If you think America is politically divided now, just you wait. With so many Americans talking past each other as though the other was a despised enemy, our country's political shit sandwich will most likely upgrade to at least a Category II Shit Storm. Perhaps worse.
So I want to speak to folks on my side of the political continuum. I want to stress that I wish they had read the following article by David Wong about the Trump phenomenon before the election of 2016, listened to the two linked podcasts of interviews with Wong (one right before and one right after the election), and taken to heart the seriousness of the issues involved.
Unfortunately, my side of the political continuum has instead been wasting huge amounts of time and energy:
1) Fantasizing that Trump will be impeached (to leave us with President Pence! Yeah!),
2) Doubling down on proclaiming that large swaths of our fellow citizens are simply ignorant and racist and have absolutely nothing valuable to say. It is certainly true that ignorance and racism has been part and parcel of our country from day one. And it is certainly true that President Trump presents himself as both. That, however, in no way excuses demonizing masses of people that we don't actually know. Heck. Demonizing masses of people that we don't actually know is part of what we don't like about racism. Right? So let's just stop it. OK? And,
3) Going on and on about how horribly aggressive Russia was - Facebook posts, leaked (true) emails, fake political rallies - OH MY!!! I have two simple things to say about all of this:
A) If only we Americans could say that this was the worst we had ever done in interfering with other countries' self-determination. But alas. We cannot. We have done far, FAR worse.
B) America has, thru NATO, placed tanks on Russia's borders - a country that was invaded by (and stopped) both Napoleon and Hitler. Let's remove our tanks from their borders before continuing to whine about Russia attacking us with Internet Trolls. OK?
So instead of continuing to double down on these 3 political dead-ends, let's attempt to actually understand how we got to this political moment. These are the links to the David Wong article and interviews:
1st Podcast Interview (before election): http://www.cracked.com/podcast/trump-country-what-media-doesnt-want-you-to-know/
2nd Podcast Interview (after election): http://www.cracked.com/
The interview/ podcasts are overly long, but well worth it in the end.
Remember, we're looking at what will likely be at least a Category II Shit Storm. We've got to get a grip on what's going on here. These links will definitely help with that understanding.
Here is the County Election Map of the 2016 Election (Holy cow!): https://brilliantmaps.com/2016-county-election-map/
Now that you've read the article above and listened to the podcasts (you've done that, right?), please continue....
The Electoral College creates an over-representation of rural voters. This is how Trump won the 2016 election, by winning the rural vote hands down despite losing the popular vote by millions. The Electoral College is an outrageously undemocratic institution that was born from our aristocratic founders. Now that we have cleared that up, I've got something crazy to say:
I am in full support of the Electoral College continuing to exist for quite some time.
If America has had affirmative action for generations to attempt to level the playing field tilted by our racist past, then we can certainly continue the Electoral College for a couple more generations to attempt to level the playing field tilted by our long-standing prejudice against rural people.
If rural folks are going to supply the great majority of our food, our wood products, and our energy, then it seems only fair that they should have a larger say than the folks who have no earthly idea where our food, wood, and energy come from and who somehow look down upon the folks that do.
If we don't like the political ramifications of that, well then I pray we can find constructive approaches to reckon with our long-standing prejudices against rural people.
Doing a deep dive into where our food, wood, and energy come from is certainly one constructive place to start. Let's get to it.