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
Who Are You? Watching This Breathtaking Video Could Be the Moment You Change Your Life
2 min · 27,915 views today · "Normal is getting dressed in clothes that you buy for work, driving through traffic in a car that you are still paying for, in order to get to a job that you need so you can...
How to Criticize with Kindness: Philosopher Daniel Dennett on the Four Steps to Arguing Intelligently
Maria Popova · 14,727 views today · “Just how charitable are you supposed to be when criticizing the views of an opponent?”
Welcome to Marinaleda: The Spanish Anti-Capitalist Town With Equal Wage Full Employment and $19 Housing
Jade Small · 14,588 views today · With virtually no police, crime or unemployment, meet the Spanish town described as a democratic, socialist utopia. Unemployment is non-existent in Marinaleda, an Andalusian...
When You Kill Ten Million Africans You Aren't Called 'Hitler'
Liam O'Ceallaigh · 14,444 views today · Take a look at this picture. Do you know who it is? Most people haven’t heard of him. But you should have. When you see his face or hear his name you should get as sick in...
10 Shocking Facts About Society That We Absurdly Accept As Normal
Joe Martino · 11,322 views today · When you take a moment and look around at the world, things can appear pretty messed up. Take 5 or 10 minutes and watch the 6 o’clock news. Chances are, the entire time, all...
Forest Man
16 min · 9,627 views today · Since the 1970's Majuli islander Jadav Payeng has been planting trees in order to save his island. To date he has single handedly planted a forest larger than Central Park NYC...
What It Really Means to Hold Space for Someone
Heather Plett · 6,816 views today · How to be there for the people who need you most
Alan Watts: What If Money Was No Object?
3 min · 5,001 views today · How do you like to spend your life? What do you desire? What if money didn't matter? What if money was no object? What would you like to do if money were no object? Spoken...
Today I Rise: This Beautiful Short Film Is Like a Love Poem For Your Heart and Soul
4 min · 4,930 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...
Caitlin Moran's Posthumous Advice for Her Daughter
Caitlin Moran · 4,649 views today · My daughter is about to turn 13 and I’ve been smoking a lot recently, and so – in the wee small hours, when my lungs feel like there’s a small mouse inside them, scratching to...
How a Trump Presidency Would Unleash a Torrent of Racist Violence-And Devastate the Left
Arun Gupta · 4,558 views today · The Left should take the Trump threat very seriously.
The International Criminal Court May Start Prosecuting People Who Commit Crimes Against the Environment
Tara Smith · 3,726 views today · The International Criminal Court is not known for prosecuting people responsible for huge oil slicks, chopping down protected rainforests or contaminating pristine land. But...
American Cartel: How America's Two Major Parties Helped Destroy Democracy
Frank Castro · 3,512 views today · Cartel: An association of manufacturers or suppliers with the purpose of maintaining prices at a high level and restricting competition.
Ten Ways We Misunderstand Children
Jan Hunt · 3,324 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...
Maya Angelou's 3-Word Secret to Living Your Best Life
3 min · 2,757 views today · Dr. Maya Angelou says that in order to be the best human being you can be, you must follow one simple directive: "Just do right." Watch as Dr. Angelou reveals how you can never...
Humanity's Greatest Challenges Aren't Technical, They're Human
8 min · 2,380 views today · Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs is incomplete as we commonly know it. Later in his life, Maslow wrote about a stage beyond self-actualization. Nichol Brandford explains how to...
A Woman Who Makes This Statement Today Needs Revolutionary Courage
Sabine Lichtenfels · 2,365 views today · I want to live in a community with men and women, with children, animals and plants so that I am not continually forced to hide my actual being from the others. Perception and...
Do You Have Time to Love?
Thich Nhat Hanh · 2,261 views today · The greatest gift you can offer loved ones is your true presence.
Rap News Special Edition: Hillary Clinton Vs Donald Trump
7 min · 2,037 views today · Hello world. RAP NEWS is back for a special episode on the 2016 USA Election mayhem, feat. Hillary Clinton vs Donald Trump + a touch of Jill Stein & Gary Johnson. This one's...
“You Can Have Your Weak Nominee If You Wish” – the Sanders Endorsement Backfires on Hillary Clinton, Empowers Sanders in One Masterstroke
Saib Bilaval · 2,035 views today · Ultimately, what the Sanders endorsement has proved is what the candidate was arguing from the beginning – that it was not Sanders and his campaign that was holding Hillary...
Load More
Like us on Facebook?
The Need for Common Ground, and the Need to Do What You Do