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In the big picture, a slim Biden win may actually be the best possible outcome for America

Progressive-minded people across the U.S. who were hoping for a landslide Biden victory that would serve as a referendum on Trumpism quickly had their hopes dashed on Election Night. As of this moment, we don't know the outcome of the election yet, but signs are pointing to a much-narrower-than-predicted victory for Joe Biden.

In all honesty, we should have seen it coming. As someone who spends a lot of time on social media and pays attention to what people pay attention to, the signs were all there. Comment sections full of Trump supporters pushing narratives full of disinformation. The Facebook Top 10 most popular posts list being filled with right-wing outlets that peddle alternative facts and bash legitimate journalism every single day (despite these same right-wing folks crying about Big Tech suppression and censorship). The clear fear and paranoia over "Antifa" and "radical leftists" and "socialism," which Trump has disingenuously-yet-successfully associated with the slightly-left-moderate-at-best Joe Biden. The racism, of course, that is obvious to half of us but that Trump and his supporters insist isn't there.



And if you're reading this article through Facebook, take a peek at the comments afterward. The vast majority of comments will be from people who only read the headline and don't read the article. It's going to happen as sure as the sun rises and sets. That's a big part of the problem, too.

American people today are living in two vastly different countries, if not entirely different worlds. On a fundamental level, we are more like the Divided States of America than the United States—only the divide isn't geographic, but ideological. People have unfortunately accepted the binary left/right, liberal/conservative boxes that modern discourse demands we place one another into, removing nuance from every issue and assigning a "side" to every statement. Even science—basic science—has become a politically polarizing topic.

Partisanship plays a big role in this, with the pitfalls of our de facto two-party system being laid bare. White dominance plays a big role, manifested in both obvious racism and the unspoken white identity politics that has been plugging along since our founding. Greed and selfishness play a role, as does the genuine economic strife of millions of Americans due to the pandemic. Disinformation plays a huge role, as do the ignorance and ingrained prejudices that make millions of Americans easy prey for it.

A Biden 2020 landslide was always a pipe dream. It was magical thinking for people who want to believe that these problems are not as prevalent as they are, who deluded themselves into thinking that Americans were somehow immune to the propaganda of a populist authoritarian demagogue, and who dared to hope for proof that we are better than our worst human instincts.

But here we are. Despite ample warnings from historians,psychologists, survivors of the Holocaust, and more that another Trump term would be the final blow to the foundations of our democracy, we sit here biting our nails over how close the final count will be.

Stepping back and looking at the big picture, though, this is probably the best possible scenario for America. If Biden pulls out a slim win, the immediate authoritarian threat of Trump is removed—but we will still be forced to confront our national and social demons. A landslide win would have been comfortable, which would have made it far too easy for too many of us to say, "Oh, that Trumpism thing was just a fluke. A blip. An anomaly. The country's really okay." Clearly it was not, and clearly we are not.

That's not a reality that's easy to swallow, but it's reality, and we need to face it head on.

When nearly 70 million Americans are willing to overlook hundreds upon hundreds of examples of indecency and incompetence—any one of which would have spelled the end of an elected official in a normal timeline—in order to avoid paying a little more in taxes, or to fulfill their xenophobic fever dreams, or to "protect the unborn" (despite abortion rates dropping the most under Democratic presidents), or to "protect the 2nd amendment" (despite zero evidence that Democrats were planning to do away with it), or to "save the us from corruption" over a toothless story about his opponent's son (despite Trump's corruption being rampant and out in the open), or to "save freedom" because they see being required to wear a mask during a literal pandemic as tyranny, or to see themselves reflected in Trump's own delusions of narcissistic glory (that's an actual psychological thing), or simply to "stick it to the libs" like we're all stuck in junior high school, no, we as a country are not okay.

And make no mistake—this is our country. It's the America of the moment, and in many ways, the America we've always been. Most Black Americans—who by the way came out 87% for Biden, by far the most of any racial demographic—have been telling us this over and over. The demographic vote split was largely predictable, with the only broad groups tipping for Trump being men (+1%), people over age 65 (+2%) and white folks (+14%). Women, every other racial group, and every other age group tipped for Biden.

So the one hopeful takeaway here is that the U.S. is growing less white and the older generation is on its way out. But we have to keep doing the work to make sure that the white supremacy we've inherited gets dismantled instead of passed on, and we have to keep fighting the good fight against misinformation that leads to a shocking percentage of people to believe in kooky, dangerous ideas of reality like QAnon.

Progress is usually a two steps forward, one step back process, but sometimes it seems like two steps forward, three steps back. Even if democracy prevails, we have a lot of work to do to make this country what it should—and hopefully can—be.

It'll be hard and it'll take time, but we'll get there eventually. We have to keep believing that.

Images provided by Pacifico

Making waves in the best way

True

At last, summer is here. And for many people, that means it's time for heading to the beach and maybe even catching some waves. Surfing is a quintessential summertime activity for those who live in coastal communities—it’s not only really fun and challenging, it’s also a great way to celebrate Mother Nature’s beauty. Even after a wipeout, the cool water mixed with warm sunshine offers a certain kind of euphoria. Or, you know, just hanging back on the sand is plenty fun too. Simply being outdoors near the ocean is its own reward.

pacifico quiksilver beach cleanupLet’s protect the places where outdoor adventure happensAll photos provided by Pacifico

However, it's well known that our beautiful beaches are suffering the consequences of overcrowding, pollution and littering. What was once a way of playing in nature is now slowly destroying it. And of course, this affects beachgoers everywhere. The sad truth is—without taking action to preserve all the natural joys the earth provides, we will eventually lose them.

But there is hope. Two popular brands that both have roots in surf culture have teamed up to help make trips to the beach a more sustainable pastime. The best part? You don’t have to know how to hang ten in order to participate.

Pacifico®, a pilsner-style lager originally brought to the U.S. by surfers, and Quiksilver, an iconic apparel company loved by both surfers and beach goers alike, have created a brand-new range of clothing and accessories with sustainability in mind.

Take a look below. These threads are great for all kinds of fun in the sun, without compromising the environment.

pacifico quicksilver beach cleanupsReady to make some waves

The collection launches on July 5 and includes tees and woven shirts, boardshorts, hats, flip-flops and a special beach towel and tote bag. The unique collaboration features the vibrant, colorful designs that are the hallmark of Quiksilver combined with Pacifico elements, created to make a positive impact.

Each item has been thoughtfully curated to minimize an environmental footprint and protect the outdoors. The hats, for example, are made from NetPlus® by Bureo®, a raw material created from South American recycled fishing nets. Additionally, the board shorts are made from recycled plastic bottles, and tees are made with 100% organic cotton. Pretty rad stuff, to put it in surfer lingo.

The prices on these pieces are equally rad, ranging from $28 flip-flops to $60 boardshorts.

In keeping with the sustainable ethos and protecting the places we play, Pacifico and Quiksilver will celebrate the products’ launch by hosting two beach cleanups. The first is on July 5 at Sunset Point in Malibu, California, from 4-5:30pm, and the second is on July 9th at Deerfield Beach in Florida from 8:30 – 10:30am.

pacifico quicksilver clothing lineCleaning up and looking good while doing it

Theses beach cleanups are open to anyone over the age of 21 who’s ready to have some fun while taking care of nature’s playground.

Those who can’t make it to the beach (bummer, dude) don’t have to miss out on all the fun. The new collection will be available on July 5th at www.quiksilver.com/mens-collab-pacifico. And even if you don’t surf, never plan to surf, have no desire to even be near a surfboard, rest assured, the apparel is still cool. Plus sustainable choices are always good fashion.

Our planet provides us with an endless supply of beauty and adventure. But without more mindful actions from humanity, its natural wonders will eventually diminish. Fortunately Pacifico and Quiksilver are making it easier than ever for people to enjoy the great outdoors without jeopardizing it. That’s a wave worth riding.

This article originally appeared on 09.06.17


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Here are some hilarious tweets that just about every married couple will understand.

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Now, a new study reported by Ohio State News shows that having more dogs in your neighborhood can make you safer by lowering the overall crime rate.

The study, conducted by sociologists at Ohio State, was recently published in the journal Social Forces.

According to researchers, dog-walking isn’t just about getting exercise—it makes us all security guards whether we know it or not.

“People walking their dogs are essentially patrolling their neighborhoods,” Nicolo Pinchak, lead author of the study, told Ohio State News. “They see when things are not right, and when there are suspect outsiders in the area. It can be a crime deterrent.”

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Photo by Syed Ali on Unsplash

Mosquitoes are attracted to certain viral smells in both humans and mice.

As much as I love summer, there is one thing I could do without: bugs. More specifically, mosquitoes. Those pesky little buggers can wreak havoc on a beautiful summer day. Who hasn't spent time outside in summer and then come in all itchy and covered in bites? There are multiple reasons why some people are more susceptible to mosquito bites than others, but there's a new one that likely isn't on people's radars. Mosquitoes could be attracted to the odor certain viruses create in the body.

There is evidence that mosquitoes are attracted to the odor given off by mice infected by the parasite that causes malaria. Now, a team is looking at how the scent of mosquito-borne viruses such as dengue and Zika would attract mosquitoes to people rather than mice.

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