I woke up this morning and watched the news and I got filled up with all that kind of stuff that sits in the pit of my stomach everytime I read about another AR-15 that we didn’t ban, another unstable person fired up by bullshit conspiracy theories that they read online and that our stupid technology platforms and President continue to amplify. I started to feel all powerless and then I remembered it’s almost November 6th. And so I thought I would sit down and tell you a story about how I learned to listen and read and follow rational people who I disagree with. Apparently this is a thing. That you can actually exist in the world and disagree with someone without calling for their arrest or sending them pipe bombs. And so here we are.
It’s a blustery Friday night after a rather blustery week. My family files into Shabbat services at our Temple ready to receive the most simple of gifts: the opportunity to be some place with each other that expects nothing of us other than singularity. Phones off. Activities done. The opportunity to be in a single space in time doing nothing else than that. Just the chance to exist with each other. It is disquieting how unusual it is nowadays, to get exceptionally quiet and alone with our thoughts, yet connected in purpose.
The Rabbi is talking and I’m listening to, in fairness, about 40% of what she’s saying which I feel like isn’t a horrible average as I am spending the other 60% of my headspace counting all of the colors in my daughters beautiful red hair, and also just not doing all the things. But she says something that catches in my brain and I’ve been sitting on it for awhile. The importance of causing peace. And the way she frames this reminds me that for months now I’ve been experiencing some sort of battle fatigue. As if I’m at war, but with who, and why?
The years and months have been difficult for me since Trump won, not because my candidate didn’t win, but because increasingly I fail to recognize this country of mine. Every day I wake up in a world where we are just used to constant lying and name calling from the President of the United States. And every day I watch people go on TV and in newspapers and justify it. It is base and beneath us as a people, as a nation to behave this way. We have made it a national sport to crucify everyone and anyone who isn’t us. Our national pastime is owning the other.
In the months after the election my Twitter usage increased as I suppose it did for many of you, a car wreck I just couldn’t tear my eyes away from. I started following at least 50% conservative voices. They are the Never Trumpers I suppose as they are known, and they were my litness test. Was I too far in my own bubble or was all of this as truly as out of control as it felt? Was I blinded by my own tribe? Or was this liar face really as much a corrupt baby as I thought he was?
I know the rationale seems obvious and all of this is exceedingly simplistic but I learned something incredibly important.
I am not right all of the time.
I know you are shocked by this. I was too, but it made me realize some uncomfortable yet important truths:
- Singularity of purpose and the goal of promoting a healthy democracy need not be a tribal activity
- Liberals and conservatives can disagree both respectfully and sensibly on lots of things
- It is counterproductive and somewhat unhealthy to treat political figures like celebrities
- And that political party purity tests are stupid mostly because people rarely fall cleanly into all one bucket when it comes to party lines, but also because shaming people on their particular perspectives is a pretty shitty way to build coalitions and win elections.
At any rate, in my mind, there are now two parties: sensible and not sensible. You either support sensible gun reform regardless of party or you don’t. You can call the President a liar when he lies, or you don’t. You are reasonable or you are not. And if you’re in the sensible camp like me, never before have we had such a singularity of purpose to stand together and cause peace.
Republicans now control every branch of government and have proven time and again that they are completely unwilling to offer any check on the power of a President who literally doesn’t understand and doesn’t care to understand the most basic fundamentals of democracy, the constitution, or even human decency. They really don’t care. So the question is, do you?
And if the answer is yes, you do care. Can I ask you a favor?
Please do not vote third party.
Actually let me just say that last part one more time.
PLEASE DO NOT VOTE THIRD PARTY THIS TIME. IT IS NOT SENSIBLE.
Third party votes are Trump votes. Not always, but this time it is absolutely true. You vote to check his power and you build broad coalitions with people you disagree with to do it. That is the choice right now. Align with every candidate who has sworn to uphold the constitution and check the President’s power. It isn’t always true that you are with him or against him. But this time it is.
November 6th is a gift. Much like that Shabbat service, it is a break in the constant garbage and noise of this world to show up alone in our thoughts, yet together in complete singularity of purpose. It is the chance to exist in a space where we can all agree to once again champion sensible, rational thought.
So you out there.
To the mother who hasn’t slept in days. The woman in the middle of her divorce. The one going through chemo. To the one on day seven of the world’s longest business trip who maybe might not have time to squeeze in early voting. To the one who was raped. And to the one who really likes her plastic straws and doesn’t want them banned. To the one who voted for Obama. To the one who likes Hillary. And to the one who voted for Bernie or Jill Stein or Gary Johnson. Stand alongside all sorts of people who look like you or don’t, who think like you, or don’t. All that really matters actually, is that we get out there and stand together and remind each other that America is already great precisely because of its differences, not in spite of them.
On November 6th, get out there and vote.
Vote blue like you have complete clarity that on that day, that in this moment nothing else matters, nothing else is required of you but your ballot voting in favor of rational thought and common sense.
Vote against the GOP. Vote for the Democrats.
Signed the person you may or may not want in your tent but it doesn’t matter because the President is an incoherent liar face man baby who spreads fear like it’s his job,
Your favorite globalist cuck jew hippie feminist liberal friend.
(I mean.....guys. Please. Vote with the reasonable people.)