Belligerent Smokescreen: The Dark Side of Conspiracy Theorists

You know what I hate?  People turning left when you’re turning right.  Most of them will pull their cars way past the stop sign, blocking your view of on-coming traffic.  And of course they’re always in a pickup truck or something, so you can’t see over them at all.  It’s like they’re saying “hey look at me!  I have a pickup truck!  I’m so important and cool and stuff!  WHOOOO!”

But I digress.  This has nothing to do with what I want to talk about today, although it is in keeping with the theme of people being jerks.

That’s right.  Today we’re going to talk about conspiracy theorists.  But not just any conspiracy theorists.  Oh no…we’re going to delve into the deepest depths of crazy.

And you know what?  Most days I generally think good things about humanity.  I have hope that we can better ourselves and solve the issues facing us today.  But then there are days where I read Cracked.com articles like this, and my faith in humanity plummets straight through the floor.

If you don’t want to read the whole article, allow me to summarize.  Basically it’s a personal experiences piece written by a Cracked.com staffer and a man named Lenny Pozner who lost his six-year-old son Noah during the infamous Sandy Hook school shooting back in 2012.  It talks about Pozner’s dealings with the conspiracy theorist community who believed that Pozner and his son were part of a cadre of actors who faked the incident for sinister reasons (it’s implied that it has to do with gun control, although if it was actually true the scheme would be considered a failure because any gun control legislation put forth because of Sandy Hook was utterly shot down and never came into law).

And these weren’t nice people.  They were downright nasty and angry.  Any attempts to reason with them resulted in even more vitriol and hate.  Here’s an excerpt from the Cracked article talking about a typical email Pozner receives:

“If you don’t feel like reading it all, let’s just say that it begins with “You’re a fraud and an asshole” and ends with “Rot in Hell you fucking prick.”.”

Fun stuff right?  But that’s the kind of world we live in.  The freedom of the internet age is not without its drawbacks.

Let me make myself clear.  I am a bit of an absolutist when it comes to freedom of speech.  I believe that people should be able to say what they want to say, regardless of if someone finds it “offensive”.  However, I also believe that a line has to be drawn somewhere.  For me, freedom of speech stops at harassment.  It stops when you use your powers of speech to make someone else’s life worse.

So how long do you think it took for the conspiracy theories to emerge?  A few months?  Weeks?  I’ll give you a minute to think of an ans-

Two days.

It…it took two days.  Two goddamn days.

It started with a Youtube video arguing that the shooter had been mind-controlled by the Illuminati and gradually (or not so gradually) progressed into the insinuation that no one died in the incident and it was all staged.

You might be thinking to yourself “well surely this has all stopped by now.  No one would harass this man for years and years, turning his life into a living hell…would they?”  Just check the date on that Cracked article.

April 26th, 2016.

Oh yeah…they would.  And they have.

In the article, Pozner says quote “I used to think these people were open-minded truth seekers. Not so. For the most part, they’re socially reclusive narcissists. They’re literally in their own little world.”  And it’s true.  There are actually studies out there that back him up on this.

You see, this is how it works.  Truth-seeker and conspiracy theorist are not mutually exclusive things, but they’re not mutually inclusive either.  There is a line people tend to cross, where it becomes not about wanting to find the truth and becomes about wanting to be right.  The difference is subtle, but dangerous.  People who honestly seek the truth are generally more open-minded, willing to change their perspectives based on the evidence they gather.  But then there are the people who want to be right, the conspiracy theorists who will sift through the haystack looking for a vague needle that confirms their biases.  There’s no arguing with them.  There’s no negotiating with them because, damn it, they’re going to be right regardless of the cost.  They don’t care whose lives they trod all over, as long as they can assure themselves of their own moral correctness.  Any mistake on the part of officials or a news organization becomes a crack in the facade, a glimpse into whatever “truth” they think is out there.

And that’s the thing, conspiracies are so easy to create.  Any lack of information on anything can be read as some sinister agenda.

You know what?  I’m going to create a conspiracy right now.  Here we go.

 

Every single conspiracy you know has been a lie.  Let that sink in for a moment.  Every conspiracy you’ve ever heard is just a cover, a smokescreen to cover up the REAL conspiracy.  Why else would they let conspiracy theorist go on unchecked?  Because that’s what they want.  That’s what they need to keep the truth hidden.

I’m talking about nothing less than the existence of EVERY EXTRA-TERRESTRIAL BEING EVER.

Think about it.  Why are there so many television shows, books, and movies out there dealing with aliens?  Because they all EXIST and are REAL.  Klingons?  Real.  Romulans?  Real.  The Grays?  Totally real.  That stupid worm thing living in that asteroid in Stars Wars?  Oh you better believe it’s real.

“But why would they let people write books or make movies about them if they’re real,” you ask.  Well obviously it’s easier to believe something is fake if you see it on a television screen.  It’s the best cover, hiding them in plain sight.  They show us all these alien invasion movies because they want us to be afraid of them.  Fear keeps them in power and lets them make tons of money or something.

Also sex.  No conspiracy is complete without sex.  They want to have all the sex, and us to have none of it.  Why else would so many politicians be against birth control?  And those that are for it?  Just another part of the smokescreen, to make us think that there’s a debate going on when there really isn’t.

WAKE UP PEOPLE!  SEE THE TRUTH!  EMBRACE THE TRUTH!  STOP BEING A FOLLOWER AND FOLLOW ME INSTEAD!

 

So, how did I do?  Was I pretty convincing?

Oh I was so convincing.  You’re just jealous of how convincing I was.

Again, that’s the thing with conspiracies.  Often they’re based on a lack of evidence.  They write a story to fill the gaps, but they don’t support the story with anything of substance.  If you look into many of them, you’ll find that they don’t stand up as well as the believers make it seem.

To end this, I’m going to take a page out of the Cracked article I linked you to earlier.  Sometimes, conspiracies do happen.  Just look at this election season.  For so long, people have been frustrated with how money and politics went hand in hand.  Wealthy donors can basically buy a politician’s support on certain issues.  And while some may insist that it isn’t true, it has been proven that the rich make far more back in tax breaks provided for them by the politicians they contributed to.  And in the New York primary this year, some really shady things went down on the Democratic side of things.  Independents not being allowed to vote was only the tip of the iceberg.  What the news didn’t even mention was the fact that hundreds of thousands of registered Democrats suddenly disappeared off the voting rolls come primary day.

There are questions that deserve to be asked.  But when those questions turn into accusations at the expense of people who suffered a tragedy, it’s worth rethinking the purpose of such a crusade.  Often, conspiracy theorists forget the human element of the equation.  They’re so focused on the technical aspect that people stop seeming like people.  They just become pieces of the puzzle.  They just become a part of the smokescreen.

And when that happens, they run the risk of losing their own humanity in the process.

 

Well that’s all I have for this post.  Tune in next Wednesday for another post, and as always, have a wonderful week.

Advertisements

Into a New World: How Different Media Immerse Their Audience

We’ve all heard the word dropped at some point.  “This game is so immersive!”  “The movie does a great job of immersing you in its world.”  “Immerse yourself in a good book!”  Immersion is a very powerful tool and something a lot of people praise.  And different forms of media have to go about it in different ways.

Today we will be looking at three forms of media: books, movies, and video games.

 

Books

Immersing someone in a book is a tricky task.  Unlike movies and video games, books don’t have a visual style to play around with.  But don’t discount the power of words.

Authors have an entire language as their tool in order to describe the world they are creating.  Descriptive language is key in a book, especially since there’s rarely (if ever) pictures to go along with the story.  For example, say an author has a red can they want to draw the reader’s attention to.  They wouldn’t just say “the can is red” or “He gazes at the red can”.  They would talk about how the sunlight gleams off the metal of the can as it streams in through a nearby window.  They would talk about the size of the can.  Maybe they would even talk about the can’s logo, anything in an effort to get their readers to visualize the can.  The author would want them to see the can in their mind, to feel like they could reach out and pick it up themselves.

Word choice is key in novels, and what words an author chooses can often depend on the genre they are writing in.  If it’s a science-fiction novel set on an alien planet, perhaps they’ll use language to show how strange this new world is compared to our own.  If it’s a horror novel, they might spend much of their time describing the lighting or the setting itself (a great example of this is the Overlook Hotel in Stephen King’s The Shining).

“Show, don’t tell” is the motto most authors abide by.  And it’s a good one to live by.

 

Movies

I was originally going to place television on this list as well, but then I realized that television and movies use the same techniques.  And since movies use more of the visual language than a lot of television shows, I figured I would talk about them instead.

Movies aren’t going to use text to get their audiences immersed.  That would be silly.  People go to “watch” a movie, not “read” a movie.  Instead, movies use their cinematography, their visuals as a way to immerse the audience.  Going back to The Shining, in the movie they used a lot of large interior shots to show off how big and empty the hotel was.  This helped to create tension with the audience.  Scenes were often dimly lit to accentuate the isolation and the mood.  Since the story takes place at a hotel in Colorado during a harsh winter, the movie shows this with establishing shots outside the hotel showing the raging snowstorm that takes up most of the film’s climactic act.

The use of visual language isn’t restricted to horror movies either.  Science-fiction movies take advantage of it as well.  Interstellar uses a lot of outer space shots that demonstrate the massive scale of things.  For example, one shot of the spaceship is pulled far back to show how small it is compared to the planet Saturn.  Next to the massive gas giant, the ship is just a tiny white speck, and the movie shows that off.  Plenty of science-fiction movies set in space play with the size perspective, but some of them also play with sound.  Take Gravity for example.  Since in space there’s no sound (no crash bang boom explosions for you) they had to find a way to highlight impacts.  And they did this through the music.  I talked about the soundtrack of Gravity before (as well as Interstellar) but I’ll briefly go over it again.  Basically the soundtrack used the sound of distorted horns to give the audience a sense of movement, and the music was timed so that they would “feel” the impacts of something or someone colliding with another object.  It was a very unique way to deal with the fact that there would be no sound in space, something some movies choose to ignore.

 

Video Games

Movies and books are actually like two sides of the same coin if you think about it.  Books spend their time describing an object in a certain way, and movies will just show that object in that particular way.  If a book describes the light gleaming off a red can, the movie can show the light gleaming off the red can.  But it’s when we get into video games that things change drastically.

The one thing that books and movies have that games don’t is the power of direction.  What I mean by this is that in a book and a movie, the audience is bound by the whims of the writer/director, only able to see what they want them to see.  In a game, that flies out the window.  A lot has been said about the interactive nature of the medium (including some less than savory remarks about the effects of violence on the player), and that’s why they are so different when it comes to immersion.  A player can move around and look at whatever they want to look at, so game developers have to use a different bag of tricks to draw them into the world.

For an example, let’s look at the Grand Theft Auto series.  Politicians and activists have said much about the games, citing their violence as an “epidemic”.  And while the games are inherently violent, there’s a level of detail that goes into the world they create that these people tend to ignore.  Each game has a set of radio stations with hours of content, even going so far as to have fake radio talk shows.  But the detail doesn’t stop there.  Before each game, Rockstar (the game development company) goes out and actually researches the real-life city they’re basing the game off of.  So for example, with Grand Theft Auto 5 they went out and took thousands upon thousands of photos of Los Angeles to get the setting looking right.  Of course at some point they have to acknowledge that it’s not going to be 100% accurate (every single city in the series ends up being an island surrounded by water…I’m guessing it’s a simpler way of creating a boundary that just having an invisible wall in the middle of a road).

But what about a game not set in a real-life location (or approximation thereof)?  What does a developer do then?  Well, this is where aesthetics can come into play.  For our example, let’s look at one of the games I talk about way too much on this blog: Myst.

Before I go any further, here’s a screenshot of the first thing you see on the island:

 

 

It doesn’t look like much, but it really drew people in back in the day.  This was probably for several reasons, one of which was the vague nature of the story.  When the game begins you hear a brief monologue from an unknown figure talking about a book that he lost and how he’s afraid about whose hands it might end up in.  You are the one who finds this book, and upon opening it you find yourself transported to a surreal island.  And that’s all you get.  The rest of the story you have to uncover on your own.

But a big reason the game drew people in was just the way it looked.  Even though this game was released back in 1993, it had a lot of vibrant color to it.  The browns and greens really popped, showcasing the beauty of the island.  The game was a feast for the eyes, with some impressive artistic work for its time.  Remember, this is still about three years before the Nintendo 64 and roughly a year before the Playstation, so in a lot of ways three-dimensional games were still in their infancy.  The point and click genre had already been around for a while, but Myst was something different.  It placed an emphasis on isolation and exploration that no game really had done as of yet.  It’s credited with being the reason why the CD-ROM format was adapted as quickly as it was.

As I’ve said before, the game is a big part of the reason I’m such a big fan of adventure games and atmosphere in video games as a whole.  It may not always be the key thing in a game, but atmosphere can enhance the experience in ways that make it truly memorable.

 

Conclusion

I will not say that any of these forms of media are better than the other when it comes to immersing their audience because all that is subjective.  What works for me might not work for you, and vice versa.  What I really wanted to highlight with this post was the different methods each form uses to enhance their immersion.  Whether through visuals, text, or even sound, each form has a specific “language” that it uses to draw the audience in, to create a believable world no matter how fantastical it might be.

After all, escapism is at the root of all entertainment, isn’t it?

 

Well that’s all I have for this time.  Tune in next Wednesday for another post, and as always, have a wonderful week.

Media Evolution: The Rise of Serialized Storytelling in Television

Most of us have watched or at least know of Breaking Bad, the gritty television show about a high school chemistry teacher turned meth kingpin following a cancer diagnosis.  It’s probably one of the most acclaimed shows of the last decade.  But how does a show like Breaking Bad come about?  What laid the groundwork for the so-called “golden age” of serialized television?

Serialized drama is nothing new to storytelling as a whole.  You can probably trace the origins of it back at least a few centuries.  But serialized television is a relatively new thing, brought about only in the last decade or two.  Most television shows of the past (such as The Fugitive or Quantum Leap) had a basic, underlying premise that unified the show, but the episodes themselves were largely standalone affairs, with maybe a two-part episode here and there.  A big reason for this was due to the time-based nature of television.  If you wanted to keep up with a show back in those days, you would either have to be available at a specific time on a specific day to watch it or have a friend catch you up on any episode you missed.  Thus, television shows were very much “story of the week” type affairs, with the hero arriving somewhere and doing something (usually to help out some distressed person) for that episode before taking off.

Nowadays, things are different.  Shows are more likely to build an undercurrent mythology that runs through the entire series, allowing fans to dig deeper into its world.  And this is something that probably started in the late ’80s, early ’90s.

The first show I can really remember having grander serialized elements was Star Trek: The Next Generation (or TNG for short) which ran from 1987 to 1994.  It was one of those defining television shows of the time, changing the way television was done from characters and storytelling all the way to the practical effects (early on whenever the ship shook the actors had to jiggle back and forth to simulate the effect, whereas later in the show they had a mechanical set that would shake back and forth on command, making a much more believable effect).  In terms of storytelling it was one of the first I had seen that actually had lots of recurring elements (Romulans, the Borg, Q, and so on).  Most television shows beforehand maybe had a single recurring villain or theme, but outside the main cast of characters nothing really stayed the same from week to week.  TNG was still very much an episodic or standalone type of show, but often standalone episodes would include those recurring elements, helping to build the sense that the show was part of a larger universe.  But while it may have started the trend (and I honestly can’t be certain on that one…the history of television storytelling is a very murky affair at times), it took other shows to really give it a boost.

One of the biggest influences on this type of storytelling was The X-Files.  I recently talked about the X-Files‘ return to television after a fourteen year hiatus, and one of the things I noticed is how it felt locked in the ’90s.  It felt archaic in its storytelling, especially compared to more modern shows that improved the formula it helped start.  X-Files had two types of episodes.  The first type was standalone episodes dealing with a mysterious occurrence of the week that Mulder and Scully would have to investigate.  The second type was known as “mythology episodes” and dealt with a grand government conspiracy regarding the existence of alien life.  The show was highly influential, building interest in the idea of a singular, recurring story within a show (Fringe, among many other shows, would copy this format later on).  But in the end, X-Files left a bittersweet taste in people’s mouths because it simply went on for a bit too long, leaving to most people becoming frustrated with the lack of progression in the show’s main arc.

In an article for The American Reader, David Auerbach calls X-Files out on this, complaining that it wasn’t planned out from the start.  He says this about a lot of other shows as well, including the 2004 reboot of Battlestar Galatica (well worth watching if you’re a fan of dark sci-fi).  I wasn’t a major fan of this article, mainly because I feel as though the writer went out of his way to criticize popular television shows while praising shows like Veronica Mars (a name which, unless you’re a member of the cult fan base, probably has you saying “oh yeah…that was a show that existed at one point”).  The thing Auerbach doesn’t seem to take into account is the time period a lot of these shows were in.  Yes, X-Files suffers in later seasons due to being on for so long, but it also aired in the ’90s before serialized shows were big.  It deserves some leeway for being the inspiration for a lot of the serialized storytelling we enjoy in television today.  Sure, if the show hadn’t aired back then and was thrown on TV now, it wouldn’t look nearly as good.  But historical context can carry a lot of weight.

Even then, it wasn’t really until Lost aired that shows really began to make use of serialized stories.  Lost aired in 2004 and quickly became a cultural phenomenon.  Sure, the series ending polarized a lot of the fan base (as a fan of the show, I can tell you that I found the finale to be incredibly disappointing in a lot of ways), but the show was influential in creating a base for deep, character-based storytelling.  In the first season of the show, many of the episodes would center around one particular character, giving us their backstory through flashbacks and explaining how they ended up in the plane which eventually crashed on the island.  And they continued to use this format, telling stories about the characters that took place before the island and giving us an in-depth look rarely seen on television up to that point, if at all.  It made character deaths seem far more poignant because of this focus on their backstories.  The show may have been flawed and the writers may have pulled a fast one on their fans by claiming they had the end planned out when they totally didn’t, but to simply dismiss the influence it had because of these complaints would be ridiculous (but of course there will always be those people who insisted that the show was trash and that they knew it was trash the whole time because hipsters and stuff).

Serialized storytelling is still evolving, just like television as a whole.  And oftentimes, it will suffer due to the way television works (many shows don’t get a good heads up on their ending date, leaving them to either scramble to put together a finale or end the show on a cliffhanger).  But judging by the general preference for serialized television shows (as evidenced by the success of Breaking BadMad MenGame of Thrones and other shows), they are here to stay.  They allow for a greater sense of investment, one that we don’t often get in this era of viral videos and social media trends.  Things come and go, often faster than we can react.  Sometimes it’s nice to have something that we can stick with for a long time, because it gives us a sense of substance, of meaning.  It may not always work out in the end (many shows have trouble resolving everything into a satisfying and conclusive finale), but for many of us it is the journey that truly counts.

 

Well that’s all I have for this time.  Tune in next Wednesday for another post, and as always, have a wonderful week.

Revolution vs. Movement: Analyzing the Speech Patterns of Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump

When it comes down to it, we judge a prospective political candidate on a whole host of things: their personality, their looks, their stance on the issues, and so on.  But it’s hard, because often political candidates try to steer our perceptions of them in a certain way, even if they’re incorrect (George W. Bush, while campaigning, said he was going to devote time and effort to combating global warming…but once he took office he did an about-face and started saying global warming was a hoax).  Nevertheless, we have to push through all the nonsense and get to the truth in any way we can.

Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump are two candidates vying for your vote in the primaries.  I’m choosing these two to analyze mainly because they are the two who have actually held rallies up here in the Twin Ports area of Minnesota and Wisconsin.  You can discern a lot about someone just from looking at how they speak.

Let’s get started.

 

Sanders

This one is going to be a little tougher for one simple reason: Sanders’ rally was back in January, three months ago.  My memory of the event is likely to be a little foggy at this point.

But I digress.  Sanders is a very soft-spoken man.  Even when he raises his voice, it doesn’t sound particularly threatening or loud.  Normally, this would preclude a man from being charismatic, but Sanders makes up for it with his word choice.  He comes across as very controlled and articulate.  The one thing that most people know about him from this election cycle is that he refers to his campaign and supporters as being part of a “political revolution”.  It’s one of the most well-known and derided things about his campaign, perhaps only second to his preference for being called a democratic socialist.  Sanders uses very grand and sweeping language to get this effect across.  And to that to end, let’s look at some more specific things in his word choice.

For one, Sanders doesn’t often refer to “me” or “I” in his speech.  He peppers his sentences with liberal uses of the word “we” or “you”.  A specific instance of this was when he started bringing up the polls comparing him against the Republican candidates to see who would win in a general election.  The Clinton campaign often banked on the idea that Hillary is more electable than Sanders, an idea Sanders refuted.  He brought up the polls, but every time he referred to the numbers comparing his campaign against a Republican, he used the phrase “we beat them” and then threw out a number.  He never used the words “I beat them” by such and such an amount.

And this was a key theme in his rally.  It was always “we” the revolution, not “I” the revolution.  Sanders stressed the fact that his political revolution only worked if everyone came together and made an effort.  He never said “if you elect me I will go to Washington and fight for you”, which is a phrase often used by politicians (and is now a laughable cliché in the eyes of many).  Near the end of his rally, he stressed the fact that the fight was ongoing, and that it wasn’t going to get any easier if he got elected.

The only thing I could fault Sanders on is not providing a ton of specifics for how he would do things.  But as often as the case with rally, the focus is less on specifics and more on hype.  And as we’ll see with Donald Trump, leaving out specifics is a common thing in political speeches.

 

Trump

In comparison to Sanders, Trump is an entirely different beast.

But there are similarities between them.  They both talked about the system being broken.  They both blame corporations for the loss of jobs in the United States.  They both talked about the establishment caring only about the establishment and doing whatever they could to keep the current system going.  Certain parts of their message are actually quite similar in a way, which I found surprising.  But as people, Sanders and Trump are very different.

Trump’s rally took place just a couple of days ago here in the Twin Ports area.  Compared to Sanders, Trump had a lot of “I”s and “me”s in his word choice.  His speech was, for a large portion of it, about him.  He told stories about people going up to him and saying things.  He talked about how he was going to do things, how he was winning, and how he took out his competitors.  And that dominated most of the first half of his speech.  His language was the language of competition, the language of someone who wants to win.  And to that end, he also stressed the size of the crowd that showed up to hear him speak, making reference to the people who were still waiting to get in.  He even referenced the Sanders campaign, but brushed them off, saying that they couldn’t get the same crowd size as they did (which is debatable, but comparing rally sizes is a difficult thing because getting an accurate count of people is incredibly difficult).

Instead of a “revolution”, Trump called his campaign a “movement”.  And he described his supporters as being “sick and tired” of the way things were going.  Like Sanders, he highlighted the corruption of the system and the need for it to change.

On the issue of specifics, Trump is especially dodgy.  During his speech, he claimed several times that he was going to tell us how he was going to get something done.  And then, minutes pass with no clear answer.  This was especially notable during his tirade about building the wall to stop immigration.  He said he was going to explain his plan to get Mexico to pay for the wall, but he sidestepped into talking about the military and veterans.  I only point it out because it is a strange tactic to use, but apparently effective (in fairness, he did outline a plan the day after his speech where he essentially said he was going to blackmail Mexico into paying $5-10 billion for the wall by threatening to cut off remittances, which are sums of money sent as payment for goods and services or as a gift).

Trump is loud and brash (he ever refers to the protesters outside his rally at one point, calling at least some of them “evil” if I heard him correctly).  Compared to Sanders, Trump comes across as low-brow, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing for his supporters.  In fact, that’s what a lot of them like about him.  They see him as having a no-nonsense attitude, unafraid to say what he wants to say.  He even once got the crowd to chant “lyin’ Ted” in reference to his opponent Ted Cruz.

Donald Trump strikes me as someone with a bit of an ego.  He likes to talk himself up (as evidenced by his preference for using “I”s and “me”s in his sentences).  His campaign focuses on him getting stuff done, on him winning the nomination and going to Washington.  To be fair, he does occasionally use the word “we”, but it was vastly out-shadowed by his first-person language.

 

Conclusion

I may be a Sanders supporter and I may not like Trump, but I found comparing Trump and Sanders to be a fascinating exercise.  Trump is certainly a character, and I can at least see some of what people like about him from watching his speech.  It’s funny, but Sanders and Trump have the same kind of message in a way, but have different methods of getting it across.  It would be far too simplistic of me to say that Sanders equals love and Trump equals hate, so let’s go with this instead: Sanders’ message equals a kind of inclusiveness, an urge for all of us, regardless of race or religion, to work together to make our country and the world a better place.  By contrast, Trump’s message focuses on a kind of exclusivity, on strengthening the country as a whole but disregarding the rest of the world stage, which he sees as taking advantage of the United States.  His idea is that we need to care for ourselves rather than police the world.

Regardless of who you support, I thought I’d just share my impressions of two fascinating and polarizing figures in this election season.  It has certainly been one of the most interesting elections in recent history, with continually record-breaking turnouts and primaries and caucuses.  In the end, regardless of who wins, things in our country will not be the same.  The political conversation has shifted, and there’s nothing anyone can do about that.

Trump was definitely right about one thing: the entire world is watching to see what happens with this election.

 

So that’s all I have for this time.  Tune in next Wednesday for another post, and as always, have a wonderful week.