Post-Election

Nov 16,2016
Now that it's been a week, we can look back on all the turmoil and see how we've fared. Actually, from what I hear, the turmoil on the other side of the pond has rather increased than subsided. Even here the papers are still carrying daily reports on how much a Trump victory is going to alter the course of human history. It's quite remarkable, really. Future generations will probably look back and laugh. Or not remember. But it's hard to see that when you're in the midst of it. And what were in the midst of now is a lot of frantic people who are so disspointed that they didn't get their way through legitimate democratic means, that they're now prepared to take it by force. Or try to.

I don't want to make too much of this, but one of the newspapers did misquote me. I had prefaced my comments to them by saying I'm hardly qualified to give any opinion on matters of state, but I would have appreciated if they at least presented my opinion the way I actually said it.

For starters, they listed me as 'from New York,' which I plainly stated would be a misrepresentation, since I grew up in so many other places. (The media seem oddly fixated on an interviewee's 'hometown', to the point of insisting he have one. It borders in fanaticism their commitment to revealing his age, another thing I'd rather not become entirely public knowledge.) More importantly, though, they quoted me as 'a bit worried' about the relations between Japan and the United States. In fact, I said no such thing. What I said was that in all likelihood nothing would change, but that I was grateful for the narrow margin by which we just avoided WWIII.

I also said--to the eternal credit of the one newspaper that repeated this--that the president of the United States doesn't have nearly as much power as people seem to think he has. I explained that the federal government is comprised of a great number of checks and balances--not to mention bureaucracy--that prevent any one individual from having too much authority, as well as make it exceedingly difficult to make large-scale changes.



Finally, I made one other comment, which I knew from the start no media would carry, which was that the whole system of representative democracy is flawed and internally inconsistent. A much better way to choose our leaders would be to require everyone who wants to occupy a political office to submit an official IQ test, after which a short-list of candidates with the highest scores should take a test of morality, and the position be awarded to the individual who scores the highest. I just don't know how anyone would go about devising such a test.

Then again, I'd rather have my personal beliefs be ideologically consistent than politically pragmatic. Which is why I don't vote.

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