Well, you wonder why I always dress in black
Why you never see bright colors on my back
And why does my appearance seem to have a somber tone
Well, there’s a reason for the things that I have on
I wear the black for the poor and the beaten down
Livin’ in the hopeless, hungry side of town
I wear it for the prisoner who is long paid for his crime
But is there because he’s a victim of the times
-Johnny Cash, “Man in Black”
It’s always going to take more than wearing a suit of black to make a difference.
I’m not going to analyze the data of the vote. There are countless people doing that. Most of them are probably wrong. I’d rather just complain about the 50% of citizens that didn’t vote, that couldn’t be bothered. Regardless of who won, the winner would have be selected by a quarter of the eligible voters. That strikes me as rather pitiful.
Of course, some portion of this is a direct result of gutting the Voting Rights Act and various voter suppression laws across the nation. Nearly 10,000,000 fewer people voted than in 2008.
Disaffected millennials struggling in today’s economy also did not vote, many because they already believe their vote doesn’t matter. They don’t trust the Electoral College just because it is *possible* that some elector(s) may be faithless. Those that aren’t engaged with political news, or news beyond the Facebook feeds, feel the whole government is corrupt and the choice is between higher taxes and subsidized services or lower taxes and unsubsidized services, so why does it really matter?
Why does any of it matter?
Did the Boomers and GenX do a poor job teaching about the collective nature of society? Or is “collective” too much of communistic word and out of style? I guess “social compact” is better, but a compact generally is an opt-in kind of thing. Maybe we have forgotten to explain, or even just plain forgotten, that by remaining citizens we are opting in to the compact and if we don’t like the compact we are free to seek amendments through politics and governance. What I see with some of the young people I know, they have essentially opted-out of the process without understanding the process is everything.
Of course other millennials are highly engaged and involved. Variance exists.
I’ve had enough conversations with conservatives over the years to know that one of their biggest issues is that they want their ideas and beliefs respected. Ignoring that, trampling those beliefs has always had risks.
I was telling a friend tonight about how my son injured himself every single campout with the scout troop for nearly four years. One minor case of frostbite, numerous cuts and gouges, and several broken bones. Most were accidents, the others exercises in useless male stupidity. For example, he earned a “boxer’s break” on his right for punching his tent – as it lay on the hard, frozen ground. As I relayed this, my friend asked:
“Why do men do that sort of thing?”
“All I can say is that anger and frustration leads to the desire to destroy something. As a Paul Muad’Dib says in Frank Herbert’s Dune, ‘He who can destroy a thing, controls that thing.’ So, practicing destruction becomes a demonstration of control. And it seems pathetically stupid to me.”
“You took the words right out of my mouth.”
Unfortunately, in anger and rage I have done pathetically stupid things. (It may be a gender thing, but I think not as I have anecdotal evidence otherwise. Of course they may be outliers.)
There is a lot of anger and rage out there. It may not always be rational or earned, but it is there nonetheless. We’ve now seen it on the macro-level. But millions of non-white Americans or LGBTQ or somehow just different or new experience it at the micro-level every day. We, including me, must take action to change this.