There's a lot of political talk going around San Francisco these days, thanks to the recent election. There's also a fair deal of rioting due to the Giants' win, but that's a different post entirely.
I'll preface this post by saying that I'm nearly completely uninterested in politics. It's not something I think about, it's not something I participate in, and it's not something I talk about. And the main reason I don't like to talk about it is because people are not logical when talking about politics.
My favorite example is when people think a politician is an idiot. No politician is an idiot. It's their job, and their job is under a lot more scrutiny than yours is. Given the amount of politicians out there, the odds of an idiot being elected are just about nil.
Let's take George Bush, because no one likes him. I don't like him. More than any other politician, his policies have adversely affected me. I care about privacy and I care about traveling, and both became significantly worse under his watch.
But guess what? He had a LOT more information than I had, so I give him at least enough credit to assume that he did what he did for good reason. From my perspective, terrorism is a joke, airport security is nothing but theatrics, and spying on people is a gross offense. But I don't know anything about any of these things. George Bush did. So it's probably a lot more likely that he knew stuff I didn't know, and made some hard decisions as a result.
Back when I was gambling, we had two forums. One was called "General" and one was called "Private". Anyone who was a member could read General, but only a select few dozen could read Private. When I was finally admitted into Private, I was shocked at how much they knew that General didn't. In fact, things that Private did would look foolish to someone in General, because they didn't fully understand what was going on.
Here's an example: in Private we all played under multiple names. We'd pay people to use their identity and gamble on behalf, generally giving them a small portion of the profits. In the General forum we would actively discourage people from doing this, because casinos would catch on if hundreds of people were doing it. But we all did it.
As a result of all these accounts, we might have had 10 times more casino accounts than a General member. The hardest part of gambling was dealing with cashouts. Casinos would drag their feet, come up with reasons not to pay you, and ask you to fax stuff in. One solution we had was to simply bet you entire casino balance on roulette before cashing out. Half of the accounts would bust, the other half would double, and then you had only half as many cashouts to deal with. Sometimes we'd even try to quadruple or octuple up before cashing out.
If a General member saw this, he would think that we'd become crazy gamblers. But the truth is that it was a very smart strategy.
Maybe the same is true of George Bush.
Now we come to Obama. His platform was hope and change, and we've gotten no change, and there's not much hope for it either. Is Obama a liar who tricked us all to get into office? Probably not. He said he'd get us out of war because, with his privileged yet limited information as a senator, that seemed like the best course of action. Then he became president and got more information, and reversed his course. I don't think he's dishonest or malevolent, I just think we have no idea what's going on.
I'm reminded of this idea whenever I watch people watch sports. They all think that they're smarter than the coach and the refs, yelling at the screen, telling the people on the glowing box how dumb they are.
Maybe, just maybe, the people who rise to the top of these hyper-competitive fields aren't complete idiots. Maybe they're actually very skilled at maneuvering through minefields that we don't even know exist. At the very least, it's a serious possibility that should perhaps temper our criticism.
I wrote this a few weeks ago... since then I read George Bush's autobiography, which made me respect him a lot more. And realize that he's near crazy-level religious.
Really sorry about only posting once last week... too many flights and trying to do too much before leaving Japan.
Heading to LA tonight, Austin the next day, then Boston. RV road trip from SF to Austin. Yes!
Hi I'm Hitler,
I'm not an idiot. I rose to the top of a hyper-competitive political process so I must know something you don't know (no, not just about climbing the political ladder).
So if you ever find yourself in contradiction with my views, rest assured that I probably just know more than you about the subject in question.
I think Bush is an idiot because he can't pronounce NUCLEAR. And its not like there is no one, no aide or staff anywhere, to tell him he is mispronouncing it, and easily teach him how to say it correctly. Some teacher along the way taught me. Say these two words. NEW, CLEAR. Now say them together. That’s all it takes. In 8 years he couldn't master that? Wasn't interested? No one brought it up? Disgusting! Because of Bush I think there should be a new presidential “law”. If you can't pronounce it, you don’t get to be in charge of it.
If you want to depict an idiot, you depict him pronouncing the word as nuke-you-ler.
- Homer Simpson "Nuke-you-ler. It's pronounced nuke-you-ler.”
- Peter Griffin [laughs at Lois] You said "nuclear"! It's "nuke-you-ler" dummy, the S is silent.
Bush ACTUALLY pronounced it that way, and apparently, didn’t care. - Idiot.
I think this is a good post and holds true for a lot of things especially the sports examples.
I don't think it's really that true for politicians though, of course they are not idiots to rise that high, but to say that they know better is a bad argument. Look at recent SOPA legislation for example, politicians don't know better than people that founded the internet but still many supported SOPA, even though the people that founded the internet told them not to.
The problem of course is by the time many politicians reach office they are in the pocket of people with a lot of money through campaign contributions etc. e.g. industry groups that benefit directly from government spending (taxpayer dollars), housing, education, hollywood.
I'd also like to enter this into evidence, discussion of US financial reform within congress.http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FLmD9TeUC54
There is only one person in that room that is basing their argument on anything close to logic (even if you don't agree with him), the rest are just reciting weak arguments they have used politically for years e.g. kids are our more precious resource we need to dump more money into education.
I don't know I think we have just seen him say a lot of very stupid things (George Bush). He has no presentation skills training and so comes off like an amateur compared to other presidents.
True you couldn't be an idiot and make it into office. But a lot of people once they get their owe so many political favours they rarely end up standing up for anything important. Ending in people calling them idiots.
I don't think George Bush made any of those decisions, didn't his team campaign on his personality not on his intelligence.
Tynan, I used to never think or speak about politics. Then I came across an old man named Ron Paul from Texas.
I still don't think or speak about politics.
Ron Paul opened up a lot of new doors -- the doors to the foundation of what matters in what most call "politics".
The rights of man.
Ron Paul can be your Gary Taubes for "politics", if you let him.
There is a saying in my home country "everyone knows how to govern except for the president". I am still conflicted with some of the desicions politicians make, but bringing up this point "they have more information......" makes sense, I actually never thought of it that way, interesting.
Where can you find me at 2pm on a Thursday? If you guessed by the pool being fed peeled grapes by the Swedish bikini team, you'll be surprised to hear that you're wrong.
No, really. You're wrong... At least this Thursday.
Actually, my friend Hayden.. WAIT... this is an important but totally unrelated sidenote :
Like most Korean women, Jenna was short, wore glasses, and sported a bob hair style. She greeted me with smiles and a positive attitude. "You can do it. We can do it!" Then she'd raise her hand and raise mine for me, slapping the palms together in a forced high five. In the evenings after class, Jenna would walk me home and catch the bus near my apartment complex. We'd talk about the day and I would keep her updated on any student issues. She would nod her head and repeat, "Oh," and "Mmm," which is similar to the English, "Yes, I am hearing all you are saying. We would reach my cross walk and she would swing the right to her bus stop. Jenna would say bye at least four times until finally she would turn around and speed walk away. When I would settle into my apartment and she would settle into the seat on her bus, I would receive a text message that said, "I love you. We can do it. Thank you so much, you are special. Get rest, sleep." Touched by her acknowledgement and expression, I would send one back, "You are a hard worker, thank you for your kindness. See you tomorrow!" Jenna and I had only known each other for about a week but I suppose this was Korean sentiment and although I am Korean, I have never worked with one professionally. Maybe this is how they are? Maybe this is what you do? Maybe I should be more expressive, keep and open mind and accept the love this stranger is willing to offer me through text messages before bed.
I had made plans to visit my grandmother for the first time since moving to Korea but I had yet to figure out the bus system. It wasn't a difficult feat but when I had mentioned it to Jenna, she insisted on walking me to the bus station to show me where and how to purchase a bus ticket. She was very helpful and I would often think to myself, "This is my Korean friend. We will learn so much from each other." During the week, there were times we would take short detours and share dinner at Jenna's favorite restaurants before heading home. Some nights I felt awful explaining to Jenna that I was on a diet and was really trying to lose weight so eating out a lot could be counter productive. So every night before we would part ways if Jenna wanted to ask me to dinner she would first ask, "Did you exercise today?" If I said, YES then that meant we could go eat dinner together but if I said NO we would have to wait another day.
As a brand new teacher, Jenna had interesting teaching methods. She would bring boxes of snack sized chips and candy to give to students after her class. This was to encourage participation and of course made her the most popular teacher in our small private school. There were only four of us so being voted teacher of the year was only bunch of free candy away. Jenna would often express how tired she felt and how much work it was to be with students every minute of the day. I would nod my head in agreement and say, "I just take my own breaks sometimes. Let the students work together to figure out questions instead of constantly doing it for them." She always questioned how that was even possible but I could tell Jenna just didn't know any other way so my idea seemed lazy. We went out to dinner one night and after sharing Korean BBQ we went to Baskin Robbins. We ate ice cream and gossiped about the new hire at the downstairs school. "His teeth are rotted out of his head. I think he used to be a drug addict." Jenna thought this was hysterical because she had no idea why someone's teeth could be so...black.
The next day when I arrived at school Jenna walked passed me without a hello. It was strange and it felt cold. People have their bad days, so I excused it and continued with my normal routine. Jenna didn't speak to me at all the entire day. When it was time to walk home, Jenna left without saying good-bye and I caught her getting on a bus at a different stop. In my mind I thought maybe she had to catch a different bus. I hoped everything was ok. The days continued and Jenna had stopped acknowledging me altogether. Eye contact was even out of the question. If we were walking through the hall nearly bumping into each other, Jenna would look through me, as if I was a ghost. Jenna showed up to school one day with her hair permed, glasses gone, a new dress, and as months passed she had lost a considerable amount of weight. As awkward as this story may read right now, it's exactly what happened. If you don't understand what I just wrote... you weren't supposed to. If you have questions, so do I. I had an awkward Korean coworker. For three months she was my best friend and for the next nine she became the most hated person in the office. Jenna used to send heart warming text messages and after the three months, she couldn't even ride the same elevator with me. One day we ended up on the same bus and to prevent being near me, she got off an earlier stop and walked the rest of the way to school.
In the end, Jenna and I would walk passed each other and communication only happened if completely necessary. She ended up getting promoted at the school as the Head Instructor and I ended up not renewing or extending my contract, not necessarily because of Jenna but you can imagine the relief of not having to endure that kind of office tension again.