Photo by Aurelio Arantes on Unsplash
Boy oh boy are we bad at waiting or what! I mean, it’s no shock and I’m ok with it. Just making observation as I suck at waiting. The election ends and every social media site tells us to be patient… the results could take a long time…
And then the one that the social media sites favored gets a solid lead in enough states to declare a winner and now it’s a done deal.
We’ve moved on.
For some perspective, if you favor this round’s winner, just imagine, like, if you can, a bunch of people very upset at the results of an election. Imagine that they throw tantrums, threaten to leave fellowship with the rest of us. Leave the social media sphere or the country or whatever. They screech about stolen elections and about resisting the new president.
Imagine four years of listening to that garbage, along with wild conspiracies involving, I kid you not, Russians.
I and a few others are here to help you figure out how to love that kind of person through all of the nonsense if you’re struggling to see how to do that.
In as much time as it would take to grow a baby, I wrote a blog some time ago asking for leadership from our federal executive leadership. In that, I asked friends to be people with passions instead of passions that drove people. I’m not so narcissistic to believe that every person I love tunes into my advice or adheres to my desires.
But sometimes it feels like throwing a dirty dime into a bacteria-laden pond and wishing for a lemonade.
Sometimes we just add stuff to a Christmas list because we know that Christmas is coming and we hope and hope and hope for stuff that is a long shot.
So here’s my Christmas list for the next round of American politics, the thing that Ted Cruz (my senator and definitely a guy who I would vote for president, in case ANYONE wants to know how I actually vote) described as “Hollywood for ugly people.”
- No more villain-based politics. One of my firm beliefs in a way to do politics that accomplishes nothing is to find a problem, find someone to blame, find a solution that excludes them from the problem, accomplish their exclusion, and then claim you’ve fixed the problem. Please note that nowhere in that process is a solution ever found. It just villainizes people and polarizes family gatherings. A difficult jobs market was once blamed on immigration. The rise in medical costs was blamed on people who did not want government sponsored insurance. The lack of uniform higher education is blamed on deeply seeded racism. Downturns in economic prosperity are always blamed on previous administrations. Please. Find the solutions and build a coalition of people from all areas of expertise, and not of political affiliation.
- No more blaming the last guy. Say what you will about 45, but he did not spend a lot of time blaming his predecessor for things that went wrong. He spent a lot of time badmouthing his political opponents. He would badmouth 44 whenever anyone asked why he was undoing one of his actions. But, the best part of his leadership was owning the problem and owning the leadership to solve the problem. He often undid decisions that 44 made, but that’s the auspice of winning elections. As we will discover, again, the new president will undo many of 45’s choices, most likely to do with environmental issues and regulation, foreign relations, military leadership, and a slew of social issues. And we’ll explore those together. But if you want to sell me on a choice, tell me why to do it, not why the last guy was a stinker for not doing it. That is the difference between a leader and a coward.
- Cast a vision. Tell us what end state we’re driving toward. Tell us what you are going to do and then tell us what we can do to help create that society. If we like it, we’re in and we will be part of the change. If we don’t like it, we’re out and it will be harder. At some level of idealism, you still believe that your vision will lead the country to a better place. It lives somewhere like a scared cat, skulking away from the dogs of special interest and lust for power. But care for that animal. It’s what people believed when they voted for you.
That was all of my list for politicians. But I also have hopes for something that we can see left under the tinsel-laden seasonal greenery from one another. The former is, if I’m speaking honestly and not metaphorically, is what I pray for and know that it requires probably more character in our capital than actually exists. But it is still a hope. This, though. This is us. And amongst the people I adore and love and whose names I know and whose children I have seen grow into adulthood, those who I still watch straining toward that fuller life, I believe we can see this happen amongst each other. I believe we can and, if we do, we raise the expectations of our nation from the absolute gutters of human depravity and emotional detritus to loftier realities. We can elect representatives with whom we do not agree 100% but who we trust to represent our hearts for other people’s dignity.
- I love you. That precedes anything else. There is no criticism of civil thought that is more important. I may not believe in having the tax payer pay for XYZ Program, but it is not founded out of apathy for people. If, in the course of discussing these issues, if I have failed to communicate my passion for people and their dignity, we need to stop, communicate at the level of the heart and remember who we are to each other and then reengage, if we need to discuss a topic.
- Your guy doesn’t live here, but we do. I don’t expect Elon Musk to commiserate with how I live my life. I expect him to continue being Tony Stark and put someone on Mars. I will cheer him on and have zero understanding of what his life is like. And so if he makes a choice about a factory, I will own that he’s making choices in his headspace that are different from my headspace. If the new president makes a choice, he has had a life that is far, far, far, far, far different from mine. He will live in a cesspool of power and politics. Most of his choices will not effect me. So I’ll tune in for the big stuff. But let’s tune into each other on the daily to see what is actually happening.
- Let’s commit to not believing the clickbait. As it turns out, 44 was not a secretive muslim socialist plant, carefully placed to supplant the flag, apple pie and the fourth of July. Turns out 45 was not a Russian patsy. Turns out that none of them have been the anti-Christ. News orgs have to keep the content coming to get paid, which means, on occasion, spinning some absolute garbage when it comes time to tell stories about ugly Hollywood. There’s a cast of highly unlikable characters in Washington on both sides. Let’s not treat them as Olympian protagonists and antagonists. Let’s treat them as elder statesmen and stateswomen who need to be held to the public account and replaced when necessary. Let’s call the good stuff good and the bad stuff bad, and each other brother, sister, friend.
The election ended, perhaps a little too quickly for some. And then Christmas trees went up.
I’m not shocked.
This year has created in our hearts a greater level of desire and hope and need beyond our own abilities to fill than have been there in a long time. Our generations are looking back, some with many decades, some with one, and finding few times in history that have been so bereft of plenty. We have lost much in terms of confidence in ourselves, in our systems, in our supplies. We have lost respect for our leaders and ourselves.
And I’m here to affirm that a politician cannot give those back.
We have to see it built back slowly.
And maybe even differently.
There are people in places who do not have the certainty of racks filled with toilet paper. Or high grade beef. Or low grade chicken. Or bread.
Or the ability to buy them.
We all experienced at some level the deprivations that are situation normal for many people and we need to keep connected to that reality because we have always needed one another. But now, there is a chance to disconnect from that corporate need to drive toward individual selfishness.
We can Who or we can Grinch.
We can Fred or we can Scrooge.
Christmas isn’t really that big a deal, except that it is a focal point of the light of hope in the midst of the darkest time of the calendar year north of the equator.
And this will be a longer Christmas than most.
It went up on the 4th of November.
Let’s spend it hoping.
That’s my grownup Christmas list.