TV President

James Poniewozik on Trump’s tough guy fascination and Game of Thrones for the New York Times:

The president is a creation of TV and a voracious consumer of it, but his tastes are limited and specific. He likes cable news in general, and news about himself best of all. He became a star in reality TV, which relies on condensing human experience into catchphrases and simple, broad symbols, and he applied its lessons on the campaign trail by rendering the idea of security as a great big wall.

He has never, however, seemed to be much of a follower of scripted TV dramas, which at their best draw out life’s complexities.

Galician Christmas

I have an a fascination with Galicia that probably borders on obsession. Historically Celtic, mostly green, rural, and wet in winter. Galicia reminds me of Oregon. People speak both Spanish and Galician. It’s also the destination for pilgrims walking the Camino de Santiago.

We decided to see some friends up north for for a change of scenery during Christmas week. We don’t celebrate Christmas other than getting together with family but often we are abroad and do our own thing. I’ve been to this comunidad autónoma two years ago and I was eager to get back. Here are some photos.

Our friend’s place is in a small town between Sarria and Samos. This time our GPS took us through the back way, which was amazing because we caught some glimpses of the Abbey of St. Julian.

He has a farm right on the camino. The scallop shell symbol points the way for pilgrims.

We walked around to a few different pueblos on Christmas morning. They are hamlets, with only a few dozen people living in each. We also met this group of cows that followed us as far as they could in their pasture.

Galicia is amazing. For me, it might be a place I’d like to settle down in for some time. There is a lot of potential for some of the things we want to do; de-urbanize, be in nature, grow a portion of our food, and enjoy life.

Beto, Bernie, and 2020

Remember when we had a likable president? Those were the days, right? I voted for Obama, twice. And there were many things that the populace and media glossed over during his presidency. However, I never got the feeling the executive branch didn’t have a handle on things. Now, we have something else entirely. These last two years have been very strange.

Politics, right? Lots of people want to ignore it all. It’s exhausting. As we spent a few days in Galicia recently, the importance or pointlessness of politics came up in conversation. I vacillate between these points of view. Some days, I feel like ignoring it all, like many people do. If we paid less attention to these big egos who so desperately seek attention, wouldn’t things change?

Other days, I get a sense that the only real way to solve these big problems is through politics. It’s the twenty-first century and our industrialized society has left us with the responsibility of uniting to save our planet than at any other point of human history. I’m thinking an Independence Day scenario, where instead of aliens it’s CO2 emissions.

But if I internalize the second stance today, I need to throw my voice into the ether. Can we not elect another Barack Obama?

Branko Marcetic points out in his article for Jacobin about why Beto O’Rourke shouldn’t run for president:

If the Democratic Party ever wants to actually wield national power, instead of simply enacting change through easily repealable executive orders, then it has to win governorships, congressional seats, statehouses, and more all over the country.

We can’t just elect a young, telegenic American. There needs to be a reawakening to ideology and big ideas like a Green New Deal, Medicaid for All, and free tuition. Kate Aronoff’s article in the Intercept on what a Green New Deal would be like really encapsulates this vision.

So, Bernie? Honestly, I don’t know. He’s older, but there aren’t many potential Democratic candidates that are so single-mindedly focused on economic issues concerning the country.

The United States can sink or swim after the rampant corruption of the Trump presidency. Let’s get ourselves ready for the future.