autotelic, autistic, assonance-hole©.

Election 2016 – Thoughts

First and foremost, I will tell you that I voted “none of the above” for both congressional seats and the presidential election. I abstained because (as many others have said far more eloquently and authoritatively) I find this political system and specifically, the bi-partisan ideal is fundamentally broken and flawed… I just cannot in good conscience give my vote to entities and groups with such vested interest in seeing this pattern continue.

I believe, feel, find, and think that we have drifted so far as a country, a culture, and a people from the ethics and principles of philosophical and political pluralism that I genuinely cannot see a path to reclamation.

The ideal of community has been beaten into a sad and spoiled mark on the ground. The only time I hear anyone talk about community anymore is when people are complaining about militaristic police aggression and brutality against the community. Most are apathetic; as long as they “get theirs”.

The saddest part? This isn’t some conspiracy or plot by “those in power” except to the extent that human desire for status, money, and power tend to flow in fairly predictable patterns over time.

The painful realization beyond which all “debate” over partisanship or platform planks pales – we, the people, have ALLOWED this mess.

I’m part of this mess, in case it needs be said aloud. Just like you. Alienated and angry at being misconstrued and mistaken and maligned for it. Just like you. Whether we agree politically, philosophically, otherwise, or not, I assure you that what we’re feeling is the same, albeit that we’re feeling it for what are likely very different reasons.

I don’t know about you, but I really prefer a simple life. Over time, “simple” has become ‘just leave it alone since we’re all so hung up on differences that we’re just not capable of uniting around similarities anymore’.

It bothers me that we have become a nation of people willing to harm one another because we disagree about something.

It bothers me that we no longer call out or challenge this behavior, this violence, when it happens. It bothers me that we insist upon pretending that there is some ledger of ‘first cause’ that, if carefully and mindfully tracked over time, will absolve “me” of all blame/fault and ensure that “you” are holding it.

It bothers me that we excuse killing someone because they aren’t our idea of “upstanding”. Whatever happened to innocence before guilt? Or “life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness”?

We’re are so toxic and tragic in our division. All along, pretending our revolution, our settlements in this country, our choices since becoming a nation are somehow unimpeachable and blemish free.

We are not blemish free. Not as a country, not as a people. Just like the rest of the planet. There’s history. There’s baggage. There’s all that smelly, nasty, rotting mess that we shoved under the carpets and to this day pretend never happened.

There’s all the smelly, nasty, rotting mess that we often seem to be proud of, unless it’s another country or people doing it. Are we doomed to repeat the great demise for no reason other than our human hypocrisies? Isn’t THAT a horrible thought?

Our founding fathers were far from perfect. We are far from perfect. But that’s ok because it has never been about being perfect. Where is perfection? It does not exist. We do not have to be perfect and it’s ludicrous to expect of our leaders that which we cannot sustain ourselves.

Perfection is an ideal for which one strives knowing full well it is unattainable. The point of the striving is not attainment, but a wild, almost feral hope that one might move the needle a little closer so humanity as a race and species will have better tomorrow than we have today.

For me, this means that the entire POINT of this country’s founding was a general idea that was that we, the people, were more important than the systems and rules we create.

Yes, that’s oversimplified but we snarl everything up with the convoluted and contrived so easily… I think a little simplicity is really what we need.

What used to make America so… America? We were once united in the belief that natural rights existed and mattered. It was just that… simple.

As a country, as a people, we need to congregate and connect around simple, broad statements that emphasize shared experience, community, and the ideals they contain: Activity, Beneficence, Compassion, Devotion, Exhortation, Friendship, Gentleness, Helpfulness, Inclusion, Justice, Kindness, Lawfulness, Mindfulness, Negotiation, Opportunity, Pluralism, Qualification, Responsiveness, Sincerity, Trust, Unity, Vision, Welcome, (Let’s face it, I cannot come up with a word starting with “X” and I’m not willing to stoop to things like “Xpressive”), Yare, Zippy even.

The entire point of this country is supposed to be that it welcomes everyone, it provides the same access and opportunities to everyone. We are supposed to be a pluralistic people. We are supposed to work at it. We are supposed to be committed to the ideal of pluralism as a fundamental plank of ideology so that we lived and breathed as a country driven by creative destruction (i.e., the idea that true progress and change can only arrive by constantly challenging and changing and iterating towards the best version of ourselves, our country).

THAT is what we’ve lost with this Federalist divisiveness, with this bi-partisan theater, with this economic leeching, and with this angry culture of dichotomy that cares more for a reason to fight than a reason to fellowship.

Here’s the important thing to accept: We are all at fault. We all could do better. We all could do more.

Sure, we all are the heroes of our own story and, generally, it’s hard to remember than everyone on this planet is living their own “MMO life”. But it shouldn’t be so easy to forget that it is the convergence of communities that makes a country strong. History doesn’t try to hide this, it affirms it.

It is always the cultures and countries capable of finding pluralism and peace, regardless how horrifying the initial encounters or early history.

This is something we have not managed. We are still very much locked in a dichotomous conflict on pretty much any front that one might care to consider. Our reporting industry is corrupted by both corporate and governmental interference. Our entire economy teeters on collapse because our culture cares more for consumerism and competition than collaborative cooperation. All entities of our country run on rails of self-absorption, self-interest, and they are annoyed angry that any would dare expect that we, the people, collectively, should be held in higher regard and esteem.

There is too much fear. There is too much anger. There is too much genuine hatred of “difference”. On ALL sides. We have lost our willingness to be united…. How anyone can be surprised that we continue to dance closer to conflict is the only thing that surprises me.

I am not a celebrity. I am not famous. I am not “important” or “special” or “superior”. I’m just an American.

This angry, conflicted, divided, country is not America. Its people have forgotten what it is to be American.

If this president or any other who arrives can nourish a shift of mindset in governance, in congress, in business, and in culture and society toward collaboration, toward community, we all win.

By “all” I mean the world. We were best when we were devoted to becoming better, being the best we could possibly be.

May the next four years find us all committed to rediscovering and reviving the standard of America. We definitely have a lot to fix.