Come Together, Right Now

illustration of Russian flag being inserted into American ballot box

Hey Everyone. While I will continue writing about user experience topics, occasionally I’m going to get political. This is one of those times. But there is usually at least a smidge of UX and problem solving in politics, so I’m still staying with the overall theme I guess.

And to forewarn you, I am a liberal. But don’t let that dissuade you from continuing to read. I have plenty of conservative friends — we get along fine. We see the world differently, but it’s good to see the world through others’ eyes every so often. And while my views are liberal, my political writings will try to be fair to the reality of the situation. Anyway…

Of Utmost Importance

I was listening to NPR about a week ago, as NPR is what my alarm clock wakes me up to. Everyone on NPR seems to have very soothing voices — it’s nice to wake up to them. Anyway, the NPR news person was talking about Mueller’s Russian Investigation. The main gist of the story was that Americans are tiring of the investigation. John Oliver even did a segment on it. Upon hearing this, my shock and anger woke me up a little faster than usual that morning.

It’s fine to be tired of the Russian Investigation. I mean, I’d probably get tired of eating pizza if that’s all I had the option to eat. It would take awhile. But I can see it happening. So I can definitely understand tiring of a news story that may not be the most interesting and seems to drag on forever. I get it. But the Russian Investigation itself is vitally important. Every American should care deeply about the investigation.

Let me preface what I’m about to say with this. I don’t care if Trump is guilty. I don’t care if Trump gets impeached. This isn’t about Trump. This is about our democracy and country. If you care about our constitution, our freedoms, and the American way of life, then you damn-well better care about this investigation.

The Destruction of a Democracy

The most fundamental aspect of our Republic — representation of the people, by the people — may have been undermined by nefarious Russian and American actors. We absolutely need to see this investigation through to its end. We need to know what happened and how to prevent it in the future. This is what the Russian Investigation is really about. You may not be all that interested in the investigation and its slow-moving developments. That’s fine. But you should be 1000% in favor of Mueller finishing this investigation and prosecuting any and all wrong-doers. The integrity and stability of our democracy is at stake. Unless we find the extent of meddling in our elections and how it was done, we will be at risk of losing our democracy and country as we know it.

We need to prevent further undermining. We need to put country above tribalism and demagoguery. If we continue to ignore the gravity of this investigation, we deserve to lose our rights and freedoms. No one person and no political party is more important than the tenets of our democracy. Please support this investigation. Even if it finds nothing more, it is worth seeing the investigation through.

We’re All in This Together

I have a few other quick thoughts that I’ll write more on later. But I want to remind everyone, left or right, that Trump (like any president) is temporary. Leaders come and go. Opinions and social norms evolve. Things change. But as people, as human beings, we’ll always have more in common that unites us than divides us. We all have families. We have all dealt with illness. We have lost loved ones. We’ve had money issues. We love. We lose. We feel joy. We feel sorrow. We feel everything between. We have so much in common. We need to stop being so divided.

Let’s throw aside our tribal attitudes and work together on common needs. Let’s fix the things we agree on, and compromise on things we don’t.

Politicians and cable news thrive on our divisiveness. The more divided we are, the more power over us they gain and the more money they make. Our politicians want to stay in power and our media wants to make money. The more divided we are, the more captive their audiences, the easier it is to achieve their control. We can, however, break this controlling influence.

Aside from empathizing and compromising with each other more often, we need to enact three fundamental changes, ordered by importance (and I’ll write in more detail on these in later posts):

  1. Get money out of politics. Without money in politics and without lobbying, the laws of our nation would actually reflect the will of its people, not the will of its corporations.
  2. Eradicate gerrymandering. We can only obtain true representation of the people, by the people when voting districts contain all walks of life, representative of the local population.
  3. Publicly fund elections. If elections were publicly funded and candidates didn’t have to raise billions of dollars, high-value donors couldn’t buy our politicians’ votes.

This is all I have for now. Hopefully it all makes sense and doesn’t sound like rambling. Even if you don’t 100% agree with what I say, I hope you realize the importance of the topics addressed in this post. And just because we may disagree on some things doesn’t mean we need to hate each other and can’t work together. As I said before, there is far more that unites us than divides us. Let’s throw aside our stubbornness and let’s compromise to achieve substantial change. Remember that very few politicians are on our side. They’re in it for themselves and the payoffs. We regular folk need to stick together to prevent the political system from taking advantage of us.

Thanks for reading. As always, contact me if you want to chat more.

PS: Since I wrote this post, the immigration concentration camp issue has blown up. It’s abhorrent, and I can’t believe our country is allowing it. I’m very sad for all the families our actions are affecting. I’m ashamed of our politicians that are facilitating this. I’m also sad for their constituents, who most I assume don’t approve of their actions (or lack thereof). I want to remind my conservative friends that it’s okay to disagree with the conservative politicians you voted into office. I very much disagreed with Obama’s frequent use of drones. I believe the collateral damage from those operations have hardened terrorists against the US even more.

So it’s okay to stand up to and constructively criticize those you voted into office. It’s actually great to do that. It’s how change happens. Trump and other republicans are going to listen to conservative voters more than they will listen to me and fellow liberals. If you’re a conservative voter and disagree with the human rights abuses and family separations happening in our immigration facilities right now, please write your congress persons. You don’t have to approve of illegal immigration to disapprove of the abuses and family separations happening on our shores and at our borders.