Monday, November 2nd, 2020


Our Town

When my daughter told me one of her friends had just shared a video of a Trump caravan blocking traffic in Marin City, a predominantly Black community one exit from my house, my first reaction was hatred for the intruders. But then I took a deep breath, which for many reasons can feel like an act of courage these days, and thought about John Lewis and the many other people who spent their lifetimes fighting the good fight for voting rights and democracy. They didn't respond to hate and intimidation with more hate and intimidation. They responded to it with a stiffened resolved, more energy, and more determination to unify the nation. I thought of my friend Cory Booker who has suffered plenty of hate (including via the lies of the president), but who resolutely refuses to hate back. And I was reminded that you don't beat hate with more hate. You don't beat divisiveness with more divisiveness. Don't get me wrong. This isn't to suggest that I'm cool with militia-curious truckers trying to intimidate my friends and neighbors. I just signed up for a text message list and the next time the trucks show up, so will I. But not to hate. To lock arms with the people in my community who are on the right side of history and want to move the nation in the right direction. In the short term, that movement takes place in the form of voting. If anyone in Marin City was considering skipping election day this year, I'm pretty sure the caravan convinced them to hit their polling place tomorrow. And with 93 million votes already cast, they'll be in good company. Yes, it's endlessly sad and frustrating that we're being led by someone so severely deranged that he supports the efforts of highway vigilantes trying to run his opponent's campaign buses off the road. But we can't let a handful of acts of intimidation scare us away from the polls. We need to use them as inspiration to make this a landslide. Donald Trump doesn't get to define what these moments mean and he doesn't get to decide who wins this race. It's not his election. It's ours.


The Tractors of My Tears

"In Mr. Rempel's farming community of Henderson and in the countryside that makes up much of the majority Republican state of Nebraska, people say that President Trump represents their deep convictions. And those strongly held beliefs exist in a good versus evil framework in which many see issues like abortion, immigration and what is to them the trade-exploiting, virus-spreading nation of China in the starkest of terms ... The president's supporters in places like rural Nebraska say they feel remembered. To them, these four years have brought a sense of belonging in a country led by someone who sticks up for, and understands, their most cherished beliefs." Jonathan Rempel's tractor went up in flames recently. If it was politically motivated, it's as wrong as anything that happened in Marin City or on a Texas highway. And you can be frustrated with the ways Jonathan Rempel expresses his pain and anger (supporting Trump), but you can't deny the pain and anger. Denying and ignoring that is one of the ways we got into this mess in the first place. NYT: He Already Saw the Election as Good vs. Evil. Then His Tractor Burned.


Lawyers, Puns, and Money

"Trump has privately talked through this scenario in some detail in the last few weeks, describing plans to walk up to a podium on election night and declare he has won." Axios: Trump's plan to declare premature victory. And from AP: Campaign draws to a close as Trump threatens legal action. (There are many ways to project confidence going into an election day. Threatening legal action is not one of them.)

+ Barton Gellman in The Atlantic: The Biden team is preparing for the worst. Here are three possible scenarios.

+ Politico: ‘There Are No Boundaries': Experts Imagine Trump's Post-Presidential Life if He Loses.

+ I shared my takes and covered these matters in detail yesterday. The Count of Mar a Lago.


Steep in the Heart of Texas

As the country looks on to see if Texas will turn blue on Tuesday, people in the state have an even more pressing (albeit, directly related) matter at hand. "With new coronavirus infections surging and area hospitals already at capacity, medical examiners in El Paso, Texas, have received a fourth refrigerated morgue to temporarily store bodies."

+ "Don't tell anybody, but let me wait till a little bit after the election." Trump told a cheering rally crowd he may fire Anthony Fauci after the election. (If Trump wins, it won't matter if Fauci works for him or not.)

+ "Plasma Technologies LLC is indeed based in the stately waterfront city. But there are no manufacturing facilities. Instead, the company exists within the luxury condo of its majority owner, Eugene Zurlo. Zurlo's company may be in line for as much as $65 million in taxpayer dollars." AP: Trump admin funds plasma company based in owner's condo.


We’ll Leave a Light On For You

"We must re-commit to a global conversation on support for democratic institutions, laws, and practices both within and between our respective countries. This includes directly confronting the unfettered greed that drives global inequality, which has unleashed geopolitical rivalries over access to resources, international migrations, and collapsed state sovereignties all over the world." How to Keep the Lights On in Democracies: An Open Letter of Concern by Scholars of Authoritarianism.


Armed and Dangerous

"Speaker after speaker denounced the Democratic governor. One Republican congressional candidate told protesters they were 'the tip of the spear' in the fight against tyranny. Another aspiring official said that by supporting conservative candidates they could 'slap Gretchen Whitmer right across the face.' In the crowd that day, according to photos and videos, were Adam Fox and at least five others who are now charged in the plot to kidnap Whitmer or, in related cases, providing material support for a planned terrorist act." WaPo: Alleged Michigan plotters attended multiple anti-lockdown protests, photos and videos show. (It's time to take the word militia out of our national vocabulary and start calling these folks what they are: Armed gangs. It's also time to vote their leader out of the White House.)


Wrinkled Suit

"A Louisville, Ky., police sergeant who was shot and injured by Breonna Taylor's boyfriend, Kenneth Walker, during the botched raid that left Taylor dead is suing Walker on allegations of assault, battery and intentional emotional distress." Louisville police officer sues Breonna Taylor's boyfriend for shooting him during deadly raid.


Takin it to the Streets

"Poland's prime minister appealed Monday for talks with the leaders of massive protests that were triggered by the tightening last month of the nation's strict abortion law and are continuing despite a resurgence of COVID-19." Poland protests leader: Abortion court ruling must be waived.


Bow Flex

"Vladimir Marugov and his partner were in an outdoor sauna cabin when they were attacked, reportedly by two masked assailants. The woman managed to escape through the window and call the police." Russian 'Sausage King' killed in sauna with a crossbow. (In case you feel like election stress is getting to be too much, consider that things could be worse...)


Feel Good Monday

"A metro train in Spijkenisse, near the city of Rotterdam, crashed through a barrier at the end of the tracks shortly before midnight on Sunday. But rather than plummeting 32ft into the water below, the train was left suspended dramatically in the air. It ended up being delicately balanced on the large sculpture of a whale's tail at the De Akkers metro station." Hope floats. (I'm pretty sure this is the first time that 2020 has been foiled.)

+ "If I were president, I would lower prices on expensive things like mansions, pools, emergency rooms, and medicine." Need some more hopeful signs? The kids at 826 Valencia are sharing Why Young People Want You To Vote.