers

One of the problems that affects every job sector that exists is “replacement”. People move on. People get old. People die. And in order for a job to continue getting done you need new people, young people, to enter the field. And you need to do it sooner rather than later in order to best facilitate the transfer of knowledge. But how do you get young people interested in a career in a necessary field?

That was the question that Johanna Trisha Cinco was asked at the Queen Isabela 2023 pageant: how to get millennials to look at careers in agriculture.

I think it is time for us to stop burdening society to go to jobs that don’t benefit them, instead, we should burden the system to create a more sustainable position for farmers and make farming a good job for people. And once we do that — once the government does its job that’s when millennials will choose to be farmers because by then it is a profession that will feed their family and it is a profession that will give them a sustainable life.

Johanna Trisha Cinco

That got me to thinking about what the United States of America needs to do in order to encourage more young people to look into agriculture, or farming, as a career – as a life.

The first thing is connectivity. Those who are classified Millennial and younger generations are a very online group of people. The idea of spending their lives in a place with internet speeds that are closer to the dial-up days is unfathomable. Sure, everyone likes to “turn it off” now and then, and take a break from the world, but they also like to be able to turn it back on and connect. This means that the US needs to invest heavily in broadband technologies in rural areas. I mean, they need to invest in broadband everywhere, but they REALLY need to hit the rural places. They need to string fiber across the Heartland and cover every square inch with 5G wireless and wire connect every home and business with gigabit capable connections.

And this isn’t just for social networks. All of the businesses out there need it. And that leads to…

The US needs to fully embrace, wherever possible, remote working. If there is broadband everywhere then people can work while choosing to live where they want, or where they need. This makes it possible for people to live in small towns and communities, and be able to bring diversity to areas that otherwise might be entirely agriculture based.

And if there is a solid infrastructure for broadband everywhere, that also opens up the possibility for businesses to choose mid-sized or small cities to locate rather than always trying to home themselves in a handful of the largest ones.

The next thing is … well, it’s also connectivity. As much as we fail at mass transit within most cities, we REALLY fail at it for long distance travel. We need more commuter rails that connect smaller cities to bigger ones. We need high speed rail to connect big cities to each other. We need trains to supplement air travel. And we need not to be so reliant on cars for people travel over long distances. I live in Atlanta, and I should be able to catch a train to Augusta, Columbus, Macon, Savannah, and Athens, at least for “local” rail, maybe even to Chattanooga, Birmingham, and Montgomery. And I should be able to take a train to Nashville, Memphis, Charlotte, Charleston, Jackson, New Orleans, Jacksonville, Tallahassee, and even Orlando and Miami by the same or higher speed rail. I should be able to have the option to hop a flight to New York or Los Angeles if I need to be there in a few hours, or book a ticket to ride a train if I’ve got more time, or just want to not fly.

Once you’ve got rails going to these places, it’s not just passenger. You can ship more goods longer distances, and leave trucking for port/depot-to-store work. I’m not saying we should completely abandon highways, that would be dumb. But people should have options, and right now, people really don’t. It’s fly or drive… or to a lot of places in the “flyover states” it’s just drive.

The last thing you need is basically what’s needed in practically every industry: Break up monopolies and large corporations, and create opportunity for true participation in the system for everyone. You need to break up the “family farms” that are really just people who own a lot of land (many times for historically “bad” reasons) and then lease that land to a farm corporation who hires farm workers like any other corporation, paying as little as they can get away with while demanding the most work they can squeeze out of them.

To get young people to choose agriculture as a career you need to remove barriers and create opportunities. The ones who come from those communities see how hard the work is and how disconnected they are and they want to move away. And those who start out in cities or suburbs aren’t enticed by the tales of long, hard work days so separated from the life they know. Even the people who want to work in agriculture often are turned off from it due to the lack of reward they see. The insistence that people will work these jobs without reward because “the job itself is the reward” or “they love it” is the same problem we have with teachers. But addressing educators should be it’s own post.

Anyway, to sum up, what I think we need to make more young people consider agriculture as a career is to expand broadband, trains, and more opportunity to benefit.

An Interview Question

A little over two years ago, I was doing a lot of interviewing. It’s what you usually have to do to get a job. One of the things that I’ve always been encouraged to do, but usually didn’t, was ask questions of my own. Normally when recruiters tell you to do this, they mean to make sure you ask about the office culture and management style. But I started surprising my interviews with a question they didn’t expect, much like how they try to catch potential hires off guard with things like “Where do you see yourself in five years?”, or “Tell me something about yourself that we might only learn after working with you for a year.”, or “What would be your spirit animal?” The question I ask is:

How will the work I’ll be doing make the world a better place?

For nine and a half years, I worked at one company. For the first seven and a half, I stayed because I could see, on a daily basis, how the work I was doing made the world a better place. For the last two, after the company was sold to a much larger entity, I was walled off from seeing how my work made the world a better place.

You might be asking, “Where did this guy work?” I worked at a company that made, primarily, an automated answering service for apartment communities.

Now you are asking, “How does that make the world a better place?” You see, as the people interviewing me stammer to answer my surprise question, they’re probably thinking too big. The software I wrote wasn’t feeding the hungry, or spreading world peace, but it was making the work and lives of the people who used it better. As their answering machine, we replaced a physical device with limited storage – we could keep their messages for years. And when residents called in after hours with a maintenance issue, our automated service got their message and then automatically called the people on the schedule. Then we’d conference the two together, recording the call, eliminating many he-said-she-said claims of who was rude to who. We offered tracking of the maintenance problem, so that the manager could be sure work was getting done, and maintenance workers could be sure to get paid. We offered a notification system for the residents, so they could be alerted by phone, email, or text about things going on at their community – pool parties, parking lot paving, etc. And for the office they could send those messages, and get confirmation that they were delivered. And more. And every day I could drop in and listen to our customer service department on calls with our customers, solving problems, training them to use the software, and hear them singing our praises. Every day I got a little glimpse of how the work I was doing was making things better for the people who used the software.

Until the new bosses took over, and did what a lot of companies do: they moved development into it’s own cave, away from everyone else. No more contact with customers, no more contact with customer service – except through tickets entered into the tracking system and filtered through committee by project owners. I lost all visibility to the good my work did, and became completely mired in problems. Every day I was faced with a list of things that were broken and new challenges to solve. In the long run, it was demotivating. “Why should I fix this? Who is going to notice? Who asked for this feature?”

Back to the interviews…

Some of the people I’ve asked this question to have completely and utterly failed. Either because their company is just like the one I left, where developers are in the dark, or because their company doesn’t make the world a better place.

One example, and I won’t name names, was a company that made medical billing software. I asked my question and he had no answer, so I prodded.

“Does the software assist in some way that leads to better care for patients?”
“It doesn’t help the doctors provide better care?”
“Not really.”
“So, what exactly is the main function of your software?”
“Well, it helps doctors use the right codes to maximize billing to insurance companies.”
“So that people get the correct treatment?”
“No, the treatment is unrelated to the billing. This software just maximizes the billing for insurance.”
“So, like a guy comes in sick, and normally the doctor would bill for the office visit.”
“Yes, and our software would alert them that they should be billing everything in the visit separately. Did he perform a physical? Did he take temperature? All the things within the visit, so that the office can maximize the billing for the insurance company.”
“And they need to do this because it allows them to provide care for uninsured people or something?”
“I don’t know about that. We just maximize the billing for the insurance company, so the doctor can collect more.”

I was … unsatisfied … with that answer. So when they offered me the job, I turned it down.

Asking this question was dangerous. I got the feeling that after I did, and they couldn’t answer or just straight up admitted that their work didn’t do anything to make the world better, I was removed from consideration. But where I didn’t care, you might. If an interviewer were willing to drop me because of that question, I probably didn’t want to work there anyway.

So, did I end up getting a job that makes the world a better place? Yes, viewed from a certain angle. We provide software/service that is usually reserved for large enterprise type customers to companies with much smaller footprints much more affordably. And for now, that’s good enough.


First, the annual review of this blog. As usual I began the year with my annual post, and then I let the blog sit fallow for eleven months. Eleven. You might be wondering why after ignoring it for that long did I suddenly unleash a flurry of posts at the end of November and beginning of December, and by “flurry” I mean “six”. Well, someone hacked my website. This isn’t unusual. People find ways to get in back doors and insert files and do random crap all the time. I usually have to clean a file or two off every 5 or 6 months. But this was different. Whoever got in this time deleted a bunch of stuff and their hack made WordPress non-functional, which is how I noticed it. Also, there was porn. A lot of porn. A lot of very unsavory porn. Luckily, I noticed the hack in less than a day. Probably before anyone else because no one reads this blog. And I fixed it. And I finally took the time to install some better monitoring and security. I could do better, but I think I’ve done enough, for now.

Anyway, all that lead me to go digging through my draft posts and I finished six of them up and schedule them. And then walked away, because, you know, that’s how I do.

On the career front, my job continues to be good. I did go into the office on a bunch of Tuesdays when the company caters free lunches, and I rode the bus to do so which just feels so awesome to not drive. But with variants and such, the office still remains a rarity. Maybe this year.

Reading went very well for 2022. I read 24 books. Two a month is really fast for me. I’m looking forward to more reading in the new year. Of the 2022 books, I really enjoyed everything I read, except Luna: New Moon. That one was just a slog and I won’t be reading any more of that series. I finally picked up the Iron Druid series which I’d been recommended by many people over the years, and I am liking it a lot, especially since I know that it ends. I gave up on the Dresden Files series a while back because I felt Ghost Story would have been a perfect ending for the series, but it didn’t end, and what I’ve heard of the later books just makes me more annoyed that it didn’t end when it could have done so very well. Also, the latest in the Well Met series, Well Traveled, of romance books set in and around Renaissance Festivals continues to be a joy to read.

Writing went fairly poorly in 2022. I tried NaNoWriMo again after skipping a couple years, and I did not do well. Maybe 5,000 words if I’m generous. But, I bought a new (old) roll top desk, and I’m getting it to where I feel comfortable at it and making a habit of it. Along with the new desk and the writing and other things, I plunked down a big chunk of change this year and bought a shiny new MacBook Pro as a desktop replacement and put my old PC in storage (I haven’t ditched it just yet as I may need it or find a use for it). I wanted a laptop for a while now, and one beefy enough to do everything I want while also having a good battery life, so that I could do writing anywhere and not have it be on a device I’d have to later transfer the work to. The concept is solid, and I’m getting more in the habit of pulling it out instead of my phone so I can be more “productive” with my leisure time.

Exercise went solidly for the year. I’m still regularly Pelotoning and also lifting the occasional weight and doing stretching/yoga now and then. Peloton released a rowing machine this year, and we decided to get one for Christmas. It arrives in mid January and I expect that to be a nice addition to my regimen. I feel better, and I might be slimmer, but I haven’t lost weight. I try not to let that bother me because I know I’m adding muscle, but I do dislike hovering in the 245 to 250 range. I really would like to get below 200. I assume that would come easier with a better diet, and is something I will work on in 2023.

I never did get much back to practicing guitar, but if I spend more time at the roll top desk, which is in the same room as the music stuff, maybe I’ll play more.

Last year I committed to doing Making Art Everyday, and then a month or so in I bailed because the prompts were just uninspiring. But I plan on trying something like that again, but perhaps with less intensity.

At the end of 2022’s post, I said I expected lockdown to continue in some fashion and that we were looking at a “new normal”. I didn’t want to be right, but I was. With so many insisting that “COVID is over” despite still having like 400+ people die per day in the US from it, I expect hanging out in smaller groups to be the future, with rare big gatherings and the expectation of a two week breather after every one. And masking. Studies have come out not only in favor of masking, but that cold weather can weaken the immune system in your nose, which is why we get a rise in colds and flus in the winter. So, masking and keeping your nose warm can actually prevent you from getting sick. This was driven home succinctly when I did go on a cruise in the summer. About mid-cruise the Facebook group for the cruisers started having posts of people who “definitely don’t have COVID but need some cold medicine”. See, if people went to the ship medical they required a COVID test, and if you tested positive then you got quarantined to your cabin, everything brought to you via room service, and a refund for your trouble. But people didn’t want a refund, they wanted to keep enjoying the cruise, while sick, spreading COVID. So about a third of the ship got COVID, including me.

Anyway, 2023, I want you to be better. That shouldn’t been hard. I’d just like a year of precedented times, devoid of once in a generation/lifetime events. 2024 is going to be a presidential election year shit show, so maybe let us have a calm one before that.

Happy new year, everyone.

The Economy

You have to understand is that the economy is not money. No amount of money in the hands of any amount of people is an economy. The economy happens when the money moves, when it is exchanged for goods and services. An economy happens when you pay wages, buy groceries, remodel a building, etc. An economy is the movement of money.

Now, money in an economy has a natural flow. For lack of a better term we’ll call it “upwards”. If you put money in the hands of the common man they will spend it. They’ll buy necessities, they’ll buy entertainment. They might save some, put it in a shoe box under the bed or in a bank, but mostly they’ll spend it. And one way to picture it is that every time money is spent, exchanged, a little bit of it is shaved off and moves “upward”. Slowly, bit by bit, money moves toward the top, toward the business owners and the wealthy. The reason is, as stated just a few sentences ago, most people spend their money. Wealthy people, however, have more money than they “need” to spend. Ultra-wealthy people have more money than they “want” to spend.

So the money tends to pool at the top. Unless you can convince those people with the most money to spend it, to “invest” it, to put that money into motion, that’s where the money will stay. That’s where the money “exits the economy”. Some people will tell you that the wealthy already do invest, but it isn’t just the act of investing that is important, it’s how deeply that money goes. If they put money in the stock market, then very very little, if any, of that will make it’s way down to the bottom. It’s just sort of churns, money making money, and cycles back to them, or vanishes. It touches very few people. But if you can get them to invest in capital, in businesses directly, into ventures that employ people and sell goods and/or services, then that money goes deeper. It gets into the hands of people who then buy things and the money spends around through the economy, changing hands thousands and thousands of times before it gets back to the investor bit by bit.

You can’t stimulate the economy by giving money to wealthy people unless those people are committed to starting new businesses and hiring people and buying a lot of goods and services and churning that money into the economy. If they just use the money to buy stock, or buy back stock, then it doesn’t help.

You can stimulate the economy by giving money to poor people, because they will spend every dime of it and fuel the engine of the economy.


There are two rooms. Room 1 and Room 2. Both of these rooms have heating and air, but only Room 1 has a thermostat to control the settings. Person A is in Room 1, and Person B is in Room 2. These rooms are not connected, the two people cannot directly communicate. Person A does physically control the thermostat, but there are guidelines they follow in order to regulate use of the thermostat. Those regulations are set by Person C, who is the currently elected Room Manager. Person D is running against Person C in the next election.

Person B is often cold, and would like for the thermostat to be, on average, 1 degree warmer. Person D is running on a platform that included increasing the temperature policies to allow for a 1 degree warmer setting. But Room Manager does more than regular temperature policy. They also set the meal menu. Person D’s platform also includes making the menu healthier by replacing the Thursday night Hot Pockets with a chef prepared mini calzone. Person B really liked the Hot Pockets on Thursdays, and so in the election vote for Person C, whose platform keeps the menu the same, but also shifts the temperature policy 1 degree colder.

Person B complains that it’s too cold, but keeps voting for Person C, who likes it cold. Person B complains that if only Person D would remove the menu change from their platform, then they would vote for Person D. They keep voting for Person C, and their room continues to be cold.

When I hear people say that they are “conservative NOT Republican” trying to distance themselves from some awful policy the Republican party is pushing, I always ask them, “So, since you disagree with them, you’re not going to vote for them?” But they will vote for the Republican, because the Republican is the conservative choice. They’ll lament that they would vote Democrat if the Democrats would just nominate a conservative, but they are missing the point.

If you keep voting for a party even when you disagree with them, they have no incentive to change. They are getting your vote. In order for your vote to affect policy, your vote has to be in play. You have to be willing to vote against your party and FOR a party you disagree with even more, or else your party has no reason to listen to you.

There are conservatives, Republicans, out there who hate Trump, but as long as they keep checking the box for the names with the Rs next to them, the party doesn’t care.

And this isn’t just a jab at Republicans and conservatives. Do you want to know how you get a more progressive candidate for the Democrat party? You vote for them. You won’t get a more progressive candidate by saying you want one, then voting for the establishment candidate. They don’t listen to talk. They listen to votes.

And this also holds true for really awful candidates. When your party puts out a candidate who is complete trash, you HAVE to vote against them. If you cave and vote for the party anyway, they’ll just give you more terrible candidates. Why would they put effort into finding better or even just reasonable candidates if you are willing to vote for the trash ones that are a dime a dozen?

The Truth Has a Liberal Bias

On the political spectrum of liberal and conservative, the rhetorical styles of the ends vary. And this variance is what I think contributes to the idea that “the truth has a liberal bias”. Most of the time, when I hear a Democrat or liberal speak on an issue, the style they use follows this pattern:

  1. Define the problem that currently exists.
  2. State where we should want to be.
  3. Give their view of the next step we should take to try to solve the problem and how it will get us to where we should want to be.

Meanwhile, on the other side, when I hear a Republican or conservative speak on an issue, the style they use goes like this:

  1. Paint the perfect picture that is inevitable from their guidance.
  2. Define the enemy.
  3. Give their view of how to prevent the enemy from stopping the inevitable perfect picture.

The result of these styles is that when you lay out the facts, the truth, about how something currently is, it will more closely resemble the liberal point of view.

Wrong, Bad, and Evil

Words have meaning. Words have weight. When we speak, I think it is important that we choose our words wisely, not just to ensure accuracy, but to ensure the meaning isn’t altered when the words travel.

In politics a lot of people don’t consume information first hand. This is true in a lot of fields, but in politics it is exceptionally true.

If you disagree with your opponent, but you respect your opponent, the word used is “wrong”. They are “wrong”. Which means that they can probably be corrected.

When you disagree with your opponent, but you also don’t respect them or their position, the word used is “bad”.

When your opponent must be destroyed because there is no saving them, the word used is “evil”.

Somewhere along the way, the Republicans began describing their political rivals and the policies supported by them as “evil”. It probably began when they embraced the evangelicals. They needed to engage the fire and brimstone enthusiasm of their new constituents. But this literal demonization of their opponents has consequences. If you’re opponent is “evil” then negotiation and compromise are impossible. If you’ve branded your colleagues across the aisle as being in league with the devil, then how can you shake their hand?