Neil's News


9 November 2016

Yesterday's election shocked everyone here. With all three branches of government controlled by Republicans, it's widely expected that we will see significant regressions on healthcare, education, income inequality, gay rights, climate change, net neutrality, security, and the economy. Some coworkers are crying, physically ill, or just didn't show up to work. It's like we all had a death in the family.

As seen here in Silicon Valley, this election cycle has been unique. In the previous two election cycles there were plenty of lawn signs around here for presidential candidates. About 80% were for Obama, and 20% were for McCain or Romney. This time there were none. Zero. I think this is telling. People put up a sign when they actively support a candidate. Few people here can honestly claim to support Clinton, what with her anti-encryption, pro-espionage, and pro-war positions. And Trump is seen as ten times worse on all these issues (and many more). The result was that in this area it was more of an election for the lesser of two evils.

Several people have asked if I plan to leave the country. Quynh and I discussed it, but we concluded that it wouldn't make sense. From a selfish perspective we aren't poor, or sick, or Muslim, or Hispanic. And we have passports for four different countries. We'll be fine. From an altruistic perspective, leaving doesn't seem to accomplish anything positive. My work here with Blockly and other educational projects is helping millions of children learn to program, that can only be a good thing in the long term.

The situation is largely out of the American public's hands until the next election cycle. In the mean time, we must all watch for people who are being marginalized, and help them in any way we can.

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