Nov 10, 2016

What Now? How to Reunify

I was reluctant to return to business as usual today.  It felt... wrong.  I wasn't ready for the discussions to end, for us to just return to our regular lives and pretend that this massive thing hadn't just been dropped on us.

Settling back into a normal routine felt wrong, so I looked around for things I could do moving forward and, as is so frequently the case, someone wrote this article before I could.  Yes and Yes posted 9 Real, Actionable Things We Can Do About Trump.

Ignoring all political affiliation, it's a great article because the author focuses on how to weather the storm that is not just a president you may disapprove of, but the general political turmoil our country has found itself in and the deep rift we're feeling between each other.

In my post yesterday, I talked about feeling bewildered and shocked and saddened by the idea that so many people voted for hatred.  And surely some of them did.  But maybe, just maybe, some of the Trump supporters voted the way they did because they have felt misrepresented.  Because deep down, they were as scared of the Democratic candidate as Democrats are of our new president.

Ryan and I were joking about the kind of dystopic futures we could potentially be facing with each leader (Trump's was basically a return to white male America and Hillary's was big brother-esque).  For us it was a joke, but maybe the fear guiding the votes for this election were very real and maybe people were voting against the candidate they were most afraid of since they didn't have one who actually represented what they wanted or hoped for.  Maybe they were imagining those dystopias and trying to avoid them at all costs.

It's what I'll keep telling myself anyway.  Stephen Colbert talks about that fear.  He talks about the fact that 55% of Democrats are afraid of the Republican party and 49% of Republicans feel the same way about the Democrat side.  He talks about spending less time on politics and more time on the things we do have in common.  And he ends with a plea to make sure we never have another election like this one.

I've seen people share posts on Facebook commenting that unfollowing and unfriending each other isn't going to accomplish anything and just deepens the divide.  And I agree, to some extent.  Obviously I don't think you should stay friends with people who are actively spreading hatred and prejudice and that's not something I plan on tolerating either.

But if someone has some reason for voting Trump that is legitimate in their mind and it doesn't have to do with the various minority groups they dislike or the individual human rights they want to suppress, then I will do my best to be tolerant of that.  To respond with understanding instead of judgement.  Obviously love would be better, but I'm only human and I have to work with my limited capabilities.

I'm not quite with Colbert on putting down all the election talk and going back to regular life.  I think things need to actively change to avoid future elections like this one.  I think we all need to educate ourselves and be more involved in the primaries.  How are we supposed to have better options if we don't get out there and tell the government and the stupid two-party system which options we prefer?  Obviously they're not capable of making good decisions by themselves.

I have no idea how to go about changing the two party system.  But I do have a gripe with another political institution that I think is antiquated and unnecessary.

Abolish the Electoral College

I know several people who said, "It doesn't really matter."  In reference to their vote.  Because it doesn't!  Our individual votes do not matter and this year, as in past elections, the popular vote did not choose who our next leader would be.

If you wanted Trump as president you might be wondering what's in it for you.  But I honestly think this is an issue that every single person who bothered to vote should agree on.

Our votes should matter.

We do not need an electoral college to vote for us.  We live in a digital age with information readily available at all times.  We are capable of researching and making decisions for ourselves.  The electoral college was formed to prevent the large states from completely dominating the small ones.  But has it?  The number of electoral votes per state is based on the population anyway BUT unlike a population of individuals, the electoral votes all have to go one way or the other.

What is that about?  Not everyone within each state agrees, and if you happen to live in a "blue state" or a "red state" this effectively negates you.  Republicans votes in a Delaware election do not matter.  Democrat votes in Kansas do not matter.

This strikes me as incredibly wrong.  An idea based on positive values that has gone horribly wrong and that we keep around simply because change is too much effort.  Trying to figure out how to change it is too much effort.  Doing anything is too much effort.

If this election and our current political atmosphere has taught us anything, it should be that the cost of our inaction is now too high.  Yes, effort.  It sucks.  But we need it, from you, from me, from everyone.

And this is part of the reason I don't want to shut out all my Republican friends.  Because I need you and there are still things we have in common.  This is one of them.

Petition for Change?

That's the question I've been asking people on Twitter who have used the hashtag "#AbolishElectoralCollege".  Some of them have even responded, which is nice.  More importantly, the petition has jumped over 10,000 votes since last night (which I would of course like to attribute to my own efforts, but I'm sure other people had the same thought and found the petition at the same time I did).

There are 3 petitions that I know of. has the most votes currently.  It takes about 15 seconds per petition to sign.

Do Petitions Even Work?

Honestly?  I have no clue.  I'd love to believe that they do.  But, as a friend pointed out on Facebook, we've tried this before and nothing came of it.  But you know what else?  Doing nothing will always result in nothing, so I don't see the harm in trying.

It takes 15 seconds.

Petition for change?

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  1. I hate the electoral college. It's stupid and antiquated and unnecessary and I'm not just saying this as a conservative voting in Chicago (talk about wasted voting!) But it will take a constitutional amendment to get rid of it and we know how many of those there have been. I just don't see it happening, sad as that is.

  2. I have been unfriending hardcore. But they're all "friends" in, I am not and never have been friends with these people, we just went to the same high school, etc. I am especially sick of people saying we have no right to complain, even though those same people have been complaining about Obama consistently for eights years. UGH. I really wish we could do away with the BS electoral college. I signed one petition of those three already because you tweeted it...I can't remember which one it was!

  3. So agree the electoral college is not necessary and really a harmful thing. I think you are right that the majority of the people are just tired and voting for the person that scared them the least. Honestly Trump himself doesn't scare me. I think he will have advisers and others "hopefully" keeping him in check and forcing him to finally act presidential. Its the hoard of people that he has riled up with his hate filled speeches and unleashed onto the world. The people who were already feeling scared of others that aren't straight and white. Those who truly feel like as men they can do what they want with and to women, because they are the man. Its a scary time. I feel we can handle Trump, I fear those who bought his message of hate, bigotry and sexism. On the bright side I really do want to see the outcome when everyone realizes a wall isn't happening.

  4. I think most voters are in mass agreement that the electoral college needs to be abolished, and clearly, to me, that's where energy should be directed. And while we're at it, let's throw in the clock changing as well. Both are incredibly archaic practices that are WAY past their prime.

  5. Doing nothing will always result in nothing, so I don't see the harm in trying - YES.


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