Monday, November 2, 2020


We are exhausted. Wherever we stand and whomever we support, we know very clearly that actions have consequences. President Trump has taught us many things. If you say something enough times, whether it is true or not, the number of people believing it increases and the number who will never change their mind when they hear information to the contrary becomes solid, like a stale piece of cake. What was once considered intolerable in word or action becomes tolerable. We lose the ability to be shocked. The standards for what is acceptable become extremely lax. We have not had an impact on President Trump but he has had an impact on us.

I live in Hawaii. I voted early by mail. I am comforted in the fact that so many Americans, over 90 million have already voted. Those of you who are left, please vote tomorrow.

Over the last three months I have read seven books about President Trump by people who have worked with him or spend time with him, unlike the rest of us. Their collective impressions are clear. He does not read very much. He makes decisions without much consultation. He is focused on ends that benefit him. He expects people to be loyal to him, but does not reciprocate that loyalty.

When President Trump's interests and those of the U.S. have aligned, we have benefitted -- in some trade negotiations, in reduction of our military in areas of conflict, through reemergence of economic zones, greater support for HBCUs, and high values in our 401Ks and stocks.

But, we have lost so much more -- protection for our environment, trust in government and our institutions, an open ear for those that do not agree with us, disconnect from young people who think we are clueless, and the politization of everything from public health to the judiciary. The pandemic has exacerbated our collective situation. More things have surfaced that are fraying our social order -- inequities in policing, health care, education, food security, and access to housing. 

The best thing that could happen, when all the votes are counted, is a landslide. However, whoever wins we must each hold our next president to very high standards and if he does not meet those standards immediately within the first year, we should fire him. We will have evidence very early in the next four year term. What are the standards? Truth, transparency, integrity, compassion and empathy, economic and social justice are the first standards that come to mind.

If President Trump loses we need to urge and expect the media to stop covering him. Their coverage gives him and destructive forces in this country and abroad oxygen in order to foster division and chaos. That must stop no matter how financially lucrative it might be.

I have spent my professional life successfully promoting common ground. I believe in the strength it gives to all those who participate in bringing it about. Together we can accomplish so much good. We must find our way back to problem solving together. The alternative is too scary and the America we want will be so much harder to achieve.

The future is in our hands. We do not have to give up, give in, or regret if each of us votes for the next president. The world is watching and so are 60 million individuals with disabilities who have been neglected for the last four years.

Thank you.

Common Grounder