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Let the Madness Begin

DTJ October 1, 2020 125

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Well, not really begin. The madness of 2020 started on January 3rd with news of the assassination of Iranian Major General Qasem Solemani and with it the perceived provocation of war between Iran and their Middle Eastern allies against the United States. Even more weird was the lack of significant response on behalf of the Iranians. I say significant not to denote they did not respond, but rather to highlight that what we feared the response would be in terms of loss of life did not transpire, and I thank God for that. From there, 2020 has been one crappy surprise after the next – Kobe – Coronavirus – Ahmaud, Brianna and George, Social Unrest, RayShawn Brooks and others, More Social Unrest- Federalized Storm Troopers – More Social Unrest – John Lewis – CT Vivian – Black Panther  Chadwick Boseman – Ruth Bader Ginsburg – 1 Million More Dead Worldwide – More Social unrest. To that list, I want to add the Presidential Debate from September 29th, 2020.

I want to be truly clear before I proceed- it is not the intention of the T.E.A.M to endorse any specific candidate. I believe in this Presidential cycle; the choice is less about policy or party and more about the character of the country. And even as I write that, I know some people will be quick to view my comment in a political lens and either disregard it or overemphasis it. There is a lot of hyperbole about the 2020 races for President and Congress being the most important elections in our country’s history. I would argue that every subsequent election is more important because with it we continue to define the character of our country. That character reflects us as a people as much as the person we elect. In my honest opinion, the energy and concern surrounding this election is in realizing who we have become or perhaps have always been as Americans; conflicted.

Webster’s dictionary defines conflicted as experiencing or marked by ambivalence or a conflict especially of emotions.

Google defines it as having or showing confused and mutually inconsistent feelings

What we profess ourselves to be as a country; land of the free, home of the brave, a nation under God, a melting pot of diversity,  all sounds good on paper, but the reality is we have never been further from those ideals than today. Furthermore, I do not think there is any way as a country we can vote ourselves back to a healthy condition. For one, when you ascribe to the ideas of being a free-thinking democratic society, you will always have differences of opinion. There will naturally be disagreement in the process of furthering our understanding and proving out or proving false our theories of national governance. What is so telling is how poorly we have evolved to handle disagreements. On one hand, I would anecdotally contend we likely disagree more on just about every topic than at any time since either the very inception of the country or at least the civil war. Yet, we have become no more capable of constructively dealing with that conflict. Two, we have not done a particularly good job acknowledging our sins as a country and thereby allowing for healing. If we are truly one nation under God, then one of his tenets of healing is that we repent for our sins, which involves both a confession of the offense and a changing of the behaviors that led to the sin in the first place. Now before you make assumptions about the sin I might be referring to, please know that America has many sins. America also has also adopted many Gods and philosophies and with them many ideas and perspectives about how to address its sins or if what I consider an offense is a sin at all. Third, if there are people who feel or are demonstrated to be disadvantaged or marginalized, there will be conflict, unless one side makes peace with inequity or the other is generous with its advantage.  Before this article descends into a black hole, here is my point; We are not who we profess to be and are becoming frightened by the image we see staring back at us in the mirror. I liken it to a scene from the movie Teen Wolf where Michael J Fox realizes he is extra hairy. Yes America, that’s you howling at the mirror.

I think I know what your thinking, if voting will not fix our condition, why even bother to do it? I think we ought not vote in the hopes that a candidate or congress will fix all our problems. You cannot legislate a policy or law that can fix us. We the people must instead decide to do the hard work of looking at ourselves in the mirror and confronting our part in the condition of the country. We do not have to flock to the latest Tony Robbins Personal Power seminar or mediate on a mountain top with gurus or buy the latest self-help books. We just must decide to be honest with one another and ourselves about how messed up we are, where we need help or better understanding, and then commit to move forward together. Commitment is important because it will help rebuild the trust that has eroded over generations of broken promises, disenfranchisement, and mistreatment that has been portrayed in the name of the American experiment. It will also help ensure we see the healing process through to the end and not just until our demands have been satisfied or we have given/sacrificed to the point of discomfort.  

The election should instead reflect our choice in the candidate whose position on policies best reflects the direction our country should go. I already suspect it will not and that some of you may take issue with this out of strong oppositional feelings regarding one candidate over the other. I just do not think it is the candidate’s job to change your heart, that is your job. Instead, our job is to pay attention to the ideas the candidates stand for and choose the one who best represents the policy ideas we stand for. With all of this said America, I want to share with you my thoughts about the First Presidential Debate.

I am by no means a historian or a wordsmith able to dazzle you with facts or opinion about the digression of our democracy. But it also does not take all of that to express how crazy t he debate was.  Yet as crazy as it was, I could not help but to feel that it accurately reflects the how Americans treat and feel towards each other. We are incredibly skeptical, fearful, and defensive about one another and will yell and scream at each other the same way the candidates did and often over far less important matters. Even more disturbing about the debate is that a lot of people were entertained by it all. Yes, the whole debate was a hot mess of foolishness. But to be entertained by such a display by people vowing to be leaders of our country is also disturbing. And no, this is not some subtle call for everyone to vote for Kanye. In fact if you decide to go that route, go ahead, and unfriend me. It is to say that we as Americans must do better and deserve better.

 I also want to say to some of you, when a person shows you who they are, believe them. Meditate on that. Stop making people out to be who you think they are or want them to be and trust that what they are showing you is the truth. Even if a person is admittedly showing you their worst, it still means they do not care enough to show you their best. I will let this sit right here.

Anyway folks, buckle up for a wild month.  The T.EA.M will be your guide through all the madness. Please make the choice to exercise your power and vote. Yes, it matters. Yes, it counts. And remember that too many people sacrificed way too much for you not to.

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