Coding In Carson City

Much better than the hotel room from yesterday, and ten bucks cheaper.

Windburn on the face, sunburn on the neck. I need to to a better job covering up.

I did my best to write code for work today, but a bad night of sleep took the wind out of me. I find that when I’m sleep deprived I can do almost everything involved with my job – meetings, tickets, debugging, evaluating merge requests, writing documentation – but I struggle mightily with writing new code.

After staring at a piece of back-end database code I needed to modify and not making any progress for 90 minutes, I decided it was time to give up. I ate leftover Thai food and watched more of the Vietnam War documentary, then did some reading about the protests from 1968, and how they were used as fodder to get Richard Nixon elected.

50 years ago, protests and riots broke out when Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated. The Republican candidate for president ran on a platform of “law and order,” promising to bring the protestors and rioters to heel, and accused the Democratic party of encouraging lawlessness and anarchy. The promise worked. Scared, guilty, or indignant people – usually white – envisioned a furious horde of dark people smashing their windows, crawling into their houses, and personally assaulting them, and they cast their votes in favor of the candidate who would – above any civil rights concerns – protect their bodies and property. Nixon won by a wide margin.

(The irony of course is that the damage from rioting and looting consistently happened in poor urban areas far from the white middle class. All the more fodder for those white people to call them animals, for smashing up “their own” neighborhoods. Ugh.)

I’m pretty sure the current Republican candidate is going to use the same page from the same playbook. In the run up to November’s election we’ll all be hearing about these protests every day, from talk-show pundits and lunatics like I overheard on the train, drumming up the call for “law and order”, accusing any and all Democrats of “siding with the looters”, et cetera. The perfect fear-stoking smoke screen over the last four years of crass, divisive rhetoric from the commander-in-chief.

It looks like current events are going to bleed through and set the tone for this bike journey. Turns out I can’t get any distance from them, especially not in rural Nevada. So be it.

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