Tuesday, November 15, 2016

The Day After

Unless the members of the electoral college surprise us Donald Trump will be president on January 20. I am just as disappointed as a majority of US voters, but I don't feel compelled to whine and bellyache and march and publish some sort of apocalyptic screed which seems to be the currency online now.

The election was entirely constitutional and we need to accept it and push ahead with changes to make it all more equitable. The best ideas I have heard are

  • A National Popular Vote agreement where states allocate their electoral votes according to the national vote instead of the statewide vote. R voters in a state like Washington are overwhelmed by the D voters and Washington electors vote D. Candidates don't bother much in Washington. Instead they spend their time and money in swing states. Ten states have signed on for this system. 
  • To avoid Gerrymandering by the party in control of a state legislature either have non-partisan redistricting commissions or redraw the congressional districts entirely to super districts each with several members of Congress. Ranked choice voting—first second and third—would allow the majority to elect candidates, but the minority gets candidates too. 
  • Ranked choice voting and instant runoff allows a first, second, and third choice to determine the two choices for the general election. 
None of this requires a constitutional amendment and benefits all the parties. 

Saturday, November 5, 2016

Online discourse

I am being charitable in the term discourse.

Recently I added a comment to a Youtube file, the audio of fire department radio transmissions following a spectacular gas explosion. I was critical of the commander's conduct on the air, something I think I can do based on both my professional background and the fact that I am a tax payer in Seattle.

I was quickly flamed by anonymous posters who not only disagreed that the commander's conduct was inadequate, but castigated me for being critical of a first responder. What would I have done? I finally took down the original post and reposted with a link to a news video of the distraught commander in the arms of a subordinate.

What I would have done was not the point. The point was, what should the commander ($200,000 paycheck and decades of experience) have done? Are first responders somehow immune from comment because of their position. These are highly paid and well trained professionals. Their concern should be in doing as good a job as possible and then doing it better the next time. The idea that police and fire can never do wrong is just wrong.