Afternoon Pages: November 1st, 2020

My life right now.

I have a hand sanitizer problem, where I'm terrified of not having enough, and now I have maybe ten bottles of hand sanitizer and a gallon jug of hand sanitizer refills. I just collect it now, even though I have more than enough and hand sanitizer does have an expiration date (and presumably some date past that where it goes bad). Maybe I should donate some hand sanitizer to the hospital or food bank or something.

I don't like Trader Joe's hand sanitizer all that much. I don't know what's with the formula, but it's super sticky and smells bad. I have 8 bottles of it, probably because it's fully stocked because nobody else wants it. By contrast, the aloe vera hand sanitizer from CVS is moist, refreshing, and otherwise wonderful, which is why it's sold out and I can't find anymore.

Meanwhile people are lined outside the block to get into bars and restaurants in the middle of Arlington, because they're sick of staying indoors and have never experienced suffering and aren't used to it. I mean, good for them I guess, but I feel like enduring suffering is a useful trait to a degree.

So it's election week (and maybe civil war month, because every month has a theme in 2020), so maybe I should talk or vent a bit about my political beliefs. I have this maybe unpopular opinion that you should try to vote for people from both parties if possible and do your research beforehand and vote for the candidate who best works for your interests. It's not necessarily because you agree with their views, but because it's important to have as many viable political parties in a FPTP-based voting system as possible ( 2...), so that they're forced to work together, so that pundits can't put you into a safe voting bloc, and so that politicans can't ignore you and have to work for a living and do their jobs. If you can't vote for them for higher, federal office, maybe electing a member of the other party as the county clerk (school board or sheriff is too important) is safe, you know? Unless your clerk is Kim Davis and refuses to certify a legal marriage preventing people from gaining their tax benefits. Sigh, you get the point. You can't do identity politics if you want a better life for yourself and those you care about. You have to embrace a mercenary perspective, because the only constant is change and there is no peace in politics, only power.

This year is a bit different because democracy's on the ballot, and one party doesn't really believe in my right to exist on this planet let alone cater to what I want, which really sucks because the party I have to vote for is this super-fragile coalition of sane people who disagree wildly on everything besides being sane and probably won't get anything done. I think big things in Congress generally take 20-50 years to become law, and I don't think we have 20 straight years of any party controlling enough branches to make stuff happen.

I almost kinda wish that the Soviet Union was around. This lame-ass thing politicians get to talk up and beat up, but forced them to behave somewhat and not do the Karl Rove "we only need 51 votes so make policy as extreme as possible while securing that many" because otherwise people will turn to communism and we can't have that so life in the U.S. had to be reasonable. Then at least if you can't choose between political parties you can choose between different countries in order to get stuff done, like Vulcan, West Virginia did. When the U.S. government refused to build a bridge for the town, they begged the Soviet Union to build it for them, which made the U.S. government immediately give $1.3 million and finish the bridge construction in a matter of months. You can't do it too often because letting spies of rival countries scope out your town and surrounding military installations might be a tad treasonous and because international parties are bundles of policies like gulags and famine and genocide you may or may not support, but I see this story and I'm like wow, they got their bridge. What an effective way to get stuff done. Fear is the ultimate motivator. If you're sick of a bridge not being built or a road sucking too hard, maybe lobby the People's Republic of China to add your local road to the Belt and Road initiative or something. It's probably not relevant in Arlington...because the Pentagon is ten minutes away and they need the roads for military stuff and everything's pretty good anyways...but maybe back in Michigan it could be useful. Dequindre Road sucks.