Day 4: Electoral College and You

In modern times, the value of the electoral college began to be questioned in the aftermath of Bush v. Gore. The ensuing eight years did little to deter the increasing clamor for a direct popular vote. Now after another democratic loss in the electoral college but thin marginal victory in the popular vote. We must scroll past statuses, op-eds, and other think pieces on how America is robbed of it’s true voice.

They sound no different than Trump leading up to the election. The notion that voting is broken is wrong. The electoral college exists much like the Senate: as a population equalizer to ensure no one population center silences others nationally. The democrat’s strategy of focusing on urban centers and expecting the rural areas to not vote or just to repeat the votes of their fathers. As much as I read about liberals and progressives wanting to listen more. I still hear the same cracks about the small town across the city line whether in LA or Harrisburg. No one chooses to be poor, and poverty changes a person.

Back to the abolition of the electoral college. Can we imagine our democracy without it for a moment? Every vote is still being counted as I write this with Clinton expected to finish a few million a head or a percentage point of the total vote. While we wait a week as a nation for a final count. Nothing would matter because a vicious recount would commence immediately after. With campaign surrogates terrorizing the volunteers trying to do it right. Every election could end in the Supreme Court like 2000. In short, a direct vote would be time consuming and confrontational which in turn erodes faith in the institution.

I still sometimes forget for a minute the truth of Tuesday and when it comes back 60 seconds later I lose my breath for a moment. Yet, to fundamentally change our union or nation because we lost sets a dangerous precedent. What else will we sacrifice to avoid the hard truths that come with a democracy.

Much like climate change, Trump is an inconvenient truth that there is an America between New York and Los Angeles. They aren’t alive to be the butt of jokes and servants to the American elite, an increasingly entrenched class wishing to become an European aristocracy.  His support is not blind, they expect better jobs to come back nationwide and if he fails, we must be there to take their torch in 2018. To represent the wide electorate’s hopes and dreams. And when we do like in 2006 and 2008, we can achieve what is required.

-E.C. Fiori

Day 3: Hope of the Doomed, The Crack of a Coming Avalanche, Enticing Whispers from the Fringe

There is a kind of optimism on display that should rankle any Radical Centrist. As we wander through the nuclear fallout of the last election, unsure of how deadly the radiation exposure will be, some have already begun to offer “a bright side”.

The argument goes something like this. Yes, the election was poisonous and many things that would shock any semblance of a civilized society were said. But! Maybe the burden of actually ruling will change them. Perhaps they didn’t mean what they said.

It is always terrifying when the only hope to be found is that the realities of leadership will make ideologues into sensible people. But aside from the fear, we have to realize that the great conflict has already begun- in fact, it began 18 months ago and won’t stop for the next four years. We, as Americans, can not allow for a normalization of these politics. What the coasts thought would be a sharp rebuke and destruction to the great Red Elephant was, in fact, it’s miraculous resurrection.

This is not a call to prepare for the worst, but to remember that for every moment, from now until 2020, we have a duty as citizens to roll the fallen marble column of American discourse and rational politics up the long hill. The worst has already arrived. Vigilance, it seems, was not a priority for Liberals, and especially Centrists, who allowed ourselves to be swayed from the center to the far wings. It is our great task to lob rocks over the bridge onto the swerving cars of radicals from both ends of the spectrum, and rebuild a place where rational governing is understood as the upmost display of patriotism. This time, the coup came from the right, but that does not mean the pendulum will not swing the other way. We must never forget our sacred duty.

Woman outside Independence Hall: “Well, do we have a republic or a monarchy?”

Ben Franklin: “A republic madam. If you can keep it.”

-Jack Delaney

Day 3:Why 3rd Party is the Wrong Party

Elections are not a time to protest. One of the two major options wins and makes sense to choose which one stands more for you than the other. To say you only accept perfection because everything you do is in 100% alignment is entitled. Even if a third option won, they would be alone in the swamp. No helping hand to pull them from the muck.

The American Democrat and Republican parties are designed to function as a coalition in and of themselves. Rather than the parliamentary small parties forming coalitions after voting. When your ideals outweigh the reality that most aren’t as fringe as you are. Voting third party becomes the equivalent of taking the ball home after a playground scuffle. Forcing us all to live under our agreed worst option over minor policy disagreements for bills that haven’t even been read on the floor.

We have four years to build our coalitions and the platforms for which they stand. On Tuesday, we saw the new right coalesce and the dissolution of the democratic alliances. Amazingly despite the most leftist platform of any major candidate in our history Clinton wasn’t left enough to earn the vote of all progressives. Both libertarians and green party voters vote democrat given the realistic binary. Age wise the exit polls point 3rd party support to Millennials, many who stood for Bernie. They always said Bernie could beat Trump but Trump could best Hilary. They omitted it would be through their deliberate sabotage. Jill stein received 1% of the vote, the numerical version of the door prize. Yet her 1.2 million votes were the voting, we desperately looked for to flip MI, WI, PA, and FL. So many Americans respected the responsibility of living in a battleground state. It is incredibly sad to see the selfish entitlement of my generation burn the world around us. Now the deportations begin. The DREAMERS flee for the underground once again. Will they check papers in the university lecture halls?

The Supreme Court will be republican for possibly two generations. A president once upon a time nominated ideological opponents they respected. Garland fits in that decision. Now, we get Thomas 2.0. We had a shot and threw it away like Hamilton. One would think we would have learned from Nader. That the next generation of idealists would be more enlightened. That might be one lesson cyclically retaught. There is more to life than ideological lines. Each election, we are presented with two big visions. Two worlds to choose, the outcome and achievement of each is uncertain. Tempered or expanded by the legislature elected alongside the president. Forming a government for all citizens, not the armchair dictatorship of one’s own perception.

-E.C. Fiori

Day 2: A Call to Arms, The Gauntlet Thrown, Revolution of the Stupid, Days of Blind Rage


What enrages Liberals, and is the saving grace of modern Conservatives, is that voting is an emotional practice. For all the polling and statistics, people will not follow logic when the pen is hovering over the ballot. Because of this, the singular question that must be answered before every candidate’s campaign is “what is our narrative”?

The brilliance of Trump was to paint every institution, Republican or Democrat, as corrupt beyond saving, then mixing this message with one that has yet to fail any American politician: economic populism tinged (or soaked) with racism. A reality T.V. star speaking in the naked language of hate during the Days of Blind Rage.

The fault will, historically, lie with the Democrats. When warned of the brewing storm, they refused to believe, citing logic and numbers and every measure of reality they live by, shutting down the opposition with their labels of racism or bigotry. Liberals have always had a difficult time understanding the world beyond conversation and categories. They are at a natural advantage in conversation, and the Red Elephant knows this. This is why they cling to their guns with such ferocity. They are poor, and the object of scorn of every Samantha Bee, John Oliver, Stephen Colbert, and Seth Meyers viral video of the week. When Liberals shout that white straight men are the problem in society, it isn’t in a vacuum. The only comfort afforded to them is the democratization of violence, their only measure of power being the ability to choose between life and death at the pull of a trigger.

This is the natural advantage of the Red Elephant: it is forced into very real action when wounded. Once the constraints of truth are loosened, it’s emotions can run wild. And victory does not lie in the accepting of their candidate, but rather in stirring up hatred of the other. People will show up to vote if they feel threatened, no matter how insane their nominee is.

There was a candidate of fury, and a candidate of logic. The rest is now resigned to History, and we are all complicit.

No more.

-Jack Delaney

Day 2: Emperor’s New Clothes

Social Justice Warrior, Progressive, and a host of other self given titles to be inquired on upon meeting the remembered fill up our discussions these days. What do they mean now that the ascendancy of the left has been halted?

I was never a member of the new left even when I was anti-Bush. I do agree that we have a bigotry problem in America and that the evidence can be found in the excessive force of our police. Yet I don’t believe in censorship. I think that was the downfall of the new left: their scorched earth strategy that often consumed well meaning allies. Apparently we don’t all think the same.

As the new left publishes their think pieces, some recognize the folly of shaming and demonizing a group that still is the majority. The error in not making culture inclusive to use a term of theirs. Ideas and traditions from all cultures matter including rural white America. Reading the Hollywood trades, I see a mix of those who are going to continue the course but many hardcore leftists reckoning with the reality of echo chamber, they built. Recall Norman Lear and the variety of beliefs his characters held. All both gave and took punchlines. Media’s self-weaponization didn’t transform all culture as created a bubble to escape to. Trump didn’t need Hollywood endorsements, he already had the shine of the silver screen. A name and face broadcast into everyone’s homes for 40 years. His stances changed, but he never wavered from shooting straight from the hip.

Is diversity important?

Yes, but it is a range. Telling a suffering group that they don’t need opportunities and should be embarrassed and guilty doesn’t foster support or sympathy. There aren’t many redneck superheroes either. The poor white kid from the Ozark has more in common with a poor black kid from the Bronx than a white peer in Manhattan. Yet our culture pits the two against each other (Kenneth and Tracy from “30 Rock” is an exception). Simply writing off trump supporters as voting against their interest is patronizing and ignores their interest.

If we are to stop the Trump agenda and bring real economic change, we have to open the tent. Trump sold them a better yesterday we need to show them a better tomorrow for their descendants as well as ours. Small towns gave us the greatest nation in the world and now that nation must help them.

I hope that will be the lesson of this election that no group has a monopoly on culture or politics or morality. There is a very close split.

-E.C. Fiori

11/09/16: Surviving the Red Rage, Nation of the Trampled, A Choir Song Turns to Screams, The Black Years of Mourning.

It is notoriously difficult to negotiate with a suicide bomber. Regardless of the difficulty of making small talk as his thumb hovers over the trigger, the real trouble will start the moment you try to find common ground. His offer is your immediate destruction. Counter offers will not be accepted.

This, of course, is both America’s greatest fear, and the political strategy of one of the major parties. And after years of this behavior, we have willingly elected them to every high office we have. The irony is so painfully obvious that any author would be thoroughly chewed out by their editor for including something so on the nose, with giant red slashes across the page.

I encountered this problem myself when I wrote the majority of a screenplay over the past week called “American Id”. It is the story of a billionaire businessman who runs for president so he can sleep with his daughter. The solution to the “irony problem” was to end the film with the businessman losing the election. In that moment he realizes that he IS America, that in his core emptiness, he is simply a dark reflection: a voice to the racist, an enemy to liberals. Much like America, he can never be defeated: so he refuses to concede. My only sin was subtlety. Reality is much more blunt.

Like so many I feel grief. I feel ashamed. I feel like there is an absolute loss of faith in every institution. And now, I feel like they stripped the last vestige of pride I had in my country. Worst of all, I feel so much hate towards my fellow countrymen for destroying a system they don’t understand. We’ve inherited this nation and are gladly tearing ourselves to pieces.

If we’ve learned anything, it’s that fascist bullies will always use their power. Be vigilante. Be ready. Don’t let them forget exactly who they elected, exactly what they said before the election was decided. We have to hold Trump and Ryan to their promises, every single one. We have to not look away as the nation we love falls on it’s own sword. The government shutdown was an omen of this day and we laughed at the death throes of the Red beast. But the elephant was just wounded, it’s broken ivory tusks ready to impale the American Dream in it’s bloodlust.

We need to be ready. Ready for the secret abortion clinics, ready for a modern underground railroad for immigrants. When an elephant charges, the shock of being impaled isn’t what kills you. Instead, the Red beast uses it’s incredible weight and massive head like a pneumatic press, crushing you to death.

We’ve been impaled. The head is coming.

-Jack Delaney

Why I Mourn: Day 1

“When there’s no way out, you just follow the way in front of you”

-Stephen Mitchell

11/8/16- the day reality died. The day my future died. The day when logic succumbed to emotion. People will say that Clinton was a weak and scandalous candidate, but that honor belongs to our new president Trump. Yes, Our president; I will not tit for tat and further erode our democracy. He has 75 outstanding legal proceedings including the veterans he conned with Trump University. Others might say Bernie would have saved us, but he was an alternate path to the same destruction.

Trump won because the digital age is not grounded in our world. Social Media provides us with a snow white mirror to reaffirm our beliefs. Even if the factories come back, it will be at Chinese wages. Less regulation is less protection for us- the laborer. When I graduated during the previous recession, I knew it would permanently impact my lifetime earnings with a 10% decrease. Now 5 years into my first ten in the workforce: the years which define future earnings. I am faced with the fact, I may not have work and will never achieve the middle class of my parents.

Self pity is not attractive, but it is a good vehicle for self reflection. How have my own choices brought this day. I live in a major metropolitan area like many of my generation. Attempting to make a living through entertainment like many others as well. But what good is fun if we have juries falling under the law and order effect and a reality star in chief. We can love “Unreal” but do we do anything to change its inspiration. There is no such thing as a harmless guilty pleasure. How we are is who we are.

We need to not call but be the better angels of our nature. Return to reality and remember the world beyond the screen. A place of terror but also of sublime wonder.

Hope is an easy word to say and in my despair I put my faith in the Lord. I am blessed to live in the time of Francis. Today, I think of something he said this summer while visiting Poland. “Dear young people, we didn’t come into this world to vegetate, to take it easy, to make our lives a comfortable sofa to fall asleep on. No we came into this world for another reason to make our mark”. It is time for us those who believe in our country and the values for which it stands to make our mark.

-E.C. Fiori