I have not listened to the news yet. It’s November 4th, the day after the US elections and I still do not know whether Trump or Biden is the projected winner of the election, this hotly controversial election, this disgrace of an election. I don’t know even if there is a projected winner because all of the mailed-in ballots have not yet been counted.
My unwillingness to hear the news reminds me of the Schroedinger’s Cat thought experiment.
Erwin Schrödinger, an Austrian physicist, posited this in 1935:
[A] cat, a flask of poison, and a radioactive source are placed in a sealed box. If an internal monitor (e.g. Geiger counter) detects radioactivity (i.e. a single atom decaying), the flask is shattered, releasing the poison, which kills the cat. The Copenhagen interpretation of quantum mechanics implies that after a while, the cat is simultaneously alive and dead. Yet, when one looks in the box, one sees the cat either alive or dead, not both alive and dead. This poses the question of when exactly quantum superposition ends and reality resolves into one possibility or the other.(1)
Thus, in my current state of mind, both Trump and Biden have been elected. Once I hear the news, it will resolve into one possibility or the other. OR WILL IT?
Cringeworthy electioneering dominated the news: name-calling, lies, posturing, COVID-19 superspreader events, vitriol, and fearmongering. Between the virus and the elections, I avoided news, sought escape watching comedy recordings, woodturning videos, and snippets of House episodes on YouTube. I mailed my ballot and received email confirmation that it was received. DONE! I’ve been subjected to the circus for overlong, having made my decision well before the last moment. I’ve had it. Even the Baltimore mayoral race doesn’t excite me—it’s a foregone conclusion the Democratic candidate will win.
I don’t have a TV, and only read the funnies and do the crossword puzzle in the free Sunday newspaper that lands on my doorstep every week. I mostly get my news from NPR radio and internet, but I have to choose to listen and choose to view a particular news site. Remember choice? Six second political ads bookended my YouTube viewing choices. I succumbed to watching Jimmy Fallon, Stephen Colbert, and Seth Meyers’s monologues. Although heavily anti-Trump, lampooning Biden only a fifth as much as the president, they were compelling, like rubbernecking at an auto accident or picking a scab.
Even when I finally hear the news, barring a landslide victory for one or the other candidate, the election results will be in a state of flux until the final votes are counted, contested, and vetted by the Court. Accusations of mail fraud, disputes over postmarks, lawsuits and voter roll examinations loom ahead. Thus, Schroedinger’s President.
When will the election be decided? Who knows? I shrug my shoulders and reach for my mug. This is all beyond me. Just as COVID-19 will dominate my life and thoughts night and day for the next while, this reality of this election will linger. No clear resolution presents itself. A supernatural superimposed Trump-Biden presidential state exists as long as I don’t look, as long as the results are contested, as long as the Electoral College has not cast their votes and selected the victor. But this is unprecedented; even after that point, the election could still be contested.
It could go on and on and on. Is ignorance bliss?
I’d better gird myself with a big cup of coffee before I clock in to work. Maybe later I’ll crack open that bottle of wine I’ve had for nearly 5 years after work. I think I’ll need it.