Yucky bookends to the day

Dear President Trump,

Today looks to be a day that will be bookended by rather spectacularly shitty stuff between the debacle in Iowa and your State of the (dis)Union speech tonight. Then you get to top it all off with the acquittal cherry tomorrow – feels like it might be a good time for a very long retreat in a temperate mountain range somewhere without wifi (I almost went with a desert island, but sea rise and hurricanes are becoming ever more menacing, so that didn’t seem like a good call).

When I went to bed last night just after 9PST I thought it was odd that no winner had been called in the Iowa race. I think the headline said that it was too close to call, but this morning’s headlines indicate that was likely just a made-up (bullshit) thing to cover for the fact that the state Democratic party’s digital caucus reporting system had failed. OMG. I know that many (many, many) people are lamenting the sick irony of this debacle, what with all the totally legitimate concerns about election security that you and yours have been blowing off and here the Democrats have this new, fancy, supposedly bulletproof app that’s been kept a secret to protect it and the damn thing doesn’t work. I don’t know, maybe they needed to commission that app creation more than two months ago and maybe pay a real amount of money ($60,000 doesn’t seem like that much for something so complicated that you want to use in multiple state contests) so that it could be thoroughly tested and tried.

And on the morning of your f*cking national address and on the day before you are 99.9999% certain to be acquitted – of all days. Whistling in the dark, indeed.

I don’t know – maybe the universe is telling us we need to scrap the whole damn system and start over. Right, I know, that’s never going to happen. Very silly me. But when the ruling party is corrupt and complicit to its core and its challengers are not only effectively neutered (e.g., no witnesses and no document discovery allowed in your Impeachment Trial), but are so ineffective themselves that they can’t seem to make their way out of a paper bag, something needs to change.

It just occurred to me to check to see if there might be a glimmer of hope offered by the number of Iowans who showed up to caucus since the news leading up to yesterday was hyping the excitement and engagement there. Well, again the broken app is complicating things and there isn’t a firm count, but from non-app sources NBC is reporting that the proportion of new caucus goers was much lower than expected, around 35%, which is down from both 2016 (44%) and 2008 (57%), and what’s more the overall numbers look like they are going to match 2016. So no numeric silver-lining there.

Yes, really dumb bad stuff happens all the time and it doesn’t mean all is lost. I know it won’t mean jack to you or most anyone else, but right now seems like a good time to pull out some cognitive restructuring strategies to balance out the catastrophizing thoughts that are swirling in my brain. The only problem is that the key question in the process that’s supposed to be grounding and sanity-inducing is “realistically, what’s the worst that could happen in this situation?” Laura is probably right that the Iowa meltdown is not indicative of how the whole thing is going to go, it’s just one state, after all. But the worst that could realistically happen in this situation is really, really bad, and stumbling right out of the gate with a desperate wolf pack waiting in the wings is not how this horse race should be run.

May we be safe from our own ineptitude.
May we be willing to do the necessary clean up so the next 49 go way better.
May we be robust and resilient.
May we not devolve into bickering and may we find peaceful paths forward.

Sincerely,
Tracy Simpson

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