Independence Day Is About Transitions

Birthdays note the transitions we’ve experienced

As we age, we experience transitions. Maybe we transition into careers or relationships or reach other milestones. Birthdays are not some kind of metaphorical corners around which we pass and become a new person. No, we progress from one reality to the next over time, eating helpings of birthday cake along the way and noting our subtle changes in life.

071019 Transitions

America’s birthday notes our progress

As America blew out its birthday cake candles (exploding fireworks), we paused for a patriotic moment and noted our past. We’ve come a long way. Sometimes, history has not been kind to this nation (or we to history) but, overall, we can be proud of where we started and what we’ve become. We’re proud of these United States – U.S. – everyone of us.

My goodness we’ve made progress. Once upon a time a few men rowed across the Delaware River to make a stand for our nation. A few days ago, the world’s finest fighting aircraft flew overhead while heavy tanks stood sentry on the ground at the Washington Mall. Elizabeth Williamson in The New York Timesnoted the president’s salute to our military might (Two Americas, Celebrating Separately in One Place). Military patriotism was on full display.

The event was also polarizing. Many protested the president claiming he had kidnapped the holiday by diverting attention away from the ideals that formed the nation. Ideals such as our being a nation of immigrants, of inclusion, of dreams, and of being of the people, were shuttled to the sidelines.

It was an Independence Day celebration like no other.

Independence Day celebrations have a colorful history

History.com provides a wonderful look at the history of the Fourth of July celebration, noting its history, early celebrations, and becoming a Federal Holiday. Our nation’s noble history seems almost linear, smoothed in history’s retrospect. However, we’ve had our growing pains and challenges. We’ve stumbled and got things wrong, maybe as often as we get things right, yet we persevere towards ideals that bind us together. We are US! We’re in this together.

Birthdays note transitions in thought

As we celebrate this birthday (will it last throughout the month?), let’s be mindful of the transitions we’ve experienced in our thinking. We transitioned out of slavery. Protections for the welfare of the downtrodden, the sick, and the aged are now deemed critical. We recognize our role and responsibility for our world and its climate, though it may seem inconvenient. Health and education are recognized as a right for everyone. Gender equality and identification issues are in our current sense of reality. Our thinking has come a long way.

Perceptions and consequential thinking do not shift and progress as smoothly as night transitions to day or years slip by one-by-one. Paradigm shifts require time. They emerge in what may seem as fits and starts. What seems like common sense today was not always so in years past.

Common sense sometimes clings to bad ideas

For example, for many years we’ve simply accepted as a common sense rule that the best way to vote for a president was to use a winner-takes-all approach. We’ve lived with it since the early 1800s and it seems like such outdated tinkering is part of the fabric making up our Electoral College. Few understand it’s not.

Few understand that the winner-takes-all approach disenfranchises some 46% of the voters who cast their ballots in any given presidential election. Few understand that the Electoral College results begin with a flawed dataset. Not satisfied with the results, many seek to eliminate the Electoral College altogether, little realizing that an easy remedy is within reach.

Paradigm shifts require awareness, discussion, and legislation

Paradigm shifts transition us from a flawed way of thinking to one that better serves all of us. History shows that new realities emerge. Just as technology advances from one discovery to another, so does our thinking advance and mature over time.

New realities in our thinking (maturation) progress through three basic steps: 1) awareness, 2) discussion, and 3) legislation.

Awareness of theEqual Voice Voting (EVV) remedy is a focus of this blog. A problem must be recognized before any viable solution is adopted. The National Popular Vote (NPV) folks, for example, rush to change a result (winning by popular vote) without identifying that the winner-takes-all approach is the stumbling block. Consequently, they do not realize the NPV solution exacerbates the problem and are blinded to an easier solution: EVV.

Discussion is critical, though, for any idea to gain ground. People need to process a new reality before change can be realized. It is hoped, for example, that you and other readers will share the EVV perspective with others. It may take a long time for the idea to reach a tipping point of significance, but EVV has the power of statistical truth on its side. It can persist.

Legislation can only come after much discussion. Bills are not passed without it. In fact, bills don’t even emerge without much discussion, sometimes requiring much clamoring for eventual adoption. Legislation becomes the gateway by which new ideas become our new reality and a paradigm shift occurs.

Let’s celebrate a Fourth of July for every voter

Step-by-step, bill-by-bill, we can progress to a more inclusive future that engages all voters. We can make all votes matter if we become more aware of EVV’s advantage, discuss its merits among ourselves, and legislate to make EVV a reality!

Let’s give our nation a birthday gift in the near future. Let’s look forward to an Independence Day celebration that we can honestly say is for everyone. Let’s make every vote matter.

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