– Ben Martens

Election Debrief

election2016I picked a great year to avoid the election as much as possible. I unfollowed people on Facebook, avoided news stories and stayed away from political conversations Even with that, I obviously still got a deluge.

The Gore/Bush voting argument was a pretty big deal, but this election felt even more dramatic and it was dragged out for a longer time. I’m not going to rehash the whole thing over even pick a side, but here are some of my thoughts in my favorite formatting style: bullets!

  • Why were people so wildly upset by this? I know people who called in sick, people were crying on TV, and the moms in Tyla’s various social groups were totally distraught. One possible thought is that it has been 12 years since liberals/Democrats lost a presidential election. There’s a whole new group of people in their 20s and 30s who are experiencing this for the first time (assuming they didn’t follow it very closely in high school.) I imagine the first time is the hardest and after that it gets slightly easier… unless you’re on TV paid to overreact to everything.
  • I saw one picture that said something to the effect of: “One candidate is what’s wrong with society and the other is what’s wrong with government.” It’s probably not too far off. Can we please break up the shadowy cabal that owns the debate system and get some other candidates in the mix? Even if they don’t win, it would be nice to inject their opinions into the conversation.
  • Bing has really great data and maps about how every county voted. It’s eye opening to look at those maps and realize how many people around you disagree with you. Even in a very one-sided county, it’s still probably that only 1 in every 4 people didn’t vote with the majority.
  • Name three ways this campaign season different from American Idol… feel free to try for a while, but you can continue reading even if you give up.
  • The whole campaign season focuses on the differences between the candidates (and for good reason), but really the candidates are alike in many ways. They both want what they think is best for the country. Obviously they differ in many ways on what they think is the best, but these aren’t evil people out to blow up the moon while stroking a cat.
  • Along those same lines, I think it would be healthy for everyone to figure out three viewpoints they agree with from the opposing candidates. Whenever I take the “which candidate do you agree with” quizzes, I never get 0%. There’s always some stuff that overlaps. I think that can be a healthy first step to realizing that the other side is full of logical humans too. They arrive at different logical conclusions than you because they have different life experiences and different priorities.
  • We’re realizing that the media’s Hillary blinders obscured their view of what was really happening in the voting community. Can we also realize that their characterization of Trump supporters is incorrect? I’m sure there are xenophobic hate mongers somewhere in his supporter base, but they’re the vast minority. Extremists will always exist on both sides and it doesn’t do any good to stereotype the entire voting community based on those two extremes.
  • Whether your side won or lost the presidential election, don’t worry and don’t gloat. If there’s one common thread through almost every presidency, it is that fewer people approve of presidents when they finish than when they start. (Clinton is the notable exception which is really intriguing given all the impeachment talk.) Eventually people realize that the president really doesn’t have the power to do most of the things they promised in their campaign. This president will get to nominate a supreme court justice but otherwise, he’s pretty limited. The president is the head of the executive branch which means they get to direct the FDA, the EPA and a bunch of other federal agencies. They aren’t some all-powerful dictator that can enact laws on a whim. We attribute way more power, responsibility and importance to them than they deserve.
  • Take a minute to be thankful that we live in a country that has a voting system and a process for the orderly transition of power. We are blessed.

Hopefully we can all rub our ear lobes and let out a collective “woosahhhhhhhhh.” And next election, how about funneling even a fraction of that energy into local politics?

One thought on “Election Debrief

  1. Dudley

    I think you have succeeded in isolating yourself from the political discourse. Leaders do impact our culture; the world my family will live in and the support or opposition they face when seeking to live a God pleasing life. I’m thankful to know our faithful God who rules over all things, even elections. My sense of stewardship moves me to invest myself in knowing the differences that exist between a candidates positions and what God tells us in his Word is right. The world makes a mess of everything. Still, we are participants with a mission to understand and speak to them.