We are one week from election day 2016. The American experiment appears to be teetering on a precipice. While this is at once frightening and disturbing, I believe we’re living through a necessary disturbance in the system. Binary systems are breaking down. Industries are being disrupted left and right. Politics is no exception to radical disruption, in fact, the two-party lock hold on our democracy is more than ripe for fundamental change.
The democracy we believe in is actually an oligarchy, and it has been from the inception. At the time of the nation’s birth, democracy meant democracy for white land-owning men only. Black men could not vote until the 15th Amendment to the United States Constitution passed on February 3, 1870. American women of all races and economic classes were not given the right to vote until the 19th Amendment was passed on June 4, 1919. The historical trend has been toward equal rights for all. We placed this high ideal in our nation’s founding documents, and we’ve been flexible enough to update the meaning from generation to generation.
Today, there’s a darkening cloud over our land, and a push to reverse the liberalization of core American ideals. The tension is creating a new level of ugliness on the ground and in our media reflections of self. There are reasons to be alarmed when neighbor turns on neighbor and friend on friend. According to Pew Research Center, 81% of Americans agree that supporters of Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump not only disagree over plans and policies but also disagree on “basic facts.”
"Almost 60 percent of Clinton supporters have a hard time respecting Trump voters" – @Politico on our @FactTank post https://t.co/wAgKXxN6fA pic.twitter.com/HhoxG8NB0N
— Pew Research Center (@pewresearch) November 1, 2016
The reason we can’t agree on basic facts anymore is news media has been blown to bits by cable and again by the internet. As of early 2016, just two-in-ten U.S. adults often get news from print newspapers. This has fallen from 27% in 2013. I wonder what the stats are for Americans who get their news from The Guardian?
Should the worst happen and HRC lose this election, there will be hell to pay and it will be easy to find fault. Her campaign team has limited her ability to speak forcefully on her own behalf. “When they go low, we go high,” may be the pitch-perfect tone for the Obamas. It’s far from the ideal stance for Hillary and Bill Clinton. Hill and Bill need to be themselves and tear political flesh. By the way, where in the hell is Bill Clinton right now? Is he locked away in a room? I understand that this is Hillary’s campaign and her team wants it to be all about her, not him. But “the him” in this case is the former President of the United States and one hell of a campaigner.
Why are the Dems missing the mark? Is it because “we the people” can’t tolerate a bossy woman who tells it like it is? The Dems are risking victory by muzzling Hillary and hiding Bill. This is a stupid strategy. We need bold leaders who take the wheel and steer the ship safely into harbor. It’s time to see Hillary as someone who takes charge, not as the policy wonk with bad email habits.
Whatever happens next Tuesday, disruptive change is here to stay. The nation is crying out for new energy and a renewed focus on the common good. We can argue about how to achieve it, but we can’t waste time debating whether the common good is a good thing. If you don’t believe that it is, you’re anti-American and anti-democratic. You’re also deeply deluded. The world doesn’t revolve around America, any one political party, or you. As President Obama likes to remind us…democracy is messy and it takes a team dedicated to common principles. I am confident that people from all walks of life can agree that every American wants to enjoy freedom and prosperity. Let’s stick with that for now, and find a way to work together.