Category: "Political Parties"

They're not Snowflakes; They're Blockheads

They're not Snowflakes; They're Blockheads

unsplash-logoNina Strehl

It's time to stop calling them snowflakes. It's time to call them what they really are, a bunch of blockheads.

How do I define blockhead? Anyone past the age of three who still thinks the appropriate way to make his point is to rant and scream and call names and then stops up his ears until he finds people who will tell him what he wants to hear. As they grow up, this turns into safe rooms, and teaching and university faculties that all spout a particular narrative and teach it as the truth.

And as it spills over into politics, it is the shameful movement by various Democrats to boycott the State of the Union Address of President Donald J. Trump.

These are the people who have learned that the world is a certain way, and will not be budged, or even bothered to think about it. These are likewise the haters on the right and the left.

It doesn't matter if the hate is because of skin color, wealth, religion, or particularly in our times, political affiliation. These are the people who automatically impute ill-will to anyone who thinks otherwise, and seek in other people's actions evidence of oppression. And when they find they are being oppressed, they are justified in reacting violently.

This is a recipe for disaster, perhaps even civil war. The more we talk into our own echo chambers, the less tolerance we have for anyone else. The more the other looks like the enemy.

But here's the thing. Do You really think the person who voted for Trump, or Hillary, cares less about his children, than you do? Do you really think he wants to see the US go down the drain? I don't believe it.

The problem is that these narcissistic blockheads vote. And unfortunately they mostly vote for the person who can spend the most money, and who spits back more or less what they want to hear. And as things get worse, each echo chamber knows what to preach to its base to activate it to come out and vote.

And then most politicians end up listening to the money, which has a different interest altogether.

And this is where our preaching and our shouting and our sticking our head in the sand has taken us. It doesn't matter if they are antifa or the KKK; both are more interested in their own victimhood than they are in advancing their society and advancing themselves within it.

It is much easier to hate than to hone your thinking, learn how to listen, and influence, and learn how to take the other's perspective.

And perhaps it's this we must teach. Maybe it's time to stop trying to push certain agendas, and leave instead the conditions in which family and community and personal connection can form and grow.

Maybe it's this that made America great. At our best, we are a community of communities that all respect - more or less - each other. And I know we don't all see President Trump as the standard bearer of this vision, but I think also of what President Bush (43) said, that “the office is always bigger than the person.”

And maybe, just maybe, if we reach across the aisle, we can stop being blockheads and come up with a vision of a great America we can all celebrate.

A Fairer System: Candidates we could vote FOR

A Fairer System: Candidates we could vote FOR

Do you remember Prof. Lani Guinier? She was President Clinton's nominee for Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights in April 1993. She was run out of Washington on a rail for, among other things, suggesting that some parts of our electoral systems do not produce fair results.

I am reminded of her now as I look at what our last election has wrought. Two candidates, neither the favorite of much of their party, both demonized by much of the other party, leaving a huge gap in the middle where no one feels well served or particularly confident that our best interests will be served by those in Washington.

And what are the kinds of things Prof. Guinier might suggest? She might suggest cumulative or proportional voting systems, like we see in corporate or school boards. These try to ensure everyone has a say.

For instance, it might make sense that a State with 57% Democrats and 43% Republicans would have one Democrat and one Republican Senator. If we elected both Senators at the same time, and gave everyone two votes that they could put on whomever they want - even both on the same person - we'd be much more likely to have one Senator from each party. As it is now, the Democrats in a State like this can often run roughshod over their Republican counterparts, and vice versa. The idea here is that, with a fairer system, everyone could, and maybe even should, have their man, or woman, in the Senate.

But I'd like to take it down to the party level. I think both parties have been drawn to their poles, and I think this is unhealthy. And I think one, or the other, or both could go over the edge, and go the way of the Whig party.

And I'd like to propose a fix, if either party has the will, or confidence, to implement it. It might also be a great draw for the center party that comes to replace one of our poles. The fix is to have open primaries; restrict candidacy to party members with a certain seniority, but let everyone weigh in. I think it's got a good chance to pull candidates to the middle, and leave us all with candidates in our general elections we'd have less trouble voting for.

I know it's a stretch, and it might be too late to pull our current parties in from the edges, but it could work to cement the center position of the party that will rise there.

I don't know enough about Prof. Guinier to know what she'd think about this proposal, but I like to hope that the party open enough to let her and a white supremacist help select its candidate would be open enough to at least ponder and debate her ideas for a fairer electoral system.