Worldview: Rage participation is better than none at all

Let’s face it. Donald John Trump is turning out to be everything anyone who actually paid attention during the 2016 presidential election cycle thought he would be. He is now doing things people detest for reasons they detest and, in doing so, is upsetting the apple cart of the status quo in the federal government in ways people are infuriated by.

Yet, for all Trump’s flaws, this is exactly what our nation needs. We need to be uncomfortable. We need to have things to oppose. We need to be enraged. Because, in the end, that’s the only way to get anyone to participate anymore.

You see, American politics is and always has been a full contact sport, but during my lifetime, millions of Americans have either stopped participating altogether or have convinced themselves that participation involves nothing more than voting every couple of years.

With the election of Trump and all that entails, things have already changed. Suddenly, millions of people care. Their care spilled into the streets with protests. People are following news in ways they haven’t for decades. Opposition groups are forming outside the control of traditional political organizations. People are seeking out ways to actively participate in the 2018 midterms and beyond.

It’s sad that it took the election of someone like Trump to ignite that kind of desire to participate, but if that’s what it takes, then so be it. Rage participation is better than no participation, so long as We the People do what we should have been doing all along.

So, yes, it’s going to be a long four years. Trump is going to enrage millions with his ridiculousness, but if all people do is complain, so what? Do something about it, and that will make all the difference in the world.

DLH

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Worldview: If all we do is vote, the nonsense this election cycle represents is destined to happen again

Today was primary day in Ohio, a fact made more important by the nonsense this election cycle has come to represent. While it is tempting to blast that nonsense in all its various forms, I believe it is more important to cut to the heart of the matter.

The fact is that, if all we do is vote today and in November, the nonsense this election cycle represents is destined to happen again or become even worse.

Why?

Because the underlying cause of this nonsense is that most voters only participate in, at best, half a percent of the entire political process.

How can I say that? Because, I suspect, most of you can’t or won’t like the answers to the following questions:

  • Do you belong to (as in pay dues to or attend meetings of) the political party for which you commonly vote?
  • Do you know the names of any of that party’s local (as in precinct or county) leadership? Its state leadership? Its national leadership?
  • Do you know anything about the candidates your party has fielded for the offices closest to you?
  • How did the people on your primary ballot get there?

There are many more questions of the like that I could ask, but these four speak to the heart of the problem: for all the angst and rhetoric surrounding this election cycle, most people have no answers to those questions, and it is the lack of answers to those questions that has led to all the angst and rhetoric.

The simple fact is that, for democracy to work, it requires its participants to act on the other 1453 days of the four years between presidential elections and not just the four or eight days that represent voting.

It’s easy to come up with excuses why we don’t have time to participate in that way, but what those excuses add up to is all the reasons we’re going to continue to tolerate the mess we currently have. Democracy demands participation, and without it, democracy becomes a veil for oligarchy and dictatorship.

So, yes, go vote today. And then, tomorrow, keep participating. The consequences of doing otherwise are already apparent.

DLH

Read more at my Worldview site...