30 March 2020

30 March 2020


 30 March 12020 is a Bridge Public Holiday (Argentina), Shouter Baptist Liberation Day (Trinidad and Tobago), and Seward’s Day (United States). It’s Vincent van Gogh’s birthday. And it’s JD 2458938, 5 Nisan 5780, 5 Sha’ban 1441, 11 Farvardin 1399, and 10 Caitra 1942. (I hope everybody is keeping track.) President Trump has extended the federal guideline for sheltering in place until the end of April. And the American election is still going on, though it’s hard to tell sometimes. Polls are actually showing Biden with a lead over Trump, something I find hard to believe, and writers I otherwise respect are urging me (that is to say, their readers, of whom I am one) to vote for a candidate I absolutely despise to keep another despicable choice out. I have no idea what I’m going to do come November, assuming I am still alive and these are the alternatives. The one thing that makes me lean towards Biden is his promise last year to extend the new START treaty if elected, which Trump seems determined to scuttle. (For some reason Trump wants to include China in the treaty, despite its being in no way the equal of Russia or the United States. China isn’t interested, and there’s no valid reason why we should be either—at this point.) But for the Supreme Court neither one of them is any good. Biden’s picks (assuming that a Republican-controlled Senate even brings any of them to a vote) are likely to be bad, given his past track record, and his past record on the most essential tasks we face (slowing global warming, reducing income inequality, creating a health care system for all Americans, eliminating systemic bias against women and minorities…) is abysmal. It’s a bleak vision. If the choice is between two dystopias—Biden’s Corporate State vs. Trump’s Amerika for the Wealthy—I’ll pass. Blow them both up and start with a clean slate. Except that it won’t be clean, will it? Even now North Korea is moving ahead with nuclear weapons that can target America’s heartland, Afghanistan is falling back into the hands of those who facilitated the terrorist attack on New York in 2001, the so-called Islamic State is back in business, and Iran still backs its notion of revolution—soon with nuclear weapons as well. And no leader in sight. Cool.

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