A Universal Choice

This election should remind us. Age of the Sage: “They Saw a Game: A Case Study” details a 1951 American football game between Dartmouth and Princeton, and offers good evidence that different groups actually inhabit different perceptual worlds.

The reception to Donald Trump’s nomination acceptance speech was one of incredulity—what universe is he living in? And the Trump campaign’s reaction to Hillary Clinton’s nomination acceptance claims it was “delivered from a fantasy universe.” A Trump press statement said, “Democrats have been speaking about a world that doesn’t exist.”

So there you have it. Two separate universes, and in November we will decide which one is real. Which one we want to live in.

Decades of progress made in bringing down crime are now being reversed by this Administration’s rollback of criminal enforcement. […] I have a message to every last person threatening the peace on our streets and the safety of our police: when I take the oath of office next year, I will restore law and order to our country.

or

So let’s put ourselves in the shoes of young black and Latino men and women who face the effects of systemic racism, and are made to feel like their lives are disposable. [¶] Let’s put ourselves in the shoes of police officers, kissing their kids and spouses goodbye every day and heading off to do a dangerous and necessary job. [¶] We will reform our criminal justice system from end-to-end, and rebuild trust between law enforcement and the communities they serve.

A choice between a universe where criminals lurk in every shadow, where our only option is to be tough as nails, and one that recognizes the psychological bases of a criminal justice system and focuses on improvements.

Iran is on the path to nuclear weapons. […] This is the legacy of Hillary Clinton: death, destruction and weakness.

or

I’m proud that we put a lid on Iran’s nuclear program without firing a single shot – now we have to enforce it, and keep supporting Israel’s security.

A choice between a universe where we work with nations, even when we seem to live in a different universe than them, or we build a wall and train our guns on it.

Next comes the reform of our tax laws, regulations and energy rules. While Hillary Clinton plans a massive tax increase, I have proposed the largest tax reduction of any candidate who has declared for the presidential race this year – Democrat or Republican. Middle-income Americans will experience profound relief, and taxes will be simplified for everyone.

or

Now, here’s the thing, we’re not only going to make all these investments, we’re going to pay for every single one of them. [¶] And here’s how: Wall Street, corporations, and the super-rich are going to start paying their fair share of taxes. [¶] Not because we resent success. Because when more than 90% of the gains have gone to the top 1%, that’s where the money is.

A choice between a universe where we either increase the debt (or slash the budget) and one where we pay what it costs, including from the wealthy, for what it costs to have the country we want.


I agree that these speeches were delivered on different planes of existence. One in which we should be very afraid, another where we should be determined. One where an authoritarian bully believes he and he alone has got the magic (macamaraca gratagan being his signature incantation used in stage magic) to fix things. Another where a seasoned veteran of government wants to restore regular order and pass legislation to make things better, as the Constitution expects.

I’m going with the latter.