Being wrong is part of life
We have all been wrong (many times) in our lives. It’s part of being alive, especially of being human. It’s not a great shame to be wrong, unless we make it so. That shame, too, can be considered to be wrong. But what comes after being wrong? Hopefully, being wrong is the stuff that leads to great learning.
Sadly, we dwell on and focus upon all the things we get wrong. Our failures mount up and, at times, can be overwhelming. We can become debilitated, paralyzed even, unable to correct our mistake(s) and move on. Such paralysis prevents us from growing and evolving to realize our best potential.
The DOJ is wrong
A federal court judge recently ordered the Department of Justice (DOJ) to provide the House Judiciary Committee the redacted portions of the Robert Mueller report. The ruling came after the DOJ claimed that existing law bars disclosure to the Congress of grand jury information. Justice Beryl Howell, as reported by Gregorian and Winter of NBC News, said in a 75-page ruling:
The Department of Justice claims that existing law bars disclosure to the Congress of grand jury information. DOJ is wrong. … Contrary to DOJ’s position — and as historical practice, the Federalist Papers, the text of the Constitution, and Supreme Court precedent all make clear — impeachment trials are judicial in nature and constitute judicial proceedings.
The ruling will be disappointing to some, especially those in the White House administration. Some will think the judgment is wrong. Others will applaud the decision and contend that, as the judge said, the DOJ is wrong.
Will our responses be wrong?
It wasn’t up to you and I to make the legal determination (thank our lucky stars for that); but we cannot help but form an opinion or two. Hearing this kind of news will force us to speculate on who got it right. We consider the moment, its history and context, and either find relief or added stress. We can’t help it.
As the impeachment process progresses, every one of us who are paying attention will find it hard to remain neutral. Some of us will be right while some of us will be wrong. And, we’ll be wrong about different things! We’re human after all.
As time progresses, we’ll find the political smoke we experience today will clear, perspectives will settle, and facts will emerge. This much is true. We can count on it. The question will be, “What will we learn from this moment in history?”
Thinking Iraq had WMDs was wrong
Here’s an example that might help make the point. Consider the aftermath of 9/11. Emotions were high. Congressional legislators weighed in with its vote to invade Iraq or not because of the fears over Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMDs). Now, years later, the facts remain that it was a false claim and our knee-jerk reaction was wrong. What did we learn?
Are we ready to correct our wrongs?
Mistakes are made – count on it. We are often wrong, individually and collectively. If we’re aware and mature and engage in our nation’s pursuit of happiness, what do we do next? Will fresh wisdom come to our rescue and save us from ourselves? Or will we cling to false notions and make things worse?
Following the impeachment proceedings, whichever way it goes, what will we do and say? Will we exacerbate the political division or will we acknowledge what we got wrong, our wrong behaviors (actions and words), and our weaknesses of the moment? Will we learn?
My worry is that when we learn, we do so very slowly. We acknowledge truth reluctantly. We cling to perspectives that serve only our egos well.
We are wrong when we select a president
A case in point is how we elect our nation’s president. There are many lessons to learn here but we can easily focus on one: the voting mechanism we use. For decades we have used the Electoral College inappropriately.
We’ve encumbered the process with a winner-takes-all strategy that maligns the true democratic process for many voters and every state. The problem, evidenced by vote suppression, are in plain sight as we witness the states painted red or blue in every election. The voting map hides the non-represented voters and creates a false narrative for every election. It makes it hard to learn from, even see, our mistakes. It’s hard to recognize who we are. We get it wrong in every election.
Equal Voice Voting (EVV) identifies the problem and offers an easy solution. The answer is simple. However, the aspiration to do better is still not with us. We do not yet recognize what we get wrong – election after election – so we are paralyzed from doing it right.
EVV replaces the winner-takes-all approach, on a state-by-state basis, with a proportional representation. The formula for making this happen is easy (Click here to review the Equal Voice Voting formula.). Our collective awareness, willingness to correct the wrong, and exercise democracy as our Founding Fathers prescribed is yet beyond our reach.
We must be willing to learn before we can correct this wrong.
By Jerry Spriggs and the Equal Voice Voting Team