Saturday, October 17, 2020

Weekend Reading: The Home Stretch Edition

Today, I will go to the post office and mail the 180 letters I wrote for Vote Forward. I think I will have time to write more postcards before we're out of time to have them arrive before election day - but I'll wrap that up this week, too. 

This weekend, I will also fill out my ballot and take it to the official drop box at the library in my neighborhood. I finished making my decisions on the various propositions and down ballot races Thursday night. 

I will also pick some races to get my final round of donations.

Soon, this election will be over for me - except for the waiting. 

Last night, as Mr. Snarky and I enjoyed our Friday night beers, we checked in on the NZ election. So we went to bed knowing that Labour was definitely going to win, but not yet sure whether they'd be able to form a government on their own. This morning, the results are in, and the answer is yes, Labour can form a government on their own. There is some question as to whether they will invite the Greens to join them, though.  The Greens also had a good night, including winning in the Central Auckland district in what is apparently a giant upset.

Checking in on the NZ elections Twitter hashtag last night was funny - a mix of very local commentary (as to be expected) and Brits (and a few Aussies) watching jealously as a country resoundingly chose competent, empathetic leadership. 

This American was watching jealously, too. But hey - we have a chance to make a similar choice for competent, empathetic leadership soon, so let's take it in equally large numbers! I don't care what the polls say. Vote.

One of the small silver linings of this difficult period has been watching average Americans fight for our democracy. We're writing postcards and letters, taking on phone and text bank shifts, making record amounts of small donations, volunteering to be poll workers, and most importantly, voting early, even when doing so requires waiting in long lines. 

We can't tell much from early voting turnout, really, but I still find what is happening in Texas right now to be inspiring.

Did the Republicans perhaps overplay their hand with their "you can only have one dropbox per county" stunt? Who knows - but maybe.

One possible outcome of this moment is that the Republicans have overplayed their hand in general. Even moderate Democrats are talking about expanding the court, and I rarely hear anyone express any hope for bipartisanship anymore. I don't celebrate this. I think we're in a sad and dangerous spot as a country and it is no means certain we'll come through it well. But it does us no good to pretend the Republican party is something it is not.

Brian Beutler argues this case well - the Republican party is not acting in good faith and have not been acting in good faith for awhile, and we need to stop pretending they are. I wish this were not the case. I wish we could have good faith arguments about policy ideas and all agree to abide by the outcome of those arguments, but wishing something doesn't make it true and if can't all face the reality of the moment we're in, we are sunk.

I found this podcast discussion between Vox's chief legal correspondent Ian Milhiser and political scientist Norm Ornstein about the structural impediments to true small-d democracy in America right now and the possible outcomes if we don't take steps to fix it to be very clarifying. 

There was news this week about a patient in Nevada who was reinfected with SARS-CoV-2. Derek Lowe has a good summary of what we know about reinfection and why, for now, he isn't terribly worried about it. 

Here are some things that made me happy this week:

Listening to this podcast in which Chris Hayes interviews Zach Carter about his new biography of John Maynard Keynes. No, really! Keynes led an interesting life and I may read the biography if I ever catch up on my "to read" stack enough to buy a new book.

This beautiful crochet/lace:

Beautiful ballet:

Here's your weekly bunny:

Have a good weekend, everyone!

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