If Not for You

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I would struggle, in my group of friends, to find anybody who considers that the current President of the United States is either a) a good man or b) good at his job. This is not a blog post about what is, however. This appeared from the ‘alternate history’ part of my brain a while back, and I feel bears repeating to a wider audience. Even if you live in the world where the Orange Twat can do no wrong, it is undoubtedly the case that his arrival in the White House has caused other things to take place, a lot of them inherently positive long term.

The question I want to ask therefore is this: would the following have happened if the Democrats had won in the US, or is it Trump’s arrival that has caused their exposure to be unavoidable?

    1. Would #MeToo have come to pass in a Clinton Administration? 

      I’ve given this a considerable amount of thought in the last couple of weeks, and it is a tricky subject to balance internally. In the UK, it was a year after the death of Jimmy Saville in 2011, when an ITV documentary exposed his predatory sexual behaviour, before this previously taboo subject became all that the media was interested in for some time. The number of known US offenders that remained untouched by prosecution at that time remained significant. There was insufficient momentum to carry the movement forward, and not enough popular support to overturn the distractive power of money and influence.

      When Rose McGowan took Tarana Burke’s hashtag and changed the entire landscape of US acting, she did so as a direct response to one man who, it transpires, had condemned many women’s careers. That man, yet again, is not an exception in the landscape of entertainment, far from it. However, culture values and ideals in the US were, before October 2017, shielding him from prosecution. It is the same outlook that Trump himself extolled in the famous ‘grab her by the pussy’ video that (presumably) was leaked before the 2016 election in an attempt to derail his path to the White House.

      I have to wonder whether these accusations would have seen the light of day if sexist and misogynist behaviour had not become so critically and commercially unpalatable as is now undoubtedly the case. Would a movie like Wonder Woman have succeeded so strongly were women not looking for strong, powerful role models to inspire not only themselves but the next generation of women? Was the time simply right, or did the placement of a man who advocates treating women as objects shine a light on the inherently unacceptable practice?

    2. Would Climate Change be so significant were not for Trump denying its existence? 

      This issue is less black and white in my mind, but all the more significant. Climate change is not going away but by the Republicans’ decision to pull out of the Paris Climate Accord… well, it’s like the American’s have effectively wiped their hands of their part in condemning the rest of the World to a slow, painful death. I suspect that had the Democrats come into power it would be less of a story, however, and that’s probably a bigger issue.

      Trying to pretend that something does not exist is a sure fire way of making you look stupid. It doesn’t just make the President seem like a twat, that then reflects badly on the entire country when the rest of the World is aware there’s a problem, except the elderly bloke in charge isn’t listening. It is particularly galling when the organisations set up to help monitor and preserve what’s left of the World that’s not been royally fucked are effectively stripped of power and, in some cases, rendered obsolete.Climate change doesn’t go away unless EVERYBODY pulls their weight. I don’t think Trump gets the blame here, but he’s certainly not helping.

    3. Would North and South Korea be talking to each other were it not for the President’s actions? 

      This is my favourite piece of Alternate History, playing out right here. There’s Russia over there declaring it has nuclear missiles that it could target anywhere in the World but there’s more concern in the Far East over what North Korea might be about to throw into the mix as an emergent Nuclear power. Considering how close they are to the Chinese? Yeah, there’s substance to that concern.

      Trump’s actions, especially via Social media, could easily be seen as a reason why the two countries have decided to start talking to each other again and not to the West. After all that détente at the Winter Olympics, and the charm offensive the North waged (and largely won) with the South, popular opinion on the ground is going to matter a lot more than the rhetoric of Washington. The question remains: would it have happened were it not for a man with a Twitter app on the other side of the World dictating policy in 280 character bursts?

      Personally, I think in this case Trump’s actions caused the consequences we’re seeing play out. Whether that’s true, and what the larger consequences will be regardless, are probably the most concerning aspect for me in this whole thought exercise.


    As someone who spends a lot of time considering ‘what if’ in fictional circumstances, playing the game in the Real World is often a quite frightening reminder of how close we sail to complete destruction as a race. These problems aren’t going to go away, and regardless of who remains in power it is up to us to try and find practical solutions that begin in our everyday lives, and in the ways we interact with others.

    What needs to happen is more thought and not less.

Standing at the Sky’s Edge

Ah, Yosemite, I woke up with you in my head. Such a good two weeks. This reminds me I ought to write up the days we spent going down Route 1 before they fade into indistinct memory. However, this morning I’m not going for all time readership records. There’s a lot of people here now, far more than there were at the beginning of the year, and I’d like to properly welcome you all. This is as close to my actual brain as you’re ever likely to get, and I hope I’m able to maintain both an entertaining and compelling experience in the weeks that follow. I suspect there’s gonna be a bit of diary, a smattering of world observation and an awful lot of blather in between.

This morning I have some actual work to do, insofar as playing an Alpha Game client and writing about it/providing feedback can count as such. More importantly I need to be out pounding the streets to keep the daily step total up. Not missing a day has become a badge of honour: it’s like logging into My Fitness Pal and recording food. I caved this morning and tried the scales and YES I LOST SOME WEIGHT which has come as a real inspiration towards me actually making progress. I know it doesn’t matter, but IT TOTALLY MATTERS, and yes, you can start judging me now. That’s absolutely and perfectly fine.

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Mostly, I’m hanging onto the last vestiges of sunlight wherever I can find them. The weather’s looking increasingly dodgy, and I can see snow coming. Yes, the kids absolutely love it but I was never a very good outdoor kid to begin with. Snow is not my thing. It’s pretty and inspiring but it is outside and I am remaining in, and that’s how that works. I’ve never had any desire to ski. Looks nice, other people can play in it.

I’ll be over here with a cuppa.

Holiday Post Two: 13th August.

One of the overriding reasons why my husband wanted to go to the West Coast was Yosemite. I will freely admit I was skeptical that the trip would live up to the hype, until we went up Route 120 to get there. The Tioga Pass road is something I will never forget, a climb up in daylight that’s amazing but in darkness is more frightening than any movie, book or game you’ll ever experience. I have to give credit to my husband who drove both ways in a SUV that owes more to Sherman than Buick, without batting a single eyelid. What was abundantly apparent on the entire trip was the extent of the drought the State is currently gripped by, and how much of the countryside has already burnt. Massive swathes of trees were black, shells of their living selves. It was in turn both depressing and beautiful, but nothing really prepared me for what we’d find when we finally made it to the eastern entrance to the Park. The three and a bit hour drive was more than worthwhile and pictures simply won’t do the experience justice.

The Park defies adequate description: hot, vast and dangerous, and full of views that make you realise just how insignificant humanity is on the general scale of existence. We found a place fist to paddle and then later for the kids to swim. I have no problems on days like this being the designated adult, and watching the world pass by, documenting as I go. My only dissapointment is that we didn’t have more time to explore, as I suspect the majesty of the place would take several days to take in properly. Needless to say, from big to small, I tried to capture as much as I could in pictures. The Flickr feed has a selection of the best images (points to the right.)

What struck me most was the sense of scale: how huge everything was and how tiny I felt in comparison. It was a sombering reminder that however good you think you are, you are a mark, a stain on a planet that has existed for billions of years. It was an amazing day I doubt I’ll ever experience the like of again, especially with my children and husband. That, more than anything else, is what made me realise how grateful I am to have them and how much I love them all. It makes me understand I made the right choices in coming to this point. Because human life is so fragile, it is undoubtedly essential to enjoy every moment as much as you can.

I will not forget this time at Yosemite for the rest of my days.

Holiday Writing

I’ve already lost one post so far this morning, let’s see if this one survives my iPad.

I’m on Day Four of the Great US Adventure: family + ridiculously large motor veicle on the West Coast of the USA. I’m finally adjusted to the -8 hours (took a while) and I feel the need to document everything properly before I lose the clarity of memory that I always do in situations such as these. It’s ridiculously early to be writing but I want to draw my line in the sand here: I’ve already done Tandems over the Golden Gate Bridge and an afternoon in a US Water Park, but there are other observations that I’d like to make, and this is probably the best place to do so.

For now I have to eat breakfast and go look at nature. When I’m done, we’ll start catching up.