I wrote a personal essay a few months ago about the toxicity of the confrontation-style of politics in America today, and the need for balance in our lives and positivity in our civic engagement. I wrote then about the negative consequences of being consumed by the political fight. I’ve been thinking a lot about that topic again today, in the wake of the shooting in Alexandria, Virginia.
The Virginia assailant appears to have been an extreme case of someone who was totally emotionally consumed by the political fighting. He was so wrapped up in it that he slipped the bounds of reality into a clear state of insanity. While his is an extreme case, his story holds a lesson for us all.
It’s time to end the nasty “us versus them” confrontation-style political engagement that has become the norm in our country. It’s not good for our country, and it’s not good for us as individuals. Let’s focus our efforts on positive forms civic engagement to make our communities and country better. Let’s come together and help each other and help our country.
We are all Americans.
I’m not going to go on and on here, but I hope you’ll check out the links below to pieces I’ve written in the last few months on this subject.
I like to sit by my beehive in the garden and do my thinking. It’s my thinking spot. Every now and then, I’ll fire up Periscope and share some of what I’m thinking about.
Earlier today, I made this video with some thoughts about the recent controversy regarding Kathy Griffin, positivity, the upcoming Comey hearing on Capitol Hill, and of course, my bees! Check out the video. Here’s the YouTube version. ->
UPDATE 4/1: My essay has been published at The Daily Beast. (I sent it to them before I posted it on Medium…didn’t think they were going to run it, so I went ahead on Medium. Anyway, it’s both places!)
There is so much division and fighting in politics today, and all of that negativity isn’t good for us as a country or as individuals. I know, first hand. In my book, NO HOPE: Why I Left the GOP (and You Should Too), I wrote about my experience in politics. I described what I was thinking and how my political thought evolved through that experience. What I didn’t write about then is the negative effects that my being totally consumed by the negativity of the political fight had on me personally, emotionally, physically, and materially. My essay today is the first time I’ve talked about those things, and how I set out to change my life and the way I engage in my civic participation.
I’m going to be writing and speaking out more about the need for all of us to strike a positive balance in our activism, humanitarianism, personal enrichment, and diverse ways to help people and change the world. Stay tuned…..
While we should doubt the authenticity of some of John Podesta’s emails that were stolen by the Russian government and leaked by Wikileaks, we have learned a lot about what goes on behind the scenes in Clinton-world from them. This week’s story about Clinton insider Doug Band and “Bill Clinton Inc” confirmed for political outsiders something that we have always known. The political and economic elite work to enrich themselves and their friends.
I’ve never met Doug Band, but I suspect he’s like most insiders who have made it in the establishment system. I’m sure he’s never had an original thought or idea, but he knows the right people. He’s an inside the box thinker who plays by all the rules, and kisses all the right asses. He’s the embodiment of what most Americans hate about the political and economic system.
The Doug Band story will hurt the Clintons politically because all politics is personal, and the story really hits home of a lot of us outsiders. It’s personal for us because we know that well-connected people like Band rake in millions, while the rest of us struggle for survival. The story reminds us of the barriers that slam us every day in our quest for the American Dream. We are reminded of all the unreturned phone calls and emails, and all the job applications that aren’t even acknowledged. It reminds us of our desperate search for a break that seems like it will never come. The story reinforces our belief that only those in “the club” will ever succeed in this country. Continue reading “What Wikileaks Confirms for Us Outsiders and What We Can Do About It”
I wrote in my book, No Hope: Why I Left the GOP (and You Should Too), that I voted for Gary Johnson in 2012. I did that because I couldn’t bring myself to vote for Mitt Romney. I know a lot of people are thinking of voting for Johnson this year because they can’t vote for Trump.
For many of those voters, they don’t see Hillary Clinton as an option because she’s always been their political enemy and they don’t think they can trust her. I wrote this piece about my journey to seeing that she is the best candidate for president, and I trust her. Here’s how I came to see I could trust her by trying to put myself in her shoes:
The final part of my Clinton evolution was more personal. It was when I realized that she’s a good person with honorable intentions. I did that by trying to put myself in her shoes. It wasn’t very hard to do because, like Clinton but on a much smaller scale, I’ve been attacked by political enemies during most of my career. As an openly gay former Republican activist, I’ve been attacked by the anti-gay segment of the right who aren’t tolerant of gays, and by some LGBT people on the left who have called me a traitor to the cause.
Political attacks are part of the business and I let most of them roll off my back, but the ones that actually hurt my feelings are the ones that question my motives or intentions. Those attacks often times allege that I do certain things or take a particular position in order to gain money or attention, or that I have a secret hidden agenda. The truth is, in everything I do, I just want to help people and make our country better.
That’s what motivates Hillary Clinton, too. By reflecting on my experience, I came to see that most of the attacks Hillary Clinton over the years have created a false narrative about her motives. That’s when I concluded that I could trust her. While there will be times when I disagree with her on specific policies, or question her strategies or tactics, I trust her because I know that she’ll do what she believes will help people and make our country better.
Many of you know that I have decided to support a Democrat for president for the first time in my life. (My endorsement of Hillary Clinton.) I’m not the only one! There are a lot of us. I have added my name toa listof prominent Republicans and independents who are supporting Hillary Clinton this year.
We are presented with two very different visions of America, and the stakes couldn’t be higher. This election is fundamentally about who we are as a country, and it’s so important to speak out and do whatever we can to elect Hillary Clinton president. Staying on the sidelines isn’t an option. That’s why so many of us are standing with her Together for America. I hope you’ll join us.