This morning, when I was having breakfast, I turned on the TV to check the weather. As there was nothing really exciting happening in the weather, I switched to CNN. And what did I get? The whole President Bush Inauguration thing. A joke! People discussing how proud they were to be American, and what a wonderful time they were going through. It was just so hypocritical, nearing complete senselessness. What were these people talking about? A president that was able to divide the country but get a little bit over 50% of it? And not only that, the other half felt ashamed that this president won. It is not only that they were sad that who they thought was better lost, like happens in a sports event, they were actually depressed with the fact that the other half chose to reelect Mr. Bush. These are not great times, these are times that you should stop and think of what went wrong. These are times to be ashamed of.
I’m sure right now some of the very few people that actually read my blog are thinking: “what are you talking about, you don’t even vote!” And this makes me way more depressed about it. It doesn’t mean that I don’t see what is around me. It doesn’t mean that I didn’t feel the state of mourning that this city was in the day after the elections.
I’m not being political here trying to say that the American people elected the wrong guy, I’m just criticizing the people that thought that this was a victory and that the day today was a celebration of freedom and patriotism. There are people dying around the world. Poverty, lack of education, abuse of power and chaos just grow. Much more important than that, new ideas, cure for diseases, and the human understanding is growing every minute. And people are celebrating the little show of a person that is continuing to be the president? Feeling that it is great that a senator from Arkansas is walking around the stage to talk with another senator from Indiana? Where are people’s sense of reality?
I keep tying to convince myself that education would solve all of it. But what is education if not only the imposition of a set of “truths”? For the eye of the show makers, I’m worse than them all.
Yesterday I had a long discussion with one of my co-workers about why he thinks that the patriot act is wrong. Why shouldn’t they be allowed to check all the books that you are getting from the library? He likes his “liberties” and doesn’t want to trade them from an immaterial concept of security from “terrorists”. I don’t care about security, but I don’t think that the government doing anything with my library records actually takes away any of my liberties. They are not restricting the places I go or the books I read. They are actually spending money for nothing useful. Looking at people’s library records doesn’t tell you anything. If you are an actual terrorist, you will find ways of getting books anyway. Internet, Xerox machines at the libraries, friends, false identities… They will be mining for a needle (one day that the person was a little lazy) in the haystack. The amount of noise in large datasets such as these makes analysis impossible. What can you do, then? Find a person that seems suspicious and then run checks. And this you can do anyway with warrants, so they just simply decreased the bureaucracy…
Anyway, it seems like I left the topic. But I actually didn’t. The bottom line I wanted to get using these two examples is that it is too easy to make people focus on tractable things. Building a show, asking for permission to look into people’s library records or flight history. But this misses the problem, thus missing the solution. The world needs less money and attention spent on consequences and more work devoted on sources. It may be painful, scary, but it’s the only way to go. Make the inauguration ceremony as just the previous president giving the key to the White House to the new president. If the president didn’t change, just don’t do anything. Make fighting terrorism the analysis of its roots. Empower people that make a difference, and not the people that squash the differences.
Leaving in a lighter note, today I was asked if it wouldn’t be better if I left where I’m working right now and just opened a startup. Less politics…