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10 WEEKS TO GO! … A Plea for Civility

“She does have a very nice figure… If [Ivanka] weren’t my daughter, perhaps I’d be dating her.”

—The President of the United States

Hello from the enchanted forest and welcome back to your Wednesday countdown to November 3! After we vote, I promise these rants will be bottled back up in the songs, and my posts will revert back to the band, the guitars, misbehaving dogs, and general tomfoolery.

I’m hoping to speak to those of you in “the middle” today. Are you out there? 🙂 Folks trying to do their jobs and stay healthy in a pandemic and raise their kids and survive; not folks that live on Facebook or Twitter, full of fear and rage, arguing all night with people you have never even met.

I talk to so many folks that say, “Oh, I’m not interested in politics.” And the way it’s being run right now, who could possibly blame you? Seems every single news story and every tweet (especially from the president) wants our minds vengeful and weaponized. I worry about the cost of this fury to the future of this amazing country, and that’s why I’m ranting a little each week in hopes we can get this train back on the tracks soon.

Our news feeds and headlines polarize us, shock us, and keep us constantly engaged and enraged. Regardless of truth, regardless of the damage to our democracy, all voices look equal across our screens. The stress and confusion of the pandemic has been a conspiracy theorist’s dream, and many people who held ideas divorced from any reality whatsoever (QAnon, white nationalists, folks who believe COVID isn’t very dangerous) are flocking to one another and reinforcing their own insanity. I worry how much energy and possibility it squanders to process and react to this amount of hate and misinformation 24/7. We don’t even register the same truths anymore.

Social media props up the posts that get the strongest reaction, and then the inmates are running the asylum. The angriest, most hateful voices become the loudest thing on our screens. Social media, despite all the wonderful ways it can connect us, is pure kerosene for sparks of unsubstantiated theories. And as these fires grow, I fear our democracy is being engulfed.

The leader of the free world seems to actually enjoy leaning into this chaos and despair. And what a time to stir the pot…

We didn’t used to have the worst news of 7 billion people in our pocket to obsess over. We didn’t used to have news be based on profit—to where everything must give you a startling and terrible headline.

We didn’t used to have think tanks and super PACs whose jobs were to divide you as far from your neighbor as fully as possible. We didn’t used to have a president who spends half his day living on Twitter and consulting with Fox News.

We didn’t used to believe in our bones that one side had values and the other was evil. I was watching Biden’s DNC speech the other night while on YouTube, and as I watched, ads populated my YouTube feed talking about what an awful, radical human being Biden is. The disconnect between the content I was hearing out of the former VP’s mouth and the ads being taken against him were surreal and Orwellian. It’s always been this way to some degree, but not the president of the United States directly and openly attacking democracy itself and calling for violence against his own people.

What does this say to the rest of the world? What does it say to our children growing up in this craziness? If you had a child in a classroom or a guest at your dinner table or someone in your office speaking like the president, they would be removed at once. We are all expected to show basic and common decency, and this president has lowered the bar beyond what most of us imagined possible.

I’ve never seen anyone so obsessed with every slight against his fragile ego. In every single speech, he must praise himself and call out a new enemy. If he spent the time leading instead of trolling folks on Twitter, maybe we wouldn’t have the worst response to the pandemic in the industrialized world.

Leaders set the tone. We are supposed to expect more from our leaders. This is not a reality TV show; it’s our republic.

The president has attacked everyone I can think of: gold star families, the handicapped, women, LGBTQ, and every person of color. I believe there is a price for all of this: We are like the frog in the pot that doesn’t know the water is getting warm. I fear this is becoming normalized.

People in the middle—we need you more than ever. Though you may not love everything about Biden, I believe the attacks on democracy itself would stop if he took office. I believe he is genuinely interested in solving COVID and providing the health care that so many of us need. Even if he is not your ideal candidate, we can get back to sensible leadership from an adult, and we can rebuild and reset from there.

We have been shoved in our corners so deeply, we can barely hear one another or think clearly. We must continue to talk and LISTEN to our family members and neighbors. We have to learn to share this country within a range of ideals, but we must agree there are such things as truth, justice, general decency, and kindness.

We can all take a little bit of poison, but there comes a point where you get too sick to come back from it. To those of you not locked into your corner of left or right, or those who haven’t voted before, your country needs you more than ever. Trump won the electoral college with Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, and Michigan by only 77,000 votes. This is a tiny number in a country of over 300 million.

We can do this. 

Thanks for reading! There is a video version of all these rants on YouTube @goodingmusic as well. Be safe, and see you next Wednesday, folks. 


Gooding writes a new post most Wednesdays. Please like and subscribe on all social media sites with @goodingmusic. You can also subscribe to the blog’s RSS feed athttp://goodingmusic.com/blog/feed/.

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