Friday, October 21, 2016

Cafe Wellstone, The Twin Political Campaign Buildings, And The Trump Pub

By Bixyl Shuftan

Longtime residents in Second Life may remember Cafe Wellstone, a meeting area for discussion of politically liberal thoughts and topics. As it turns out, the location is still around, yours truly finding out after Any1 Gynoid passed me a landmark to the location it had been moved to since the 2008 election. Named after Paul Wellstone, a US Senator who was killed in a plane crash in 2002, the place showed signs of activity, with a schedule inside of music events. There were also a number of pro-environment and Bernie Sanders signs.

Droping by at the beginning of the third Presidential debate on October 19 at 6PM SL time however, there was only one person around, and he was Away From Keyboard. Perhaps everyone else was busy in real life or otherwise occupied, or perhaps they had gone to the Clinton HQ in Bay City, which the Newser reported on earlier. The place is located at Castle Redwood (245, 160, 21).

Searching for a Trump-themed location, I came across two political HQ buildings in the Hyades sim, both across the street from one another. The taller one was for the Republican nominee Donald Trump, the other for Democrat Hillary Rodham Clinton. But as the buildings rezzed, the Trump building looked more like a jab at the candidate with the politician depicted as holding two glowing crosses, and on the inside were two thrones and a cartoon of him kissing himself. The Clinton one had a twist on the "Don't Tread on Me" rattlesnake flag sometimes used by the Tea Party, which normally sides against her. There was an active club not far away, but it had nothing to do with the taller buildings.

So where are the Trump supporters? The old locations at Portland Main and Seokcheon reported about a year ago are still around, though these seem to be places to advertise and hand out t-shirts and signs rather than organize events. There has been nothing recent like The Trump Organization, which was noted for it's Trump Manor and later on the Trump HQAfter Linden Lab banned it's leader and several others in the group, one whom had been involved with then told me those whom were left were lying low and staying out of trouble.

There was one new Trump-themed location that I found that didn't look like a jab at the candidate: The Trump Pub. Located at The Waterfall Club (217, 231, 2501), the place was more or less built like a pub with a few Trump campaign signs, an "All Lives Matter" pro-police sign, and a couple signs mocking their opposition. Upstairs was a vendor for T-shirts, caps, and other items with the candidate's name. The place is in an Adult-rated sim, and there was an item that was clearly riskee. There's also a guard dog and a security orb, a sign that not everyone coming here has been doing so with friendly intentions.

As the Presidential campaign has less than three weeks before Election Day, in and out of Second Life it stands in great contrast to the one eight years ago in 2008 in which both the Democrat and Republican candidates appealed mainly to the voters' hopes, and in Second Life there was active debate and an official neutral ground. This year, both of the major party candidates are highly unpopular, even among the electorate of their own parties, and the campaign has been a "race to the bottom" with insults, hyperbolic charges, and both have had to deal with embarrassing leaks that raised questions about their characters. Indeed many people I've talked to stated they have given up on politics, one saying American political discussion had deteriorated to the point of resembling the shrieking of monkeys. The days of "Ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country," and "Vote for your hopes, not for your fears," seem a lifetime away.

Bixyl Shuftan

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