Stop Asking What We “Missed” in this Election — Ask these Questions Instead
I don’t want to hear pundits second guessing Democratic strategy, questioning themselves or asking what they missed leading up to this election. The only thing they missed is what all decent human beings should miss — hate works, lies work and fear works. Why do so many in the U.S. electorate still lack a basic understanding of facts, science, democracy and the plight of their fellow humans? That is the only question that matters.
How has our education system produced such ignorance? My children are in elementary school. Since last year I have been asking what they are learning about the election in school (not “talking” about the election — “learning” about it). The answer is always the same — nothing. That’s the real bubble. Why do we even send children to school, if not to prepare them for the future? Isn’t responsible citizenship necessary for the future? Schools are so afraid of being “political” that they have given up one of their most important roles in society, and we are seeing the result.
How have our faith institutions produced such a lack of compassion for humanity? People have suffered and died because of Trump’s policies, and more will suffer and die if he ends up winning. How can you call yourself “pro-life” and vote for a man with a reckless disregard for human life? Do you believe in the “beloved community” envisioned by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., or the divided, hateful, cruel world of Trump?
People love to blame the media, but do you ever wonder why much of the media leans left? Their job is to listen, to read, to think. They have seen the world. Many spent years living abroad and now live in the most diverse cities in America. Their lives speak to the precious nature of American civil liberties, and not just the freedom of the press. They have lived as outsiders and share a deep, personal appreciation for liberty that only outsiders know. They are women, LGBTQ, Jews, people of color, children of immigrants and many others who have dedicated their lives to making sure the voices of their communities are heard. They bring this same curiosity to Trump supporters, as is evident from the countless news reports, books and documentaries exploring the mind of the Trump voter after the 2016 election. But I ask, where was the curiosity on the other side? Doesn’t “coming together” require both sides to be curious, to find common ground? If there was an honest effort to understand Hillary voters coming from the right, I didn’t see it.
So stop talking about Florida. Start talking about how Americans can be so easily fooled. Other dictators had to work harder than this. They take control of the media and torture political opponents. That is not the case here. We have everything we need to fight hatred, lies and fear, but we are leaving too many powerful weapons on the table. No matter how many inspiring speeches Barack Obama delivers, if the kids go to school or church the next day and we remain silent, we have only done half the job.
If we don’t change course, Trumps wins, whether he wins this election or not.