The Need for Common Ground, and the Need to Do What You Do
Both Trump and Clinton are scary bad news. There's plenty of time to make a decision. You don't have to answer to anyone when you make it. Whichever decision you make, make it part of a long-term plan.
The Need for Common Ground, and the Need to Do What You Do
By Michael J. Dumas / filmsforaction.org

I think we need to find common ground for dialogue amongst those who believe we must vote for Clinton (as the lesser of two evils in order to stop Trump) and those who believe that a vote for Clinton is a capitulation to capital, antiblackness, settler colonialism, and the tragic fallacies of liberalism and nationalism.

I think that common ground begins with a recognition that both Trump and Clinton represent forces of evil, even if we disagree on the extent or degree of each candidate's complicity or intent. If we can't agree on that, we probably shouldn't talk. At least not on this level.

We should also agree that both candidates lie, and lie easily and often. And part of the lie is the spectacle of the conventions and the photo ops and the pandering to various constituencies. It's all a lie. Again, if we cannot find common ground on that, we will not get very far in the dialogue.

Next, let us agree that there are over 3 months until the election. There is no rush to compel or guilt anyone into a given position this week. Chill. We got time before November 8.

So now, the work of common ground involves genuinely and fully engaging the questions of what each of us will do should Trump win and should Clinton win. In either case, we should be able to articulate specific actions we will take, including financial and time commitments, and risks to body and social status, that we are willing to be accountable for.

Here is truth: both Trump and Hillary will advocate policies that kill, both here and around the globe. Thus, it is not enough to merely vote and advocate that others vote in 2016. We need to know what we will be doing in 2017, 2018, 2019. And if the truth is that we really aren't going to do anything differently than we have been doing in the past 8 years, we should be honest about that, so others can decide whether they care about our opinion on the matter of voting.

Of course, I want to acknowledge that common ground is not always possible or even advisable. Some things need to be fought out, or just sit as incommensurable visions, because our class interests, our ideological commitments, our political projects are not simply different; sometimes they are in opposition to each other. We should do our best to understand others' perspectives, but sometimes we need to stop talking and just go do what we believe we gotta do. No more explanation needed. Assume people know why they believe what they believe, and have already considered the arguments you are about to make and have rejected them, or at least, believe more in their own understanding of politics and power.

And this is why I am not having any more of these conversations at the simplistic "you need to do x because y" level. If you can't come deeper than that, there is no common ground, no space for a deeper deliberation. Time is better spent doing the work, and engaging those who want to wrestle with these ideas in a more thoughtful way.

4.0 ·
1
What's Next
Trending Today
6 Toxic Relationship Habits Most People Think Are Normal
Mark Manson · 8,844 views today · There’s no class in high school on how to not be a shitty boyfriend or girlfriend. Sure, they teach us the biology of sex, the legality of marriage, and maybe read a few...
This Polish Ad Will Give You The Feels, For Reals
3 min · 6,796 views today · This is an ad for Allegro, a Polish company similar to eBay, and it's heartwarmingly lovely.
Time-Lapse Satellite Images Give a Startling Snapshot of Past 30 Years on Earth
2 min · 5,522 views today · Working with satellite images from NASA and the US Geological Survey, Google has created a searchable snapshot of the past 3 decades on Earth, creating startling time-lapses of...
Dr. Maya Angelou: Love Liberates
5 min · 4,014 views today · Words to live by from Dr. Maya Angelou. Love each other.
The Myth of Positivity: Why Your Pain Holds a Mighty Purpose
umair haque · 2,285 views today · Of all the great myths of contemporary life, one of the most toxic is positivity. It says: there are negative and positive emotions, and only the positive ones are worth...
Ten Ways We Misunderstand Children
Jan Hunt · 2,113 views today · 1. We expect children to be able to do things before they are ready. We ask an infant to keep quiet. We ask a 2-year-old to sit still. We ask a 3-year-old to clean his room...
John Lennon's "Imagine," Made Into a Comic Strip
John Lennon. Art by Pablo Stanley · 1,087 views today · This is easily the best comic strip ever made.  Pabl
15 Easy Things You Can Do to Help When You Feel Like Shit
Maritsa Patrinos · 1,075 views today · You don’t have to tackle it all at once.
Today I Rise: This Beautiful Short Film Is Like a Love Poem For Your Heart and Soul
4 min · 1,011 views today · "The world is missing what I am ready to give: My Wisdom, My Sweetness, My Love and My hunger for Peace." "Where are you? Where are you, little girl with broken wings but full...
The Problem with Hating Our Enemies
Charles Eisenstein · 720 views today · He who fights too long against dragons becomes a dragon himself; and if thou gaze too long into the abyss, the abyss will gaze into thee. —Nietzsche
Have You Heard of The Great Forgetting? It Happened 10,000 Years Ago & Completely Affects Your Life
Daniel Quinn · 686 views today · (Excerpted from the book, The Story of B) With every audience and every individual, I have to begin by making them see that the cultural self-awareness we inherit from our...
Sleaford Mods on Brexit Britain
4 min · 474 views today · In early 2014 the Guardian hailed duo Sleaford Mods as ‘the most uncompromising British protest music made in years’. Here, we go backstage at a Sleaford Mods gig in their...
The Lid Is off, The Truth Is Coming Out
Charles Eisenstein · 467 views today · It is getting harder to keep a secret these days. The collective shadow of our society, once safely relegated to the dark basement of the unmentionable, is now exposed to...
The White Man in That Photo
Riccardo Gazzaniga · 448 views today · Sometimes photographs deceive. Take this one, for example. It represents John Carlos and Tommie Smith’s rebellious gesture the day they won medals for the 200 meters at the...
The Top 100 Documentaries We Can Use to Change the World
Films For Action · 420 views today · A more beautiful, just and sustainable world is possible. Take this library and use it to inspire global change!
Schooling the World (2010)
66 min · 334 views today · If you wanted to change an ancient culture in a generation, how would you do it? You would change the way it educates its children. The U.S. Government knew this in the 19th...
A Hauntingly Beautiful Short Film About Life and Death
5 min · 328 views today · The Life of Death is a touching handdrawn animation about the day Death fell in love with Life.
Defiance in the Face of Oppression - Iranian Artist Atena Farghadani Defends the Right to Draw
Gavin Aung Than · 299 views today · Atena Farghadani is a 28-year-old Iranian artist. She was recently sentenced to 12 years and 9 months in prison for drawing a cartoon.  
Standing Rock Wisdom: How Sacred, Nonviolent Activism Has the Power to Succeed
Charles Eisenstein · 291 views today · I am told by Native American friends active at Standing Rock that the elders are counseling the Water Protectors to undertake each action prayerfully and to stay off the...
Your Lifestyle Has Already Been Designed (The Real Reason For The Forty-Hour Workweek)
David Cain · 267 views today · Well I’m in the working world again. I’ve found myself a well-paying gig in the engineering industry, and life finally feels like it’s returning to normal after my nine months...
Load More
Like us on Facebook?
The Need for Common Ground, and the Need to Do What You Do