It’s Time for Some Extreme Ownership

Thanks to the nuttiness that is the 2016 campaign for President the citizens of the United States have entered a zone of extreme divisiveness. We’ve always had disagreements and ideological divides, but over the past 2o-ish years it’s gotten progressively worse and what we’re experiencing now feels, to me, like the apex (or nadir) of our division. Our discourse is largely toxic, our rhetoric biting and our empathy almost non-existent. When the topic turns to politics people look like they could literally spit on each other’s shoes. It’s really bad.

By now we’ve all heard the arguments and justifications for each of the candidates, and we’ve either largely accepted them or dismissed them. Now that we’re in the final stages of the campaign we’re starting with the, “Well if my guy/gal loses then whatever bad happens is all the other side’s fault. I didn’t vote for that a-hole so you can’t hold me responsible for the result.” Of course that’s bullshit, and here’s why.

If you’re a supporter of Hillary Clinton and she loses to Donald Trump then you can’t just wash your hands of it. Your side lost because your candidate wasn’t strong enough to beat Trump. He ran a dirty and contemptible campaign you say? So what? If she were a good enough candidate she’d have overcome it. Of course the reverse is true too. The long and the short of it is this: no matter who gets elected we are all partly responsible for the result.

If you want to understand why this is so I highly recommend listening to this interview of former Navy Seal Jocko Willink. He is a proponent of something he calls “extreme ownership” which could also be called “quit whining and pointing fingers, and accept responsibility.” I truly believe that our biggest problem right now is not that we disagree, it’s that all-too-often we don’t accept responsibility for our role. It is our resistance to accepting our responsibility and choosing instead to point our fingers at those who disagree with us to say it’s their fault. We have to stop that.

So, to put it simply let me say this: no matter who gets elected I accept that I’m partly responsible for it, and I also accept that as a citizen of this country I’m also responsible for figuring out how to improve it no matter who gets elected. I hope you’ll do the same.

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