My Two Cents

Posted: 2016/11/10 in Uncategorized
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Everyone has been weighing in their thoughts on the election, what happened, and what’s going to happen as a result of Trump’s win. I’ve been asked what I think on it all, and to be honest, I don’t know. It’s all still sinking in, and to realize that what happened isn’t some kind of cosmic joke. I don’t know what will happen in the next four years, and I can’t even start to predict what kind of president Trump will be. He’s not someone I would welcome into my home, let alone into the most powerful position in the country I live in, but he has been voted in. It’s a decision that the American people will have to live with.

I’m not here to tell you how terrible I think he will be, or what direction I think this country is headed in. There are so many other people already doing so, that there is no need for me to follow suit. But what I will share with you are my thoughts on how it happened, and how we as a whole can do better. But before I get to that, I do want to say this:

I have seen the news stories, the YouTube videos, and the social media posts about the riots in the streets. I agree that we need a revolution, that has never been more obvious than it is now, but I don’t agree with how people are going about it. Protesting in the streets gets the anger heard, yes, but it also makes us as a nation look like a fool. A revolution is not won by the people screaming and creating wars in the streets, but by the people who are working in the background to make the world around them a better place. This is not a time for violence, but a time to put our minds together and create a better future for ourselves, and our children.

This is how I see it.

There are a lot of people asking how it was possible that Trump won the election, especially considering that he lost the popular vote. There are a few factors that go into this, the first of it being the electoral college vote. In order to become president, a candidate only needs to receive 279 electoral college votes. This is how it is possible to win the popular vote, the citizen’s vote, but lose the election. To many, myself included, this does not seem to be an example of democracy. There are over 6 Billion people in the contiguous United States, but of that number only 279 votes matter.

The Electoral College

According to the dictionary, “(In the US) The electoral college is a body of people representing the states of the US, who formally cast votes for the election of the president and vice president.” Essentially, the electoral college is the Congress of Voters. They represent themselves, their own interests, but they do not actually represent the people they are voting for. They do not have any “Electoral College Alumni” website with a “Who should I vote for?” poll that allows the general public to select who they want voted in. And just the same as any member of Congress, or Senate, the members of the Electoral College can be bought.

Perhaps they are only important once every four years, but once is enough for someone to make that person an invested interest. Think I’m off base on that? Ask the FBI to run as detailed an investigation into each member of the E.C. as they did into Trump. I’ll wager they will find more than a little corruption, and a lot of money changing hands. That’s how politics works – in any country. It’s all about who can be bought, and who wins the bidding war to buy them off. This isn’t supposition, or me being cynical. It is sadly, the very real truth. But here’s another truth. If the electoral college member votes against their state’s party, they have to pay a fine. This “fine”, or penalty, is the political equivalent of the “leg breakers” mafias around the world employ.

Want to read more about the Electoral College? Follow this link: https://www.archives.gov/federal-register/electoral-college/about.html

 

Hate Sells

If there is one thing that this Presidential Campaign and Election has revealed to America, and to the world, it is that hate sells. We like to say that we are evolved, that “we as a people” are open minded and progressive, but the truth is we aren’t. At least not the vast majority of us. For those who like to say that racism in America is not as big of an issue as it was fifty years ago, they are undeniably wrong. And it is the Trump supporters who have displayed this truth the most.

If you go on Facebook, Tumblr, Twitter, even personal websites, and news blogs, you will find that throughout the life of the campaign, and more so since the election happened, the hate crimes in America have gone up. Those who hold hate in their hearts and take enjoyment from the pain and humiliation of others are not only more public about it now, but they truly believe they have been given a free pass to be outwardly hateful, and violent towards others by Donald Trump. And the sad truth of it is, it’s only been one day since he became President-Elect. It will only get worse from here.

Donald Trump formed his campaign speeches as rallies. He did not speak to how he would make this country better. He did not speak to how he would advance the education of our children, or science and technology. Nor, did he speak about how he would empower our youth, or protect the women of this country. What he did do was issue one hate filled speech after another, telling white Americans that racism, sexism, rape, xenophobia, bigotry, and hate were not only acceptable, but that these things were their divine rights that the government had taken away over the past fifty years.

And when did this recession of hate start? 1960 with the election of JFK. JFK was one of the most vocal presidents concerned with civil rights, women’s rights, gender and racial equality, and he was killed because of it. President John F Kennedy’s Presidential Campaign Platform.

Each rally became more fervent in its rhetoric, and from the news reports and personal accounts already seen regarding hate crimes from that range in action from bullying in schools to violent crimes in the streets. Sources include, but are not limited to:

NBC New York

The Guardian

Think Progress

 

So now what?

I’m sure there are those of you reading this who are asking yourselves, “so now what?”. Now, my dear readers, it is time to make some changes. Stop the protesting in the streets, and get down to the real work.

 

Congressional and Political Reform

The first, and one of the most important things we need to work on, is Congressional Reform. This does not only apply to members of Congress, but also to the House of Representatives, and the Senate. Senators can serve an unlimited number of six year terms, and Congressmen and women, as well as members of the House, can serve an unlimited number of two year terms. What this means is that once elected, these members of the government generally stay in power for life, or until they decide to run for a higher office.

To quote Mark Twain, “Politicians and diapers must be changed often, and for the same reason.”

In the 1990’s there was a legislation on the ballot to limit Congressional terms in office. This legislation would have limited Congress to two terms only, a total of twelve years at most. This legislation was not passed. This legislation needs to come back onto the ballots, and it needs to pass. There is a petition that has been circulating for a while to get this issue back up for a vote.

There needs to be legislation also to limit the terms for members of the House of Representatives, The Senate, and the US Supreme Court justices. We also need legislation that clearly, without the possibility of loopholes to exploit, define campaign finance, maximum donations from private donors, and limit, if not outright ban, the donations allowed from businesses. And for those of you who believe the Chamber of Commerce is the ones to set these limits, you’re going to want to do your research. The Chamber of Commerce is actually one of the biggest sources of campaign finance for big business.

The Chamber of Commerce is not a government agency, nor has it ever been, a government agency. In fact, the Chamber of Commerce was created by, run by, and for big business. As written on their website: “The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is the world’s largest business organization representing the interests of more than 3 million businesses of all sizes, sectors, and regions. Our members range from mom-and-pop shops and local chambers to leading industry associations and large corporations. They all share one thing—they count on the Chamber to be their voice in Washington, D.C.” – https://www.uschamber.com/about-us/about-the-us-chamber

For those of you who appreciate a more visual take on such things, you should watch a documentary called Hot  Coffee. In it, this documentary starts with the story of the woman who sued McDonald’s because she was burned (3rd degree, full thickness burns) by their coffee, and goes through the story of the Chamber of Commerce. It is very revealing, and something I would recommend everyone watch.

 

Campaign Changes

As it stands now, presidential candidates are only on the campaign trail for approximately 180 days. That’s not as long as you might think. Six months. That’s it. On top of that, how campaign trails begin is with big speeches in planned locations. This marketing strategy, if you will, is not as effective as people seem to think it is. Here’s what I’m proposing:

1- Start Small and Start Early

As Social Media becomes a bigger part of the lives of the mass population, political candidates need to use it. Within the first year of a new president’s reign is when someone needs to begin their campaign. How would they do this, you ask. Start small, and keep it simple. Get yourself a Social Media Marketing Manager, and task them with pushing out targeted questionnaires on Facebook, Tumblr, WordPress, and the like.

These questionnaires should start very simply. Ten questions at the most, and only one essay question. Create a series of yes/no, or multiple choice questions regarding current policy and how, or if, it should be changed. At the end of that survey, have your essay question. Something simple like “If there was one thing you could change, what would it be and why?”

Don’t skimp on the why. The why is the most important part. A lot of people feel left out, or unheard, and part of your research needs to be to learn what they want changed, and why they want it changed. Is it a law, or legislation they don’t agree with? Is it a federal issue, state, or county? Why, and how, do they want this thing to be changed? Is what the person has listed something that you, as a candidate could implement? Is it something you could speak to, or pass on to the appropriate party that could look into it?

2 – Listen and Take Note

Celebrities, specifically musicians and actors, talk to their fans in a way that politicians don’t. They take our questions and speak to us through live Facebook chats, YouTube interviews, Google+ Hangouts, and live Tweeting sessions during the airing of the shows (this is specific to actors). When they do this, their fans (in this case, your supporters) feel as though their voice matters. Even if not everyone’s questions get answered, or their comments get mentioned, there is still the feeling that your voice has been heard.

As a politician, you need a real sense of what your supporters, and the public in general, think about the world they live in. Sessions like this should start two years before, and continue up until you go on the campaign trail. I would recommend hosting these sessions at least once a month. You will reach more people, be able to hear the thoughts of the average person, and the people who feel forgotten will find they have a voice again. Doing this will not only add to your research, but it will also strengthen your public image.

3 – Be Seen and Be Real

I know that it’s easy to throw money at a cause. Believe me, I do it myself. I donate to organizations like The Audubon Society, the World Wildlife Fund, The Crane Foundation, and Northwest Wilderness. Each person who can, tries to donate $5 – $25 to an organization, or cause that matters to them. But here’s the thing, you’re the public figure, the face that would be representing our country should you be elected president.

Instead of donating money to a charity, go out there and work with them. Volunteer with the organizations that matter to you. PAWS, PRIDE Foundation, Habitat for Humanity, Wounded Warrior Project, The Blue Ribbon Project, Random Acts, and so many more organizations get the most support from their volunteers. Go to your local homeless shelters and soup kitchens. Get out there with the other volunteers and participate like anyone else. Get your hands dirty, get your heart broken, feel what they feel, and see what they see. Show them that you’re a real person to, and that you do truly care.

4 – Remind people that Ignorance is a choice.

Encourage people to seek answers, empower them to do their own research. Too many people get their information from FOX News, US Weekly, and The Globe. Not only are these sources well beyond anything that could be defined as biased, but more often than not, their “information” is fictional at best. Teach them to seek out sources that will be honest, unbiased, and will do their research to prove that what they are reporting is accurate. If at all possible, get the information directly from the source. Look for interviews on YouTube, in magazines such as People, or

 

By the time that you are actually on your official campaign trail, your supporters will know you, feel that you hear their voices and concerns, and you will have a much better idea of who you are representing. If this election has taught me nothing else, it’s taught me that our politicians, as good and well meaning as they may be, really don’t know their supporters. You don’t know enough about them to truly speak to them.

Trump was able to win because he sold hate, and built off the anger of those who felt forgotten. The important thing to remember is this: when people feel unheard, or left behind, the only voice they will listen to is often the one that is the angriest. Anger is louder and more binding than reason. That is why there are such things as “Mob mentality”. The only way to combat this, is by making people feel that they are important.

Listen. Learn. Relate. Reform.

Anyway, that’s my two cents. Thanks for reading.

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