Ira Glass, Futility, and Politics
The new episode of This American Life preaches to the choir, and will definitely not be heard by people that need to hear it (like the people who live behind me-- they are proudly displaying a Trump/Pence sign on their lawn, the only one I've seen in Highland Park) but the candid sincerity in which Ira Glass investigates the lies propagated by the Trump campaign and sad, almost futile conclusions he arrives at will make you wonder what happened to facts, the truth, and the general knowledge of your average American; the show starts with Trump's claim that Hillary Clinton started the birther movement and he ended it, which is so patently ridiculous that it seems to belie further exploration-- aside from the fact that now 1/3 of Americans believe this "fact"-- and worse than this is Trump's assertion that NAFTA was the worst trade agreement in the history of the universe, because before Trump both Democrats and Republicans believed that trade agreements were good for the economy, created new markets, put money in everyone's pockets (because of lower priced goods) and strengthened diplomatic relations between countries . . . but now, despite the fact that 95% of economists (polled by the University of Chicago) believe that NAFTA is good for our economy and 5% are undecided and zero point zero percent of economists believe that NAFTA is bad for our economy, despite this, Clinton has backpedaled on trade agreements and has entertained the idea that manufacturing jobs might actually return to the U.S. (and I'm sure this is just a public position for debating Trump, but it's still disturbing that he could have that much influence over a policy discussion that anyone with any expertise regards as a no-brainer . . . certainly trade agreements cause some specific economic pain, but it's actually far cheaper to pay-off and retrain the people who lost their jobs than it is to punish the entire economy) and so now you've got both major parties taking a contrary position on trade agreements, when that was usually only a radical maneuver-- remember the 1999 WTO protests in Seattle? . . . anyway, the episode doesn't even get into the email "scandal" and the fact that the Bush administration lost five million emails (or 22 million . . . it doesn't make it right, but politicians get rid of emails and politicians use private emails to communicate to avoid the public records act, so unless you're going toss George Bush and Dick Cheney and Colin Powell and lots of other people in jail, Hillary Clinton does not belong in jail) and the episode also didn't discuss the thing that out-trumps all the other Trump stuff, his anti-vaccine stance: this indicates a complete disbelief in the scientific method, peer reviewed experimentation, and logic in general . . . and while disbelief in global warming is typical right wing silliness (Dan Levin just said that there is NO proof whatsoever that there is global warming . . . pretty bold and incredibly dumb, but who cares) not vaccinating children is extremely dangerous and a possible return to plague times is as good a reason as any not to vote for Trump; I'm considering voting for Jill Stein, despite the fact that the Green Platform is against trade agreements, but that's for environmental reasons-- which just might be the right reason to be against trade agreements (despite the fact that trade agreements help foreign countries, though they often use environmentally unsound methods of manufacture, and while helping foreign economies doesn't make America great, that doesn't mean it's an awful thing) but then I heard that Jill Stein is an anti-vaxxer, but it seems the accusations that she's against vaccines were taken out of context so she's still a viable choice for me . . . I don't think I'm going to decide until I get behind the curtain, but the super sad thing, the thing that made Ira Glass so depressed in this episode (especially when he's talking to his Uncle Lenny, an 81 year old plastic surgeon who has consumed a whole host of right wing conspiracies and lies about President Obama and thus will vote for Trump) is that even if Trump is crushed in this election, it isn't going to help the cause for truth, logic, the scientific method, and the facts . . . social media and niche journalism have made it so people on the left and the right (and everywhere in between) can find exactly what they want to hear and then believe it.