The Third Time

The first time a political event traumatized me so much that i was teary eyed days on end happened June 4th 1989. I remember holding on to our short wave radio, listening to VOA, and my tears would just pour out.

The second time was after September 11, 2011.

and now.

During previous two occurrences, I could still hold on to American Democracy as the shinny beacon on a hill. This time, I understood that expression of British Foreign Secretary Sir Edward Grey on the eve of Britain entering WWI. “The lamps are going out all over Europe, we shall not see them lit again in our life-time”.

The weekend before the election, I was watching an episode of Bill Maher Realtime, where he was begging Millenniums to go out and vote for Hillary on Tuesday. He said otherwise, a dictator will be elected and he could destroy our democracy and stay dictator for his lifetime. When i was watching that, i thought, either Bill Maher didn’t think Trump would win, or he didn’t believe Trump will be as bad as he described. Otherwise, if the consequence was really that dire, that existential, he wouldn’t just sit there and talk about it.

While I was contemplating that question, I realized I didn’t have an answer. What do you do if you knew with certainty a dictator, once elected, would destroy the democratic system?

The Roman senators assassinated Caesar, that certainly didn’t work. Roman republic ended anyway.
Turkey’s Ataturk setup a military intervention mechanism that was looked down upon by the west as barbaric and not real democracy.

What should a real democracy do when you know a candidate will post clear and present danger to the entire system?

Is there a rule? I can’t find it in our constitution.

Hillary and Obama chose the high road by giving him the benefit of the doubt. I don’t think they are convinced they did the right thing though.

So there must not be a rule. Everyone is just hoping our founding fathers continue to surprise us like they have in the past 227 years.

That, is scary.

Dark Times

I didn’t undertand Europe’s “Right to Forget” law until i read this article in the New Yorker back in 2014. Always meant to blog about it, but kept on forgetting. With yesterday’s election result, it is time i highlight this. All Tech companies should take notes and learn from Europe. They have been there.

THE SOLACE OF OBLIVION by Jeffrey Toobin, Sep. 29, 2014 Issues of the New Yorker
-In Europe, the right to be forgotten trumps the Internet.

in “Delete” he describes how, in the nineteen-thirties, the Dutch government maintained a comprehensive population registry, which included the name, address, and religion of every citizen. At the time, he writes, “the registry was hailed as facilitating government administration and improving welfare planning.” But when the Nazis invaded Holland they used the registry to track down Jews and Gypsies. “We may feel safe living in democratic republics, but so did the Dutch,” he said. “We do not know what the future holds in store for us, and whether future governments will honor the trust we put in them to protect information privacy rights.”