1. Let’s just accept that no one is going to change anyone’s mind by Tuesday. Elections are not won by memes, loud arguments or name calling. They are won by whichever side gets the most people (in the right places) into a voting booth.
2. We are not having discussions, we are having political ads. Which we ignore until the “Skip Ad” button comes up. This is no way to discuss our future:
Person A: Our system for educating children is broken.
Person B: BUT ISIS OMG.
A great way to tell when the other person stopped listening is when they start name calling. Crooked, Lyin’, Goofy and, yes, even the one that pains us the most, the one we are taught to go for in the workplace and even in our family relationships: Racist.
Pick a weird vegetable and learn how to cook it. Call your mom and tell her how it went and then let her talk for an hour. She’s probably just as anxious. And she’d love to hear from you. Your life will be richer than if you just sat at your desk refreshing 538.
3. The greatest moments in our country’s history—Emancipation Proclamation, Civil Rights Act, Marriage Equality decision, the Moon landing—were also the results of A-level backroom wheeling and dealing or our unelected Supreme Court. But not party politics. They were about coming together—and scratching backs. LBJ famously gave out NASA pork barrel money to Republican states that would back the Civil Rights Act.
4. One of the shocking things for me this election was seeing how the worst thing one supporter could say about a candidate could also be used—with the same photo—in support of the other. Would you retweet this?
It’s a message from Republican Scott Walker. If I’d said it was a twitpic from Joe Biden that would change the share, but not the message. Why? Because we are having two different conversations.
5. Our tech overlords in Silicon Valley would say this election has great “user engagement.” Meaning the people who tweet and read articles and go to rallies are more likely to do so again and again and then share with their immediate circles. Did any of these users’ engagement over the last 20 years sway your vote?
6. We can choose not to engage in the outrage machine. It’s fun, I know—it’s like when a fight breaks out in the bar. You wanna protect the people around you. You want to see if you can help. Really you wanna get in there and be in the right when you throw a punch. It’s a great distraction. Even just to think about it. But distractions are what keep us from achieving goals.
7. In the time we’ve wasted on this election, you could have learned another language. So from now until the election: Read a book, play with your kids, call an older relative and ask them what life was like when they were your age. Pick a weird vegetable and learn how to cook it. Call your mom and tell her how it went and then let her talk for an hour. She’s probably just as anxious. And she’d love to hear from you. Your life will be richer than if you just sat at your desk refreshing 538.
8. “But this election could change at any moment!” —say the people who have you glued to your screens, giving them ad revenue. What’s the biggest bombshell all season? Whatshisface skeeved out his own daughter, someone failed Aleppo Jeopardy!, 2012’s best meme keeps the FBI working weekends and some hippie is also just another anti-vax loon. Did any of that really move the needle? No. Because elections are not won on television or rhetoric. They are won by the person who gets the most people (again, in the right places) to walk into a voting booth.
Forget the political parties, forget tax policies. What do you want for this country in the future? Is it great schools, a healthy economy? And can we talk about ways to get there together?
9. Each election is just “The Dress” all over again. We are more interested in knowing why what we see is right than why we might have something to learn from another person’s perspective.
10. Political “beliefs” don’t get us to the moon. The only way we are going to move forward as a nation and pay our firefighters and get clean water and energy independence is by dropping the name-calling and reaching out to those people we’ve muted on Facebook since last year. Forget the political parties, forget tax policies. What do you want for this country in the future? Is it great schools, a healthy economy? And can we talk about ways to get there together? How can we get more “Moon Landing” moments together?
Take the weekend for your damn self. Turn off your phone. Spend some human time with someone you love. Feel free to volunteer with any campaign on Tuesday. Elections are important. Go ahead and take a minute to realize that this is still the United States of America. We are the world’s largest economy, which is doing the best it has ever done. We have fewer uninsured, particularly among the children and elderly, because we come together and we care. Violent crime, murder and even the teen birth rate are down.
That’s because we continue not to be the greatest country on earth, but the country with the greatest potential. So forget politics this weekend, get as many people their voting info on Tuesday. Drive an old lady to the polls, just because. Maybe there are people in your Facebook timeline you wouldn’t want to be stuck in a moon capsule with. But wouldn’t you like to high-five them when you get there?
Learning to treat others like human beings is just one small step, but it would be a giant leap for mankind.