1. I have on occasion observed that this is the first generation in the 200,000 year history of homo sapiens in which the young must explain to the old how things work. Here is yet another example. For some while, it seemed that my IPhone was not ringing when I received an incoming call. This did not matter much to me, since almost no one calls me on my cell phone, but I was worried lest my wife need to reach me and not be able to. So I called my son, Tobias. With infinite tact and patience, he led me through the process of swiping the screen of my phone with a quick upward motion to reveal a number of settings, helped me to locate the crescent moon, and when I said that it was lit up, explained that that meant the phone was in sleep mode and would not ring. A simple touch of the screen turned the moon dark, and now my phone rings when someone calls me. In the good old days, I would have been explaining to him how to sweep with a smooth stroke through the ripe wheat with a scythe at harvest time. He would have looked at me admiringly and said, “Gee, Dad, you just know everything, don’t you?”
2. Matt and Acostos had an interesting exchange in the comments section triggered by my account of the work I have been doing in the local Clinton campaign. In this dispute, I think Matt has the better argument. Let me explain the situation here in North Carolina. North Carolina is a swing state. It was trending Democratic when I moved here in 2008, and Obama narrowly won the state in the presidential election, with the Democrats also taking a Senate seat and the Governorship, but in subsequent elections the state has turned hard Right and become a poster child for reactionary politics.
The population of the state has been changing for some time now, with an influx of northern professionals who are Democratic in their leanings. One of the areas of heaviest influx is the so-called Triangle area, consisting of the cities of Raleigh, Durham, and Chapel Hill and surrounding suburbs. This area has at least four big universities – Duke, UNC Chapel Hill, NC State, and NC Central -- and two major medical complexes, as well as a research park that is home to a number of hi tech companies.
The area is thus flooded with folks who will probably vote Democratic if one can get them out to vote at all. A voter registration drive is especially important among students both because many of them were not old enough to vote in 2012 and because they tend to move very often, making it essential that they re-register at their current addresses. Every Democratic vote we can register among students counterbalances one older white non-college educated Trump voter somewhere else in North Carolina. Orange County [home to UNC Chapel Hill] is not a swing county at all. It is reliably, heavily Democratic. But it is also rich in unregistered students.
That is why, when I go to my first Kant lecture at UNC a week from Monday, I will take with me a batch of registration forms. In a few moments after class, I may be able to bag more newly registered voters than during long hot hours in front of Harris-Teeter supermarkets.