Tuesday, October 23, 2018

These Truths: Go Vote!

Democratic, That Is: Yes, Abq Jew is ... enthusiastically reading Jill Lepore's new magnum opus, These Truths: A History of the United States.

In the most ambitious one-volume American history in decades, award-winning historian and New Yorker writer Jill Lepore offers a magisterial account of the origins and rise of a divided nation, an urgently needed reckoning with the beauty and tragedy of American history. 
Written in elegiac prose, Lepore’s groundbreaking investigation places truth itself—a devotion to facts, proof, and evidence—at the center of the nation’s history. The American experiment rests on three ideas—"these truths," Jefferson called them—political equality, natural rights, and the sovereignty of the people. 
And it rests, too, on a fearless dedication to inquiry, Lepore argues, because self-government depends on it. But has the nation, and democracy itself, delivered on that promise? 
These Truths tells this uniquely American story, beginning in 1492, asking whether the course of events over more than five centuries has proven the nation’s truths, or belied them ....
Why, Abq Jew sometimes asks himself, doesn't he himself write book reviews like that? The answer is simple; yet it reflects the hard-won wisdom of decades in the software mines, writing technical opi.

Somebody else already has.

All Abq Jew has to do, then, is find out who - thank you Rabbi Google! - and adapt it for his own use. Or, as Abq Jew was once wont to say -

If you're a good enough writer,
you don't have to do anything original.

It was the "elegiac prose" - which Abq Jew first sampled on his Kindle Fire - that convinced Abq Jew that this is a book worth owning and reading. In hardcover.

So here is what Abq Jew learned about the election of 1800.
The campaigning went on for rather a long time, partly because there was no single national election day. Instead, voting stretched from March to November. Voting was done in public, not in secret. It also hardly ever involved paper and pen, and counting the votes ... usually meant counting heads, or, rather, counting polls. A "poll" meant the top of a person's head. ([See Hamlet.] Not until well into the nineteenth century did a "poll" come to mean the counting of votes.) 
Counting polls required assembling - all in favor of the Federalist stand here, all in favor of the Republican over there - and in places where voting was done by ballot, casting a ballot generally meant tossing a ball into a box. The word "ballot" comes from the Italian ballota, meaning a little ball - and early Americans who used ballots cast pea or pebbles, or, not uncommonly, bullets.

Fascinating, eh what?

Amazing, what you can learn from books. Especially if you read them, rather than just letting them accumulate on your nightstand. Or, as the Japanese would say -

Tsundoku (Japanese: 積ん読) is acquiring reading materials but letting them pile up in one's home without reading them. 
The term originated in the Meiji era (1868–1912) as Japanese slang. It combines elements of tsunde-oku (積んでおく, to pile things up ready for later and leave) and dokusho (読書, reading books). It is also used to refer to books ready for reading later when they are on a bookshelf. As currently written, the word combines the characters for "pile up" (積) and the character for "read" (読). 
A. Edward Newton is quoted as saying: "Even when reading is impossible, the presence of books acquired produces such an ecstasy that the buying of more books than one can read is nothing less than the soul reaching towards infinity ... we cherish books even if unread, their mere presence exudes comfort, their ready access reassurance."

Here is something Abq Jew learned about the ratification of the US Constitution in 1788.
Ratification proved to be a nail-biter. By January 9, 1788, five states - Connecticut, Delaware, Georgia, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania - had ratified ... Massachusetts, in a squeaker, voted in favor of ratification by a vote 187 to 168 in February.
When New Hampshire voted to ratify, in June, that made nine states in favor, meeting the minimum required. Practically, though, the approval of Virginia and New York was essential. Virginia voted to ratify, 89 to 79, in July.
Three weeks later [after the Fourth of July], New York ratified by the smallest of margins, 30 to 27. 
By three votes, the Constitution became law.
And here is something Abq Jew learned about the election of 2018.

Each vote is important. Therefore -

Here is why Abq Jew not only can say this, but, in fact, does say this.

Abq Jew ® LLC is not a 501(c)(3) organization.

It is not an action organization (some may say - far from it!), and is thus free to attempt to influence legislation as a substantial part of its activities; and it may participate in any campaign activity for or against political candidates.

Early voting is now available in the Land of Enchantment!

So go, GOTV. And vote Democratic. Let us once again pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes, and our sacred Honor. Or, as Abq Jew likes to put it -

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