Stained Glass Gazette 22/08/18: What a Lovely Day

What a day to bring back my news column!

I planned to do an introductory post about how I’ll be covering news rather than talking about any stories today. Then yesterday happened. This will still be mostly an introduction, but I’ll sneak in some coverage at the end.

The Stained Glass Perspective

Before this column, I had the Desdenada Gazette. It’s basically the same thing, but as the name indicates, I’ll be steering into the “stained glass” element.

All sources of news are biased, so you have to consume news from all sources equally to avoid getting trapped in an echo chamber. The problem is that the overwhelming majority of news coverage is stupid and, worse, poorly written. You can’t spend all your time reading all the sensationalist clickbait you come across just to insure you’re getting a balanced perspective.

My personal solution was to create a “stained glass window” by cultivating a collection of people from all sides whose opinions I trust and admire. I’ll never get a perfect, objective stream of truth, but if I’m thinking and talking about the same issues that the people I want to emulate are thinking and talking about I’m at least getting closer to the kind of person I want to be.

Stained glass doesn’t let in all light. In fact, it creates a beautiful effect because it blocks out certain bands of light and lets in a select few. You can enjoy the effect while remaining conscious of what light you are blocking out.

I’m not going to bring you a fair, objective look at current events. I’m going to bring you my heavily biased takes, while doing my best to be up front and open about what my particular biases are.

True Colors

Without further ado, here are my biases and stances on all the hashtag-important issues (although my opinions do tend to change fairly quickly).

Politics. I think it’s most accurate to say I’m a Libertarian. That’s not to say I agree with any given Libertarian party or candidate in any given country, but my views are generally socially liberal, economically conservative. Pro-choice, for gay marriage, down with legalizing all the drugs. For free market capitalism, against raising the minimum wage or establishing a universal basic income. Heavily conflicted about gun control. For radically open immigration.

My most controversial political opinions, though, are about how much politics actually matter. I’m passionate about certain issues, but tend to see elections and legislation as barometers of cultural forces rather than causes of them. Fair warning: you’re less likely to be offended by my opinion on a given issue and more likely to be offended by my flippant attitude about the whole affair.

Religion. I was raised atheist, and that’s probably still the label that fits me best. I’m not anti-theist, but I am generally skeptical of anything I don’t have enough proof for. My approach, in my opinion, is fair: I don’t reject any religious ideas outright, but I don’t automatically accept them, either. I dabble in a variety of religions, including Buddhism, Taoism, Paganism, and Satanism, but wouldn’t label myself as any of them. I also read the Christian Bible and the Quran, mostly for academic reasons. Though I’m skeptical of the mythology, I do appreciate many of the ideas and teachings.

Science and Technology. I’m pro-innovation, possibly to a fault. I tend to count any discovery, advancement, or upgrade as a win, even when they could lead to negative things down the road. Maybe I’ll learn my lesson when the robots rise up and turn us all into fertilizer, but history shows that innovation tends to lead to more good than bad. Many of you are probably nodding along, thinking we’re on the same page. Allow me to burst your bubble.

I’m pro-GMO. The positive consequences outweigh the bad. In fact, let’s take it a step further. I’m for gene editing in general. Will a few nut jobs try to use it for implicitly racist eugenics programs? Sure. We’ll deal with them once we’re finished eradicating inheritable medical conditions like Alzheimer’s and diabetes. I believe in global warming, but do not believe it’s going to kill us all, because innovation will outpace it.

Entertainment. I’m completely out of touch with celebrity culture, fashion, award shows, and sports that aren’t the World Cup. Hell, I often don’t even realize my favorite TV shows are back until halfway through the season. I’m not against entertainment news and will cover it if something catches my interest, but keep your expectations low when it comes to covering who is super good at Fortnite or has beef with Taylor Swift.

That about covers it. If you’re still with me after realizing the average of 3.74 important issues we disagree on, let’s dive into the drama going down up north*.

*For new readers, I live in Mexico. I’m referring to the United States in a clever way because just saying “the United States” is boring. Okay, let’s move on.

For Real This Time

It’s an exciting day.

Let me be clear. This isn’t coming from any political sentiment. Like I said above, I don’t think the possibility of an impeachment or indictment has anything to do with issues that mater, regardless of what side you’re on.

I’m excited because, in a climate where every single story is the biggest thing that ever happened, something big actually did happen this time.

You should be excited, too, regardless of which side you’re on, even if you take politics super duper seriously. If you want Trump to be indicted for something, we’re closer to that happening than ever before. If you want the investigation to finally wrap up and exonerate Trump, we’re closer to that than ever, too.

We’ve entered the endgame. People are flipping, courts are arriving at verdicts. It’s time for both sides to play whatever they have in their hands. Regardless of which outcome you want, you’ll at least know soon if you won or lost.

If, like me, you’re mostly just here for the show, then as Hugh Jackman once said: ladies and gents this is the moment you’ve waited for.

In case you’ve been living under a rock: Trump’s former lawyer and fixer, Michael Cohen, is cooperating with Mueller and admitting to committing crimes with the president. Trump’s former campaign manager, Manafort, was found guilty on eight different charges. Given his advanced age and the nature of his crimes, he’s going to die in prison if he can’t get some help. That means if he knows anything, he’ll probably flip too.

All this brings up questions about whether the president will be indicted or impeached or what have you. That’s an interesting question, but don’t lose sight of the bigger picture. Midterms are on the way, and everything that happened yesterday will be huge in shaping what happens in November. Ironically, this could be a godsend for Republican candidates. Sure, the possibility of impeaching Trump could get Democrats out to vote, but the Republicans controlling the government means Dems were already fired up about going out to vote. Possibly even peak fired up. Meanwhile, the possibility of a Democrat government impeaching Trump could get the Republican base fired up, evening the playing field.

You’re probably already fired up for one side or the other, but if you can take a step back and look at the whole situation objectively, I think this is a good thing for both sides. These races are going to be intense, ruthless, and bloody, and everyone will be forced to bring their A-game. Thanksgiving is going to get heated this year, but hopefully, when the dust settles and the slaughter is over, we’ll all have learned something about our own team and our opponents.

I’ll see you on the killing fields.

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