I know you're sick of politics but just please one more thing …
The midterm elections just got shoved up our assess and we all want to go back to playing Fortnite and scrolling through Kylie Jenner's Instagram but I need to say one more thing about politics before we move on:
The physical world matters. Because all our stuff is here. And elections change the way the physical world actually is. Because of ballot measures that passed in this election, the world will be different soon:
- Chickens in California won't live in cages.
- Tampons in Nevada will be cheaper.
Happier chickens and cheaper vaginas might not seem like much, but these are real consequences of politics. And unlike so much of the rest of the phoney muck on CNN and Fox — which reporter Trump was rude to, which outfit Melania wore — it's not entertainment, not reality TV, not space-filler.
After this election:
- Low-income folks in Nebraska and Idaho will have medicaid.
- The minimum wage will go up in Missouri and Arkansas.
- Only 21-year-olds and up will be able to buy guns in Washington state.
You can like or dislike those changes, but that's how the world will be now.
The real world can change because rich dudes buy change, because terrorists blow up buildings, because there are natural disasters. But actual people knocking on doors, making phone calls, going to meetings in the real world make these real-world things happen:
- Fetuses in Alabama were declared to have a "right to life."
- Trans people in Massachusetts can use any bathroom they like.
- Homeless people in San Francisco will get some homes.
There are people with an active interest in telling you not to care, in telling you that you can't do anything, that you'll be happier if you let the smart connected fine folks make laws, while you kick back and scroll through your phone. But as a reporter who covers politics, I can tell you that the people who are in campaign offices and getting petitions and going door to door often look, on average, happier, fitter, healthier, livelier than the folks who endlessly scroll. I don't know which way it goes: if they got involved because they look better or if they look better because they got involved. Either way, because of political folks this cycle, the real world will be different:
- Felons in Florida will be able to vote again.
- Legal weed is coming to all adults in Michigan, and medical patients in Missouri and Utah.
Those things might not matter, or they might. But the big news organizations have confused us all about what politics actually is. Politics is the exercise of power, based on persuasion, to change the physical world.
Politics doesn't happen in a TV studio, or on a Reddit thread, or on a Facebook comments section, but face to face, in meatspace, where you can smell and see the happiness and despair of your fellow human, and remember that they matter, too.
Ok. I'm done. Fortnite is being played. Go to it.