I never wanted to live in the plot of a dystopian present, but as those stones sang (a song swiped by the Orange Chupacabra), I’m not getting what I want.

For weeks Jon Becker pined for the day

The day looked, sounded like the previous, but we’ve learned finally to question all the data.

I had a bad feeling from the first results coming in (go ahead and call me on hindsighting, but I did have a bad feeling). The percentages and numbers in Florida looked too close (and those morons on CNN calling it like a horse race). But as most states beyond the west coast and the little ones in New England, it was a red tablecloth with a few blue spots scattered about.

florida-red

To me it was a whole lot of smaller population red rural counties vs a few densely populated blue cities. Like it usually is. That makes for a close count by numbers, but visually?? I read Michael Moore’s strong prediction back in the summer. He nailed it. Send Nate back to picking baseball, go with Moore. Until he gets it wrong. Then go elsewhere.

Needing a break Tuesday night, I went for a long walk with the dog. By the time I got home, not only had the idea of a Democrat landslide dried up, the shit was flowing uphill.

And it was real.

And protests, protests, protests, PROTESTS. Yeah.

Just google image search on "***** protest"
Just google image search on “***** protest”

My quick (now discarded) first reaction was that they were missing the target. Shouldn’t it be aimed at the people who voted him in? Or better, the 43% of the voting republic who *****ing did not even vote? Out of 231,556,622 eligible voters, that’s approximately 99,569,347.5 who did not even vote. WTF? Beyond coma and death, I’m hard pressed to even tolerate an excuse for not voting (well except in those places where the rules make it hard or impossible for people to vote).

There is no excuse for not voting. It’s selfish; your vote is not just about your interests, but also those other 231,556,621 people.

Almost 100 million people chose to not exercise their voice. And to let a ~25% minority decide for them.

But protesting is worthy, not that it will change the results, but to let the elected one know again and again that there is no mandate, not sweeping universal approval. That he is going to be scrutinized. The margin may be only 112,000 voters. That was not “America” speaking, but only half of half the people who bothered to vote.

Had it tipped Hillary’s way, can you imagine the uproar we’d hear about how the election was stoled, rigged? Is she crying now about how the system was unfair? So the way the game is played is by the O.C., if the results go your way, it’s right and just, as if blessed by a deity; if it goes not your way, it is corrupt, broken, stolen. That is the logic of a spoiled petulant child, not a person who should have a finger on the nuclear button.

Yet, what did I do to influence the election? Talked a bit with friends who I knew how they would vote. Listened to a few neighbors explain their opposite choice. Nada beyond making meaningless images and fake tweets. I made a new one that morning after, and never tweeted it. Just left it on my computer. Big deal.

Instead I decided to make a twitter bot.

I’ve really wanted to try Zach Walen’s guide to making a twitter bot using Google Spreadsheets. It’s quite easy.

A key tip I remembered to bookmark is from the Pilgrimsteps blog— if you have made more than a few twitter accounts and forgot which one you last attached to your phone number (the twitter apps creation tool requires a phone, sigh, don;t they realize people have many accounts?). Just text “stop” to 40404 to disconnect your phone from whatever account it was last used with.

I decided to play off of the long list of campaign promises for making America Great phrased as a question to be asked how that is playing out, paired with a suggestion of something to “grate”.

Hence @isamericagrate

It’s rather stupid.

Zach’s sheet is really well designed and clear on instructions. The challenging part is figuring out which mode to use, and setting up for source material in the spread sheet. I used the “by columns” one, with the question first, than a one item bridge column, with the third being the response:

My twitter bot spreadsheet
My twitter bot spreadsheet

This too is pointless, and has no effect. But like memes, GIFs, knowing how to do a silly example, enables me to be ready for something more serious. And it provides a wee distraction.

Or it just feeds the cycle of hypernormalization — take some time to watch Adam Curtis’s new film, it explains the phenomena we are living now.

I still aim to disempower the elected-not-by-me-one, by not using his name, he shall be only El Orange Chupacabara or simply O.C. I also know now that social media and even letters have little effect on my representatives, I have to pick up the phone and show up.

My home in Gila County AZ went 75% republican, and almost the same margin for the congressional representative, Paul Gosar. I’ve withstood 2 years of Gosar email updates that have been a continuous litany of how terrible Obama is. Well, Representative, your punching bag is gone, so what are you going to do now?

Even worse, for the state senate in my ares the looney Sylvia Allen won, who among other things believes the earth is 6000 years old. She won by ~2% over former Jerome mayor and community college teacher Nikki Bagley who sounded like she actually had a brain inside her head.

Big surprise, Gila County is 80% white with a media salary of ~$40,000. In the last 6 months I have not seen a single Hillary sign, but have seen dudes riding around in camouflage with her doll in a wire cage.

I feel done with the Democrat party, it’s been mainly a path to not vote Republican. Unless they can become more radical, more progressive, more Bernie, I seek something else. At a minimum, I will switch to Independent before the next round.

The worst things happening are of course the emboldening of racists to violence, white supremacy, coming from kids in school learned from what they hear at home. It’s not only repugnant, vile, it’s so far from what America is supposed to be about. As repugnant, vile, and far from values is the lack of condemnation by the Orange Chupacabra elect. Do not affect the fan base.

This is not new, this has been here all along, just not shown as much in public. But perpetrators feel like they have been given the green light to shed their human skin and let their demon face come out. I’m reminded of how online this shows up as trolls not bearing their real names, the ugly YouTube commenter. And you know the cliché advice “Don’t read the comments”? I disagree. Don’t read them all the time, but also do not underestimate the deeper seated hatred that many people carry around inside of them, even as they half smile or wave at you.

Yes, the overt racism, bigotry, we need to be not bystanders on. But what about all the stuff that is in people below the surface? That repressed hatred, deep-seated un addressed racism, is a more convoluted, enmeshed beast. And I think it’s an even bigger cultural problem in the long run.

I don’t even see us as a “United States of America”

I go back now to growing up in that upper left corner of Baltimore in the 1970s. When I tell people where I am from they sometimes make a reference to “The Wire”. I have to let them know it was more “The Suburbs”, the Beltway, the mall. It was the setting of the story in Serial though that was some 20 years after I grew up… but Woodlawn was a rough area then. Where I was might have been 60% white on its way to half and half.

My parents frequently referred to black people as the yiddish “Schvartze“. I never understood why. As far as I know they had never been wronged by a black person. It was never said with violent implications, it was how their peers spoke. As a teen his grew to bother me, it felt derogatory and did not mesh with how they normally talked. So I started to call them on it, mocking, and then asking them why they used the word. They would brush it off, but I would not let it drop.

To what end? It’s a word I never wanted nor did use. Nor hear.

Words matter.

Language like that is a signal to what runs deeper. And when we normalize language and attitudes among friends, among our children, it signals to them that is normal to judge and lump people in a category. If only because of their skin color, their language, their sexuality, their class.

And many years later, to me, we have gotten no closer to understanding, much less acceptance of each other.

This is not the future present I was looking for.

I would prefer a different novel to live in, but the chapter is just opened on a dystopian one that is long. So much is at stake. The election might be done. I do not have to roll over to that which nudged by a shred. I have a voice, and a heart to put to use.

What that is, well, ought to be more than memes and bots.


My mashup of a 1984 cover image I found on hundreds of sites and no attribution anywhere. **** it, I’m not up to following rules in this post. The font for the title is a poor substitute, but chunky (weirdly enough its a font used on the Beatle’s Magical Mystery Tour, but the one to replace George Orwell (Ayathuya) is very close. Added a mobile phone in the one icon dude’s hand. Tons of comic renditions for the monster at the top).

The post "All I Got is a Stupid Grating Bot" was originally dropped like a smoking hot potato at CogDogBlog (http://cogdogblog.com/2016/11/grating-bot/) on November 13, 2016.

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