Have you heard this gem, from the delightful pen of Yogi Berra?

"When you come to a fork in the road, take it." (You remember Yogi, don't you? The irrepressible New York Yankees catcher who was as fast with words as he was with his mitt.)

Choice is on my mind these days. The Massachusetts Institute of Technology is working on an algorithm to make traffic lights obsolete, using something called SI, or slot-based intersection. The idea is that you will not need to choose when to go through a yellow light. As explained by researchers at the Ambient Mobility Lab:

"First, a sensor-equipped car would need to communicate its trajectory-right, left, or straight-to a central algorithm controlling the intersection, which would group it into a "batch" of other cars going in the same direction. Second, the central software system would need to be able to control the speed of each platoon, using cruise control-style software that already exists in most cars, to limit the speed of your car as it moved through the intersection."(1)

The problem, it seems, is not with the software, but with human drivers. The researchers recognize that implementation of the system will require a "radical behavioral shift". Translation: sapiens won't want to give up control.

Perhaps a radical behavioral shift is what's going on right now in the electoral process. Yes, democracy is noisy, raucous, rambunctious. But what I am seeing is more radical than that: a dissolution of the democratic structure in favor of party-controlled choices. Whether you like the republican front-runner or not, he has recognized the embers of rage that fan the globe. People are fed up. They have lost faith in the institutions that are supposed to help them. They are tired of chicanery, loss of integrity, greed, and downright criminal behavior. He has had the guts to denounce the status quo. But quo vadis if he is elected?

On the other side of the aisle, the party's choice appears to be a former First Lady, which is historic enough. But it raises the issue of dynasties, of how much she is beholden to how many, of secrets and indiscretions, of unfortunate decisions made at times of crisis. You have only to think of voting for the war in Iraq, as one of many unfortunate choices.

I have to hand it to Trump: he has voiced what many are thinking but are afraid to say. This man is not afraid to say anything, to the dismay of leaders abroad and minority groups at home. Call it anarchy of the tongue, if you will, but he is very good at it.

I have to hand it to Hillary: she fought hard to get where she is and there is a huge resistance to putting a woman in the Oval Office. But what compromises did she have to make to get there? How many palms did she grease on the road to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue? Can she make a decision without trying to please somebody, or many somebodies?

Maybe it's time to apply yellow caution lights at the intersection of brawl and prevaricate. If we don't, we may be facing red lights and danger ahead.

Yogi, where are you when we need you?

c. Corinne Whitaker 2016

(1)The full article on the MIT algorithm is here.