Weekly Ezine Number 385
A Timely Comparison of the Super Bowl and Our Politics
The Presidency of Donald Trump and the Need for Election Reform
A Timely Comparison of the Super Bowl and Our Politics
We think a comparison between a previous Super Bowl and our politics today offers some insightful lessons. Since Super Bowl 51 is this weekend, we want to offer what we think those lessons are.
The Super Bowl we have in mind is XLIX (49) between the Seattle Seahawks and the New England Patriots. Here is the situation in that game that offers our lessons. Late in the 4th quarter, New England had a 28 to 24 point lead. Seattle had the ball with about 1:15 to go on the New England 45 yard line, but needed a touchdown to win and only had one timeout.
The Seattle Quarterback threw a pass to about the ten yard line. The pass was batted in the air by Patriots cornerback Malcom Butler. 95 times out of 100, a ball so batted would fall to the ground incomplete. But in this case, the Seattle receiver, falling on his back, had the ball come to him and caught it.
So suddenly, based on a fluke, Seattle had gone from being in a situation where scoring was improbable to one where scoring was highly probable. Highlight films often show Butler leaving the field visibly upset with himself that he had been unable to prevent the catch.
Seattle ran a running play from the 5 yard line and nearly scored. Then, in a chess match set of decisions we won’t go into here, (which have been long debated and regretted by Seattle fans) Seattle decided to run a pass play next.
What Seattle didn’t realize was that they were calling a play New England expected them to run. Butler had come back into the game. Working with a fellow cornerback, they executed the drill they had practiced. Butler “jumped the route”, got to the pass before the Seattle receiver, and made the interception. The interception sealed the win for the Patriots.
The highlights of the game and the plays I’ve described are here. http://www.nfl.com/videos/greatest-games-of-all-time/0ap3000000476264/Super-Bowl-XLIX-Patriots-vs-Seahawks-highlights
So, what are the lessons from this game we can apply to our current political situation?
Seattle managed to gain field position on the five yard line based on a fluke. Being on the five yard line did not mean New England had lost, but they had to intensively focus and “make a play” in order to keep from losing.
Donald Trump has managed to gain the Presidency based on a fluke. He is not a majority winner. He is a plurality winner. More people voted against him than for him. The votes of less than 78,000 people in three states made the difference. That means if 39,000 people in the appropriate states had switched their votes to Clinton, then the popular vote winner would be in office today.
Trump may be the President. That does not mean he should be allowed to do the things he intends to do when the majority of Americans oppose those things.
But, like the New England team, voters must not be so consumed by the result of the fluke that they fail to respond to the situation they’re faced with. Malcolm Butler could have come back into the game still thinking about the last play he was involved with. Being distracted in that way at that time would have been disastrous. Butler was not distracted. Butler focused on the play that was in front of him and (to use the mantra many coaches use) did his job.
And so the message to voters who oppose the Presidency of Donald Trump is this. Don’t be so consumed over the fluke that you fail to do your job as a voter going forward. Join and support organizations such as the American Civil Liberties Union who will oppose Trump through the Courts. Let your other elected representatives know you want them to oppose Trump’s nominees and proposed policies and programs. Many of those candidates and programs are not what even those who voted for Trump had in mind when they voted for Trump. Start work today to ensure the Congress elected in 2018 will block, even un-do, what Trump seeks to do. Going forward, realize that politics is not a game and who wins elections matters. Politics is a serious business that determines the circumstances you live in and the ability to achieve what you want to achieve in your life. Realize also there are those who support Trump because they see the imposition of their programs on your life as an achievement for them. You cannot change their minds. You can only replace them.
Let’s jump their route.
The Presidency of Donald Trump and the Need for Election Reform
Last week’s Ezine #384 was directed to those who oppose the Presidency of Donald Trump. http://blog.thecenterstrikesback.org/?p=172 This week’s Ezine is directed towards those who voted for Mr. Trump.
Since the election I’ve especially been interested in why people say they voted for Trump. I’m still processing that data and will continue to do so, but it’s time for an interim report. This platform is dedicated to achieving election reform as a means of providing all Americans with better, more effective and efficient government. Our dedication to that continues. I have concluded, however, that Trump and others like him will not let that occur.
I have further concluded it does not matter what kind of ballot or election process we use if voters cast their vote based on ignorance and gullibility. Although, to be frank, ignorance and gullibility is enabled by the type of ballot and election processes we use now. Accordingly, our new additional focus going forward will be to oppose and combat ignorance and gullibility.
So, here are some candid thoughts of mine. If those thoughts piss you off or challenge your self-image or beliefs, then so be it. I often tell friends there were two factors that kept me from achieving everything I wanted from my first career. 1. I was never afraid to say the Emperor had no clothes and 2. (To paraphrase Shakespeare) I never suffered fools gladly. You’re about to see those factors on full display.
We have a variety of comments to make about the election and inauguration of Mr. Trump. We were opposed to Mr. Trump during the election. Unless he significantly changes his method of operation and the goals of his Presidency, we will also oppose his Presidency. We have little inclination to believe he will change.
The primary reasons for our opposition is our conclusion that he is mentally ill and that he intends to transform America in a way that is unacceptable. Let’s talk about those two points.
There is something wrong with him. In fact, Keith Olbermann pointed this out in a recent posting. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hv28Hnx9uCg We have to agree with Olbermann. At some time in the future, it will become very apparent that a mistake has been made, that Trump being President has only made a very bad situation worse and that Trump needs to go before he can do even more damage. When that happens, we will all be benefitted if there is cooperation on both sides of the aisle towards removing him, probably by using the 25th Amendment. Politico also published an excellent article about his mental instability and unsuitability for his office. http://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2017/01/trump-biographers-presidency-legitimate-214655 Bill Moyers makes similar points. http://billmoyers.com/story/donald-trumps-mission-creep-just-took-giant-leap-forward/
Regarding point number two, (with other points to follow today) David Brooks says it very well when he says that, “In the first place, the Trump administration is not a Republican administration; it is an ethnic nationalist administration.”
Read more here: http://www.kansascity.com/opinion/opn-columns-blogs/syndicated-columnists/article129839729.html#storylink=cpy
Further, there are serious concerns Trump intends to use his elected office to further enrich himself at America’s expense. The following is not the kind of substantiated article I normally publish, but it does pose some interesting questions. And if Obama’s opponents can publish untrue articles about the coming of martial law and confiscation of their guns for 8 years, then every once in a while I’m going to publish an article like this one. If you said you were voting against Hillary because she would use her office to enrich herself, then this article says you made the wrong choice.
The nearest I ever got to the feeling I have today about this election’s results was when I was in the Army. I was working on a project to determine which of the Army schools would be assigned to develop a new weapons system. (This is called assigning proponency.) There are four Combat Arms schools in the Army. Two of those schools would clearly be inferior proponents. The other two schools were a toss-up, but plainly superior to the other two.
The system had been developed originally, however, at one of the inferior schools. The Four Star General who would make the proponency decision had been the commander at that inferior school when the weapon system was first discovered. That General felt that his old school had been cheated when the system had been assigned to another school for the development that had taken place so far.
So, the question was, would the Four Star put his parochial feelings aside and make the best decision for the Army and the weapons system? Or would the Four Star indulge his parochial feelings and make a decision to right what he felt was a wrong?
I must report to you that the Four Star indulged his parochial feelings. He went with his gut instead of his intelligence. The Four Star’s predecessor was legendary as a ruthless S.O.B. I despised the man, but on that day I wished I still had him in command because I knew he would have made the proper choice.
So, here’s the point of all that. Let me just say that if you are someone who voted for Trump, but are not normally dedicated to either party and its agenda, then my opinion is you voted with your gut and not your intelligence. You have made a colossal error in judgement. You have shot yourself in the foot. You are now admiring your marksmanship because the pain has yet to travel from your foot to your brain—but it will. It’s only a matter of time. Read, for example, this article from The Atlantic by former Bush 43 speechwriter David Frum. The article is chilling, a warning for the coming of modern day Feudalism in America. https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2017/03/how-to-build-an-autocracy/513872/ For many of you, this article may give you a moment similar to one in the movie Bridge Over the River Kwai. In the movie, the Japanese P.O.W. British Commander convinces himself he is doing the right thing by helping the Japanese build a railroad bridge over a river. Only at the last minute before English saboteurs blow up the bridge does he realize his error and says, “My, God! What have I done?”
Before the election, there were many who voted for Trump who kept their silence. Some might say they didn’t because they didn’t want other people to castigate them for that choice or try to talk them out of their choice. Looking back, I can say I had several people tell me they preferred Trump. Because I was primarily focused on voting reform, I didn’t try to talk them out of it. I looked on what they were telling me as research. Today, I wish I had.
When Trump won, there were many of the previously silent who came forward to gleefully acknowledge that they had voted for him. If you’re one of those people, then you may live to regret not only the vote but letting people know that’s how you voted. That’s because I predict that in the future people will point at you behind your back and shake their head. “Trump supporter,” they will whisper. You won’t want to be called a Trump supporter. You won’t want to because the term will be said with the same disgust and pitying low regard one might use with “child molester” or “animal abuser”. Think, too, of the loathing term “Nazi Sympathizer”, directed at those French citizens who cooperated with the Nazis during World War II and how they were treated once France was liberated. If you’re being referred to in that way, then you’re being seen as someone who should be shunned.
Now, at this point, I can guess what a Trump supporter is thinking. Why can’t people like me just let it go and accept Trump won? Here’s why.
To reiterate a concept I learned as a sales professional and described in Ezine #384, a voting decision is a buying decision. A buying decision is an emotional decision justified by logic. And what logic is required? Just enough logic to be able to explain to your friends why you bought what you bought. And your expectation is that your friends will (being your friends) nod their heads, smile and tell you what a good decision you made. If you can’t come up with the logic that will let you see that happening, then you don’t buy.
So, what is happening now, all across America, is this. Now that the election is over and Trump won, all the Trump supporters are “out”. They are gleefully describing for people the logic they used for deciding to vote for Trump. The reaction they expected to get was, “Gee, you’re smart. I didn’t think of the decision that way.” Or, “Darn, I wish I had done what you did.”
But Trump Supporters aren’t getting that reaction. The reaction they’re getting most is negative. Their “logic” is being rejected. And because the reaction is negative, they whine, (as I said before), “Why can’t you just accept that Trump won and move on?”
And the answer to that question is we can’t accept a man the majority (54%) of us rejected. A man we rejected not just for his policies but will do incredible damage to all aspects of America. We are appalled you couldn’t see that. And we’ll be polite and not use the word stupid, but we will say how incredibly uninformed, gullible, narrow-minded and short sighted you are. Oh, and by the way, if you’re a Trump supporter, then you need to come to grips with the fact that you might be the technical winner, but you are in the minority. There are more of us who voted against Trump than there are those of you who voted for him.
And don’t give me that bullshit that there were millions of illegal voters, because that’s exactly what it is—bullshit.
And we will remind you what you did by voting for Trump.
If you have a relative who fought in World War Two, Korea or Vietnam (especially WWII) then you betrayed them, their memory and/or their sacrifice. That’s because you voted for someone with the same tendencies your relative risked or even gave their life to defeat.
You voted for Russia’s preferred choice for President of the United States.
You proved yourself too gullible to recognize when you’re being lied to.
You knowingly voted for a sexual abuser.
You voted for a con man.
You voted for someone who was clearly mentally unstable. (Which is not an endorsement of your own mental acuity and stability.)
You say you couldn’t trust Hillary because of the Clinton Foundation? Did you miss the fact that the Trump Foundation is under investigation for its use as a slush fund? Yet the Clinton Foundation had been rated as top rated by an independent commission?
And of the two of them, which one released their taxes to public scrutiny and which one didn’t? Did you miss the stories about Trump, (who didn’t release his), and his possible conflicts of interest with certain Russian Oligarchs that could have been resolved by releasing the tax statements? (See the related links above) And if you have nothing to hide, then don’t you want to show everyone your hands are clean? So, if you don’t release your taxes, then doesn’t that infer your hands aren’t clean?
Some of you voted for Trump because you thought he would restore prosperity for all. Not a chance in Hell. https://egbertowillies.com/2017/01/20/robert-reich-explains-trump/
Others have made much the same points as I have just made here in an even more eloquent way.
John Pavolvitz Let the Record Show http://johnpavlovitz.com/2017/01/19/let-the-record-show/
We also know there are a lot you who believe there is no difference between Democrats and Republicans. That’s not so. We talked about several of them in Ezine #384. http://blog.thecenterstrikesback.org/?p=172 But there is one difference in particular I want to point out. This will explain to you why Republicans were and are so opposed to both Obama and Clinton, as well as any other Democrat.
Here is the one of the difference that matters most to a significant number of Republicans. (There are others, but we’ll focus on this one.) To get their enough voters to win, Republicans have formed an alliance with the anti-abortion crowd. The other members of the Republican Party, the Neo-Cons, the Feudalists and the Alt-Right, may not like the anti-abortionists, but they tolerate them. They tolerate them because that gives them the best chance to be elected to office where they can do the bidding of the corporate lobbyists by passing laws and approving budgets. There are at least two things wrong with aligning yourself with anti-abortionists.
The first is the anti-abortionists’ opposition is based primarily on their religion. The Constitution is clear that we will make no laws respecting the establishment of religion. Anti-abortionists base their opposition to abortion on their religion. Giving in to them means establishing a Theocracy. Giving in to them on this will not shut them up. They will simply go on to the next religious item they want to shove down our throats. You have to ask yourself, what will they want next?
The other thing Republican opposition to abortion is based on is that much of their membership are guilt givers. Guilt givers are people who make themselves feel good about who they are by making other people feel bad about who they are. As things like abortion, gay marriage and LBGT rights are more firmly established as acceptable in American society, the guilt givers are denied of more and more sources for their guilt giving. And, of course they want to defend their guilt giving by saying their religious rights are being infringed on. We say that if your religion calls for you to oppose sexual freedom, then you need to find a new religion. https://www.aplaceofhope.com/portrait-of-an-emotional-abuser-the-great-guilt-giver/
Most of our population supports keeping Roe v Wade as the law of the land. Democrats, Libertarians and Green Party all take that position. That makes up the 54% who voted against Trump. Yet, because 46% consolidated around Trump, Republicans get to pursue revoking Roe v. Wade.
So, there you have it. Republican opposition to Clinton wasn’t really because of Benghazi, or the emails or the Clinton Foundation. (Have you noticed that you haven’t heard a damn thing about any of those things now that Clinton lost? Or that Trump has no intention of “locking her up”?) Republicans opposed Clinton because they knew damn well that a Democratic President means they will never get their anti-abortion guilt giver legislation and Supreme Court Justices put into place. They weren’t sure about Trump, either, but at least there was some chance with him. The chances with Clinton were unquestionably zero. And the big business people who wanted to operate without regulations and with their tax loopholes went along so they could get the regulations rescinded and the loopholes continued. See anything in that agenda which will bring jobs back?
My hope all along has been that if we could get election reform passed, then we could get a third party going and all the moderate stable, smart Republicans would leave all these anti-abortion zealots behind to join or form a new party. But that has not happened and so here we are.
And why are all of us, on both sides, in this situation? There are two primary reasons.
The first is because our election system, particularly the ballot we use, let us down. In fact, it will always let us down. That ballot allows/forces political parties to nominate plurality winners. That ballot does not allow political parties to clarify whether a candidate is truly the consensus choice of the party, or whether the candidate is merely the leader of a motivated minority for a takeover attempt.
And once a candidate is nominated, as Trump was, then the party is stuck with them. The party has to rally around that candidate. There is no competitive third party for either Republicans or Democrats to go to with a reasonable expectation of winning. In this case, that meant that Republicans had to rally around Trump. And again, because of the ballot and the way we run the Electoral College, we are vulnerable to not having a majority winner. And again, our current election system means we will never have a competitive third party to vote for. We are, of course, wanting to fix that. http://blog.thecenterstrikesback.org/?p=132
Think of our situation this way. As we noted with paragraph 1 today, we are at the very end of the National Football League’s season. When the regular season ended there was the usual flurry of fired coaches. As the owners and General Managers came on TV to announce the firings, my wife noticed a curious thing. “They all sound the same. They are all saying the same things.” She was right. They did. And why? Because they were all agreed on the pursuit of the same goal. They all wanted the same thing. They just wanted to find someone better suited to get them where they wanted to go. Here’s what that means to us and our politics.
Politically, we have a different problem. We don’t agree on the goals we want politically. That’s why we have the conflict we do. And why don’t we agree on our political goals? Why aren’t we able to settle things like abortion once and for all? In actuality, if you read the book Culture War? we do have agreement among the majority of us about what we want vs. what we don’t want. But we are unable reflect that consensus in our elections because the ballot and the Election system we use will not let the majority of voters reach that agreement for the long term. https://www.amazon.com/Culture-War-Myth-Polarized-America/dp/0205779883/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1486233543&sr=1-1&keywords=culture+war+the+myth+of+a+polarized+america+3rd+edition
So, how do we get out of this mess? It starts with voting for people who will support Election Reform at both the state and Federal Level. I’ll be back to share more ideas with you, but I have some things to do for the next couple of months that will keep me from posting these as frequently as I might like.
I do post a lot of stuff on my Facebook page. What you may see instead of my essays is my publishing a collection of those postings. www.Facebook.com/TheCenterStrikesBack
Keep fighting. Please share this with others. We would love to have more readers and supporters of our ideas.
And always keep this in mind. Things aren’t going to get better until we do.
See you next time.