Tag Archives: election

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.


Now that we’re entering the height of the election-year silly season here in the old USofA I find myself shaking my head quite a bit, but not at the candidates. They are politicians, after all, so I expect them to amaze and disappoint me with their character flaws, slips of tongue, dissembling, hyperbolic ranting and all the rest of the unpleasant things that politicians do. No, my head shaking is prompted mostly by other citizens and their reasoning, or lack thereof, when it comes to evaluating the candidates.

The easiest case to point to is what’s going on with the presidential election. Almost everyone is unhappy that they have to pick between Trump and Clinton, and if you ask them many will explain why they’re picking their candidate by detailing why the other candidate is a bigger POS than the one they’re voting for. That’s their right, but I have to tell you that the one argument I have a hard time swallowing is the one I hear from many of my more conservative friends. It goes something like this:

“I really don’t like Trump or Clinton, but I’m gonna vote for Trump because at least he tells it like it is. Clinton’s a criminal – she should be in jail after all that crap with her classified emails – and she’s a liar. And Trump’s a successful deal maker and we need someone like that in the White House at a time like this.”

Believe me, I get not liking Clinton. She’s a truly unlikable candidate for any variety of reasons, not the least of which is her propensity to make everyone think that she thinks she’s better and smarter than everyone else. But what I can’t understand is how these folks think that Trump isn’t a liar or how his business dealings haven’t been as shady as Clinton’s past ventures. The answer is probably that the vast majority of people just haven’t done much research and are accepting talking points being tossed out there by the GOP spin masters or Trump himself.

That’s why I’m hoping this article about the guy who was the ghost writer for Trump’s Art of the Deal gets some serious attention. It’s truly frightening in many ways, and should cause anyone who thinks Trump is somehow a more moral/ethical choice than Clinton to question their own judgment. Here’s just a few samples:

When Schwartz began writing “The Art of the Deal,” he realized that he needed to put an acceptable face on Trump’s loose relationship with the truth. So he concocted an artful euphemism. Writing in Trump’s voice, he explained to the reader, “I play to people’s fantasies. . . . People want to believe that something is the biggest and the greatest and the most spectacular. I call it truthful hyperbole. It’s an innocent form of exaggeration—and it’s a very effective form of promotion.” Schwartz now disavows the passage. “Deceit,” he told me, is never “innocent.” He added, “ ‘Truthful hyperbole’ is a contradiction in terms. It’s a way of saying, ‘It’s a lie, but who cares?’ ” Trump, he said, loved the phrase…

But Schwartz believes that Trump’s short attention span has left him with “a stunning level of superficial knowledge and plain ignorance.” He said, “That’s why he so prefers TV as his first news source—information comes in easily digestible sound bites.” He added, “I seriously doubt that Trump has ever read a book straight through in his adult life.” During the eighteen months that he observed Trump, Schwartz said, he never saw a book on Trump’s desk, or elsewhere in his office, or in his apartment…

In “The Art of the Deal,” Trump portrays himself as a warm family man with endless admirers. He praises Ivana’s taste and business skill—“I said you can’t bet against Ivana, and she proved me right.” But Schwartz noticed little warmth or communication between Trump and Ivana, and he later learned that while “The Art of the Deal” was being written Trump began an affair with Marla Maples, who became his second wife. (He divorced Ivana in 1992.) As far as Schwartz could tell, Trump spent very little time with his family and had no close friends. In “The Art of the Deal,” Trump describes Roy Cohn, his personal lawyer, in the warmest terms, calling him “the sort of guy who’d be there at your hospital bed . . . literally standing by you to the death.” Cohn, who in the fifties assisted Senator Joseph McCarthy in his vicious crusade against Communism, was closeted. He felt abandoned by Trump when he became fatally ill from aids, and said, “Donald pisses ice water.” Schwartz says of Trump, “He’d like people when they were helpful, and turn on them when they weren’t. It wasn’t personal. He’s a transactional man—it was all about what you could do for him.”

You should read the full article – it’s truly stunning.

And I’ll leave you with this thought: If we have to vote for an asshole, shouldn’t we at least vote for the most competent asshole? If that’s the case then I truly don’t understand how you can vote for Trump. And if you just can’t stomach Clinton then maybe it’s time to check out Libertarian candidate, Gary Johnson, or start a write-in campaign. Either of those propositions are better than going with His Hairness.


2013 is an election year for many NC municipalities and Lewisville is among them.  Folks can register as candidates between July 5-19 so whose hat is already in the ring now that we're not quite halfway through the registration period? Here's a quick rundown:

Mayor – Incumbent Dan Pugh has registered and right now he's running unopposed.

Council – Incumbents Fred Franklin, Jeff Zenger and Robert Greene have filed to run. Former councilman and mayor Mike Horn has filed to run for a council seat after sitting out last term due to term limits.

That's it for now, but the next six or seven days should bring a flurry of filings.  Incumbent council member Tom Lawson has reached his term limit so he'll have to take a break for at least one term. That leaves only two other incumbents, Ed Smith and Mayor Pro-Tem Sandra Mock, who have yet to file.

FYI, you can find the list of registered candidates at the Forsyth County Board of Elections website.

Election 2012: Four Worthy Men, Justice and Mercy

Here's a fantastic opinion piece from the Roanoke Times that is perfect reading for this day that is exactly one week before the big election:

Like many Americans — and despite the fact that it sometimes makes me squirm — I have watched all the debates. Chances are that you probably haven't, that is if the pollsters who describe you are right in saying that you haven't decided because you really don't feel strongly for or against either candidate.

That worries me a bit, because I talk to so few people who can, with conviction, say: Two dedicated Americans are hoping to become the next president. Both are devoted husbands and fathers. Both have spent a good amount of time in public service. Both have running mates with a combination of experience and skill that will stand our nation in good stead should whoever becomes the president be somehow incapacitated. Both have strong faith in a higher being and concern for their fellow Americans — and for those in the world not fortunate enough to be American.

Should we not all be grateful that, despite a Congress that seems to be able to do little other than argue and say no, four such able individuals have been willing to step up to the plate?

That's some pretty good stuff, but the best part to me is this:

But more than that, I hope that we who go to the polls will recognize that none of us earned the freedoms and opportunities that are ours. Our vote should be for the candidate we believe will assure that every American, no matter how dicey his or her beginning, will still have a chance.

Will some take undue advantage of the programs that offer those opportunities? Of course. Is that fair? NoI learned a very important lesson, though, from a man who grew up one of 12 children within the kind of poverty that dictated he quite literally had no shoes to wear until he went to school. "I hope," he said, "that God is just. But I pray that He is merciful."

That man was my father. Today, were he alive, I really am not sure for whom he would vote.

Of course I think this is the best part because I'm biased. The author of the piece is my mother, and the wise man of whom she speaks was my grandfather. I urge you to read the rest, not because it was written by my mother, but because she makes some great points. You don't even have to agree with her politics – her points are still worthy of thought.