I will if you will.

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Raise your hand if you are truly, sincerely, excited to vote for either Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump.

Okay, you folks with the raised hands, today’s post is not for you.

Now raise your hand if you expect you will vote for either Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump, because the alternative is too horrible to contemplate, but you REALLY don’t want to.

YOU FOLKS are the people I’m writing to today.

I have spent a number of election years voting for the lesser of evils, and I hate doing it. Can you relate?

And here we are, faced with the prospect yet again, only with astronomically more less and evil.

If you are anything like me, you may even have a candidate that you would actually prefer. Someone you think would make a good president, or at least someone you think would support what you value.

And you are deeply distressed that you can’t vote for them, because that would be throwing away a vote. And every vote AGAINST either Hillary Clinton, or Donald Trump, depending on your values, MUST COUNT.

If you are anything like me, every time you’ve voted for the lesser of evils, you’ve thought

“I KNOW there must be a lot of folks JUST LIKE ME, who want to vote differently, and if we could all band together we could probably even swing this election.”

But you can’t be SURE they will vote for the long shot candidate. So you can’t risk voting for the long shot either, or (say it with me) your vote will be wasted and THE WORST OF THE EVILS will be elected because you wasted your vote!

So you’ve voted the safe route.

I got to thinking this week though: what if we DID know  how many other people were going to vote for the person they REALLY want to vote for?

Would we feel braver about voting that way ourselves?

I would.

If I knew that 100 million people had pledged a write-in vote for Bernie Sanders, for instance, my choices about not voting for Ms. Clinton would be rather less stressful.

Then I thought, with the advances of technology, we CAN kind of know these things. We no longer have to depend on biased media polls. We could band together and stage an information revolution.

We have the technology. 

As we’ve talked about before, I’ve only got energy enough for fairly small revolutions at this point, but a small revolution just may be enough to solve THIS problem, at least.

So I have a proposal: I will if you will.

I say we set up a campaign with a pledge to vote for the REAL candidate of our choice. I’m happy to start the thing, but I’m equally happy for anyone else to do so if you have more time/energy/whatever than I have.

If I am going to do it, Bernie Sanders is my first pick, and if he declines, then Jill Stein is probably my next choice, but I am not going to make any final decisions on that until well after the democratic convention.

I imagine if you are very conservative you’ll probably want to do your own version, because my candidate likely won’t be to your taste. And that’s fine.

I do suggest that our odds are best if we have only one main progressive and one main conservative candidate, so we can gain a critical mass of those voters.

But ultimately, I want a system where EVERYONE can vote their conscience without fear; so do what you believe is right.

So, what do you think?

If there were  public pledge  to vote your real conscience for this one election, in hopes of beginning to change our political system,

and

you could see how many people had signed on before voting day arrives, would you be wiling to do join? 

We are not guaranteed success, of course.

Being true your beliefs, especially in a rigged system, necessarily involves some risk. People may not keep the pledge, even with all of us voting our conscience we may still not have enough votes … lots can go wrong, and we could still end up with a president we deplore.

But at least we will have fought that for real instead of contributing to it. And perhaps 4 years with the worst of evils would be worth it if we change our futures. But it’s a risk, no doubt.

I figure we can give it a shot, and see how things look by, say, mid October, and go from there.

Anybody else in?

If so, leave a note on the blog or on Facebook, and if I see some interest I’ll start the petition or campaign and get us rolling.

If you’ll both sign up on whatever forum we come up with, and also share it through your networks, we may just achieve something!

If anyone has the time / money / energy to do more than that, let me know. I’m happy to hand this over to someone more able to focus on it than I am just now.

 

UPDATE at http://somegracewiththat.com/i-will-if-you-will-update/ but if anyone wants to move forward with any sort of campaign, please do let me know!

I will if you will update

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Since I didn’t get much response on my offer to create an online campaign that would let folks track the number of people committed to voting for their preferred third party candidate, since Bernie Sanders refuses to be an option, and since online campaigning is DEFINITELY not my strong suit, I’ll put that aside as not the right investment of my time.

Not that I’m not still dedicated to changing the society I live in, especially the political system that has become a corporate version of our worst big-autocratic-government fears.

It’s just that I have to choose my battles, and I know my capacities pretty well. And a massive online campaign, while something I COULD do, if necessary and with adequate support, is not my ideal environment.

Which still leaves me with the election year question of Where do I go from here?

I certainly will not vote for Donald Trump.

And I don’t want to vote for Hillary Clinton.

I understand the fears of many, including my main man Bernie, that to vote outside The Two Party is risky.

And I certainly won’t just sit this one out and refuse to vote; that is far too precious a right to waste, even in this rigged system. (I did find this article nicely thought provoking. Not the right choice for ME at this time, but it’s a viable choice and I certainly agree that there are times when it may be the only way to vote one’s conscience.)

While I agree with Bernie that we need to focus far more attention on the NON presidential elections, and I’ll be doing a much better job of that henceforth, that is a big job, and I have only a limited capacity to do it, since I only live in one state, county, and municipality at a time, and have only so much cash with which to support campaigns.

So where DO I go from here? 

I happened into a very helpful article at just about this point in the quandary.

I tend to get all uptight about the election and think of it in terms of the fate of the world for the rest of eternity. And, yes, there ARE important, long term considerations at stake here, so it’s not that I shouldn’t be concerned.

But Ms. Funes’ article reminds me to have perspective, and not just the long-range-end-of-the-world perspective. Sometimes the smaller picture makes things more clear.

Yes, this election will have significant consequences. However, we’ll probably survive even the worst of the consequences of this election. And one bad president will not change the whole country. Nor one good one, for that matter.

Does that mean I’ll vote my conscience instead of taking the ‘safe’ choice?

I’m still not sure yet.

But it does mean I’ll calm the heck down a bit as I consider it.

And it means that whether I vote for the lesser of evils or not, I’ll do so with an eye toward my responsibilities AFTER that vote:

  • If Ms. Clinton wins, I am obligated to hold her to account for the public statements she has been coerced into by Bernie Sanders and his supporters.
  • If Mr. Trump wins, I am obligated to express my views as a voter  and work with the WHOLE of the US government structure to encourage him to support what I feel is right, and discourage him from making costly errors.
  • As a Christian, of course, I’m obligated to pray for either of them, AND for the work of Congress. I’m obligated to remember that God still has it all in hand. And I’m obligated to God’s commands on citizenship.

And as Bernie has reminded me, I’m responsible to look both beyond the Presidency, and beyond this, and any other election.

My government is a complex organism, and only by viewing it as a whole, and focusing on that whole, can I collaborate with the other citizens of my country to reform and restore it.

Sense, lies, and lesser evils.

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If we do nothing else right this year, can we please just stop lying about our lesser evils?

Maybe a ‘Friends don’t let friends vote on denial‘ campaign?

Sure, the candidates’ staff needs to lie about them – that’s why they make the big bucks. And maybe their few TRUE supporters have a good rationale, too.

But the rest of us, who never signed on for these candidates?

WE have no business spouting nonsense in order to make it less appalling to vote for them!

That’s a lot of what got us into this mess to begin with! We’re already reaping the consequences of a few decades of lazy, full-blinders-ahead voting; let’s not make this worse.

Within hours of Hillary Clinton snagging the Democratic Nomination disturbing drivel began cropping up about how her crimes, voting record, and general approach as a power-hungry 1%er should be overlooked.

She’s only human…

Nobody is perfect ….

Everyone makes mistakes…

Are you kidding me?!? 

Yes, Hillary Clinton is human, and yes, every imperfect one of us makes mistakes.

But Ms. Clinton’s choices were not mistakes. They were intentional breaches of ethics, and securing the privilege of her peers and financial backers over the needs of the American people.

It isn’t necessary to lie about that, even if I feel I have to vote for her!

She hasn’t earned my respect or trust, so why should I stand out in the heat whitewashing her record? Madness!

Yes, there are legitimate reasons to vote for Hillary Clinton.
But let’s be real:  The most compelling one is,

She’s not Donald Trump.

  • She’s reasonably less likely to drop us into a completely unnecessary war (or three),
  • far less likely to incite jihadists to attack the United States, and probably even has some deterrent effect,
  • she won’t actively work to destroy our climate,
  • and she can be fairly effectively bludgeoned into not shoving our best shot at decent quality health care and living wages off a cliff.
And that’s about it!  Her biggest asset is the Republican nominee, and we all know it

 

Along with the ‘Hillary is only human’ bilge, came the statements about Donald Trump being ‘the Christian option’.

Or ‘not meaning it the way it sounds’ when he says (numerous times, vulgarly, unrepentantly, over decades) that he claims the right to sexually use and harass women as he chooses.

Or that his lifelong history of privilege, lying, exploiting tax loopholes, and gaining the most profit possible for himself at the expense of his workers and the American people, has no bearing on his legitimacy as The Champion of the Common American.

Are you kidding me?

NOTHING about Donald Trump could possibly be considered representative of Christianity, and every literate Christian with a Bible knows that. And no logical person thinks Mr. Trump is going to champion our rights over his privilege.

So let’s be HONEST about it!

If you feel you must vote for Donald Trump, because

  • you believe that God is bound to the American Republican Party,
  • you genuinely believe legislation is the way to reduce abortion and trust Mr. Trump to keep his word once he’s got your vote,

or ‘He’s not Hillary Clinton.’

 

then SAY THAT!

Don’t make Mr. Trump something he isn’t, or ignore all the awful things he (proudly) is, just because you see no choice but to vote for him!

It’s okay to be honest about lesser evils.

Actually, for those of us who are Christians, it’s not only okay, it is Biblically required.

And perhaps as importantly, it’s the only strong position to take.

If we excuse away the very legitimate things we don’t like, or respect, or trust about these candidates, we risk forgetting what we find unacceptable, and just blindly supporting ‘My Candidate right or wrong‘ rather than holding them to account.

So we never get better options.

Alas, I may vote for Hillary Clinton next month.

But that doesn’t require my excusing her past, OR accepting it as ongoing behaviour!

If anything, it requires holding on to a crystal clear understanding of where she falls short, because I never again want to find myself in this voting situation, and that will take some hard work!

Be well. 

Election day.

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It is FINALLY here!!!

After 18 months or so of drama (not to say horror) one way or another tonight it ends.

Thank God.

Oh sure, we may have yet more drama, vote re-counts, even, God forbid, law suits or Donald Trump storming the White House regardless of votes.

But our decisions have been made!

Our votes have been cast.

Our agonising (at least on that front) is OVER!!

(Though, if you’ve not yet voted GO VOTE!)

And now the real work begins!

I don’t know about you, but I never (ever, ever) again want to experience an election with two candidates of this… er… quality.

And I learned a lot during this election about avoiding this in future – mainly, alas, that we can’t wait until the election year to start making changes!

Citizenship seems to be a year ’round obligation.

But it’s worth it!

We are worth it, and our country is worth it!

One thing I can do today, before a single exit poll is announced, is to obey the call to action of my man Paul, in 1st Timothy:

First of all, I ask that you pray for all people. Ask God to bless them and give them what they need. And give thanks. You should pray for rulers and for all who have authority. Pray for these leaders so that we can live quiet and peaceful lives—lives full of devotion to God and respect for him.

A quiet and peaceful life sounds awfully good to me! 

Let’s transform our country, and our political system, into something that WORKS.

 

 

Be well.  

Hope, civility, knowledge: Love STILL Wins.

              

I found this article remarkably hopeful.

There IS much we can do!

Post-Fascist Europe Tells Us Exactly How to Defend Our Democracy

Have your passports ready, watch your language, and other advice from a Yale history professor.

 

If you are nervous, unsure, or even appalled in considering the next four years, give some time to this sensible, encouraging, information. The reference to the Holocaust Museum alone is worth the price of admission. 😀

While the comparisons to early Nazi Germany in this election year had not escaped me, I’m ashamed to say the GOOD NEWS in that had!

We have been here before! Yeah, it’s scary to think we didn’t learn ALL our lessons then, but we do still have those lessons to learn from.

And that can make all the difference, if we only use the lessons and learn.

 

Be well.