Kingston, NH vs. newcomers

I’ve been living in Kingston, New Hampshire since summer. By moving just 25 miles eastward, I’ve encountered a significantly different political climate. The level of Trumpism around here is frightening; Trump signs outnumber signs for all other presidential candidates together by at least ten to one.

Voting

Things are difficult for newcomers in subtle ways. When I looked on the Web to find out where voting in the September primary was, I found only that it was in “Swasey Gymnasium,” with no street address. I was able to find its location with some diligent searching, but other people could have been stuck. Over the weekend, I wrote to the town clerk through the website, asking to have this fixed. So far I’ve received no response. I’ll update this if I get one.

Update (Oct. 30): It’s now on the town clerk’s page. In her email, she tried to give the impression that it had always been there (while giving me the wrong URL); since it’s part of a notice giving the date of the November election, and since it took her a week to respond, I suspect a little fixing and blustering, but at least I got the result.
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A note on the election

Clinton is terrible, but Trump is far worse.

Both are hostile to freedom. Clinton’s highest priority is to gut the First Amendment in order to settle a personal grudge about a video she wanted to censor. Trump ‘s highest priority is to exercise dictatorial power. Both want to escalate the current set of undeclared wars. Both want to use the terrorist watch list, a set of secret accusations that you can’t defend yourself against, to restrict people’s freedoms.
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“Race” doesn’t determine ideas

When I read this morning about a teacher who allegedly declared, “All white people are racist,” I was initially disgusted. Then I thought perhaps his comments were being taken out of context; perhaps he was making an intentionally absurd statement to illustrate logical fallacies, in the style of “All Cretans are liars.” I still don’t know for sure, but a Christian Science Monitor article takes the statement at face value and yet merely says it’s “reigniting discussion about how difficult it is to talk about race in school classrooms.” Normally the CSM is more respectable than that.
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Nashua Library selectively promotes candidates

The Nashua, NH public library has a display inviting people to give it donations in the name of Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump. The library displays life-size cardboard cutouts of these two people next to big jars. No choices are available except Trump and Clinton. This is, of course, selective promotion of some candidates above others, which a government-financed library is not supposed to do.
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Some light in the darkness

Over the weekend, the presidential contest descended into a terrorist act. In Hillsborough, North Carolina, someone firebombed the Republican Party headquarters, and a swastika was found scrolled on an adjacent store. So far there’s no clue who’s responsible. The most straightforward explanation is someone from the violent left, but it could conceivably be a false-flag attack by Trumpists, a foreign attempt to stoke mutual hostility in the US election, or someone just acting out of mental illness. Trump has claimed it’s “animals representing Hillary Clinton,” but she had nothing to gain and got some serious bad publicity from it.

There was a ray of light in all this, though.
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Let’s not surrender fandom to bullies

The illiberal factions in fandom just want power. They don’t care much whom they go after, as long as they can flex their muscles. The Worldcon 75 committee has offered the latest sample of this, shoving Dave Weingart out as the filk head.

Note: I’ve discovered that Vox Day has linked to this post, which doubtless accounts for the comments below. I’m not letting anyone turn my blog into a mud-slinging fest, so I’ve disabled comments on this post.

Dave discussed what happened here. In brief: Someone got the notion that Dave should never talk to her. He respected this. One day he inadvertently posted a Babylon 5 video link to a chat group which this other person was also in. For this, he was told he could continue to run filk only if he agreed to end all staff contact outside his division. Of course, it’s impossible to run a part of the program that way, so his only choice was to withdraw.
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Militarists bash Trump

Like a stopped clock, Trump is occasionally right. I don’t see much to disagree with in this statement:

When you talk about the mental health problems, when people come back from war and combat — and they see things that maybe a lot of the folks in this room have seen many times over and you’re strong and you can handle it, but a lot of people can’t handle it. And they see horror stories. They see events that you couldn’t see in a movie. Nobody would believe it.

The “you’re strong and you can handle it” sounds like pandering to the audience. But leave that out and what he’s saying is that war is hell and it breaks people. This idea doesn’t play well with Clinton, who’s generally more enthusiastic for wars than Trump is.
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How to respond to bicycle haters

A few people out there really hate bicycles. It’s just one more manifestation of tribalism; people need something different from themselves to despise. Their vehicles have four wheels and a motor. I have a vehicle with two wheels and no motor.
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