So awesome to see so many “I voted” updates! It boggles my mind to think that only 56% of eligible voters actually did so in 2016, and in the 2014 midterms it was less than 40%! The map in the link below shows what it would look like if those who didn’t show up to vote were instead assigned an imaginary candidate of “Nobody”.
The result? *Nobody wins* — by a landslide.
Red or blue or green or whatever — I hope you had the personal margin in your life to vote, and a brief moment to consider your vote objectively, and at least half a chance to do so after a little research; to vote as a free agent, and not as chaff blown by the winds of anyone’s rhetoric.
If you didn’t, that’s ok. We do this pretty often. Just get there next time. Disillusioned? Get involved. Help someone run for office. Drive people to the polls. Sponsor a structured, formal debate, or exchange of ideas. Volunteer. Become a candidate! (I need to eat my own dog food more on those too.)
This isn’t a horse race. It isn’t about red or blue or candidates or parties or even “winning”, IMHO. Let’s save that for fantasy sports. I believe it is about people surfacing ideas to solve very real problems, and gathering support to try new solutions. It’s about people trusting other individuals to carry those new ideas forward to implementation, and holding them accountable when they don’t.
Surface your ideas for solutions. Surface your identification of communal problems. Let us be willing to do the work of meeting in the middle. Anything else is fascism. Let us be willing to fail and try again with more data. If only “guaranteed win” ideas are ever surfaced, the whole process suffers from lack of innovation. Let us stop idolizing candidates as anything but human, just like us. If we focus more on the candidates chosen to represent our new ideas than on the implementation of those ideas, we have already given away too much power.
Let us not be afraid of uniqueness. Great ideas often start as unpopular. Back losers you believe in and, when they lose, take up their banner and keep marching to change hearts and minds with compassion. It takes time to meet in the middle.
Vote ugly, vote unpopular, vote mixed tickets and write-in candidates who have no chance. Vote for candidates I fully disagree with, knowing I will love you no less; because I believe we can still solve communal problems peacefully, intelligently, compassionately, democratically, through messy, but productive, active participation, and finding a middle to meet in. Vote, participate, and engage — even after an election — and we’ll all be better for it.