Election Day musings
or a look at the bigger picture
Election Day, 2022
Well, election day is finally here. Tomorrow, almost all of those campaign ads will disappear, and we’ll settle back into a new reality. Today… it will be frenetic across the nation. There will be excited and breathless statements by candidates, newscasters, pundits etc. but here in San Antonio, I’m taking the time to sit back and wax philosophically over the far bigger picture and potential impacts of any decisions made today.
Please bear with me should my thoughts meander a bit. It’s due to the collision of my ADHD brain with flu meds, creating a “fog of war” between my ears. Writing to all of you, is good medicine and a distraction from the flu.
Reality vs. conspiracy theories
What must our allies and the world at large, think of us with candidates so far detached from reality, as actual contenders with a high potential for winning.
Today’s headlines, in credible reporting, shows candidates like Herschel Walker, Kari Lake, Dr. Oz and another 300 candidates espousing conspiracy theories as viable candidates. Please reread this sentence and roll it around on your tongue for a minute. If it feels horrible, it should. Today’s US political climate is the antithesis of the great American narrative, which in short form says, “American exceptionalism will lead the world towards advancement, freedom and plenty.” What the world sees in the Trump era, is a nation fixated on trying to keep our historical narrative’s head above water, while conspiracy theorists and profiteers try and drown it. If we continue to treat the elected leaders and proponents of this lunacy as legitimate politicians, global leadership won’t slip from our hands, we are literally tossing it aside.
This has severe ramifications for our national security, as well as the other allies and nations, that depend on the US as a trusted partner. We see this materializing in actual events over the past 6+ years. The last administration did all possible to destroy NATO, therefore granting Putin the freedom to become a genocidal aggressor without restraint. Ukraine specifically and her allies/ partners are now paying the price for Trump’s and the current GOP’s intended destabilization of the global security paradigm. Nations across the Indo-Pacific, doing their best to fight off an aggressive and immoral Xi of China, under the Trump administration, had started to strategize whether they would have to make a deal with the devil (Xi) or wait for the US to come to its senses.
Both of these critical venues for our national security were and still are at risk, though increasing in trust of the US. A win today for the pro-Putin crowd will again destroy all of the heroic efforts, we’ve recently put into recovering those once-trusted alliances. Nothing in the modern world happens in a vacuum. Trust among allies falls like dominoes, when we fail to live up to our once commonly held, national narrative, based on our national identity.
There’s no national security without unity over our national values
We cannot sustain our global security requirements and relationships without fixing the Homefront. Here in the US and large parts of Western Europe, people listen to words and decide what to internalize or not (believe or not believe, and to what degree). In most of the rest of the world, people listen to words and watch the actions of the speaker to determine what to internalize or not. Plenty is internalized subconsciously but that is for another newsletter when I can fully develop this concept for everyone.
So, this means, that no matter what any administration says, most of the world decides to trust us based on what we do and say, at home and abroad. This brings us to today’s elections. Over 60% of US voters will have a candidate on their ballot that is an election denier. Election denial is a conspiracy theory and an insidious/ specialized type of narrative that holds their victim’s hostage and tells them not only what to believe, but how to go about it. This scares the daylights out of our allies, and it should. It scares the daylights out of me and largely because I know who, how and why the adversarial influencers created their audience of conspiracy theorists. When our global approval rating is as low as during the Trump administration, we are at risk.
Our national values are what project American power around the world. It’s a mistake to believe that it’s only our ships, planes and tanks. The core of power projection and national resilience is our American identity, which is based on our historical values, that revolve around democracy and what it took to achieve it/ sustain it. Without demonstrated adherence to these values, neither Americans nor our allies believe in our strength. What’s worse is that our adversaries see this weakness as opportunity. Exposing our core weakness to adversaries, is the epitome of undermining our national security strategy.
The problem here, is that we cannot simply order the manufacture of a pill or vaccine to eliminate conspiracy theories and reinsert our true values back into those gone astray. It requires a lot of work that because of hyper-partisanship, Congress, state and local leaders refuse to engage Americans with courage and integrity. We can count on two hands, with fingers left over, how many on the right have stood up against the MAGA types and their conspiracy theories. It will take generations of dedicated refocusing, to erase the attempt to redefine our national values into a racist, oligarch focused and anti-constitutional paradigm, worshipped by today’s, US right. Yes, if this sounds like Trump, it’s because he’s the standard bearer and chief recipient of this ugly deviation from American values. Still… he’s revered, cult-like within today’s GOP.
Our constitution was designed for modernization, not alteration of values. Every amendment from the Bill of Rights onward have been about realizing the human principles and associated rights of those living in our newfangled representative republic. Not one has been about altering the devotion to human rights in our form of government… until the Trump era.
Shamefully, now states like TX seek to alter our founder’s intentions with challenges to those core values. For example, the 2022 TX GOP platform, declares an intent to return religion to public schools, which violates a variety of constitutional principles, most critically, the intentional focus on separating church from state. In our founders’ time, this was a uniquely American issue as big as abortion or gun rights are today. This was due to what we were escaping from as a British colony.
It is literally as un-American as it gets. Limiting voting rights, like our rights to free speech etc. would be like cutting off main branches of the tree of American democracy. Cut enough branches and the tree dies. Only voters, adhering to our traditional American values can save the tree. That’s what our elections are about. Infringing any citizen’s rights is anathema to infringing all of our rights. The loss or severe restriction of our rights in a direction that undermines who we are as Americans eventually will erase all that our founders bequeathed us. If there were ever a time for the “slippery-slope” argument, it’s now while the right is doing all possible to alter our identity into something pliable and un-American.
Elections, the bedrock of representative government, must always be held to the highest scrutiny with the 2020 election being an example of how clean American voting is. Historically, we do have well run elections with a tiny fraction of irregularities. Not only did we have an extraordinarily clean 2020 election, but the party of Trump still refuses to accept the results. This is delusional behavior by Mental Health industry standards and manifests itself in a variety of forms. If unwillingness to accept reality is considered a mental health disorder of some sort, why should these people be in government at all?
Summing up my musings on Election Day
What we do on election day impacts every bit of how we see ourselves and how the world sees us. Neither is a good look when we treat delusional candidates as political figures. Combined, it puts a hole in the ship of democracy, that could in fact… sink it. I and most Americans are unwilling for this to transpire. The only defense though is at the ballot box. It’s not a matter of party, but a matter of accepting reality and pursuing issues and candidates that can accept and form logical opinions on how to deal with reality. Unless America, either reforms or removes the delusional from competition, they are and will remain a threat to not only our security, but our system of government.
Tonight, we’ll find out most of the results. I would ask that if you have read this, to ponder my musings too. It’s only 2 years until our next election. It should terrify all of us that what Madison, Hamilton, Washington, Adams and the rest risked all to give us, could be lost on conspiracy theories, by citizens unwilling to accept reality.
As a committed optimist, I choose to believe in our future, but will also cling to the reality of the situation. That reality says that we must work as hard and ethically to sustain our representative republic, as our founders did to breathe life into it. It’s the American way.
Happy Election Day, 2022