Tuesday, November 2, 2010

On Voting Day (politics and other stuff)

Firstly - if you have not done so, please go vote, no matter who you are voting for. (Yes, I think it matters who you vote for. Yes, I want you to vote anyway. Improving the process is more important than getting a specific 'good' result.)

Secondly, if you have voted - start talking it up earlier next year/next election. Twice today I've come across people who have trouble voting because they didn't bother to update their registration when they moved - MONTHS AGO. If you show up at a precient where you are not registered, and they don't let you vote because you don't have proper ID showing that you're *supposed* to vote there - this is a feature, not a bug. Please help encourage people to get this stuff straighten out EARLY.

Thirdly - I'm not non-partisan. I have opinions and they are right, true, and correct and if you disagree then you are wrong. But. As I've said before - differing opinions doesn't mean we have to fight about it. And it doesn't mean we have to believe the worst about each other.

I'm not going to go all happy-happy-joy-joy, isn't-the-world-full-of-sunshine-and-flowers. There are demons, there are people who commit acts of horrific violence, there are people who thrive on injustice and smug superiority and looking out for number one, there are people who not demand mercy for themselves, but also validation, and who want not only justice but divine retribution for everyone else, and if God isn't up to the task, well, they'll help the old guy out.

But that's not most of us, and we need to assume that's not the people we live and work and pray and vote with. For our own sanity, if nothing else.

So...a few things to highlight, today.

Let Freedom (and Happiness) Reign - a book review in The New Yorker, about an illustrated wander through the country.

Special Arab/Muslim issue of Apex Magazine. (It's good that we have such stuff. It'll be better when such doesn't merit 'special issues'. Inbetween will be hard.)

How the Rest of the World Reports on the Tea Party in Foreign Policy - *shakes head* On the one hand, it's helpful, in a 'how do we talk about this' way, to know what other people think. On the other hand, it's frustrating to see that it's not just Americans who absolutely don't understand other people's cultures and backgrounds.

Continuing with the educational-but-not-helpful theme - I don't this this is the best answer to the idea of a writer using comics to popularize Muslim virtues. I think there's tons of room to discuss the on-going integration and interaction between 'the West' and 'Islam' - from between nations to between congregations to within those people currently living on the borderlands, including those people who ARE the borderlands - but I think comics (and art, and lit, including SF) are a way to discuss that, and *should* be used.

Heck, if it's good enough for Pope John Paul II, it's good enough for anyone.

(Part of the discussion should, I think, be focused on 'separation of church and state' as a Western/Christian ideal, and possibly not a universal human truth. But that's a sidebar, I think.)

A few days ago there was a horrific attack on a Christian church - during services - in Iraq. I think it worthy to offer prayers for those injuried, those dead, their families, and for the soldiers and police who responded. And for those who carried out the attack.

If you have not yet watched, I recommend this clip of Jon Stewart's finale speech at the Mall on Saturday. I don't agree with a lot of what Stewart says on most days. But I agree with a lot of what he says here.

And following on that: Brian Spears quit blogging about politics.

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