Sorry to say it, but the election is over. Donald Trump will be the 45th President of the United States. No, I don’t believe there will be enough faithless electors to turn the tide and I don’t believe he will just suddenly tell us all that it was all just a cruel joke and that we were the witless victims of the greatest punk ever. I also don’t see the Jill Stein-led recount changing the outcomes in Michigan, Wisconsin or Pennsylvania and neither does the Clinton campaign based on their watery supporter the effort. Clinton already conceded and I don’t see her reneging on that any time soon (although I think she should if democracy was in fact compromised). I also don’t believe the Republican-led Congress will ever impeach Trump after he gets sworn in,, so you may as well buckle up for the next four years and tolerate the ride because it will not be enjoyable.
Folks on the left can find someone to blame for Hillary’s loss just about everywhere. Some blame the Democratic Party for cramming the wrong candidate down our throats while pushing the better candidate out of the way underhandedly.
You can blame the media for not taking Trump seriously for the first eight or so months by not properly vetting him when they had the chance and by giving him an estimated $3 billion in free ad time.
Go ahead and blame the FBI, specifically James Comey, who, with less than two weeks before Election Day, announced they found some more potential evidence in the Clinton email scandal while investigating Anthony Weiner’s perversions only to wait until three days before the election to say “Oops, just kidding.” The bell had been rung, Jimmy, and that could not have been undone.
You can blame Bernie or Bust folks. You can blame pollsters for consistently getting it wrong (except Kellyanne Conway). You can blame racists and misogynists and bigots and the hypocrisy of the evangelicals. Like I said, there is a lot of blame to go around.
And, so now you’re upset. You’re shocked. You feel betrayed. Understood. I was there, too, until I saw a sliver of light…
Roughly 25 percent of eligible voters pulled the lever for Trump and he actually lost the popular vote by over 2 million votes. And, most shockingly, approximately 47 percent of eligible voters did not even cast a ballot. Do you see what I see? Lemonade. Silver linings. Opportunity.
The opportunity we have before us is as massive as the responsibility. There are people out there that want to be reached, they want a reason to be interested in our government and they want to know that their voice matters. They, like so many others, felt trapped by the two party system we allowed to take over our political lives. So, what do we need to do?
Well, I’ve decided to talk about issues. Yes, issues. Remember them? They exist in between Twitter rants and conspiracy theories. On my podcast, Fresh Kittens, and here at the Good Men Project, I will be focusing my effort to tackle the issues as they relate to the American people. I think there is actually quite a lot we can agree on and I think amongst us adults, if we take away the politics, the red and blue for a moment, and just think about one topic at a time, we can come to some consensus decisions. Those treaties can possibly force a coming of age of American politics, where we finally break out of our self imposed silos and actually think for ourselves rather than swallowing the pabulum the political establishment feeds us.
Sam Harris said something in one of his podcasts that really made me think about this more than I had before. What he opined, if I may paraphrase, was that voters have become tribal. They don’t vote on issues as much as they vote on party lines, even if it is against their own best interests. It’s kind of like religion—if you’re born into it, most likely that is the one you stick with no matter what bad ideas come from it (I added that myself.)
So, step one is to break down some issues and see if we can come to some agreement. Let’s start here –
Money in politics – We all see politicians acting on behalf of corporate interests. You can’t not see it. Even with the Dakota Access Pipeline, we saw the power of big money and how it recruited law enforcement to do it’s bidding. We see Big Pharma take advantage of people who need their drugs to survive by raising prices out of reach of the very ones who need them to survive. And corporations are able to do so by injecting themselves into our policy making by paying for cushy trips and providing perks to our representatives. The Supreme Court made this possible by allowing corporations to act as people and to have the ability to exercise free speech by donating money to campaigns. Citizens United was just the icing on the cake. So, can we agree that the voice of the people and not corporations should be the ultimate arbiter of who is our President? Should hedge fund managers, the media and energy companies have the power to make policy decisions for us? Should those with money have more power than those who do not? What happened to “one person, one vote”?
Environment – Let’s face it. Whether or not you agree with humans having some influence over climate change, ultimately, the Earth will survive. It’s humankind that will suffer the consequences. Deny science at your own peril. The effect is already being seen all over the world and it’s only going to get worse. Can we agree that at some point, humanity has to look at either preserving the planet we currently inhabit or invest in relocation or else the human race will be just a blip in the history of the Universe? Is it too much for us to come to some kind of agreement that no one has ever lived after inhaling a bunch of fumes from an exhaust pipe and no one likes the smell of cow farts?
Marijuana Legalization – Can we agree that marijuana has proven positive health affects for certain diseases/conditions and, besides, who the fuck cares if I sit in my house smoking pot if I’m not hurting anyone? I think the Bugles and Doritos contingency can agree with me on this one.
Same Sex Marriage – So, you may think marrying someone of the same sex is not your cup of tea, so don’t do it. Doesn’t mean that if someone else does it, your marriage is worthless. It shouldn’t affect you at all, in fact. The Dudeist Priest in me says “Live and let live, man”.
Gun Control – Here’s a tricky one. Can we agree that people on the no fly list should not buy a firearm in the US? We’re not talking about a slippery slope argument. Repealing the Second Amendment is not happening any time soon regardless of who is in Congress, so relax and go oil up your rifle.
Let’s start there. Coming to some fundamental, non-tribal, understanding of our mutually shared positions is probably the hardest part. Once we do that, let’s take the next step – a call to action.
Are you with me?
Photo: Getty Images