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This year has hit me right in the faith in humanity. It's hard to even pick which thing about it has upset me the most. And when I was writing this video, I just kept putting down more and more and more was very hard to stay on one track.

Anyway, I'm bummed out, but I just do my best to remember that the people I know in the real world are more than 90% super great, which means that's probably also roughly true of the general population.

So that's something!

This article that Joe Hanson sent me was helpful though (if a little thick):

Also, if you're wondering why I'm voting for Hillary Clinton, it's not just because I think Donald Trump believes the whole world is a game for him to win at any costs, and that his presidency would significantly increase the odds of apocalypse (though they would still be quite low). It's also because she's accomplished a great deal of good in her career, which I talked about a bit here:

And, unlike a lot of people, I actually relate to her a lot, which i talk about here:

Do I have problems with Hillary? Sure...but they're mostly with things that I don't know /anything/ about, like how to conduct the foreign and military affairs of the most powerful country in the world. I feel like we do that wrong in the U.S.. But I also freely admit that I have no idea what I'm talking about when it comes to that stuff, and I think it's pretty weird that so many people think they do.

Anyway. Humans are great. We've got our issues, but I'm quite proud of us...even in this pretty unpleasant year.

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Good morning, John.

Thanks for your video this week. It has been really hard, impossible maybe, to think about policy this election season, but the really significant interest in that video was encouraging, because it means that people do still care about policy, even if it seems like it's all about personality and storytelling and demonizing the other. But, with that said, I'm now going to go in the other direction, I apologize, and talk a bit about the ideas and the stories that are behind not just politics in the US right now, but I think politics all over the place. There has been a rise in nationalism and protectionism. And the story those people are telling is often about how awful things are, about the great coming wave of our enemies, about how we have let ourselves be corrupted, and worst, about how we've consciously decided to be weak. I don't even know what to call this ideology. It probably has some name that I don't even know. But at its heart, I feel like there's a perspective that I cannot abide: that strength is control, and that compassion is weakness.

I can understand how and why this misconception occurs. If you're strong, you can make the world how you want it to be, and many want to change how the world is. Maybe they need to change how the world is. They have legitimate insecurities for themselves and their families. But to go beyond that in your rhetoric as a politician into "This country is losing" rather than "We need to use the resources we have, and there are many, to protect our citizens," that's not about protecting anyone. To me, it feels like trying to find people's wounds, their insecurities, and their biases, and then aggravating those wounds intentionally. Part of the secret to this rhetoric is that you can never call the country strong. That would be counterproductive. We We can't talk about the fact that American industrial production is higher now than it has ever been, that the job market is strong, that the American military spends more than the next eight militaries combined. This rhetoric is based on inflaming or manufacturing fear and insecurity.

Because from there comes ruthlessness, comes disregard for morality, comes self-righteousness, comes the framing of people who are not like us as either evil or corrupt - whether that's Syrians, or protesters, or political opponents. It can be part of our job as citizens of a democracy to recognize when the fears being pitched to us are made of cardboard and Styrofoam.

Because yes, we do have huge problems to face, problems old and new that can be influenced by good policy, and good people, and good strategy. But so much of the fear we have been fed is no more real than a Transformers movie. They have to say our country is losing, because a country that is strong digs deep not into building walls and dehumanizing other people, but into civic service and altruism, into openness and understanding and peace-keeping and collaboration, just as when an individual person is confident and self-assured, the only logical course is to try and share that great gift that you have been given with other people. Compassion is the ultimate manifestation of strength.

And because America is strong, our compassion has grown. We have finally opened up the joy of marriage to all loving couples; we have opened the doors to immigrants and refugees; we are finally taking a look at some of our traditions and language and recognizing the hurt that they can cause; and many are open to conversations about mass incarceration and how it has disproportionately affected people of color.

And of course we have a long way yet to go. But to those who see that progress as a manifestation of weakness, to the people who puff themselves up, and beat their chests, and yell about strength while pouring salt into the wounds of insecurity and fear, I can never see your rhetoric as anything other than sad, hurtful weakness - weakness that is getting in the way of our ability to get on doing the good work that humanity needs to do, and I have no doubt that in the fullness of time we will move past this, and we will do that good work.

John, I'll see you on Tuesday.