November 4, 2020

Yesterday, in between sessions doing voter support with my tuba and some musician friends, I was on The McGST podcast - affiliated with McGST, formerly "Lost in Mobile", a website and corresponding WhatsApp group that is one of my higher quality and most consistent forms of online socializing these days.

Hopefully I acquitted myself well. I took some chances expressing my views on topics that are contentious. As someone who tries to see where the other side is coming from, I worry there are times when I will seem to wishy-washy to fellow lefties.

And all of us - right and left are all on tenterhooks seeing how the election played out. In the group, Shaun said "Kirk said something in the podcast that stuck with me. How much of [the political fight] actually affects your life day by day?"

Of course, the answer is, we don't quite know. Almost all of us enjoy the fruits of a technologically advanced society and culture and there's a suspicion that it would not be so pleasant were it not for this kind of struggle... or at least, some kind of struggle. We benefit from a history of people working on projects bigger than they were, and so it behooves us to keep our roles on the struggles that are happening today.

And wondering about the actual day to day impact probably implies a lot of protective layers of privilege. And maybe the recent waves of Trump/Brexit populism are an angry rebuttal for people who feel poorly treated by the system. (If I hadn't chanced on a well paying tech career path compatible with my natural inclinations, where would I be?) But do they think their lots are greatly improved by these guys? Or is it enough to infuriate the libs, and have the sense of "life still sucks but at least our team won". Or perhaps they think these kind of go by the gut leaders would make things actually, locally better were it not for the meddling of the darn other side? (Republicans have controlled all 3 parts of the US government for years. What have they done good with that? Or is that a stupid thing to ask given for decades they've run on "government is the problem" and then they are compelled to make that true?)

These questions get philosophical quick. A lot of greek lines of philosophical "how to live a good life" ended up looking for equanimity: that we should learn how to emotionally carry on and not be overwhelmed with delight or despair in things that happen to us, especially when we have little say in them. Other times, things get existential, in the loose sense of the word. What's it all about? Is there a goal we can agree on for society and for ourselves, regardless of our religion or lack thereof?
F***, who was against Ranked Choice Voting??? So few people are enamored of the Republican/Democratic Duopoly that utterly, utterly dominates our politics. If we ever want to get out of that without splitting crucial votes we need options like this.

Like, I can see there's an argument against prolonging elections and needing more time / rounds to get to a better result, but is that what people were thinking of who voted no, or just that it seemed weird and different? What a wasted opportunity.
There's a line from the movie "The Commitments" (about an aspiring Irish Soul/R+B band:)
What you were playing was not Soul! Soul solos are part of the song - they have corners. You were spiraling – that's jazz!"
Jimmy "The Lips" Fagan in "The Commitments"
In general, I really prefer music with corners, and historically don't have much a gut feel appreciation for jazz. But right now this Johnny Hodges album "Lover Come Back to Me" feels like a balm.

I think the times are emotionally grinding and grating enough that I have a new appreciation for stuff without corners.