As a full-time activist, blogger, and radio show host, I live on the internet. social media, blogs, and news sites. They are my life. I find that the reach and ability to communicate en masse online is one of many tools instrumental in fomenting change with many.
My personal goal is to talk to and exchange ideas with all millennials and real progressive Gen Xers and Baby Boomers. I have found that one reaches a point of diminishing returns otherwise. And as my nephew tells me all of the times, ‘Hey tío, things will change when you baby boomers die off.’ He just may be right.
I was excited to see that my millennial buddy was encouraging other millennials to vote. He has stature with millennials because he does more than just posting or complaining. He teaches. He activates. He runs for office. He engages. He posted the following.
When we fight for policies that help people under the age of 35, politicians refuse to pass them because people under the age of 35 don't vote, therefore, we don't matter. The polls are open until 6 pm every day this week. I don't care who you vote for, but please go vote. If we don't vote, we don't matter.
After he voted he posted a message stating how difficult it was to make a choice. My heart sank because I knew it was painful for him. He mentioned that he spent a lot of time in the voting booth fighting between his head and his heart, Clinton or Stein. He ultimately made the right choice. The tone of his message was depressing. I imagine he took the message down for that very reason. By the time I responded, the message was gone so I started a new thread and posted the following.
A dear friend of mine said he was in the voting booth contemplating his vote between Hillary Clinton and Jill Stein. He said it was difficult. To him and to the scores of millennials like him and many of my baby boomer and GenX friends who know we need much more progressive policies than those being offered, I offer this.
Choosing who to vote for was easy for me. I have reached the stage in my life where I really mean what I say completely. It is not about personality etc.
My vote is a mechanical and mathematical calculation normalized for the best attainable policy outcome. No more. No less.
Politicians are not the ones I look up to. Not Hillary, not Obama, not Kennedy, none. When they do good things, I commend them. When they hurt the populace, I raise hell.
The American people, those deserving of praise based on deeds, are my heroes. Thus, picking Hillary Clinton based on the policies we are able, if we stick together, to extract was an easy choice.
I did not vote 'against' Donald J. Trump. I voted for Hillary Clinton. Now my (our) work begins.
My message drew the ire of a Republican millennial friend of mine. He posted the following.
Which policies of hers do you like?
I normally give short answers, but I wanted to get a bit deeper with this one. I responded with the following post.
I am glad you asked my friend.
(1) I have friends with pre-existing conditions who were unable to purchase health insurance. I have friends and family who cannot afford insurance on their own. Linda [my wife] knows women in Kingwood with Lupus who had it not being for the Affordable Care Act, would be dead today. Because our state chose not to accept the Medicaid Expansion to Obamacare and since health insurance is regulated by the states, our insurance rates and those in red states not accepting the Medicaid expansion for ideological reasons, are higher for everybody. Worse, because our citizens were denied coverage available, that we are already paying for with our taxes, and that cost the state $0 for the first 3 years and 10% going forward, many die like they do in third world countries without healthcare (corroborated by several studies). I find that morally reprehensible. She promises to fix it which was completely blocked by a Congress who cares more about the purity of an ideology as opposed to the well-being of the masses.
(2) My daughter will be amassing hundreds of thousands of dollars in Medical School if she continues to pursue it even as her goal is to provide medical care for the underserved. Millions of children including many here in Kingwood who I speak with at Starbucks all the time have had to forego college. Why? While baby boomers and many Gen Xers had affordable college education because of right sized higher taxes, Pell grants, GI Bill, and other helping up policies, the policies of tax cuts and service cuts over the years have hurt young people directly. She promises to provide free pay-it-forward tuition.
(3) She promises to take climate change seriously. This is not something we can play with. Those who profit from the industry that effect climate change are the same ones who will profit from its mitigation while the marginalized around the entire world pay for the rising seas, dislocation, and much more.
(4) She promises to help those who want to work but inhibited by child care. She wants to guarantee 12 weeks of paid family leave, something every industrialized and many third world countries understand it to be a family maintenance policy.
I could go on and on but I think you get the point. One of the reason I am asking my Republican friends to vote a straight Democratic ticket is that we need to get things done. We have suffered from a policy packaged well by a few who care about no one. I want to get one party in power where actions can be taken. Once we get them in, we the people of all party affiliations will extract what policies are best for us all. There will be no excuse of one party stopping progress. If the Democrats fail because of Democrats I will be ready to do the opposite, vote them to hell out.
My millennial Republican friend's reply was interesting.
I thought you were a Bernie supporter. She's the antithesis of Bernie and way too corrupt.
I assume he did not realize that Bernie and Hillary sat down to come to a workable give-and-take platform. I responded as follows.
I am still a Bernie supporter. She is really no more corrupt than the average politician. I have written a lot about her on that. That said, I think she has played the game like any other man has and I think there is a certain misogyny that judges her differently. I was a Bernie delegate in Philly. I can tell you that we got much of Bernie's platform onto hers. We intend to continue to fight for them. Look, my goal is not to vote for her and sit back. There is the President and then the Presidency. We intend to force the presidency to work for us all. Thanks for listening my friend.
When I communicate online I am cognizant that the dialogue is followed by many. As such, I am less concerned with changing the individual and more concerned about planting seeds in the psyche of the many that are reading quietly without commenting. Communicating while respecting without compromising one's values does have merit and encourages positive and effective dialogue.