My fellow Americans,

Today is a historical day. History is a narrative of events which have occurred and in our history, today is the 44th time a transfer of executive power will take place. Today is a historical day and there can be no argument that the transfer of executive power will occur.

History holds no views on value, of good or evil, righteous or wicked, conservative or liberal, but humans do. It is we, humans, who interpret and analyze historical events to be moral, to be ethical, and to be just. When voting for our elected officials, our representatives, we often vote based on what we stand for as defined by our morals, our ethics, and what we believe to be right. As reflected in the outcome of this last election, it turns out we Americans don’t really know each other.

Technology has allowed us to connect in ways I could not have imagined as a child. Our screens, our feeds, our devices, have made the world a much smaller place, but have also placed a great distance between us. It’s become easy to share small, surface moments with each other on a daily basis and it has become difficult to have deep, meaningful conversations. I don’t know you and you don’t know me. I want to change that. I want to know who you are, what you stand for, and what you care about in hopes I may become closer to you. That’s a lot to ask, so instead, I’ll start the conversation.

My hope is, by providing an introduction, you will do the same and we will be willing to have deep, meaningful conversations to truly know each other. Especially if we disagree. On this historic day, I want to share a a list of the things I stand for and care about. The list is not comprehensive or numbered in terms of importance, but a beginning to an introduction to me.

What I stand for

  1. Being one’s word. If I say it, I own it. If you say it, you own it. Words and language matter to me.
  2. Accountability in actions and in words.
  3. My children before myself.
  4. Basic Human Rights as defined in the Declaration of Human Rights (1948).
  5. Women’s Rights.
  6. Equal Access to Education.
  7. Equal Access to Healthcare.
  8. Equal Access to Justice.
  9. Fighting Climate Change.

What worries me

  1. Increasing statements or activities that infringe on the basic rights of humans. For example, “calling for a complete and total shutdown of Muslims entering the United States until our country’s representatives can figure out what the hell is going on.” infringes on these rights. The statement is in direct contradiction to Article 9 of the Declaration, that no one shall be subjected to arbitrary arrest, detention or exile. This conflicts with #1 and #2 of what I stand for.
  2. The continued devaluation of women. I believe in women’s rights of choice when it comes to their bodies, minds, and opinions and disagree with statements are counter to those beliefs. The belittling, sexualization, and reduction in rights of women is not ok. I have daughters who shouldn’t have to deal with behavior like his and a son who shouldn’t believe it’s ok.
  3. The continued role disenfranchisement plays in our society. Make no mistake, this is about controlling and maintaining power outside of the majority. It’s done so out of fear and weakness.
  4. I grow fearful of emboldening radical groups like ISIL, the KKK, etc. In my opinion, a non-denouncement is the same as an endorsement. In my opinion, not understanding why fellow humans join these groups prevents us from breaking them up. By emboldening these groups, it gives them onus to confront strangers, bully, and infringe on basic Human Rights. By continuing to ramp up rhetoric, we don’t de-escalate a situation. Blowing shit up, as proven throughout human history, is a temporary solution. I’d like to work on some multi-generational approaches as well.
  5. Climate Change. The impact climate change will have on future generations will be devastating. Believing climate change is a hoax, despite overwhelming scientific evidence otherwise, tells me you have higher priorities.
  6. Any one person declaring they themselves can solve everything. It’s demagoguery at best. At worst, it’s an attack on the checks and balances our system affords us. What makes America work (or not) is whether or not the people will hold those we elect accountable for the decisions they make, not one person to fix us.
  7. The continued devaluation of educating the American people. An informed and educated society is a powerful society.
  8. Incremental removal of the rights and freedoms our country provides us. The freedom of speech, the freedom of the press, the separation of church and state are part of our backbone. Even when we disagree, what makes America great is that we are free to do so. Beware the desire to remove that right when it is convenient for you, for it will come back to haunt you when no longer convenient.
  9. A rigged system. No matter what I’ve gone through, I’ve gone through it in easy-mode. I’m under no impression that I, as a white American male, have not benefitted from the current system. I want those same benefits of all regardless of class, race, religion, or orientation.
  10. A dividing gap between the rich and the poor. Draining the swap was originally used as a metaphor (from Democratic Socialists no less) of how to deal with Big Business. I’m fearful of the rollbacks of steps to try and deal with Big Business. Btw, this is really complicated. It seems we as Americans want both to fight against Big Business with our words, but contradict ourselves with our wallets. We want to fight Big Business with tax breaks, but want to bail out Big Business when employed under such.
  11. Increasingly polarized representation that doesn’t actually represent my values. We’re stuck in a two party system that doesn’t actually understand what Americans, as a whole. There is no middle ground to stand on at the moment. We might not like it, but we are also responsible for it.
  12. The loss of the middle class, the working class. Similar to the dividing gap of the rich and poor, the working class is the heartbeat of this country. I’m fearful the working class is being lost, but also that the working class wants to go backwards and not forwards. Again, it’s complicated.
  13. Proper care for our Veterans. Consistently, those in DC have not been providing comprehensive care for those who risk so much for our country. Either it’s “too broad and expensive” or “too narrow and not enough”. All I know is vets are hurting and we’re not doing much to help them.
  14. Thinking the complex is simple. Do you know why there is confusion between immigrants, refugees, asylum seekers, etc.? They’re not the same. Imagine needing to leave your home, your family, your customs, your language, simply to survive. Now imagine being told to go back because you’re different. The United States has a very complex history and I worry too many don’t understand it.

What doesn’t worry me

  1. The greatness of America. We have been and are great. Great is never perfect. Great comes with many flaws. We are great.
  2. The resolve of the American people. Whether celebrating or protesting, we Americans have unmatched determination in fighting for what we believe in.
  3. The power of the American people. We have and will continue to rise to the occasions we believe in.

So, those are some of the things I care about and don’t. I could write for a long time, but it’s time to stop. This is part of who I am and what I use to exercise my voting rights.

I’d like to become a better American and a better neighbor. This is an invitation to share and have deep, meaningful conversations, especially when we disagree. Will you join me in the conversation?

Becoming a better American neighbor

As reflected in the outcome of this last election, it turns out we Americans don’t really know each other.