Last night I reached out to a dear friend of mine and said, “I want to write, but I don’t know what to write about.” He suggested tribalism and the election (FYI – get out and vote today). My response was, “you’d do a better job on this topic,” because he would. That’s just fact. He’s a beautiful speaker, brilliant debater and nothing quite gets him as excited as history.
So, without further ado, and much credit (he offered up: tell them it’s someone you’ve mentioned before), I give you John’s post:
“I’m one of the lost ones.
Unless you’ve been living under a rock, either a giant slab of quartz or Dwayne Johnson, you know that the Presidential election is this week. Once every 48 months, we and our fellow citizenry get to cast our votes for the highest office in the land. Ideally, this is to exercise our greatest duty as constituents of our grand Constitutional Republic. What actually happens is that we collectively suffer through a mob-ruled quadrennial festival of rampant tribalism.
2020 isn’t special. We’re told it is. “It’s the most consequential election in our times!” – which is true if you consider only the last three years as “our times”, then yes, this is the most consequential Presidential election. “But we have a pandemic in which 200,000 people have died! Many personally stabbed to death by President Trump”. The 1918 election cycle took place during the flu pandemic that infected a third of the world’s population and killed an estimated 50 million worldwide. There’s no accurate reporting on how many President Wilson personally stabbed to death.
Though President Trump and Vice-President Biden trade barbs; it’s civil-ish. In the 1800 election, Thomas Jefferson and Aaron Burr tied with 73 votes each (Broadway, it’s a wonderful teacher). Alexander Hamilton, seeing Jefferson as the lesser of two evils, lobbied the Federalist to his side and we got a very decorative nickel as a reward. Three years later, Burr shot Hamilton to death. The election of 1860 wasn’t contentious, it tore the country apart and led directly to the Civil War and the deaths of over 600,000 Americans. The election of 1875 is a doozy too complex for this small article. Hays vs. Tilden and Google is your friend. 2020 is not the ‘most contentious election in history’. It’s arguably not in the top 10. Back off and talk to the historical hand.
“If we elect Biden, we’ll be allowing in socialism for the first time in American history!” This one is also stupefyingly incorrect. We’ll go more recent history for this one. Why didn’t the United States enter WWII in 1940 on the side of the British during the darkest days of the war when Hitler, if he had more than an infantry corporal’s knowledge of military tactics, could have conquered Britain? As with all things, it was political pressure. F.D.R. was running for an unprecedented third term at the encouragement of his party, because he was incredibly popular. More so than any other Democrat. Though public outcry against a “third-term candidate’ was pointed from a vocal minority, the Democrats countered that the Republican Wilkie was a “third-rate candidate”. Well known at the time, but not well publicized after the war, was the strong isolationist and non-interventionism sentiment championed by one of the biggest “Hollywood Elites” of the time – Charles Lindbergh. F.D.R. – and many President’s since, capitulated to Lindbergh and the money coming from the left coast and promised to keep America out of the war. Yes, that Lindbergh of ‘the Spirit of St Louis’ and the Trans-Atlantic flight. Yes, that Lindbergh of the kidnapped baby. Yes, that Lindbergh of, “The Jews are war agitators”. Yes, that Lindbergh who cautioned Americans against, “the infiltration of inferior blood and dilution by foreign races.” Yes, that Lindbergh who told the world that, “Adolf Hitler has established himself as the world’s greatest safeguard against Communism!”. Hooray for Hollywood! Neither Lady Gaga, nor her crushed beer can, can touch Lucky Lindy.
In 1799, George Washington was asked to come out of retirement and run for a third term. “The line between the parties,” Washington said, had become “so clearly drawn” that politicians “regard neither truth nor decency; attacking every character, without respect to persons – Public or Private, – who happen to differ from themselves in Politics.” The full quote is long enough to where I’m reasonably sure he didn’t tweet it.
I’ve seen MAGA hats smacked off the heads of the elderly. I’ve seen a Biden/Harris bumper sticker spray painted over. Both sides have said some of the most heinous things about each other, each accusing the other of “hate” while trumpeting themselves as the chivalrous champions of ‘fairness and anti-hate”. This isn’t at the national-level – this is in my neighborhood. Politics is supposed to be ‘the art of compromise’. In America, it’s a show. It’s “Us vs Them”. You’re “with us or against us”. In 2020 – that’s also led to violence. If you’re blue, it’s ok to make the red people bleed. If you’re red, wishing death on the blue may be too good for them.
If you identify with either party, we can guess who you are. We know what you stand for. We know what you believe, who brain-washes you, what news channel you watch, and can’t allow you to infect your children with it. You must be stopped.
I’m stopping. I’m getting off your whack-job Tribal Train. I’m joining those both parties consider ‘lost’. I prefer to call us independent thinkers. I’m a Lost One. I’ve not watched the news in two weeks, and I couldn’t be happier. I’ve already voted – after researching all 77 candidates on the ballot and the 9 unopposed candidates. Yes, I looked into all four of the local schoolboard positions. These people set the tax rate on my house. There are 22 Judges on the ballot, in seats at the District, Appeals, and State Supreme Court level. All of whom are far more consequential to my life than the United States Supreme Court. My State Senator and Congress seats vote on and pass legislation. The President is just the figurehead who signs this legislation into law.
It’s the 2020 election. It’s not special. It’s not ‘the most consequential’. It’s just an election. You should vote.
It doesn’t give you any excuse whatsoever to be the jackass you accuse everyone else of being.”