I recently watched an emotional and informative video, wherein media star Megyn Kelly interviewed 4 of her previous co-workers at Fox, 3 of whom, along with Kelly, had been sexually harassed at that network. And Kelly accused CBS, NBC, NPR, Hollywood, etc., of the same behavior.
My most potent takeaway from the video was the terrible choice these women had to make, the choice between the shame of going along, saying “Yes” to the harassment for the sake of their incomes and careers, and the pain of saying “No”, knowing that no was tantamount to a deadend career, and likely loss of near-term income.
My wife and I lived and worked in Silicon Valley until 2008 when we moved back to Colorado. California was a one-party state then, and is even more so now. And the much ballyhooed tolerance of that party does not extend to tolerance of different ideas. Even then, you could not take anti-currently embraced positions at work without risking ostracism and fearing that you were creating a career cul-de-sac. That was true with both the boss and the lunch room crowd. If you had deeply held moral and values-based positions on key topics that differed with the group, you needed to either shut up, or pretend to agree. Feel the shame of compromising yourself, or suffer the pain of paying for them.
That is the subject of today’s 10-minute episode.
On the eve of the Presidential election in 2016, the widely held view was that Hillary Clinton was going to win walking away. After all, deplorables were at the core of Trump’s support, and there could not be that many of them. Could there? Question. What happened? What really happened in 2016? Answer. Nothing. And we’ll get to that.
If you want a reminder of how stunned, horrified, actually, the mainstream media and the candidate herself were after a decisive electoral victory by then President-elect Trump, go look at some post election videos. They show far more than deep disappointment with a consequential loss; the videos of newscasters and the candidate reflected the revelation of a tragedy of monstrous proportions, a tragedy that was completely and totally unexpected. The oft-shown video of a young woman desperately screaming “Nooooooooooooo!” at the news sums up the losing reaction.
After a time of weeping and a great gnashing of teeth, those on the losing side rallied to come up with an explanation for the unexplainable. A great number of Trump voters were, well, sexists, racist, xenophobes and Islamophobes. There were less educated, pissed-off, and, in their anger and ignorance, bought into Trump’s callously calculated message.
But Will, how does that explain the wildly inaccurate polls? The easy answer is that those polled were so embarrassed at their known-to-be-shameful reasons for voting Republican, that they were ashamed to reveal that part of themselves to pollsters, even though the pollsters were total strangers, and often those being polled were told that their responses would be anonymous. That explanation is pure nonsense.
The real reason is that most of the media had told them, repeatedly and in no uncertain terms, that they should be ashamed of voting Republican. “Voldemort Votes Republican”, or so claimed a bumper sticker I saw at the San Francisco airport in 2016. These voters were in no way ashamed of voting for their preferred candidate, but many of them did not want to take a chance of being judged even by an anonymous pollster, so they took the easy way out and lied. A Klingon Bird of Prey (greeting to Star Trek fans) cannot fire cloaked; it must uncloak before it can fire its weapons. In the same way, the Republican voters would have needed to uncloak before they could respond honestly, so many remained cloaked. And the secret ballot allowed them to remain cloaked. There might have been some slight shame in lying to the pollsters, but it seemed better than the perceived pain of being seen as, well, as deplorable.
So, back to the answer, my claim that nothing happened. Millions did not change their minds the moment they voted. They were the same people with the same thoughts they had when they were polled. They were simply, and understandably, too cowed to fess up.
Question. Why is this a topic? Answer. If people are shamed into lying to poll takers, how on earth are we going to have productive conversations with those very people? If the prevailing, dominating, thought pattern in a state or in the news or in any group is intolerant of any diverse thinking, how are we ever going to come together?
Or is coming together the goal at all? For all too many, the goal is to silence, to cancel, opposing thoughts. I win, you lose. Re-writing the First Amendment to mean allowed speech instead of free speech. And using repeated allowed speech thoughts and slogans to bully those who have different views into being silent. And eventually to give up altogether. With the opposition cowed and silent, claim that democracy works, that the voters have spoken. And do all that with a straight face.
Speaking of goals, let’s return to a recurring Revolution 2.0™ thought; common goals. If we start conversations, start our own thinking, for that matter, with a search for common goals, rather than claiming what is the right thing to do, so many problems and confusions melt away. For example, in pre K-12 education, what is the goal, not what should we do next. For example, the goal might be having the best pre K-12 education with the most efficient use of taxpayer dollars. Too many conversations on this subject start with conclusions like raising more money for traditional public schools is the one thing to do. Or, conversely, pushing supposedly superior charter schools. Agree upon common goals, and it is very possible to find them if we try, use facts, courts call facts evidence, and apply non agenda-based reasoning to those facts to reach the common goals. And, voila, things begin to work.
Now, if you please, give me your thoughts. I, and many others, are interested.
Bonus question; What are the 5 parts to the First Amendment?
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Will Luden, coming to you from 7,200’ in Colorado Springs.