10th May, 2018
The Honorable Joseph P. Kennedy III
United States House of Representatives
29 Crafts Street
Newton, MA 02458
Dear Mr. Kennedy,
As your constituent, I’ve been wanted to share my views with you on the current state of politics within our country, especially as I see individuals pushing for a “Blue Wave” as well as specifically pushing for you to run for President in 2020.
I’ve spent the time since the election of Donald Trump trying to determine a path forward for our country. Trying to understand how we got to this point. And trying to understand the truth about what is going on in our country, outside of the various bubbles of information that we all tend to be trapped by.
It’s clear to me that we can no longer delegate the responsibility of understanding the truth to those who are attracted to power. That is more bubbles are formed. Even without malicious individuals, echo chambers are formed.
I don’t have direct political experience and no training in political science. I do however have a broad base on knowledge from a lifetime of learning anything I can get my hands on, and professional experience in understanding complex computer systems and how they interact together. Society at its heart is a complex system, just with people instead of machines.
To achieve my goals I’ve been leveraging Twitter as a method to interact with people that I normally would not talk to on a regular basis. I’ve been trying to engage with them to understand their reasoning and logic. This has been a difficult process since discourse on both sides has largely devolved into name calling and attributing motives to others. Most people are not willing to actually engage openly and honestly, but I’ve found that when they do, it has been very enlightening.
I have not managed to change many minds in a real way, but I have managed to gain the trust of some Trump supporters. With trust and openness, I’ve started understanding their reasons. I’ve also learned a lot about liberals through this process, and have begun to see people I would formerly have seen as allies in a new light.
I’d like to share what I’ve discovered with you. Perhaps you’ll be in a better position to understand this than I can. You’re certainly in a better position to be able to leverage the information in a way that could create real change within our country.
These individual observations may not be true for a specific supporter, but I’ve seen it often enough that I believe there’s at least truth on average.
The majority of Trump supporters that I’ve spoken to believe in him because they don’t have a better option available to them. They have been suffering for a long time, and they have largely been abandoned by both parties. Donald Trump speaks to them directly and provides them with ideas of how he can improve their lives. He honors more of his promises in this regard in a way that they haven’t seen in a long time.
The fact that his plans are shallow and meaningless goes right past them.
Trump said he would cut their taxes, and he did. They believe taxation is oppression, so they’re willing to look past the fact that his tax cuts predominantly help the richest of the rich.
Trump said he would repeal Obamacare. While he has not done so, he has repealed the individual mandate. That mandate is essential for being able to require coverage for pre-existing conditions, but it predominantly impacted those who live in red states that refused to expand Medicaid. It was another burden upon them.
Trump stood up to countries that they believe to be evil. He went nose to nose to Kim in North Korea and seemingly made him back down. They see him as ending tension in Korea while not seeing (or perhaps not caring) that he did so by risking the lives of our allies in the region and our citizens within Guam. He pushed back against Iran, which they see as a terrorist state without understanding the US tampering in the country’s politics since the 1950s which led to this point. He supports Israel in a way that no other president has been willing, since other presidents had to be aware of the nuance and diplomacy needed when interacting with these complex issues.
Liberals demonize Trump and his supporters rather than engaging with him in discussions that could highlight the points that they are missing. This is made worse by the fact that many of his supporters are not well educated, missing the broad base of knowledge that would illuminate his lies.
When they do see his faults, they are typically things that they are willing to look past due to a flawed man on their side being better than no one. It’s easy to justify away misconduct when they’ve seen plenty of examples from our side as well.
We have been calling them Nazis, Fascists and Racists. We do this because we see all three within their midsts, but fail to differentiate between them and everyone else.
We call Trump racist and a fascist. I believe he is both, but they do not because they are aware of how frequently we misapply those terms. Overuse destroys the meaning and severity.
We talk about their white privilege while they suffer in poverty and die from opiates pushed by industry that we personally profit from. It is hard to see that people of color are more likely to have their lives ruined by things outside of their power when they themselves are barely surviving.
Most of the conservatives that I’ve spoken to have very strongly felt values tied to family, God and country. Trump represents salvation for their families. Liberals often represent a literal Sodom and Gamorrah, full of atheism, consumerism, abortion, flag burning and “unnatural” sexual acts. And we want to force them to accept those things as their values while calling them bigots and homophobes.
And while I disagree with a lot of their specific views, I’m beginning to see their point. The liberal tech industry is destroying their jobs left and right. We implemented health care policy that helps a lot of people, but at their expense. We chase debt reduction and a higher GDP while not acting on the imbalance of income and wealth that leaves them in suffering. We put more effort into protecting immigrants than we do our own citizens. I’ve long considered myself a humanist, but I’ve been largely blind to what they’re going through.
I am concerned that things are going to get far worse before they get better. In my opinion If we push for a “Blue Wave” rather than focusing on addressing poverty in our country, Trump will be re-elected. Worse, if we do manage to get him out of office before his term is up, I believe the most militant of his supporters will view it as sedition and will take up arms. They believe the propaganda telling them that we are simply trying to remove an honorable man because he wants to impact our lives in a negative way.
We know that trickle down economics does not work.
I no longer believe that “Tax Down” economics pushed by the Democratic party will work either, at least not for these people. They do not want a hand out. They do not want socialism (although I do believe Social programs like single payer healthcare is important). They want the ability to support themselves. Our post-WW2 anti-communism push is still a strong force with the people I’ve spoken to.
Worse, the rich know how to avoid taxes. They have the best people on the job finding all the loopholes. That means taxes punish the honest.
I have a view of where we need to focus, but as I’ve said, I have no real training in this area. I believe we need to work on breaking up big business. We’ve allowed far too many monopolies to be created, especially vertical monopolies. We’ve approved too much consolidation. We’ve focused too much on maximizing profit margins and not enough on promoting competition and the common good. Ma Bell is back with a vengeance and she brought her friends.
In Common Sense, Thomas Paine wrote “SOME writers have so confounded society with government, as to leave little or no distinction between them; whereas they are not only different, but have different origins. Society is produced by our wants, and government by our wickedness; the former promotes our happiness POSITIVELY by uniting our affections, the latter NEGATIVELY by restraining our vices. The one encourages intercourse, the other creates distinctions. The first is a patron, the last a punisher.”
I feel as thought the Democratic party has put far too much effort into trying to replace the role of society rather than performing the role of government.
We need to restrain greed of Wall Street, and allow care for community and employees to be a core value of business again.
We need to restrain the hubris of politicians that know the “one true way” rather than seeking a compromise.
We need to give people a chance to rebuild society and community.
I’d love to hear your views on the topic, and I’d love to see a Democrat who stands up for the People instead of greed.
Will that be you?