(I’m going to save my f-bomb for the end on this one [see apology here].)
Last night I played poker with a group of educated, white, suburban men (mostly republicans) and they are universally voting for Hillary. It wasn’t even a topic of debate. So that made me feel pretty good.
But here’s what really made me start to feel good yesterday…
Actually…stay with me. We’re going to have to cover a few different topics on this one. We’re going for a ride.
Topic #1: My marriage
Shani and I have this…agreement. She handles all the worrying. She worries at me and I tell her: “ahh, it’ll be fine.” However, this agreement only works because I don’t worry about anything. Which is why this election is so messed up. Shani worries at me, expecting reassurance, and I can’t do it. I’m barely holding myself out of the pit of gloom and doom. I can’t add the weight of her worry on top of mine and I certainly don’t have leverage to pull her up.
It’s a mess.
Topic #2: W.B. Yeats
Yeats wrote a bunch of cool poems about the end of the world. He believed that every 2000 years mankind destroys itself in a catastrophic bloodbath. In fact, Yeats described the birth of Christ (year 0) as the last one to occur.
In other words, Yeats would say we’re about due to destroy ourselves. He described that event in a poem called The Second Coming that my friend Ed Gallagher recently posted on Facebook. The poem describes that destruction as a time when “the best lack all conviction while the worst are filled with passionate intensity.”
That line has haunted me every time I see the euphoric glory of people at Trump rallies (Jew-S-A! Jew-S-A!). While at the same time the John McCains and Paul Ryans are MIA. The church leaders are silent.
Topic #3: American Democracy
Here’s how our democracy works:
100% of Americans bitch about politics and the issues. It’s our fundamental, God-given, Constitutionally-created right in America to express disgust at politicians and the government. ALL Americans exercise this right.
54% of Americans actually take the time and effort to vote for President.
36% of Americans actually take the time and effort to vote in elections without a President being decided.
Then there are the people who actually run the country. That’s about 1%.
The direction of our government is not a product of the general population. Yes, everyone has opinions, but that’s pretty much where it ends. It’s really just a handful of people who actively participate in the creation of policy.
You know these people. They’re the ones who have looked into the details of the laws being passed in your area. They go to those awful, tedious town meetings. They run for school board. They’re the ones organizing events at your school and getting everyone else to help out.
This 1% of people have enormous and far-reaching impact while the rest of us sit on our asses and bitch.
Want to know how I learned this? My wife taught me. Hang on, I’ll show you.
7 years ago, Shani was really worked up about nutrition in our elementary school. She was bitching about it and so were lots of people.
Then one night I came home to find 6 moms around my dining room table. In her jittery, friendly, adorable way, Shani was leading a meeting on what to do about nutrition.
Next thing I knew I was at the school for a “work weekend” with dozens of volunteers building this incredible garden. Those moms had gotten the lumber and plants donated. They organized rotations for watering and weeding. It was amazing.
Every grade incorporated the garden into their science curriculum and had classes outside. The school started having “salad day” every month. This all happened in less than a year and it all continues to this day.
2 years ago, Shani really started getting more and more upset by all the shootings. Like a lot of people, she was bitching about the NRA and the need for better gun control…but Shani doesn’t just bitch about stuff. That’s not how a one-percenter rolls.
She got involved in a group called Moms Demand Action. She went to meetings. She started making calls to organize volunteers. She went to a march in Brooklyn. She’s organized events in our town.
And I’ve watched Shani and a small group of other one-percenter moms achieve remarkable things. They got Kroger’s (big grocery chain in the south) to officially prohibit guns in their store. They’ve affected legislation in states and towns across the country. They’ve been labelled “the NRA’s worst nightmare” in the press. Democrats in Congress (who for years wouldn’t even say the words “gun control” out loud) staged a sit in. In the 3rd presidential debate, Hillary Clinton spoke their “sensible gun control” talking points word-for-word.
One percent. That’s who gets things done. Which brings me to my overall point and hopefully brings these three topics together….
When it comes to this election, my wife is doing more than just worrying. Oh, she’s been bitching about Trump…but then after the “grab ’em by the pussy” video came out, Trump put out a snarky little tweet. And that did it.
Shani’s been making calls for the campaign for weeks — recruiting volunteers, organizing voters, getting shit done. She’s been out canvassing on weekends, going door-to-door and in her jittery, friendly, adorable was making the case for Hillary Clinton and making sure Trump doesn’t get anywhere near the White House. In fact, Shani is literally canvassing in the Philly suburbs as I write this.
Yes, I’m afraid to inform you, Mr. Trump – you human shitstain, you asslick, you fecal mass — the best do not lack conviction in this election. The destruction of the world will have to come another time. You will lose, you will go back to your chintzy tower, and you will become irrelevant. My wife is making sure of it — and as I think of that it melts the dread away for me.
I know that was a lot to take in, so let me wrap all this up for your little twitterbrain…
@realDonaldTrump: You pissed off my wife, which means that