One Picture Is Worth A Thousand Words

img_7262Depending on whether you end up reading a section that will not apply to all readers of this post, the text here is only about 400-700 words [about the length of a typical newspaper editorial], but according to the old adage “one picture is worth a thousand words”, two pictures [actually one diagram and one U. S. map] make it equivalent to about 2,400 to 2,700 words [about the length of a comprehensive newspaper cover story]. Enjoy! …

Regarding the diagram, I honestly believe that if every person who could potentially be eligible to vote in 2018, and particularly in 2020, would view it and conduct himself/herself accordingly between now and 2018 [and particularly 2020], many of this country’s problems would be greatly diminished if not completely eliminated because the result would be that 1) every resident who could potentially vote would do so, 2) nobody would vote more than once in a single election, 3) no ballots would be cast by dead or otherwise ineligible people, and 4) every resident would be a more active participant in our process for identifying candidates for office [perhaps including themselves] and gaining support for election of those candidates.

So to that end, please share this with everybody you know — on FaceBook and Twitter, through email lists, etc. Think about it … you could be a part of getting America back onto a more sustainable path!

The brief remainder of this post assumes that the reader has viewed the diagram. All diagram viewers will be referred to Referenced Paragraph 2 at the end of its “flow”; some will also be referred to Referenced Paragraph 1 — so first, please view the diagram at this link: Post-Election Guide For U.S. Residents.

Referenced Section 1

[NOTE: This section will only be meaningful to a person who has viewed the diagram (above link) and been referred here from there]

fullsizerender-7You were referred to this section because you said you are either openly gloating over the election outcome or protesting against it, and that directed you to the diagram block at the left.  If you are engaged in either of these activities, please stop immediately! What you are doing is not only unproductive and disruptive, it is actually counterproductive — working against the effective functioning of our government. Whether the candidate who won the election won it through the Electoral College or the popular vote, or both, doesn’t matter “at this point”, as Hillary Clinton would say. The Electoral College exists for the very purpose of ensuring that the votes of all Americans carry at least some weight. Like it or not, it is what it is. Americans who think the election system should change need to move on “at this point” by 1) supporting their new duly-elected President and 2) engaging in legal and constructive ways to gain enough support to change the system to their liking.

One final picture for anyone who is protesting with “Not My President” or “Trump Lost the Popular Vote”. The county-level map below shows that the counties in America voted overwhelmingly [98.2%] for Trump [more justification for the underlying purpose of the Electoral College]. Just think of the county in which you live. The environment there is what impacts your life most on a day-to-day basis. … And one word [OK, sentence] of advice: be careful what you advocate; you may get it [or put in the form of a question, if the result had been the opposite — Clinton won the election via an Electoral College margin of 15.4%, but Trump won the popular vote by a margin of 1.0% — would you still be saying the system is bad?].

County-level 2016 election results map [red Republican/Trump, blue Democrat/Clinton]:


Referenced Section 2

[NOTE: This section will only be meaningful to a person who has viewed the diagram (above link) and been referred here in the box shown at left]

fullsizerender-8Everybody following the diagram was ultimately referred to this section because it applies to everybody, regardless of their attitude about the election outcome [all paths in the diagram lead to this point, the diagram block at the left].  Because we are so divided ideologically [as the campaign just ended clearly showed], our election system will always result in approximately half our citizens being happy with an election outcome and half being unhappy with it. That is exactly why we have specific terms for elected officials, and why both the lengths and end points of those terms vary. The time between term expirations for various offices is when we should move on, working in legal and constructive ways with like-minded people in our individual “happy or sad camps” to identify candidates for future elections and develop plans to gain support for them.

So there you have it — and you heard it first right here at Please share this with everybody you know — on FaceBook and Twitter, through email lists, etc. Think about it … you could be a part of getting America back onto a more sustainable path!


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Charles M. Jones

An Alarming Development

Not a time for resting on “assumptions”

In the physical world, Newton’s First Law of Motion is pretty straightforward and easy for non-scientists to understand: “An object will remain at rest or in uniform motion in a straight line unless acted upon by an external force”. That’s basically the definition of inertia.  A parallel concept in the broader world in which we live is that we humans have a tendency to assume that, absent a major crisis of some kind [like Newton’s “external force”], things that seem okay today will remain okay.

Unfortunately, in these times, that is not a safe assumption. In America, the overall sociopolitical climate has been changing exponentially over the past few years, and we would be well-advised to view each of the components of this change with more scrutiny. Any one of these components could be a harbinger of a trend that, if amplified over time, could be looked back upon in the future as something that should have been fervently resisted.

Changes in human perceptions tend to occur over years, decades or even longer before they become highly noticeable when viewed in context with the past. As one decades-long example, the Civil Rights Movement itself changed [for the better, in my opinion] perceptions of both blacks and whites toward each other. Although there appears to be bitter hatred toward each other at both extremes today [Black Panthers at one extreme, White Supremacists at the other], general perceptions of each other in the much larger “center” are starkly different [and better] than they were decades ago.

A Harbinger?

One of the things I’m noticing lately [since the election] that is very disturbing to me is the attention being paid in the media to what some call “fake news”.  The recent presidential election campaign provided numerous examples, with total fiction flowing from both sides about underhanded things the other side was doing. Anybody can post anything on FaceBook or Twitter, or send a “broadcast email” to lists he/she can access — and if they want to, they can even include logos of companies or organizations that make these posts look like forwards from reputable sources.

The way Liberals are talking about this, there is a need for “screening”, and there is considerable pressure on Google, FaceBook and Twitter [because they are very large companies, and companies of their ilk are quickly overtaking traditional media as the principal source of news for more and more millions of people] to come up with ways to do that. This is very disturbing.

The First Amendment has been used to justify such things as publication of what almost any reasonable person would call pornography, very derogatory and hateful remarks some people make about others, etc.  The justification in court cases is, in so many words, what one person considers distasteful another considers “art” or “freedom of expression”. By that logic, what basis would a liberal kid like Mark Zuckerberg [FaceBook CEO] use for deciding what “news” items being posted on FaceBook are “appropriate” — or even “accurate”, for that matter?

We have laws against slander, and to the extent one person or organization posts something that is provable as untrue in Social Media [or publishes or broadcasts it in traditional media] that is derogatory toward another person or organization, the offended person or organization can sue for damages. In purchasing decisions, caveat emptor [let the buyer beware] should always be a consideration.  Absent slander, everything that comes into a person’s email inbox, FaceBook News Feed or Twitter Feed should fall under whatever the equivalent Latin phrase would be for “let the reader/listener/viewer beware”.

Big Brother?

Underlying something in the calls to “do something about this” is an interesting mindset — that Joe Citizen is either a) incapable of discerning for himself which pieces of media “news” he consumes are true and which aren’t or b) unwilling to do the research to sort all that out and just lets it all “soak in”. The extension of that thinking is that people who are in a better position to make that decision than Joe need to to make it for him and screen out “inappropriate” content so he doesn’t see it in the first place.

The environment depicted in George Orwell’s 1949 book 1984, though possibly off [depending on one’s point of view!] in its projected year of realization, was exactly what the near future could hold for us if this train of thought “catches on” politically and gains some traction that results in legislation and/or executive actions [or even in “collaborative agreements” among key media moguls].

The technology in the 1954 movie version of Orwell’s book might look “clunky” by today’s standards, but the underlying conceptual framework was remarkably accurate in predicting today’s technological capabilities — ubiquitous devices for viewing everything going on everywhere [even within private homes], centralized surveillance by authorities using that technology, the ability for those doing the surveillance to have dialog with individual people … sound familiar today?

Just think about today’s technology: smartphones; the Internet; Internet-connected TV content delivery devices [the newer cable TV boxes, Roku, AppleTV, Google Chromecast, etc.]; video devices used [ostensibly only] for traffic management, building security, etc.; home automation devices; automobile electronics; the “Internet of Things”; drones; etc.  … now, think about that technological environment in context with recently-uncovered  “goings on” in the CIA and the FBI, and it’s not very hard to see Orwell’s “future” being more like the present than we’d like to believe is possible.

A recent TV series, Person of Interest, is not as much science fiction as one might think. Most if not all of that technology already exists as components, and the degree to which it is [or could be] all tied together and usable in the way depicted in the TV series [very much like Orwell’s 1984, but in an ostensibly more altruistic setting] is much more plausible than we might assume when watching the show as entertainment.

Learn from the frog in the pot of boiling water

The issue I’ve tried to shine some light on in this post [pressure on Google, FaceBook and Twitter now, but potentially any company with an “audience”, to find ways to screen out “fake news”] is something we should all follow and understand — particularly if any screening methods these companies come up with move in the direction of promulgating government regulations or even “collaborative agreements”. This is a classic example of something that could become a “frog in the pot of water slowly coming to a boil” situation — we are apathetic about it until it is apparent that it has become a danger, at which time we can’t prevent the highly undesirable outcome [in the case of the frog, leg muscles “cooked” to the point of being too weak to enable him to jump out of the pot; in ours, Orwell’s 1984].

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Charles M. Jones

Election Aftermath – 7

map-resultsTime To Move On

Some of the text in this post were taken directly from letters to the editor published in the Opinion section of the 11/14/16 Tennessean [Page A12].  As I read those letters and considered not only their content but their overall tone relative to letters published in that and other publications in the days since the election, I felt a level of confirmation of my plan for this last of seven daily post in the series I entitled The Aftermath. This post is also the last in what could be viewed as a fifteen-day series that included a seven-post “countdown-style” series [Down the Stretch] leading up to the election followed by a post on Election Day and then by this “count-up-style” Aftermath series. My plan for this post is to indicate where, on balance, we appear to be at this point after the most bizarre presidential campaign in my memory and possibly in our nation’s history.

The general tone of these opinion letters tracked pretty closely with the general tone I’ve been seeing in my week-long intentionally-more-than-average daily consumption of media content for several days now — less loser temper tantrums and winner gloats and more “get a grip” and “time to move on” content. It’ll take at least some display of maturity in the media [a very big uphill climb, I admit!], with less headline chasing for newspapers and “This just in …” for radio and television, but I expect that will happen as a little more time goes by.

A good thing about letters to editor is that they have to be short, so there’s less bloviating and more to-the-point content in them. This one would be ballyhooed by some who’d label me as a dogmatic bigot for quoting it, but it captured pretty well how I think most Americans who voted for Trump feel: “America is angry and sick and tired of being misrepresented by the press and career politicians. Instead of protesting in the streets and burning buildings, we elected a new President. Hopefully, we can … rebuild respect for our nation and reset our moral compass. By this, I mean that not everything is okay as long as I don’t hurt anyone. There is right and wrong. If you get your feelings hurt every now and then, get over it. The media and politicians need to stop stoking the flames of racism as well. Stop dividing the nation as Latinos or African Americans or the new one: uneducated white men. We are all Americans! … There will have to be change in all parts and not everyone will be happy”.

Here’s another: “President-elect Donald Trump used a coalition of Democrats, Independents and Republicans, along with a well-organized, comprehensive ground game to win the presidency. Trump was a non-PC candidate who promised to protect our national borders, vet immigrants coming from nations with militant Islamic problems, bring businesses and manufacturing back to our country, and uphold the Constitution.  He spoke to the many millions of individuals who feel they were being ignored. But, just as important, the Democrats have for the last eight years contributed to their own collapse. Barack Obama’s legacy is one of divisiveness and an ultra-left-wing agenda achieved in part through over-reaching, unconstitutional executive orders. Under his watch, they have seen their loss of both the U.S. House and Senate, most governors and a large majority of state legislatures. The president’s signature socialist achievement, Obamacare, is falling apart. Hillary Clinton was seen as an uninspiring continuation of the failed Obama legacy. But worse for her, her many scandals and lies came back to haunt her. Finally, the elitists in the media attempted to cover up the Obama/Clinton train wreck and it was obvious. Overt partisanship in the left-wing media only served to backfire on the very Democrats for whom they were cheer-leading”.

In all, there were nine letters, eight of which were election-related. Four of those expressed what could be called the “winners’ view” and four expressed what could be called the “losers’ view”. I didn’t quote the latter category here because they were still “in the weeds” and didn’t show the same level of perspective as the ones I quoted. They did, however, use less divisive and derogatory terminology than letters the first day or two after Election Day, and they had more of a “Let’s pick up the pieces and figure out how to <get back into power, in so many words>” tone.

On the Opinion page [A12] in today’s Tennessean, one letter lamented the ills of the Electoral college, but this one seemed to me to be the best argument for it [partial quote, after the writer briefly reviewed some 1770s history]: “There was intense debate over what was fair representation for the people of each state. That’s how we came up with the two senators for each State and varying numbers of representatives in the House. This way, no one state or small group of states that have the largest population can impose their will on the rest of the States. The Electoral College is the same concept. If we only used the popular vote to determine the Presidential election, you might as well let the 10 or 12 most populated states on the East and West coasts hold the election. The rest of the states would rarely if ever have a say in the outcome of the election. Donald Trump won the Electoral College and he also won 30 out of 50 States. The majority of States voted yes to Donald Trump. We are a union of states in a democracy and each state had its vote represented in the election”. The county-level [rather than state-level, which is misleading] map at the top of this post says pretty clearly that we don’t have a “minority-elected” President.

I should also point out that the Tennessean is an extremely liberal newspaper, but I thought the editorial about the election in the 11/13/16 edition [page H1] was very balanced and well-written. I’ll close with some of the text from that editorial, with which I wholeheartedly agree:

The road to healing begins by accepting reality. Donald Trump won the 2016 presidential election and will be the 45th president of the United States of America on Jan. 20, 2017. Americans can rejoice that the 219-year-old tradition of peaceful transition of power in the U.S. will occur anew. President-elect Trump showed graciousness and humility in victory and Secretary Hillary Clinton did so in defeat. … Now, it is up to citizens in their communities to begin the process of healing and coming together. This can be done by reaffirming our commitment to the values and freedoms endowed by [our] state and national constitutions, by facing each other even if we voted differently, and by having difficult, respectful conversations about how to move ahead. … We heal by listening first to one another.  We should focus on what we have in common.  [We need] prayer [and] positive activism, [and we need to] think globally [and] act locally.  This last one is very important and calls on Americans to be more engaged than ever in civic life, from decisions on where to build sidewalks to what happens to our health care system. The elected officials at all levels, from president to mayor, are not our masters; they are the people’s servants. Now is the time for courage, for unity of purpose and for summoning the intentionality to sustain and strengthen our democracy. We Americans are capable of this and so much more. We are all the United States of America.”

I’ll go back now to posting more or less weekly, with my first post next week offering some “where, if anywhere, to go from here” thoughts.


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Charles M. Jones

Election Aftermath – 6

question-mark-faceToo Many People Don’t Vote!

Of all the statistics one can glean from exit polls and from the voting statistics stemming from this election, probably the most alarming is the fact that around 90 million people in this country who are eligible to vote don’t vote. That’s more than 27 times the average popular vote difference in the last 5 presidential elections, and over 148 times the average popular vote difference in 2000 and 2016 [the two closest races in that time period]. Of those, 13 million don’t even bother to REGISTER to vote. That’s more than 4 times the average popular vote difference in the last 5 presidential elections, and over 20 times the average popular vote difference in 2000 and 2016.

Just think about those numbers for a moment.  The people who don’t even vote could literally seize control of America if they could do three things very well in the year or so leading up to a presidential election: 1) develop a common cause [or a small, easy-to-communicate set of causes] around which they could rally themselves and either an Extreme Left or an Extreme Right “base”; 2) put together an effective Social Media campaign strategy [which would require only a fraction of the money traditional campaigns spend on media advertising]; and 3) execute that strategy as effectively as the Trump campaign just did and the Sanders campaign almost did.

In a way, that’s encouraging, and in another way, it’s scary.  It’s encouraging because, as the Trump campaign just demonstrated [and as the campaign that defeated Senator Eric Cantor did in 2014, and as the Sanders campaign almost did this year], there is clearly a paradigm shift underway, and traditional views of what wins elections no longer “rule”.  It’s scary because how the 90 million non-voters think, and what causes they might develop to rally around, is a huge unknown — i.e., other than demographic information [age, sex, race, marital status, etc.], there are no election statistics, exit polls, etc., to give any insight into who they are and how they think, and assuming that they could simply be lumped into “buckets” based on demographics alone would be a very risky basis for making predictions.

Something that would be most interesting to know, but which is probably impossible to accurately measure, is the percentage of the people involved in all the demonstrations going on who actually voted in this election.  If most of them voted and they’re just frustrated because they lost or elated because they won, I guess demonstrations are fine as long as they don’t turn violent [as some have] — and as long as they don’t simply throw back to Trump supporters or Clinton supporters the same kind of hate speech that both of these candidates used in their campaigns [which at this point is totally unproductive and even counterproductive].  But if they didn’t vote and they’re involved in demonstrations, shame on them!  I’ve quoted President Garfield before, but what he said is wise counsel to anybody who is demonstrating but didn’t vote: “The people are responsible for the character of their [leaders]. If [they] be ignorant, reckless, and corrupt, it is because the people tolerate ignorance, recklessness, and corruption.  If [they] be intelligent, brave, and pure, it is because the people demand these high qualities [in the people who] represent them”. In other words, “they” didn’t bring this situation about; you did!

People considering running for office in the future, as well as those now in office and having a desire to remain there, would be wise to take the dynamic I’m referring to here into account as they continue in their current roles and/or aspire to other roles.

Moving on to a different and more currently significant subject. …

In looking at key appointments Mr. Trump is already making, I am even more encouraged that he is a man who will ultimately overcome the negative impressions many people have of him and rise to the challenges of the office. Some of his appointments are “establishment” people — a recognition on his part that although he campaigned as — and in large part was elected because he is — an “outsider”, he will need more “political savvy” than he personally has to be successful.  I believe he is a man who has keen insight into “goings on”, and that this insight, maybe even intuition, gives him a unique ability to “know what he doesn’t know” and fill in the gaps with people who do know those things.

Our President Elect has two other qualities which I believe, when combined with that mentioned in the preceding paragraph, will make him a successful President.  He is a proven leader and decision-maker, something that has been grossly missing during the current administration. Also, he clearly has a love for his country and thinks of it as exceptional.  Whether he will be as good a President as I believe he has the capacity to be remains to be seen, but at this point, I am encouraged, and will pray to that end.


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Charles M. Jones

Election Aftermath – 5

b0a7ee87-8f4c-423f-ae98-d26b389ada68-2060x1236I mentioned in my second post in this seven-day The Aftermath series that I had purposely been consuming a bit more than my usual amount of daily media coverage in order to get a good feel for whatever post-election climate was developing. Now, after consuming that higher-than-usual share of media coverage for five post-election days, I’ll mention two more observations/conclusions to add to what I have shared in posts two, three and four.

The “Gimme” Mentality

First, in a conversation a good friend of mine and I had last Friday, he said something that has resonated with me in my daily mental “cataloging” of thoughts about content for upcoming posts to this blog. He said “One thing that stands out to me is how large the ‘gimme’ population is”. That remark has come to my mind several times since then as I’ve since seen pictures and video clips of demonstrators carrying signs and chanting “What do we want? (Whatever)!. When do we want it? Now!”.

Relating these demonstrations to other “anti this” and “pro that” demonstrations that go on all the time amplifies the underlying concept my friend was elucidating — too many people these days seem to believe that when they think something would be a good thing to have, “somebody” should “give” it to them — and that “they” should “give” it to them now. That is a very dangerous mentality, and it is contrary to the fundamental tenets of this country’s founding.

The mechanics of our democratic republic were not designed to provide instant gratification. In fact, they were intentionally designed to avoid changes that might, in the absence of safeguards built into them, fail to allow for the Law of Unintended Consequences — i.e., unforeseen new problems often caused by implementation of the “solution” to an existing problem. One example of these safeguards is the fact that there are two- [for Representatives], four- [for the President], and six- [for Senators] year terms, so there is never a single election in which all incumbents could be removed from office [although many people — at times, I must admit, including me — think that might not be such a bad idea!].  Another example is the President’s authority to veto legislation passed by the Legislature [which in most situations requires only a simple majority vote], and still another is the Legislature’s authority override a Presidential veto with a 2/3 vote in both the House and the Senate.

The mechanics of our democratic republic were designed, however, to empower citizens to do two things: 1) garner enough support among their fellow citizens to bring causes they believe to be important to the attention of their elected Legislators [with the goal of ultimately producing legislation furthering those causes]; and 2) run for office themselves and/or support and vote for candidates whose ideologies and/or modus operandi align with theirs. Neither of these two things provides instant gratification. They both require knowledge of and involvement in the mechanics of our governmental processes — and they both require dedication of time, often years.

Too Many People Have Too Much Time on Their Hands

The second observation/conclusion I’d offer in this post is that we have too many people with too much time on their hands. Although demonstrations are a right stemming from the First Amendment [and in my opinion have at times been a force for good in our history], I believe there is something we should learn from much of that activity going on now. First, and unfortunately, “real” unemployment [including people who have dropped out of the workforce altogether] is at an historically high level. I am among those who believe that the outcome of this election will result in improvement in the employment situation more rapidly than would have been the case under Democrat control, but large-scale improvement will not be immediate.  Essentially, through the election, we have done all we can do at the moment for that segment of people with too much time on their hands.

Another big segment of people with too much time on their hands is college students [many of the current demonstrations are on college campuses or are dominated by college students even though they are occurring in the streets of the cities where those colleges are located].  There has been a huge shift over the past few decades in the general mentality of college students.  When I was in college, we had a “soap box” area where people could voice their opinions about issues of the time. At most times on any given day, somebody was on the “soapbox” doing exactly that, and there was usually a small crowd around whoever was speaking. But most students simply did not have the time to be involved in demonstrations requiring them to be away from their classes most of a day or their study time at night.

I earned about half my college expenses for my first two years, and more than 75% of them during my last two years. I was in an Engineering program, which at that time required 143 semester hours for graduation [fewer than half of Engineering students were getting that done in four years]. I didn’t get it done in four years on my intelligence, but on my perseverance and determination. My wife was a year younger, and with equal perseverance and determination, condensed her academic schedule in Education to three years so we could graduate together.

My point is not an attempt at self-aggrandizement, and I know that there are many college students today who have similar stories, but this kind of focus does not seem to be the dominant mentality on college campuses these days. There seems to be less focus on what college is supposed to be [preparation for a productive career] and more on the social and avocational elements of college life.

It is my sincere hope that changes in the underlying causes of both of these sources of idle time will wane as our economy improves, and that the reasons for the demonstrations will diminish as well. I believe the outcome of this election will result in a climate in which both of these things will happen.


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Charles M. Jones

Election Aftermath – 4

Media coverage of demonstrations [which are fine if peaceful] and riotous tantrums seems to indicate that they are waning.  I hope that is true, and that the orderly transition almost [see below]  all of our leaders, both Democrat and Republican, say is what we need now that the election is behind us.

So why did I say “almost” all leaders? It seems a fitting exit for Harry Reid [who is not seeking re-election] that he would be the exception. I am looking forward to no longer seeing him stand almost completely motionless at podiums as he reads speeches written for him like he’s afraid some of his handlers might chastise him if he misses a single word or makes one minute deviation from the script. Speaking in precise monotones, he interrupts his completely motionless state maybe once or twice, glancing up in an attempt to present the illusion that he is conscious.

I would not cheapen this post by actually providing a link to Reid’s letter, but will simply say that that phraseology used by a United States Senator, particularly the second highest person in its leadership, grossly diminishes the little respect that a small minority of our citizens still have for the Senate as an institution, and confirm my rationale for already thinking that by blocking practically everything Republicans tried to do, he has probably been an even worse Senate minority [previously majority] leader than Barack Obama was a President. He could easily have gotten his points across with less derogatory terminology and at least some respect for the office if not the person.

I sincerely appreciated West Virginia Senator Joe Manchin [technically an Independent, but essentially a Democrat since he caucuses with (and almost 100% of the time votes with) them] denouncing Reid’s remarks. … “Senator Harry Reid’s statement today attacking President-elect Trump is wrong! It is an absolute embarrassment to the Senate as an institution, our Democratic party, and the nation. I want to be very clear, he does not speak for me”.

Most Democrats are about as far removed philosophically from me as would be possible, but I respect all but this one [Reid] of their leaders who [as far as I’m aware] have shown at least perfunctory respect for President Elect Trump by publicly stating their desire for an orderly and peaceful transition.

Shame on Senator Reid, and thanks to Senator Manchin for openly rebuking his Minority Leader for such crass and disrespectful remarks.  … And thanks to other Democrat leaders who have been much more gracious in articulating their thoughts about the events of this week.

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Charles M. Jones

Election Aftermath – 3

Out of respect for our veterans on this day that we honor them each year, I’ll make this post short and to the point. The rights of all citizens of this nation exist because our founding fathers were willing to step up to the challenges and risks of forming this nation and for these rights say “We sacrifice our lives, our fortunes, and our sacred honor”. These rights have been preserved and defended by thousands of brave men and women who have fought and died to protect them — and they are still being protected today by the finest military forces on the planet.

It is appalling to me to see the hatred and vitriol on display after the 11/8/16 election. It dishonors the people who gave these very protestors their right to protest. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. set the bar for peaceful, non-violent protests as a way to raise the country’s consciousness of issues.  People ostensibly representing both “the Clinton side” and “the Trump side” are passing so far under that bar that they don’t even see that it’s there.

I hope and pray that all of this is just “flash in the pan” temper tantrums being thrown by those who feel they lost and unwarranted gloating by those who feel they won, and that it will subside quickly as all of them realize how foolish they look. All of them need to realize that they are first Americans, and then members of whatever constituency(ies) they identify with. Without that attitude, this nation will not survive in the long run.

Thanks to our veterans, living and dead, and thanks to the men and women currently serving in all branches of the military today. We appreciate what you do, and we respect you for your willingness to protect the freedoms we all enjoy. People in the streets who are holding vitriolic signs and shouting hateful and profane threats and destroying property are not rising to the bar set by Dr. King, are they are not representative of the massive numbers of Americans who will not see this post but who I am certain would join me in saying what I’ve said here.

Thank you!

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Charles M. Jones

Election Aftermath – 2

poster227x227-2Note. … After purposely consuming a bit more than my usual amount of media coverage over the past 36 hours or so since the election outcome was known, I decided to take a different approach in this seven-day “Election Aftermath” series than I outlined in yesterday’s first post of the series. Although I will probably incorporate into remaining posts some results of the “number-crunching” I mentioned in that first post, the overall purpose of this series will now be to assess and comment on the unfolding post-election climate.

In a way, I guess it’s encouraging to me that the only negative I got from the victory and concession speeches of 11/9/16 was the “glass ceiling” reference Hillary Clinton made in her concession speech. I call that a negative because the outcome of this election had absolutely nothing to do with the fact that the defeated candidate was a woman, but everything to do with the fact that she is a “standard politician”. Running against a person like Trump, she [or he] would have been defeated whether she/he was a woman, an African American, a Latina/Latino, an Asian American, or whatever. By the same token, had the Republican candidate been a “standard politician”, too [which would have been the case if one of at least 14 of the other 16 initial contestants had won the nomination], a Clinton win might have been more likely. Although ideological drivers were clearly at work, too, this election was mostly about fixing Washington. People are simply fed up with the current dysfunctional government in this country. They want something that will work, and things like which major party our leaders are in, or what their race or their sex is, simply don’t matter any more.

So what else about the post-election climate stands out so far? Without hesitation, I can say it’s all the demonstrations going on. Democrats [and of course, the media] were the ones that pounced on Trump’s hesitation to say up front that he would accept the election outcome. In that debate, Clinton quickly gave the “standard politician” response: “Yes”. For the rest of the campaign, she touted that “peaceful transition of power” was a “hallmark of our democracy”, and that Trump’s refusal to say he would accept the outcome “no matter what” was deplorable.

Fast forward to now. Demonstrations that cause traffic blockages, “keying” cars, breaking store windows, starting fires … the very people whose leaders [yes, both Obama and Clinton!] have graciously expressed their own support for an orderly transition are doing exactly what those same leaders have denounced and called deplorable. In fact, what they are doing is much worse — damaging property, and putting lives in danger. The vitriol and the hateful remarks are at least as bad if not worse than anything Trump has said, even including his disgusting remarks in the now-infamous 2005 video released by NBC. It appears to me that if these people are a valid sample of Clinton’s supporters, she was referring to the wrong people when she called Trump’s supporters a “basket of deplorables”.

In order to make one last important point in this post, let me mention one other remark Trump made that many people considered inappropriate and was picked up and amplified in the media and in the campaign … Lately, he has referred to the election process as being “rigged”. I believe his opponent, and the media, failed to grasp the scope of what he meant. Everybody denouncing that remark referred to dead people voting, multiple votes being cast by the same person, etc. — i.e., actual fraudulent activity — and gave the “standard politician” response that there is no hard evidence that any of this is actually going on.

Back to the “issue” of Trump’s refusal to say up front that he would accept the outcome of the election, and relating it to his “the system is rigged” remarks, what everybody who pounced on him about both of these “issues” failed to take into account was that Trump might have had a broader-scope view of them than any of them had. I believe the scope of his “rigged” remark extended to how the Electoral College system works [not whether or not it’s a valid system — just how both parties have learned to manipulate it], the presence of Super Delegates in the Democrat Party nomination process [and outwardly different but conceptually similar components of the Republican Party nomination process], and how liberally biased the media is [which results in grossly disproportionate “free air time” that supports the liberal candidate].

In the same way, his refusal to just answer up front with a simple “Yes” to the question “Will you say now that you will accept the outcome of the election?” was less about selfishness and narcissism than it was about a shrewd businessmen simply giving an answer that harmed nobody and wouldn’t affect his electability — and doing so after calculating very quickly in his mind potential conditions under which that could come back to haunt him [like the 2000 “hanging chad” issue, particularly if there was solid evidence of fraudulent activity].

The truth is that what won Donald Trump the presidency was not just his own brilliance, but his ability to surround himself with people who could find out what it would take in this election to win, put together a plan [i.e., a campaign strategy] that would capitalize on that knowledge, and effectively and efficiently implement that plan — and his part was to continuously assess how it was going and make personnel or other adjustments as necessary to drive the process to a successful outcome. As just one example of why that outcome was successful, the “Blue Wall” was toppled by Trump’s wins in midwestern and other states the Clinton campaign literally quit campaigning in because they viewed them as being behind the “Blue Wall”.

Barack Obama is a brilliant man, but he has been one of the worst if not the worst President in my lifetime. Donald Trump is a brilliant man. Whether he will be an even worse President, a good President, or a great President remains to be seen. On this, I can truly say “I’m with her” [to use a phrase from the Clinton campaign, coined by Elizabeth Warren, I think]: We must accept this result and then look to the future. Donald Trump is going to be our president. We owe him an open mind and a chance to lead. Our constitutional democracy enshrines the peaceful transfer of power. And we don’t just respect that, we cherish it”.

Stay tuned. We’re in uncharted territory, and until some trends and patterns begin to take shape between now and 1/20/17 [inauguration of Donald Trump as POTUS], there is literally no reliable basis on which to predict what each post-election day/week/month will look like.


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Charles M. Jones


Election Aftermath – 1

image0108One of the original pages I wrote for this web site is entitled A Major Paradigm Shift Well Underway. It is under the Main Menu heading The Situation Today.  Based on the results of yesterday’s election, I don’t think anybody could deny that the existence of a paradigm shift has been confirmed, and that many of the details will begin to fill in as we move forward from this point. The key takeaway is that the Current Paradigm is rapidly drifting into the past, and either already is or very soon will be the Old Paradigm — and what the New Paradigm will ultimately look like is rapidly coming into view.

To quickly summarize the definitional part of the A Major Paradigm Shift Well Underway page, “paradigm” is simply a term to describe how things work, the “rules of the game”. In the context of the American governmental system, it’s our “three separate but equal branches” system established under the Constitution.  In the context of the political “system”, it is the two-dominant-party system, the rules the Senate and House have each developed over many years, the committee structure within each of these components of the legislative branch, the process used to appoint the Chairs of those committees, etc.

At least in theory, our governmental system seems to still be okay. It’s the political “system” that has produced the current polarized, dysfunctional environment — and that is why this paradigm shift is underway. That “system” simply is not working any more — within it, we aren’t able to solve problems, and we aren’t able to drive toward new initiatives.

I intend to do some “number-crunching” when all the results are finally in, and I will develop some future blog posts from my findings.  My goal is to publish one post per day for the next week, kind of an “Aftermath 1, Aftermath 2, …” series in upward-counting sequence similar to my downward-counting sequence “Down The Stretch 7, Down The Stretch 6, …” leading up to Election Day.  However, since there’s a lot of data I’ll need to parse to do what I have in mind, I’ll have to get a feel for the level of effort before I’ll know if I can keep that schedule.  If I can’t, I’ll publish whatever content I come up with on whatever frequency I can.  After that series is done, I’ll make some assessments as to what future direction I will take with this site and the blog associated with i

For now, I think the main challenge before our new President is not getting his agenda underway as soon as possible. It is finding a way to at least begin the process of bringing some degree of healing to the bitter divide in this nation that has been building for at least a decade, exacerbated in a big way by the campaign that has just ended.  It’s absolutely critical now that we avoid reverting to “digging in” to our respective bunkers and designing ways to “block the other party no matter what”, and build on this conciliatory atmosphere and MOVE ON. In my opinion, Mrs. Clinton’s concession call in the wee hours of this morning, Mr. Trump’s victory speech around 2:00am CT, Mrs. Clinton’s concession speech around 10:00am CT, and Mr. Obama’s address around 11:00am CT were all excellent, rise-above-the-details speeches, and collectively a good start toward healing the wounds from this campaign.

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Charles M. Jones

Down The Stretch – 0

obviously-webI thought it was one of Yogi Berra’s famous quotes, but after research I realized it was apparently somebody else [and I got tired of trying to trace it down], but this comes to mind as I write this Election Day post: “When you get to where you’re going, well there you are”. Here we are, Election Day 2016. So where have we been going to this point, and where are we today? More importantly, where are we going from here?

One of Hillary Clinton’s major snafus during her Benghazi testimony was the oft-played video clip in which she said “What difference, at this point, does it make”?  Relating that to the current situation: “at this point”, the only question that matters is “Where are we going from here?”. 

When the results of this election are known, I will decide what, if any, direction I will take with this web site and my blog posts associated with it.

“At this point”, if I have made a positive difference for even a handful of people who may have been struggling with what to do in the ballot booth this year [or with whether to go there at all], and helped them fully understand that their vote counts, and is needed, the time and energy I have put into this site and my blog posts to it will have been time and energy well spent [or I believe, invested — in America’s future]. Let me say “at this point”, thanks to more than 2,000 people who have generated “unique visits” [non-redundant “hits” to at least one site page or one blog post] to this site. I never thought I’d have opportunity to express my thoughts to more than a few hundred people. Please either check the “follow” button or check back in the next week or so to see where, if anywhere, I intend to go with this site and blog posts to it.

Any “expert” in the media who says he/she can accurately project this morning what the situation will be by the time the last polling place in the last precinct in America closes tonight is either lying or trying to lure voters toward one candidate or the other.  The truth is that this election is truly unique, historical analysis is meaningless, and nobody can accurately predict the outcome of this election.

By the end of today, this country will have made what I believe is the most critical decision in my lifetime: whether we, as a nation, as a people, believe that the path on which we’ve set ourselves in the last eight years is the right path, or that it is not the right path, and that a move in an entirely different direction is needed “at this point”. I hope and pray that our decision will be made after careful consideration of facts and objective assessments of party platforms, and will not be influenced by media hype or what makes us, as individuals, “feel good” about our vote — because this is not about each of us as individuals; it’s about the future of our country.


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Charles M. Jones

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