Sunday, November 6, 2016

Voting In a Different World

Those who wish to "make America great again" seem unable or unwilling to accept that the United States and the world it inhabits are irreversibly different from anything they might identify as "the good old days," and that trying to force change in that direction will cause death on a massive scale that ensures its impossibility. By selling that goal and policies that would promote it, Donald Trump has proven himself a menace to the country he is campaigning to serve (regardless of whether he intends to really "serve" – or rule).

As I discussed back in July, both presidential candidates support the behaviors most responsible for the existential crisis that faces our entire species, with the main difference being mainly in degree. Trump would accelerate the destruction of natural ecosystems that enable us to live, without acknowledging it is even a problem; while Clinton is willing to at least admit there is destruction, though seems unwilling to take the drastic steps needed to truly address it (even if she does have a friendly Congress).

I share both race and age with many hard-core conservatives who I'm sure support Trump, and for many years I also shared their political opinions and religious beliefs. Experience, and a parent who thrived on innovation and exploration, encouraged me to question everything; and by age 40 l had jettisoned most of those opinions and beliefs in favor of a more general and personally meaningful set, which I have written about extensively.

In retrospect, my evolving views reflected the changes in the world around me – physically, socially, and in terms of an explosion of knowledge and understanding of how everything works. As people became more interdependent, they were forced to face their core values about life, including which lives they would cherish and which could be used and thrown away. Those who valued only a few lives seized as much power as possible for their groups; while the vast majority who valued other lives as much as their own supported sharing power with other groups and, to a growing extent, other species.

Meanwhile, humanity's activity – aided by technology – began having obvious and increasingly serious impacts on quality of life, and predictive technologies used by scientists showed that those impacts were directly traceable to our approach and exceeding of a range of natural limits to the habitability of our planet. I became aware of this, and in my own way verified their predictions with a corresponding change in my worldview that now defines my politics, along with other parts of my life – because knowledge is most valuable when shared and converted into action.

I have shared my insights and attempted to convince those who pay attention that certain actions are critical to improving the future, however bleak that may appear to be. Currently the most critical action is to keep ultraconservatives like Trump from exerting enough power on world affairs to accelerate humanity's race toward extinction. In a few days we will know the impact of voting, and be able to assess whether or not we are in for the worst.