Associative learning and Joe Biden

Dear President Trump,

This morning Laura and I took a not-rainy walk (finally!) with the dogs in the part of town we call “Swale-land.” It’s on the way to the grocery store and it feels kind of exotic because every other street is lined with richly planted swales instead of the usual plain grass nature strips over completely enclosed drainage culvert pipes.

After encountering a couple of very friendly people who didn’t seem to mind our dogs being dogs, we were headed back to the car when I spotted a type of Buddha statue I’d not seen before. It’s a chubby little Buddha with his hands up over his eyes. Odd. Really, this is sort of like the anti-Buddha since the original Buddha was all about accepting reality, observing without judgment, and loving unconditionally so Buddha hands over Buddha eyes is quite something. This same yard also has some concrete dwarves and oversized mushrooms statues and the front window is full of posters from the Women’s March except for the lower left hand corner, which has a black square poster with colorful block letters that spell out “FUCK TRUMP.” Not exactly in keeping with Buddhist ideas or practices either, but still, in my now jaded opinion it’s pretty spot on. I wonder if the Buddha covering his eyes is a statement about how even the Buddha would be horrified by what’s going on and wouldn’t want to see it.

Onto a different, though related topic – have you seen any news outlets talking about the possibility that Joe Biden’s unexpectedly poor showing in Iowa might have been at least in part because you managed to sow doubt about his integrity with the Ukraine bullshit? It’s weird, but I’ve not seen that possibility floated. Of course, I could have missed it; there are a zillion and two opinions out there for the taking, but it seems so obvious that this could have dragged him down that I don’t understand why none of the editorialists I typically read have postulated about it.

This is what you wanted all along, isn’t it? There was never the need to actually get Ukraine to do an investigation of the Bidens, right? You just wanted them to announce an investigation and even though that didn’t happen, there were still countless times that Joe Biden’s name was associated with “corruption” and “investigation” over the last six-ish months. Every single damn time the Ukraine thing was explained, even when the coverage was about your horrible behavior, the author(s) of the piece dutifully recapped the whole thing, and thus, Biden was constantly being paired with the scandal. So not only were you acquitted, but you managed to tank your primary opponent through a sick application of a basic, basic learning principle – when two things are continually paired, even if they have absolutely no actual relationship to one another, people will be primed by the first thing to think of the second thing and will come to see them as related.

No wonder the Buddha is covering his eyes.

On the bright side (and gosh do we need one), Laura found a wooden Mexican Warrior Princess doll at the Goodwill today. She was seriously on sale, but I think Laura would have paid a $100 for her. I would have. She’s about 10” tall, has jet-black hair “tied” back in a low bun, bright red lipstick, a cloth skirt, and armor over her chest, legs, and feet. In her right hand she’s holding a gnarly machete and in her left hand she’s got a shield. She also has a red hat-ish looking crown. Her eyes are wide open and staring, and her expression seems to be saying “grrrrr.” If she were a real person, you wouldn’t want to mess with her. Right now she’s hanging on our bathroom mirror (she has a handy hook protruding from the back of her head) and she’s already providing a welcome dose of attitude and inspiration.

May we be safe in our armor.
May we be willing to keep our hands away from our eyes.
May we find healthy ways to cope with reality.
May we  piece two and two together and reject nefarious pairings.

Tracy Simpson

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