Another bizzy day calls for a repeat, this one with a travel theme from way back in 2009.
The train between concourses in Atlanta Hartsfield airport is full of the heat, sweat, and silence any traveler comes to expect. There are three electric signs explaining the situation – one in English, one rolling between French, German, and Spanish, and the last one the more artful display of Arabic, Japanese, and Korean. Whichever one made the most sense to any particular traveler was unclear as we all kept our language to ourselves. Certainly, for many of them, English would have been enough – and not just because we were at the portal to Atlanta. To many people around the world, the language of the new globalization is the youngest one of all.
CNN was on in the background, the sound turned off. It didn’t matter, however, because the heat of the discussion came through in vivid colors all the same. It’s all bad, it’s all hot, it’s all gonna burn down.
With the sound off and other distractions around me, however, it was easy to find some kind of hope. People passed by the noise and hardly registered it all in the hotel lobby. Life went on. Life will go on, once this nonsense is all over in a month. What will go down then?
The short answer is that America will be the same, but America will never be the same. Trump and his people more or less promised us all along that they would burn it all down and they will. We live in a different nation now, one which will have to reboot somehow from the ashes of what is left of civil discourse. Following a strong repudiation of Trump this might not be a bad thing.
Apparently, bragging about predatory sexual assault is over “the line”. I have been wondering where the line was for some time.
We all knew this election was going to get ugly. We all knew this was going to plumb the depths of personal attack and warped reality, straying far from the many things we need to work out as a people. We all knew that it was going to be sick, weird, and ultimately just unreal.
So here we are, adrift in that spot on the map labeled “Here be Dragons”. Taking a metaphor from Columbus Day, we’re in that terrible moment when there is no sign of land and just about anything can happen. Our biggest fear should be that we’ve seen this story before and we can only hope that it doesn’t wind up with new horrors far away from the civilized authorities – horrors like genocide, slavery, and plunder.
Twitter is dying. Or perhaps it is already dead, it’s hard to say. The stock has rallied lately, anticipating a buyout by …. someone. Google just said they aren’t interested, and who can blame them? The company has never been profitable and has never found its niche.
It is still handy if you want to know what Trump is thinking around 3AM, if you are into that kind of thing. CNN still relies on twitter for feeds from ordinary people for some reason. But for all of this, there was never anything resembling an actual revenue model and never any attempt to find a way to organize the firehose of information that blasts at you once you reach a certain number of users.
I have no use for it, and I don’t know anyone who does. Will it go away?
This is a piece first run for the election eight years ago, and updated a bit for today.
Election Day is not a national holiday, at least not in the traditional sense. But it is the one day that our nation asks something from all of us, even if it’s just a few minutes. If you follow calle ocho through Little Havana in Miami on Election Day, you’ll see a long line houses with the red white and blue of US and Cuban flags stretching off into the horizon. Families sometimes come together across generations, as with any holiday, before they go off to vote. Cuban exiles in Miami are a people that know what it means to be free because freedom and good times are often best measured against their opposite.
My thesis is this: there is nothing more important to the future of our nation than ending racism, particularly institutional racism. This has become a desperate matter of survival for far too many people when it comes to the issue of police killings. These tragedies happen disproportionately to minorities largely because of racism.
Yet the problem goes far beyond that. There is not a single issue in this nation which does not ultimately become polarized and frozen by race. Much of the resistance to government intervention and assistance comes down to a belief that “They” are getting the benefits – the mysterious “other” that is easily blamed for everything. It prevents us from having a useful discussion about “Us”, a free and united people ready to tackle the changes of our world bravely and directly.
But let’s stay with police killings for a moment. Let’s talk about how we get from where we are to a world where no cringes in fear when the disco lights and sirens blare, a world where Black Lives Matter. Let’s talk about how complex issues with hardened battle lines are taken on so that we can get past the problem. Let’s talk about tactics, or how a battle is won.
The debate is tonight. Forget everything you know about the election so far because it is about to change. Clinton is going into this with a decent, but not commanding lead so it’s up to Trump to reverse things.
Can he? Will he try to do something big and bold? Or will he go with what got him here, more or less constantly hitting even if the punches are pretty low?
I’m going to argue that it doesn’t matter. This is Clinton’s election to win, and we’ll see why very shortly. If she can erase some of the negativity surrounding her simply by being in charge and very Presidential she can ice this thing. That’s what counts.