MGU 139 | 2020 Elections

 

In what seems like a very intense year for everybody, we are now nearly a week away from the November 2020 Elections. The path has been quite controversial, disorienting, and treacherous, to say the least, but it is something that we must all participate in the end. In this episode, Jason Wrobel and Whitney Lauritsen help keep you from losing yourself from all of this and dedicate this time to talk about staying sane during the 2020 election and the voting process. They explore the many uncomfortable elements of voting, such as what to do with outrage and what to do when things don’t go your way. At the end of the day, it is our right to vote, and we should let our voices be heard for the vision we want for our country. Join Jason and Whitney as they take you through this rollercoaster ride that is almost coming to an end.

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2020 Elections: Staying Sane Through The Voting Process

The 26th of October 2020 is over a week away from Election Day in the United States. I felt like this is such an important subject to discuss the process of voting and what it feels like in 2020 with this election, especially during the pre-intent year for everybody around the world. What’s interesting about the United States elections is that they have effects on the entire world. It’s not just us, as citizens, that are impacted by this. A lot of other countries are impacted or if not the entire world because the US has so much power, connections. There’s so much happening.

It’s a complicated subject matter. I personally don’t want to discuss who I’ll be voting for. I had a conversation in my group, Beyond Measure. Since I’m the one running it, I don’t want to exclude anybody. I don’t want to make assumptions about who anybody is voting for. Even if I strongly disagree with somebody’s viewpoints, I don’t feel comfortable bringing up who I’m voting for in these kinds of public forums. What if somebody in that group has a completely different viewpoint than me, but now no longer feels comfortable talking about it? They don’t want me to view them differently or the other side of it is I don’t want to get into a debate especially if I’m not trying to create that environment of debating, which in the case of Beyond Measure is not something that I want to do.

Since this show is called This Might Get Uncomfortable, I suppose we can explore many uncomfortable elements of voting, but also some of the practical sides of it because we want to encourage you to vote if you haven’t yet. That’s also what’s interesting is in mid-October 2020, seventeen million people have already voted. I’m interested to look this up if that is a normal thing. I don’t recall early voting being this big in past elections.

I also admit that I’m ignorant when it comes to politics and something that I’m working on more as I get older is becoming more educated and more intentional. I haven’t voted yet. I know the main person I want to vote for, but I want to look into all the other propositions. I feel intimidated about that. I’m curious where you stand, Jason. A few questions for you is A) did you vote yet? B) How are you going to vote? What day are you going to vote? For me, by the way, I’m going to still be out-of-state. I’m registered to vote in California. I don’t plan on being back there by Election Day.

It was something that I thought about when I was planning this trip and initially had this loose idea of being back in California for Election Day. Since mail-in ballots are prevalent and easier, more accessible, in my opinion, I decided to have one sent out to Massachusetts which I’ve received. I was taking my time with it, but then realized a lot of people are recommending that you get in your ballots as soon as possible and you vote in general as soon as possible if it’s in person. Jason, where do you stand on this? What is your status? Do you have a date picked out? Do you have a plan? Do you know everything that you’re going to vote for?

That’s a thick sandwich to sort through, but we’ll start with I do have a plan. The plan that I’ve had in place is a remnant of something I did. This was in 2012. I’ve been requesting mail-in ballots, absentee ballots for several years now. The reason that I did it starting back in 2012 is right around that time is when I started to do a lot more speaking tours. I wasn’t going on book tour yet but doing festivals, conferences, and things of that nature. In 2012, I was doing some consulting gigs in Canada and I was doing a lot more traveling. I could tell my traveling was ramping up.

Voting can feel scary to talk about. We can be fearful of being judged and of doing things wrong. Click To Tweet

I remember before the 2012 Presidential Election is when I first started to request absentee ballots and get the mail-in option. I’ve been doing that for a long time. I’m used to that system and it’s been efficient for me. I’ve never had any hiccups or any logistical problems with doing a mail-in ballot. I have a mailbox set up. That’s another aspect of this. I have a separate business address where I run my limited liability company. All the business stuff gets routed through that so the mail gets sent there. In years past, it was easy for me because of the flexibility of my travel schedule. It will pop in, grab the mail-in ballot, and do it that way.

The summary there is I’ve always had a great experience with that system of voting. What I am curious about and don’t have a definitive answer like a lot of things here on the show, we don’t necessarily claim to ever know the objective universal truth about things we’ve talked about this a lot. A lot of the foundations of these episodes are Whitney and I looking at research statistics, our own personal stories, or life experiences to color our perspectives, which may or may not change like our belief systems.

I have been hearing, Whitney, in the news so much conflicting reports these days about voter suppression and ballots being shredded or burned, or certain mail carriers in different states finding ballots dumped in the trash. Whether that’s real or to what degree or extent it’s happening, I don’t know. Again, it’s tough to discern the objective truth. What I’m going to do is I’m going to get my mail-in ballot and I’m going to physically take it down in Los Angeles County. I got an email that there are designated secure to drop off points where you can deposit your ballots. There’s one somewhere in downtown. It might even be at City Hall. I have to double check the locations. Any Angelenos, don’t take my word for heart.

You’ll have to do your own research. At a cursory glance of this email, it seems there are quite a few places in LA where there are secured ballot drop off points. That’s my plan. I’m going to get the mail-in ballot when I get back to my business mailbox, when I’m back home from Detroit, fill it out, do my thing, take it to downtown, and put it in that secured box rather than one of the blue post office boxes. It’s hard to discern what’s happening or not with all that. Postal Service could be dumping some things. We don’t know. I don’t want to turn this into a far-left, far-right conversation about blowing this out of proportion. It could be happening and that’s enough to motivate me to physically take that ballot down and make sure that I put it in a secure drop-off location. That’s my initial plan with that.

I don’t know if I want to say regret, but I feel a sense of envy or perhaps even fear that I’m going to be mailing in from all the way across the country, which gives me another sense of urgency. I’m hoping to send it in early. It’s like I’ve been procrastinating doing some of the research. I am, in general, somebody who waits the last minute. In fact, as a side note, I get a tax extension each year. It’s how my accountant works. It might not how she works. It’s more about me because I always turn in my tax information to my accountant late. I should take responsibility.

I suppose if I got it in earlier, she’d be able to finish them earlier. That happened even with the extension. I didn’t send her my tax information until a few days before it was due. She responded a little irritated and bless her heart, she was up until late working on mine and some of her other clients. That’s a side note to share. That’s how I feel comfortable is doing things right at the deadline. It’s how I always operate and there are consequences to that. The consequence is that you might not get something finished. It might be delayed for some reason outside of your control. In the case of my taxes, I didn’t fully comprehend the fact that she needed some extra time to get things done.

There's a lot of shame, fear, and confusion when it comes to voting, and it needs to be discussed as much as possible. Click To Tweet

It’s not like I could submit her everything and she’d have it done in a few hours. She has other people in line and getting into this queue. The same thing is true with voting. You can send it in, but you don’t know what’s going to happen after it’s out of your hands. To my original point after hearing you speak, Jason, there’s part of me that’s afraid that it won’t get there in time somehow. The good news is at least in the state of California that they’ll be receiving the ballots up until November 17th, 2020, as long as it’s postmarked by election day. The mail is a little slower. There’s a lot of people that are going to be submitting it late. My big question is and something I want to research, I wish I had the answer right off the top of my head is, what happens in that time? Wasn’t it Al Gore where there was that whole issue with the chads where there were miscounts, it wasn’t fully clear who people were voting, and things were misinterpreted? Am I getting that history right?

The specifics of it, I don’t remember, but the issue back in the 2000 election with Al Gore and George W. Bush was the miscount in Florida. I remember that was the one state where they were highlighting miscounted votes, misplaced votes, under-reported voting. Florida itself was the focus during the 2000 election. The intricate details of it, I don’t remember, but Florida was the absolute focus of the hysterics regarding those election results.

I wouldn’t be surprised if something happens in 2020. Without getting into the politics as Jason was saying, whoever loses the election, there’s going to be outrage no matter what, and that’s something else I wanted to explore too. I’m jumping a little ahead of us but we often do this on the show and might as well dig in and come back to original points later. I was thinking about what I will do if the outcome of the election isn’t what I want it to be. There’s part of me that in the past when the elections haven’t gone my way, which has been several times since I was old enough to vote, there’s part of me that’s thinking, “I did my best. It is what it is. I have to deal with it. That’s part of the country that we live in and it’s supposedly a fair system.”

The energy that I’m feeling in the 2020 election is a lot of doubt about it being fair. There’s a concern about voter suppression. There’s concern about the systems being wrong. I’ve even heard going back to something you said, Jason, about supposedly official ballot drop-off. Some of them are unofficial. You have to be careful about where you drop your ballot off. This might not have been related to the election, but it was through the postal system. I read that there were cases already of finding somebody hoarding mail at their house. It was an employee of the postal system or some mail-related operation. I hope I didn’t make this up in my head, but they were keeping the mail at home.

I thought to myself, “Many crazy things could happen.” It’s complicated because of all the residents of this country and people that want different results, who knows what’s going to happen? That makes me nervous. What do we do if things are worse than we are hoping for? It feels like there’s all this positive momentum. In fact, going back to what I was talking about with seventeen million people voting already. To compare that to previous elections like the 2016 election, more than 1/3, 37% in fact, is many early voters have already been cast in 2020 as were cast in the entirety of the early voting in the 2016 Presidential Race. People right now, which is several days away from the election, over 37% more have already voted.

That’s exciting but because people are voting doesn’t mean they’re voting the way I want them to vote. Both parties in this country are riled up as they should be, but who knows what the outcome is going to be. One thing I want to touch upon, we might as well do it right now, Jason, what do you think you will do if the election doesn’t go your way legitimately? What will you do? Not like, “I’m going to move to Canada.” That canned response that a lot of us has said. Back in 2016, people kept threatening like, “If the person I want to win doesn’t win, I’m moving.”

MGU 139 | 2020 Elections

Digital Minimalism: Choosing a Focused Life in a Noisy World

Most people didn’t take any of that action. You’re hearing a lot of that again in 2020, but I want to call people’s bluffs. What are they going to do? Instead of being so concerned about what you do in that case, what if we all take more action? That’s the big reason I want to talk about this. We should be doing everything we possibly can. I thought I was doing everything I could back in 2016 but in hindsight, I wasn’t doing that much besides the building and to my friends. We need to use our platforms, both you and I, Jason, and encourage every single audience to be using whatever platforms and connections they have to encourage people to take action.

What I want to do first, Whitney is I want to jump back to previous question you asked because I neglected to answer it with my previous response and then jumped into the question you asked about what am I going to do if it “doesn’t go my way” or the way that I would prefer. You asked about examining some of the local proposals and how I do my research on not just the presidential race but also a lot of the more regional state or local proposals, budget issues and everything that those tertiary things that come up on the ballot.

I want to say that there’s an amazing news site that I discovered through reading a book. I’m almost done with it. It’s called Digital Minimalism: Choosing A Focused Life In A Noisy World by Cal Newport who’s a professor. Our friend, Adam Yasmin, recommended this book. I read almost all of it on the plane and it’s a phenomenal book. Having a healthier relationship to social media and digital technology is something we’ve been talking about at length and ad nauseam here with Whitney and I incorporating that into our wellness and mental health regimes and how we navigate that world.

Anyway, first of all, check out Digital Minimalism. In the book, Cal Newport recommended a great site. It’s AllSides.com. It’s organized like a balanced news site. What they have is all sides. If you want to check media coverage that would be considered a left-leaning politically, they have those. If you want to go something that’s leaning right, in the red, you can check that too, and they have things down the center. From what I’ve seen and looking at it, it’s unbiased in the sense that they seemingly provide balanced news for civil discourse. If you want one perspective, you can eat all that perspective off.

If you want to have something down the center, you can do that. If you ever want something that’s left-leaning, choose your own adventure of media coverage. It’s an interesting website. I’m preferring it over some of the more mainstream outlets like Washington Post, CNN, LA Times or any of that. AllSides.com is the first thing that I’ve been looking at to gain new information. The other thing on a local perspective you asked about, our dear friend, Pamela, who is Adam Yasmin’s partner, she and I are very similar politically. We’ve had a lot of in-depth conversations. She sent me a progressive voter guide for the general election for Los Angeles and California. It’s at Knock-LA.com. It’s a progressive voter guide.

People are like, “What does progressive mean?” I don’t have a textbook definition for what that means. I want to get a little political for a second. I don’t fully align with any political party. I want to say that. It’s my views on spirituality and religion where there are aspects of Christianity or Catholicism. There are aspects of Islam, Buddhism and Zoroastrianism. Things that I found in researching different religions that are interesting and useful. I incorporate some of those spiritual philosophies and practices into my life. It doesn’t mean that I align with one specific religion or spiritual practice. There’s no real definition for it. Politically, I’m very similar in that sense where, to be honest, there are things that one would say traditionally Democrat that are very strong.

Ultimately, each person needs to decide for themselves. That's part of how our system is designed. Click To Tweet

There are also some Republican viewpoints that are very strong although because we are in a binary, two-party system, which is outdated and needs to evolve, I do lean toward the Democrat side, I suppose. I’m, by no means, a staunch Democrat. The point is this, I’m a progressive voter which, to me, means that I want to do things that are as humanist as possible. Things that policy-wise and law-wise lead with compassion, empathy, fairness and justice. That’s how I define a “progressive political viewpoint” for me. It’s fairness, equanimity, justice, compassion, the health of people, environment and animals. As many attributes as anything on the ballot is going to lean toward, I’m always evaluating it from that perspective.

The Knock-LA, that’s where I go for my research, Whitney. There’s also something that is at ProgressiveVotersGuide.com. This is not relegated to Los Angeles. You choose every single county in the State of California. For any California audience, if you go to ProgressiveVotersGuide.com, you can choose your county and your city within the State of California. That’s where I’ve been going in terms of doing my research, getting educated on the proposal measures on what’s going to be on the ballot. Your second question though, which is also important is, what am I going to do if things go South, as they say, colloquially speaking? The past few years in many aspects, my opinion environmentally with a lot of the environmental rollbacks, the rollbacks of the EPA regulations on fuel economy, opening up National Parkland and protected lands to oil drilling, a lot of the things that have been going on.

There’s been a lot of choices and laws and rollbacks that I disagree with from an ethical and financial perspective. If things don’t go our way, I don’t think that pouting about it and like, “I’m going to move to Germany. Fuck you. I’m going to move to Canada. Fuck you. That’s it. I’m going to finally buy that hut in Brazil.” There’s something to be said for standing and fighting. Sometimes revolutions require some intense physical action. That’s another conversation. When I say stand and fight, it means that if you see things that are going on in your country, your town, your city, your locality, and you don’t agree with it, taking physical action is one of the best things we can do.

In a nutshell, I don’t see myself running off to a foreign country anytime soon. I do see that if things keep getting rolled back in terms of environmental protections, productions of animals, no real movement in terms of workers’ rights, having fair wages, or the broken healthcare system we’re in, in my opinion, it’s an opportunity for us to band together, hunker down, keep taking massive action, try and shift the tide of history toward a more equal and fair system that benefits all. Rather than throwing anyone under the bus politically, in terms of our healthcare, financial system and environmental policies that are greatly benefitting massive corporations, there are a lot of things happening in this country that are extremely imbalanced.

I’ll use that word to be fair and judicious about it. It’s imbalanced. It favors a very small specific number of people that are making a lot of money and gaining a lot of power. We can’t deny that, it’s a fact, and there’s a lot of people at the proverbial bottom of the pyramid that are being exploited, put in very dangerous situations economically, socially and physically. I’m going to say that there’s a lot of balancing that I feel in my heart needs to happen in this country.

That’s very well said and I agree with so much of what you’re saying. To go back to the resources, one great point that was made during the group that I run, Beyond Measure, was that, it can be helpful to try to come at an election from a neutral position, if you can, and look at both sides of the choice or look at all the choices. What’s interesting too, is it’s not two people on the election ballot. There are other people running for president. There are all these propositions that you’re voting yes or no for. It can feel very overwhelming and confusing. For me and many people I imagine do this is, you might hear from your friends, media or whatever you’re paying attention to, and start to make a decision based on all this other data on the outside.

MGU 139 | 2020 Elections

2020 Elections: A progressive political viewpoint is about supporting things that are as humanist as possible, things that policy-wise and law-wise lead with compassion, empathy, fairness, and justice.

 

As we’ve talked about in the past especially in regards to social media, we can be caught in these bias bubbles or these one-sided bubbles. I have been in that a lot. It’s tricky because it depends so much on where you were raised, what your parents’ viewpoints were, what the viewpoints were of your education system, and your friends. For me, in Massachusetts, I grew up in a small town and it seems like everyone here thought about the same way. They were raised about the same way. I went to a very liberal school, a college, and people were similar there. It was also in Massachusetts. I moved to Los Angeles and I ended up in another pocket of people that thought the same way and live the same way.

Sometimes, I yearn for people that think and act differently than me because it can be dangerous on both “sides”, as you were saying, Jason. If we operate in our life just the way that we always have and the way that people around us always have, then we’re stuck in that place of not changing or evolving. We’re not necessarily thinking for ourselves either. This point of, before we vote from a neutral standpoint and try to take information from different sides, even if we go into it thinking we’re going to disagree. To your point, Jason, there are elements of both the Democratic and Republican parties that you might align with and might disagree with. This also leads to another challenge during the election is, what if you don’t your options?

What if you feel like you are seeing sides of both options and neither one of them feels quite right? That can feel incredibly tricky. This also came up during the Beyond Measure call. One of the best pieces of advice I heard was doing that research I was talking about, going onto YouTube, looking up blogs, checking out social media, trying to take in the different perspectives, and then find out what resonates with you. Some people have trouble making decisions based on personality when it comes to voting for our president, neither personality feels right to you. There’s something about your options that’s very off-putting. You can start to look at more of the facts of what these people represent and what is important to you. As you were saying, Jason, the environment is obviously a big concern of mine.

Evaluating it and going to check out the nonprofits that you align with. What are they saying? What messaging are they putting out? Are they making recommendations as well? Looking at these voter guides. Those are available all over the country, not just in California. Looking up what is available in your area too, because part of what makes this complex is that every state is a little bit different and that makes me nervous as well. Jason and I were talking about what happened in Georgia. Some of the early voters were going on the days that they had off from work and waiting in line for eleven hours to vote.

I cannot imagine doing that. I remember in the last election, it was the primaries, I was waiting in line for 90 minutes or so and it was miserable. It was at the very early stages of COVID where people weren’t wearing masks yet and everyone was mingling, close together outside. I made the most of it. I brought a book, I went with somebody else, and it was a nice day. I remember thinking like, “This sucks.” I cannot imagine voting in October 2020 where it’s colder, wearing mask, physically distant, and waiting for ten-plus what I experienced waiting as long as I did.

It’s complicated and there’s voter suppression going on and a lot of concerns. We have to find a way through all of this. This is why these conversations are so important. Coming down to some resources, there’s a great organization called Rock The Vote. I want to go through some of their tool kit. They had reached out to me and asking if I could get more involved. They sent some helpful pieces of information. One of them is a frequently asked questions from eligible voters and it goes through, does your vote count? Why should you register? Why should you vote?

Every vote matters. The only vote that doesn't matter is the one that was never cast. Click To Tweet

I’d love to go through some of those at some point during this episode, Jason. There’s also a website called The Skimm. We shouldn’t be making assumptions about what people are doing and thinking right now. As I said at the very beginning of this episode, voting can feel scary to talk about. We can be fearful of being judged, fearful of doing things wrong. There’s a lot of shame, fear and confusion when it comes to voting. It needs to be discussed as much as possible so we can work through this.

Doing it from a compassionate standpoint as less judgmental as possible because ultimately, each person needs to decide for themselves. That’s part of how our system is designed. If you’re not voting, your say isn’t being counted and it adds up. In fact, I will read this one part from Rock The Vote about whether or not your vote even counts. They say, “It may sound cliché but every vote matters. Think of it this way. The only vote that doesn’t matter is the one that was never cast. There are 80 million young people.

Together, we will be heard. The 2016 Presidential Election was decided by fewer than 80,000 out of 136 million votes cast. In 2017, a single vote determined the winner of a State House race in Virginia, which decided the party majority in a 50/50 split legislator. In 2017, youth turn out in the Philadelphia District Attorney race increased by 279% a new district attorney. Yes, your vote does count.” I remember back in the primaries and in the 2016 Presidential Election, I would hear from people very close to me that they didn’t think their vote mattered because of where they lived. I don’t believe that. I’m sure you would agree with that too, Jason.

This is part of an internal ethical dilemma I felt at times in the sense that in elections past, there’s a phrase that I would employ, which is choosing the lesser of two evils. I’m not trying to say that anybody in this election is evil, although your perspective, dear reader, may vary. I think that neither one of them are ideal. For me, I would have loved to have seen Bernie in there because I align more with his viewpoints on healthcare, taxes and the environment. I also understand the politics in that. He was leaning way too hard left for a lot of people.

I don’t want to get into conspiracy theories or what happened with the Democratic Party and what they may or may not have done to derail his campaign. In terms of this particular election of Biden and Trump, I’m not doing backflips for either one of them. That’s where I’m at. To paraphrase it again this lesser of two evils, I’ve looked at their policies and there are, again on both sides, things that I’m like, “That makes sense to me in my ethical philosophy or my viewpoint.” Where I’m coming down to in terms of my decision-making with a lot of things, I’m trying to do is, balance the head and the heart. Here’s what I mean by that.

It’s almost like hedging your bets because we know that across the board, most of the time, politicians will make promises when they are running for an election or reelection campaign. Not all of those promises come to fruition. In fact, with some very few do. It’s a bit like gambling in the sense that you, as a person, are trying to evaluate best which candidate aligns with not only your personal values and how that might affect your personal finances, the health, and the safety of your family and your community.

MGU 139 | 2020 Elections

2020 Elections: If you see things that are going on in your country that you don’t agree with it, taking physical action is really one of the best things we can do.

 

For me, it’s also about looking generations in the future of not which policies are going to change things for me or my family right now. What about 20, 30, 40, 50, 100 years in the future? This is difficult to predict, almost impossible in some cases, unless we look at certain metrics. My point is this. I try and evaluate all of this with who I’m choosing and what policies or proposals to vote for with not only what’s going to make the most impact now but what is going to set up our world, hopefully, our country and therefore the ripple effect on the world with something that is sustainable for our environment, financial structure, healthcare, taking care of each other.

It might sound Pollyanna or pedantic, but it’s how I feel in my heart. We need to take better care of each other. I don’t care so much about whether a person’s viewpoints are different than mine. There are some radical and violent people in different groups in this country. For the most part, I have to think that most human beings are good-hearted people that want to protect their families, they want to be prosperous, abundant, feel safe, cared for, protected and heard. We can make a big generalization.

Most people want to be safe, protected, heard and feel like their values are being respected. Balancing the head and the heart for me is thinking about what person politician or policy is going to have the most beneficial, long-term impact, and in my heart, what do I feel is right? Deep in my heart, what do I feel is right? That’s the balance that I try to strike with all of it. It’s not easy sometimes. Some of this stuff is extremely complex. I don’t mean to make it sound so simple. It’s a difficult thing to try and achieve that balance at times.

Another point in the Rock The Vote materials, which I happened to be into that’s why I’m reading from here. There are many resources and that’s why we want to provide you with a bunch of different options for yourself to figure out what resonates with you as Jason was saying. Rock The Vote is neat because it’s very targeted towards a younger generation. A lot of younger people are struggling to decide why they should vote. Part of the response to that is voting is a way that we build a more representative government that reflects our values just as you were saying, Jason.

We’re selecting candidates and voting in the form of ballot measures, propositions, and referendums that address the issues we face as individuals and communities in the country. On November 3rd, 2020, we’re electing the US president, all 435 seats in the House of Representatives, 34 of 100 senators, 13 governors, and many state and local elected officials. Voting is the most powerful tool we have in our democracy to determine the values and directions of our country and our communities.

If you’re feeling your vote doesn’t matter, it’s important to examine why you feel that way. What’s at that root of being helpless? It’s easy to throw up your hands and say, “It doesn’t matter anyways.” As we’ve been talking about, that’s not true. With all of this being determined for many years, the ripple effect that we discussed at the very beginning of this episode is crucial. It’s selfish not to vote as you were saying, Jason, because of the impact it has on many generations here. There’s another section in Rock The Vote about what if you don’t believe in voting. Everyone is entitled to their own opinions and beliefs but by definition, democracy requires participation of the people. This is a government for the people, of the people and by the people.

Voting is a way that we build a more representative government that reflects our values. Click To Tweet

Those are words I remember hearing when I was growing up and didn’t take that seriously. It’s taken me a while to evolve politically. I never enjoyed studying the government in school. I associated with something I wasn’t interested in. That has impacted my voting. Coming back to Rock The Vote, they said, “If you’re not inspired by particular candidates, consider how they align on the issues you care about and then plan to hold them accountable to those issues once they are in office. Don’t forget to look locally to how candidates and elected officials are weighing in on the issues at the state and city levels.” I always trip over legislator.

There’s legislator and legislature.

Is it the same word or two different pronunciations?

A legislature is a group of legislators whereas a legislator is one person in the legislation.

This is a great example of me learning about these things. I never say these words. It’s also like, “I’m noticing some of my ignorance?”

That’s one of the reasons why we do this show. We’re not out here flapping our gums at the audience. We’re also learning in real-time. To me, that’s one of the most exciting parts is you and I will dive in a subject and then be like, “Shit, you don’t know what you don’t know?” The word ignorant is passed around almost being synonymous with stupid, but ignorant means you don’t know. I revel in my ignorance and I celebrate our mutual ignorance, Whitney and our commitment to learning.

MGU 139 | 2020 Elections

2020 Elections: By definition, democracy requires the participation of the people. This is a government for the people, of the people, and by the people.

 

One of the things I wanted to go back to a little bit and you’ve touched on this, Whitney about people who don’t believe in voting. I’ve talked to quite a few people who have a version of a perspective, which there’s truth to this perspective that political figures, in particular, the presidential candidates, but their opinion is any high-level ranking political figure, is just a puppet. In the sense that if we look at what drives our public policy, our legislation and our laws, it’s lobbyists that are paid by giant corporate interests. As an example, corporations like Amazon, Apple, and many others who have market caps in the trillions of dollars and massive influence over many sectors of our industry and our capitalist economy, there is some truth to that. Where you think about when we call political candidates puppets, it doesn’t mean that they don’t have any power.

It means that if you look at many of them, their campaign contributions, which corporate interests have contributed to their election campaigns, and for how long, you can understand that philosophy of the ones that are pulling the strings are the corporations and the lobbyists that are putting a ton of money, power and influence into these legislative parties and public discourse, and trying to move the needle in their favor. Personally, there’s truth that I agree with that. That’s a major flaw in our political system where if we compromise air quality, water quality, food quality, we start to compromise our long-term vision for the health and sustainability of the human species by trying to get short-term profit.

There’s a flaw in that mentality. That’s my personal philosophy. There’s a funny comic that came out years ago, it’s a hand-drawn black and white comic where you can see there’s a burnt-out city in the background like a smoldering and smoke. Around a campfire are four people. One of them is a middle-aged white guy, his hair is all frazzled, and he’s got burn marks on his three-piece suit. The campfire caught him speaking. He says something like, “We destroyed the world, but we did create a lot of short-term shareholder value.” We did.

It’s funny and despicable because it’s true. There are a lot of compromises we’re making for the health of this planet for short-term shareholder value. Why? Money is what runs things right now. My long answer is I get people who don’t want to vote because of their perspective that everyone is a puppet and it’s the corporations who are running everything anyway. There’s a lot of truth to that. I believe in that philosophy to a big degree.

Another element of this in terms of thinking long-term is there’s this thinking of I’ll vote and then it’s out of my hands. I’m going to throw up my hands and I’ve done my part. Again, if you haven’t voted yet, make a plan for it. If you have voted, consider what else you could be doing. You can get involved with so much during this time. It’s incredibly important not to make the assumption about anybody else you know. I challenged the members of my group, Beyond Measure, to reach out to at least one person that they haven’t spoken to in a little while and check in on them. That’s important for our mental health and find out what their voting plan is and not assume that this person has it figured out. There might be some people that you’re either very close to or you’re close to and haven’t talked to in a little while that haven’t figured this out and they may feel like they’re on their own.

A lot of us have that loneliness because voting can feel so private. Making these decisions can feel uncomfortable, challenging or overwhelming. The next thing you know, it’s too late to register or you didn’t realize what the dates were. I remember back in the primaries that there was so much I didn’t realize until election day. I did not know that I could vote early and I didn’t know that I could go to a different polling place. There were all these last-minute bits of information that I was simply ignorant about because I assumed I knew the answers. The assumptions around the election is something I want to drive home over and over again. You might not be interested about it and think it’s okay like me.

If we look at what really drives our public policy, legislation, and laws, it's lobbyists that are paid by giant corporate interests. Click To Tweet

You think, “It’s fine. I don’t need to be educated about these things,” or “It’ll be like last time.” I was talking to somebody who was talking about how easy it has been to vote in their area. In my head, I thought, “They’re making so many assumptions based on how things worked in the past.” We have to remember that things are not the same. First of all, they never are. Things are constantly changing, but especially in 2020, we’ve gone through so many changes. There are things that are still changing and could be changing up until election day. We need to stay incredibly informed, make sure everyone in our network is, and considering what you’re doing. That’s something that I want to spend more time on and even try to do this daily.

I would encourage you to do the same, Jason, and to each of you reading. It’s not as easy as taking a picture of yourself with the “I voted” sticker. Find some different ways to talk about these things. Luckily, we have many resources. A number of these websites that we’re linking to at Wellevatr.com are filled with social media images that you can use. Some of them are gorgeous. It felt like your old school voting imagery. There are artists that are creating incredible eye-catching images. There was a video series I found. It’s somewhere in my link. I encourage you to go through every single resource we put in Wellevatr.com to find the one that resonates with you.

One of them was a voter guide based on your astrological sign. It was like, “How to vote if you’re an Aries.” It sounds funny but that might resonate with you. You’re like, “I want it to do it by my personality type. This might impact other people I know.” Send a video like that to someone else that you know, their zodiac sign. They might laugh at it, but it’s still planting a seed in their head. You can find humorous ways to talk about voting. You can find serious ways. You can bring up the issues. Each of us should be having these conversations every single day with at least one person to ensure because then that person could go on to do the same thing. We have this huge pay it forward ripple effect that can make a huge difference.

To me, that is going above and beyond casting your own ballot. This whole idea of assumptions and like, “I’m doing enough,” came up for me in that Beyond Measure discussion that I’ve alluded to a few times. At the beginning of the discussion, there were a number of people that didn’t seem that interested in having this conversation. They’re like, “I’m covered. I’m good. I’ve been doing the work on my own. I’ve got it all figured out.” We discovered in that group, there was one person who hadn’t made up her mind yet about what she was going to vote for and who she was going to vote for. Mainly because she didn’t feel in alignment with anything and she didn’t feel inspired to do the research. We could have made that assumption that everyone on the group was on the same page and everyone was educated.

There’s also me where I’m learning every time I talk about voting. That in itself, if I focus on what I’m getting out of that, I’m learning constantly and becoming less ignorant. That feels very empowering, but we can’t make assumptions about anybody we know. It reminded me too, Jason, when you texted me the joke about who your mom was voting for. I have this moment of like, “I made an assumption that Jason’s mom was going to vote for so-and-so.” It turned out that you were making a joke and pretending that she was going to vote for the opposite person. It was interesting to me because what if she was voting for somebody that I didn’t think she would vote for? That would go against my assumptions about her.

This is the challenge and part of the reason the privacy side of voting is in a way almost dangerous. If we don’t talk about these things, push through our comfort zones when it comes to the elections, we may make assumptions that hurt us and don’t benefit us. If we look at this as us being all in this together, which we are, and this is part of our civic duty to vote then we can create a more positive change that’s well and beyond us as individuals.

Whitney, I wanted to read what your zodiac sign says about how you vote. I don’t know if this is the article you were referencing, but it piqued my interest. While you were talking, I pulled it up, but it’s linked on Refinery 29. I wanted to read yours and mine. You’re an Aries, March 21st. Here’s what it says about, Whitney. It says, “Aries are known for being impulsive fire signs, but when it comes to picking a candidate, they have their heart set on a certain someone for the job. They are very impetuous but they also vote for who they’re passionate about. Aries are going to be the first ones to mail out their ballots or the first ones at election sites. Your action plan, vote in many states early voting has already begun. You can find a thorough plan with links to all the information needed to know for your state.” That’s for Whitney.

MGU 139 | 2020 Elections

2020 Elections: If we compromise air quality, water quality, and food quality, we start to compromise our long-term vision for the health and sustainability of the human species.

 

I am a Cancer because I’m July 6th, “Nothing to worry about for Cancers on November 3rd. They usually have a plan in place. They’re the ones to physically go to the polls during their lunch break and know everyone working at the polls. Consider spreading that buttoned up energy around. Remind friends and family to vote and share your plan with them. The heightened awareness might help bring more people to take action at the polls.” It’s interesting because astrology has always a very flexible thing interpretation-wise, but you were worried about your action plan. Yours had said, “Aries take action soon.” For mine, it resonates in the sense that I’m already clear about what I’m going to do. I may reveal that by the end of this episode, we’ll see where it goes. I already have a plan in place for who I’m going to choose to vote for and where I’m leaning with a lot of the bigger questions. We need to give some love to some brands, don’t we, Whitney? It’s that time. Do you have a brand in mind that you want to give some love to?

It would be appropriate if we can think of brands that are encouraging other people to vote. Two came to mind. One is Mad Tasty, sparkling water beverage with CBD that I love. I talked about them a lot. I noticed that they changed their social media avatar profile image a while back. It’s like a Rock The Vote image and they partnered with them. I thought that was cool because it planted that reminder in my head. I now have all these positive associations with Rock The Vote, I associate that with Mad Tasty, and it makes me love them even more.

The other that was neat was I bought some plant-based milk. It’s a combination of coconut cashew and oat from this brand, Forager, which makes premium non-dairy products. They had a vote sticker right on the container. It was voting for a specific measure. If you go to their website, they have a vote section right on there. It’s very prominent on their website. Lo and behold, they’re also partnered with Rock The Vote. Rock The Vote is nonpartisan and nonprofit. They’re dedicated to building the political power of young people. That’s what this website is. I thought it was voting on a measure.

Vote three was saying vote on November 3rd. They’re all about cultivating democracy and leaving the world a better place because they believe organic plant-based food can make a better place. Since voting is the foundation of a healthy democracy, we need to nurture the seeds of democracy and vote. It stood out on the package. I’m sure you can see it on their social media, Forager social media as well. It stood out to me and all these little messages to remind us to vote. They do make an impact so props to them. Have you noticed any brands that you love, Jason, or did you start loving any brands more through social media or coming across them in the store like I did?

I went down an interesting rabbit hole on my flight to Detroit from LA. The interesting rabbit hole I went down was an article on Business Weekly about Jermaine Dupri. Everybody remembered Jermaine Dupri, he brought Chris Cross to the world, TLC, Usher, Jay Z. Jermaine Dupri has been a huge producer in the hip hop and R&B world since the early ‘90s. Jermaine Dupri is investing in a lot of vegan businesses. He’s done well for himself outside of the music game with business ventures. He said that the 2020, one of the biggest explosions in terms of consumer marketplace will be vegan products and vegan food.

He’s investing heavily. I found an article on Marketing Daily MediaPost that Impossible Foods is teaming with black leaders to promote voter registration. It’s called Vote-Nik 2020: Zoom To The Polls, the Pinky Cole Foundation, Slutty Vegan, which is good. I’ve heard they had a vegan food truck in Atlanta. Jermaine Dupri who’s based out of the ATL and Impossible are aligning with black artists, entrepreneurs, and community organizations to encourage higher voter registration and turnout with this Vote-Nik virtual initiative. Vote-Nik is a series of these six online events that begin in a Zoom session. It’s people from black businesses and black entrepreneurs talking about resources, community activation and investors. Pinky Cole is the founder of Slutty Vegan, her food truck, and has a foundation. Jermaine Dupri is involved.

If we don't push through our comfort zones when it comes to the elections, we may make assumptions that hurt us and don't benefit us. Click To Tweet

It’s great that Impossible Foods is up there. Jermaine is doing his thing. He’s investing heavily in vegan businesses. This is something I’m excited about to see not only the explosion of veganism and plant-based foods to lessen our strain on the environment and dependence on factory farms to feed the nearly 8 billion people on the planet. It’s cool to me to see people of the wealth, stature and success of someone like Jermaine Dupri, who’s investing heavily in this and getting involved in community activation. Big shout out to Impossible. Jermaine Dupri, we might have you on the show someday.

With that, Whitney, as we are hurdling toward the end of this episode, I’m not going to put any pressure on you, but in the spirit of getting uncomfortable, I want to reveal my choice. I want to do it because it’s important to speak your truth no matter what the repercussions of how people may respond to this show. I mentioned I’ve been doing a lot of research on AllSides.com, reading a lot of articles, digging into policy. My true North, so to speak, is what I feel is going to be the best choice for generations to come. It’s not to say that any choice is perfect or any of the choices we make politically are perfect.

It’s not to say any of the choices we make with how we spend our money is perfect. We’ve talked about this in previous episodes of there’s no such thing as perfectly ethical capitalism or consumerism. There’s always seemingly in the system we’ve created. Somebody losing out at some point or some stress that’s being put on someone or something in the process of the capitalist structure we have, but I’m going to be voting for Biden. I know he’s not perfect. There are things I disagree with him public policy-wise. Overall, if I look at the biggest picture of where my heart is at and where I feel there are choices that are hopefully going to lay down some foundations for sustainability and equality moving forward, that’s the choice I’m going to make. Revealing that, as we end the episode. You can jump in, Whitney. I don’t know what you want to say about that. That’s where I’m going with all this.

It’s worth going outside of my comfort zone and saying publicly that I too am voting for Biden. As you were reading it in my description of my sign astrologically, it says about how passionate I am. I’m very drawn to character more than I am policy. Part of that go through life a little bit intuitively and then they add in the intellect and also part of what has helped me determine who and what I vote for is talking to other people. That’s part of my personality for better or for worse as part of my operating system is I tend to second guess myself a lot. I find that if I speak to people that I trust and they either agree with me or disagree with me, and then we find a balanced perspective together.

I feel a little bit better. I’m very community-oriented in terms of decision-making. I have trouble making decisions on my own and that’s something I want to examine more. Through the years, I find that people that I know, love and trust are voting for the same person that I want to vote for intuitively. I get that hit. October 15th, 2020 was the Town Hall. I hesitated to watch any of Trump’s Town Hall. Part of me was like, “I want to focus on Biden.” It’s important to notice what Trump is doing and stay informed. From an intuitive perspective, the difference in their personality is striking. I feel turned off by Trump. Earlier in 2020, I was excited about Marianne Williamson.

Jason and I went to her announcement when she said that she was running for president and that was neat. We’ve had the pleasure of meeting her and being connected to her. She’s another dream guest since we’re speaking to some of these people into existence. It would have been amazing. I knew she was a long shot. I remember when Trump won in 2016, I was distraught and Marianne Williamson had a live video response to that. It was incredibly comforting. I will never forget how I felt she was there during this time where I felt distraught. I’ve also met Hillary Clinton and voted for her in the 2016 election. As Jason said, I wasn’t 100% about voting for Hillary but out of the options, she felt right to me. Was it with you, Jason, that we went to the Bernie Sanders rally?

Yes. That was at The Wiltern in LA. I remember the energy at that event in the last election 2016 being electric and it was positive. There was such a palpable energy of change, progressiveness, compassion and equanimity. I remember being blown away by that experience.

We also waited in line for hours. I remember you were grumpy about it, Jason, but it was so worth it. It’s been neat to be with you through all of these different experiences, seen Marianne and Bernie. I met Hillary Clinton many years ago through a job I had. I won’t mention who it was, but my former employer is a very outspoken Democrat. When I was working for him, I had the pleasure of meeting some incredible people. Bill Clinton would call the house sometimes. It was fascinating. He shaped me too. My employer at that time, I learned a lot and I was very inspired by him. I was there when Obama won and got to be around him and his energy at that time.

That shaped me a lot too. Similar to what Jason said, it’s not about finding the perfect candidate, but it’s about somebody that resonates with you. I want to continue to be educated. Lastly, I would say that I like Kamala Harris, especially after watching the debate with her and Mike Pence. It’s the same reaction that I have to Biden and Trump. I don’t want to vote for somebody that makes me feel physically uncomfortable. Our bodies are important to listen to. In addition, to educate yourself mentally as well is important. As we close out, it’s something I don’t like to talk about mainly because I’m afraid of making other people uncomfortable. I don’t want to ostracize anybody, but to your point too, Jason, it’s important to speak up for what we believe in.

I don’t know what the point is besides revealing this where people that are curious, I don’t know if we’re going to sway people’s minds necessarily, but you’ll never know. That’s a great part to close out with is to not make assumptions. I don’t want to assume anything about you, the audience, and we trust that you are making the best decision for yourself. We believe that if you made it this far into our episodes, you resonate with a lot of what we speak about, but that doesn’t mean that we’re 100% on the same page. I would love to hear from some of you that view things differently and we’ve had some people speak out. We’ve received some heated comments on our episodes before based on our voting decision.

That might happen after we speak up about it. That makes me uncomfortable. I don’t like it when people attack me for my viewpoints and my decisions and all of that. It’s important to be challenged and hear people out. If you would like to share any of your thoughts, we encourage you to do it constructively, be kind and compassionate, pause before hitting send, and make sure this is what you want to say to us or anybody else who we’re speaking to. We can certainly get very brave behind our keyboard, but we have to remember that there’s somebody on the other side receiving that. When it comes to voting, it’s very easy to be cruel and to get very worked up about things because of our beliefs. In addition to not making assumptions, if we can lead with more kindness and composure that it can make the voting process a lot smoother, no matter what side we’re on.

Well said. Whatever your perspectives are, your belief systems, your leanings, we do love to hear from you. There are many different ways to connect with us. First of all, you can send us a direct email. It’s [email protected]. You can go to our website for all of our episodes previous and our free resources on how to improve your mental and emotional physical wellness. We are on all of the major social networks including Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, YouTube, Twitter, TikTok, the whole enchilada, as they say. We look forward to hearing from you. We want this to be an open discourse. We love to get your perspective, your feelings, what’s going on in your world. Whether that’s a direct email or a DM or any way you want to do, send a homing pigeon. We’ll take good care of it. We appreciate you being with us. We appreciate you getting uncomfortable with us. We’ll catch you again for another episode of the show very soon.

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