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⚠️Disclaimer: This isn’t an endorsement of either candidate, but an attempt at thinking through what could come next. I think both candidates have problems and baggage — just for different reasons that aren’t explored in this post.

While anything is possible on November 3, things aren’t looking very good for President Trump. The following thoughts I’m sharing assume that Biden wins — but if politics in the last four years have taught us anything — it’s just as possible Trump wins. If that were to happen, I’d have to revise what ‘2020 and beyond’ could look like.

Now, the last few decades of American politics have had tumultuous moments, though the one right now feels the most heightened. (This could be a sort of confirmation bias about the present moment, but we’ll stick with the sentiment for now.) Unfortunately, many of the problems that the United States faces aren’t going away regardless of who wins the presidency. That may dismay both conservatives and liberals, but it’s important to have some sobriety when we look beyond the 2020 election (and since both parties believe their candidates are saving the Republic — albeit for vastly different reasons). …


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One of the most fascinating things about the Amy Coney Barrett hearings is how passionate people’s opinions are about a woman they knew nothing about a month ago. This makes sense for the political media pundits who make money for fiery on-air segments or online splicing of content, but why is the general public always so quick to fall for the excitement?

I’ve watched a decent amount of the hearings — though surely not more than half so far since the days are very long — and I’d recommend everyone watch as well. …


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It’s been awhile since I’ve written, and it feels timely to share what I’m reading, intend to read, and things I think Americans would benefit from reading.

Most of the following will focus on the social issues of the day, largely because this consumes what I think about, but also because it’s consuming what most of us are thinking about.

So, let’s get started.

More American civics

Since we’re all engulfed in the adrenaline of the looming election — one accompanied with a Supreme Court nomination — I think it’s best Americans start going back to the basics.

What was the point of the Constitution or the Bill of Rights anyway? Why did the Constitution begin to be ratified in 1787, and why were the Articles of Confederation insufficient? Why did the framers choose our system of government and what did they think about democracy? These are all questions we should ask and refresh ourselves on, because Supreme Court nominations and our conversations around who is fit to judge hinge on interpretations of the Constitution and American governance. …


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We all know the infamous “fake news” slogan. It’s sometimes an acknowledgment of news that’s actually false, but often a way to delegitimize information that doesn’t fit a political narrative. The “fake news” tag is usually a right leaning way to shut down debate, but the left has their tricks too. One of their current lines of attack is to question the character of the opinion holder, usually by labeling them as being some sort of “phobe” or “ist.”

Regardless of the chosen method to shut down debate, each side is privy to their sharing of inaccurate, or incomplete information. A few days ago I saw this happen in a Twitter thread from Ibram X. Kendi, the author of “How to Be an Anti-Racist.” Kendi is a historian, professor, and prominent voice in the current cultural moment. He and outlets from both the left and right were sharing excerpts from Frederick Douglass’ “What to the Slave Is the Fourth of July?” address that he gave to the Rochester Ladies’ Anti-Slavery Society in 1852. I point out Kendi’s abridgment of the address because he is a prominent voice right now, and because I saw similar variations of his style of presentation online. …


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I did not vote for Donald Trump in the 2016 election, and as of today, I am undecided on who will win my vote in the 2020 election. Though it’s a heresy to say anything positive about the guy — at one point even saying his name seemed to draw disdain from those that heard you — we need to start normalizing adult conversations about the President. We also need to highlight the things he gets right that the general public doesn’t hear about. We’ll start with his Fourth of July speech at Mount Rushmore.

To preface, remember these lyrics from Rage Against the Machine’s song “Testify?” …


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Note: I wrote this, other than the updated intro in italics, on 4/15/2016 after Kobe had his historic career ending game. I haven’t renewed the domain that it used to live on, so it’s shared here via Medium.

It’s a funny thing how people you’ve never met can impact your life, and that you’d feel a connection to them. Kobe was known for his mental fortitude and compartmentalizing tenacity toward his goals, and even as a fan of the Stoic school of philosophy, I’d be remiss to say that watching the story of a guy who in some ways lived up to the arc of a hero, tragic death and all — though fitting for its narrative elements — is less of a story about his drive and accomplishments, and more of a story that even heroes are human.


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I’m grateful for each passing day. Another day obviously means I still have life, but it also means I’m getting older. And I like getting older.

I know getting older gets a bad rap with some people, but — God willing it includes decent health and a functioning body — I think it’s preferable to being young.

Old age doesn’t always equal wisdom, but an older person is more likely to have it than a younger person. …


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I’m reading Jennifer Ratner-Rosenhagen’s American Nietzsche. It’s a book less focused on an in-depth examination of his philosophy, but more on how Friedrich Nietzsche’s ideas have shaped American culture.

There are mixed feelings with a character like Nietzsche. One one hand, this intense German known to “philosophize with a hammer,” wielded it without regard for anything that stood in his path. …


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Post Note: These thoughts are thanks to things I’ve learned via Nassim Taleb’s Incerto series (in this instance, especially Antifragile), from Peter Thiel’s Zero to One, and from interviews with Peter Thiel, Rene Girard, and other people talking about Rene Girard’s theories.

Via Negativa

I have a love-hate relationship with self-help material. On one hand, I think that as long as you’re alive you should be learning how to live. But on the other hand, most self-help is charlatanism that’s packaged feel-good advice and hardly applicable anti-knowledge. …


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Much of life is risk mitigation. In a practical sense, the game is to survive, not necessarily to flourish. (The two aren’t always linked. You can draft a large list of rock stars or celebrities who died young from overdose or some other preventable cause, but who society would have labeled as “flourishing” before their crashing moment.)

It’s obviously possible to flourish and survive, but survival is preferable. A villager who lived a primitive life and made it to 85, in some sense, enjoyed the blessings of existence more than the celebrity who crashed and burned early but got to attend The Oscars. …

About

Diego Contreras

I'm a communications and content writer. Follow me on Twitter @thediegonetwork.

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