Wednesday, August 10, 2016

A Feature, Not a Bug

This dialog with a Pakistani acquaintance (who knows quite a lot about America, but, like many people I suppose, misses the key ingredient) helped me organize my thoughts about this election, and about some recent and distant history.

He wrote:
C'mon friends and acquaintances in USA. This is more than enough. Can someone stop this idiot. And I don't mean by Second Amendment, like he did. I mean can someone get him off the Republican Ticket. Assassinating a Presidential Candidate or a President? Even our nutcases in Pakistan haven't gone that far against the President, the PM or his brother in their often ridiculous speeches.
I replied:
If they could have replaced him, they would have. But there's no mechanism post-convention to remove (much less replace) a nominee. He's an extreme edge-case our election system has no tools to repel....aside from the vote itself.

And he needs to be resolutely voted down (not just administratively censured), to send the proper signal. And note that his thundering defeat might accomplish the impossible: overturn the heavily gerrymandered (and thus nearly bulletproof) Republican majority in the some stuff might actually get done (though hopefully Clinton won't indulge her hawkish instincts).

Unless, that is, Julian Assange's promise of an October Surprise revealing indictable offenses by Clinton comes to be. In that case, who knows (if so, please find a jazz club for me to work in so I can come live in Pakistan).
...and he replied:
Many people are voting for Hillary because of Trump, but if Julian's emails appear and she loses, will Trump win? Will someone else take her place to fight Trump? This looks like the most amazingly stupid election in USA in my life.
...and I replied:
There's no replacing him now, there's no replacing her later. The very essence of our democracy is that there's no overarching authority to make these weighty parental decisions; no thumb on the scale. The people ARE that authority, period (a feature, not a bug).

This is why Jefferson wrote so anxiously about his hope that the people would be found to have been worthy of this experiment.

We largely have been. In nearly 250 years, we've more or less gotten the job done, which is an awfully good run (I'd have staunchly denied that after Bush's reelection, but, frankly, he's looking pretty good to lots of us right now - an honorable man we merely disagreed with).

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