Remember, Remember, Or, Better Yet, Forget

by Jim on 2014/11/05

[Jimbaux knows that sometimes when you are out of rope, the way to climb back up is unclear.]

Jimbaux Is No Guy Fawkes, Neither Are You, And Those Are Good Things

Hello.  How are you?  Are you settling in for winter hibernation?  Do you like the idea that you are?

I have a few barely presentable pictures for you on this day after Election Day, Wednesday 05 November 2014.

Castles Made Of Pixels

In an admittedly poor attempt to be philosophical on this day after Election Day, I shall ask you to consider two perspectives of the same subject, taken both from different locations and different times; in a purely literal sense, we are looking at a parked New Orleans & Gulf Coast Railway train – likely the Kinder-Morgan job (or whatever it is called) – on the upriver end of Union Pacific’s Gouldsboro Yard, but that’s probably not really important.

Two-and-one-half hours later, we see the same thing, or do we see something different?

What did you learn from viewing the second image that you were unable to learn from viewing the first image? What new truths do you have from viewing the second image?

What if you had seen the second image first, what new truths would be revealed by the first image?

I’m tempted to say that comparing the two images is like comparing Republicans and Democrats, because though they may look different, they are really the same, but, even though there would be some grains of truth to such a claim, that would be unfair on many levels and many reasons, and it would overly cynical; I may indeed be skeptic, and I slip too often into pessimism, but cynicism is more easily avoidable and is not virtuous, which is why I do not want it to be part of my legacy.

Legacy?  What in the heck is that?

Situation Room Normal, All Fouled Up

Anyway, it is time to get a haircut.  While waiting, it’s time to listen to Wolf Blitzer analyze election results.

Yeah, okay.  Years ago, I liked Lindsey Graham, but I’m less admiring of him now.  Whatever.  Watching this (I could not hear it), I really do not miss having cable television at all!

Cynicism?  I wish to speak of it no more.

Executive Action

There is still a little bit of daylight left, though the clouds are thick.  For some reason, I felt impelled to get one more shot of something; so, I acted alone, made an executive decision to seek a little bit more train action.  Out I went, and I caught this.

Yeah, that is the MCXEW leaving Avondale on the old Southern Pacific mainline.

That was all that I could do.  That’s all for pictures today.  This was, I know, one of my weaker sets of pictures, but the next one will be better, as will its writing.

Election Analysis

As usual, I unfortunately do not retain by the time that I type this all of the thoughts that pass through my highly-active brain on various topics, including this one.  Therefore, what I will mostly do here (especially in order to not delay this posting any longer) is just link some interesting articles instead of describing my own thoughts.  First, here is an interesting piece entitled “Liberal Policies Win; Liberal Candidates Lose” that begs some interesting questions about what election results mean, how they should be interpreted; how can liberal polices win all while liberal candidates lose?  I have a hunch at the answer that I cannot put into words; until I figure out how to do so, please tell me what you think!

One of the new realities is that how people identify themselves ideologically is changing, and party membership is decreasing, including in Louisiana.  Generally, I see that as only a mildly good thing, not nearly as great as a decrease in party loyalty!  Party loyalty, while likely having some small societal and-or systemic benefits in addition to the party benefits, and while natural, is an overall bad thing for the system and for the country, as it excessively promotes tribalism.

A great piece entitled “Why You Should Vote” just before the election mentioned this problem.  The piece, which, as you can tell by its title, seems to be geared at the growing number of people who feel that voting is increasingly pointless, at first seemed to promote the supposed virtues of voting just for its own sake, an idea that I find to be very destructive and disturbing, but then it in describes how not all voting is good, as described starting in the third sentence of this excerpt (the first two sentences of which I felt to include here too):

Voting helps keep alive the traditions that have historically fostered an energetically involved populace. It bolsters a spirit of involvement and care amongst the American citizenry. For that reason, there must be an important caveat here: uninformed voting (aka, voting by party, without having done any research) is bad voting. We as citizens should never vote blindly along party lines. Politics was always meant to be more than this: we ought to research various candidates as much as possible, in order to make wise and well-informed choices.

Yes!  There is a such thing as “bad voting,” regardless of which selection you pick!  However, the above warning does not go nearly far enough.  As I said on Facebook on Election Day . . .

Voting is only a “civic duty” if you have actually already performed a much greater, more important, and more difficult civic duty: being aware and understanding of the issues in the first place!

Not only is voting not a “civic duty” for people who have not taken the time to get to know the issues, but such people voting is actually somewhat irresponsible, and having them vote is actually harmful for democracy.

Encouraging people to “get out and vote” is only responsible if you have already encouraged them to be aware of and understand issues. The irony here is that if you are successful in your attempts to encourage people to make effort to understand issues, you probably don’t need to tell them to “get out and vote” at all!

Therefore, in most circumstances, simply telling people only to “get out and vote” probably is actually somewhat irresponsible.

As a former professional educator, I became increasingly resentful of pressures to tell kids that they should vote, all while the pressure to actually convince them to inform themselves of the issues was not as strong.  It’s like, “even if you are not informed enough to make a decision on the matter, you must make a decision on the matter!”  Nope.  I did my best to actually teach kids about the issues, the world, the effects of things, etc.  I told them when the elections were and how to register to vote, but I never told them to vote or that they had any obligation to vote.

As a bit of an aside, over on that cesspool known as Twitter, someone (whom I had previously perceived to be intelligent and sober) who read my above-quoted four-paragraph essay initially accused me of suggesting certain people be barred from voting!  He later backpedalled from that accusation and characterization, but he wouldn’t budge any further, claiming that I claimed that some people are too ignorant to be encouraged to vote – and I said no such thing either, since I said that nobody should be encouraged only to vote –  before I finally quit arguing with him.  The sad thing is that his seemingly deliberate misinterpretation in some way proves that even some seemingly intelligent people can really have some dangerous misinterpretations of statements, facts, and ideas; sadly, it very indirectly proved the point I was making.

Moving along, check out some reactions to votes of repealing marijuana prohibition.

Finally, please check out this story about how Ohio Republican governor John Kasich says that “Obamacare” is here to stay and why repealing it is essentially impossible.

That really is enough.  Any sober, rational, and intelligent commentary is welcome.



1 Norm Schultze December 1, 2014 at 08:01

Years ago, the late George Wallace running for President, said of both Republican and Democrat candidates, ” There’s not a dimes worth of difference between them”. True then. True today.

2 Randy Scott December 1, 2014 at 13:19

Only informed property owners who are current on their property taxes should be allowed to vote . 300 years ago there was a good reason for this statute.

3 Jimbaux December 1, 2014 at 20:49

but, even if that is true, is there still a good reason for it? and are there not far more reasons to not have it?

The world has changed plenty in 300 years, driven by technology. The level of intensity of the relationship between the state and the citizen (whether or not he owns property) has increased exponentially (even if not quantifiable) in that time.

There are plenty of “informed” voters who do not own property, and they are affected by public policy decisions at exponentially greater levels than the average citizen was 300 years ago, when the average citizen had almost no contact with government.

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