Voting Pro

Rights ought to be simple to explain, fundamental to living as a human among other humans, and applicable equally to all persons. They ought to describe the things you don't have to seek permission to do and the things one may never do to another.

And neither of the major parties gives a damn about them if you look at their actions rather than their rhetoric.

The simple kinds of rights: life, liberty, property aren't sexy. No one talks about them much. They don't slice people into voting blocs that take to the streets. They are a subtle sort of thing you only notice when they are absent.

A rare event in American elections occurs whenever you choose to vote for a candidate because that candidate most closely represents your values. The "pro" vote. Most of the time we get convinced that defeating a candidate is more important than who gets into office.

But consider who benefits by getting people to think that every election balances the nation on a knife's edge. Consider who gains when you put principle aside, time after time, to deal with each threat of disaster. And, looking back from a point years in the future, consider what would we give to have voted our values all along.

We can choose the game we are playing. And if we do, we can honestly tell ourselves, "this is not a problem I will struggle with. I'm playing the long game. I'm voting 'pro'."


Gary Johnson Makes Pitch to Burned Sanders Supporters

On Presidency, and Brushfires, and Stewardship

Avoiding the Temptation

This morning I am tempted to reflect on work first thing but since that's where my mind seems to want to go, and another part of my mind is feeling willful, I guess we're going to have to write instead about...

I Voted for Donald Trump

Yes, folks. The news based on in yesterday's Primary, is that he is motoring ahead. And a large number of people that I know actually got out to vote.

Many of them are also appalled.

I saw a couple of instances of wondering-in-public by people I know whether they know any people that voted for Trump. I saw one specific request by someone, whom I expect to be a liberal (as most of my friends and acquaintances are) to contact her if you voted for Trump. From what I know of her, she strikes me as capable of genuine curiosity so I can take the request as an earnest desire to understand.

I voted for Donald Trump.

Really, I voted for everybody. That's the same as voting for nobody but they don't give you a sticker for this. (That's fine. I don't need social standing on this. I prefer stickers bearing the names of startups on the cover of my Mac.)

You might ask why I didn't vote. Don't I care enough to vote against someone? Even Trump?

Virginia is an open primary state, which means that you don't need to register with a major party to vote in a primary. But you can only participate in one in any given year.

Here's my reason. You can't vote for anyone without holding your nose. And we don't have a vote-against system. We have a vote-for system. The last time I voted against someone, we got Obama-care and 8 long years of increasing racial tension in the United States.

(Though I voted for him in the Primary I didn't want Obama, who seemed at the time like the Prototype of a socialist-leaning Democrat, in office.)

Here's a grand irony: fans of Ayn Rand, the people whom I have connected with who call themselves "Objectivist", (which I still resemble... but I no longer accept as a label for myself).... They are in accord with the liberals on opposing Trump.

I can' t help but notice how easy it is to agree when you state what you stand against, and how difficult it is to agree when you say what it is you wish to move toward.

Maybe it's easier to see something bad when you can point right at it.

Much easier than trying to predict the future if we implement policy X or Y or Z (or all of them).

Life Under Donald Trump, Executive

I didn't vote because you have to hold your nose to vote for anyone. I couldn't convince myself that Trump had to be opposed because he was worse than Ted Cruz, whose election would be a step further down the road to American Theocracy.

No one on the ballot really wants to reduce the size and scope of government, and some wish to increase it.

Maybe this would be especially true of Donald Trump. If you'll pardon my ranting a bit... He might be able to slap that name on more doomed projects. At his age, with so many failed ventures, he is as close as we can come in our nation to *an expert at *spending other people's money. He'll fit right in in Washington!

There is a valid fear that the man has no boundaries or principles. That he would strain the constitution. Well... good.

Maybe the congress and the judicial branch will grow more mature in their stewardship of this country by getting some practice at performing checks and balances rather than aligning with their party and opposing the other guys.

Maybe after a disastrous and gridlocked Trump presidency, we will come to understand the error of our ways. We will respect the Office of the President more... And demand someone of appropriate stature to occupy that seat.

This is analogous to how the human body responds to threats.

We make the human body stronger by introducing stresses which do not kill us.

Weakened virus cells. Physical workouts involving lots of weight.

The body responds to this stress with immune response or hypertrophy to grow and overcompensate in order to handle the next instance of a similar challenge.

Organizations tend to respond in this way as well.

With this in mind... Maybe Trump will be the brushfire that prevents the wildfire. If he is the wildcard everyone expects him to be, maybe that will adjust the American psyche to reject unprincipled pandering in the future.

On Respecting the Office

What can you say about the last few that have sat there? "Leaders eat last" say thought leaders in the discipline of leadership, but I think most of the people on the ballot do not think of any person or mission before their own personal gain: power, prestige, money, hubris. And you can probably say the same about Bush and Clinton.

Yes, even Obama.
(I don't support his agenda or his programs, I guess that makes me a bigot)

Vice is so deeply associated with political office that the best among us would not even consider running for it.

Now I don't imagine myself to be the best anything. But my self-conception includes integrity. And I can't imagine a situation where a person with integrity can take the mantle of a position that seems to be ultimate power, therefore ultimate corruption.

I couldn't imagine a man like Jocko Willink wanting to run for President. Or Sam Harris. Or Tim Ferriss. They have better things to do and would probably disqualify themselves.

Does it take a lack of self-awareness to be delusional enough to think that being president seems like "the right thing to do"?

I want to respect the office because the men who occupy that seat are the most honorable sort. I want to be able to look back on the last 5 presidents and ask what they had in common, and the answers that I come up with are: they were stewards who were dedicated to liberty... and they refused fame and fortune after their time.

I will probably only find that in Brandon Sanderson's writings.