Protests and Progress

peaceful protest.jpg

Today, I received the following email from Seth Godin. If you are not already a follower, then I recommend that you digest his daily nugget of wisdom.

A simple dialog can turn opinions into plans (or perhaps, into less tightly held opinions).

We ask, “And then what happens?”

Flesh it out. Tell us step-by-step. The more detail the better.

No miracles allowed. And it helps if each step is a step that’s worked before, somewhere and sometime else. The other question that helps with this is, “has that step ever worked before?”

We don’t have a shortage of loud and strongly held points of view about business, culture, or technology. But it may be that finding the time to draw a map helps us get to where we want to go (or to realize that we need a new map).

This email reminded me of the sincere #NeverTrump protests. Protests are meant to affect the desired change. It’s painful to watch angry, loud protesters with an incoherent, rude message annoying leaders. Protests are a first amendment right as long as they are peaceful.

The town hall meetings where protesters shout down the speaker, yell “Do your job.”, and dominate the public mic by asking pre-written questions are feckless events. Speakers will stop showing up if the audience does not want to listen to the speaker. “Do your job.” Seems to mean Do your job the way that I want you to do your job, regardless of how your district voted. Jason Chaffetz was reelected by 75% of his constituents. Do you think that he should ignore supermajority and bend to the 2000 protesters at his town hall? If so, then we have moved from a democracy to a mob rules state, which is the first step to fascism. Being fed questions to ask is not an organic movement.

Follow the tea party movement. Not the part where they shouted down speakers, but by promoting candidates that you support, starting in 2018.

Calling Trump and his administration fascists proves that it’s not. No fascist regime has ever been overthrown by political protests. The fascists will beat up and then jail the protesters. Temper the hyperbole.

To affect lasting change, speak reasonably but passionately. Also, other people have first amendment rights. Do not trample them in defense of your first amendment rights. These differences need to be decided by free speech, persuasion, and the voting booth. It’s worked 240 years. Hopefully, it will work for another 240. (Note: Running a third party candidate for President without winning any state house, governor, or congressional seats first is as futile as sweeping up the beach.)

The people protesting for a $15 minimum wage are seeing unwanted consequences. McDonald’s and Wendy’s are both rolling out self-service kiosks. This means that there will be some $15  jobs, in addition to layoffs.

Keep the end in mind. The extremist already supports your view. Your only hope for change is to persuade the moderates and independents.  Preaching to the choir can elevate emotion but reason moves those in the middle. Leaders need to detach emotionally during strategic planning. This allows clear thinking to prevail.

I have friends that are passionate on both sides. I like to see protests that lead to progress instead of uncivil emotional outbursts.


An Abortion Law with Legs


Over 40 years of failure trying to overturn Roe v. Wade demonstrates how strong the opposition has fought against the Republicans. The arguments are well known. A woman, not the government, gets to choose to deliver and keep, deliver and give up for adoption or to have an abortion.  The controversial choice is abortion. When does a child become a person with rights? In 1973, the Supreme Court decided in Roe v Wade that a child becomes a person after viability, during the third trimester.

On the same day as Roe v. Wade, the Supreme Court ruled in another abortion case, Doe v. Bolton. This case extended abortion up until birth based on the woman’s health, which included physical, mental, and emotional health. It was a sketchy case on behalf of Jane Doe, even though the real Jane Doe did not support the case and asked the Supreme Court to hear her story about the fictional case. Her appeal was denied and she has passed away.

I believe that Conservatives and Republicans need to stop trying to overturn Roe v. Wade and instead focusing on overturning Doe v. Bolton for the following reasons.

  1. Overturning Roe v. Wade is a difficult political topic because taking away a woman’s choice has strong support among non-Christians and even among some Christians. Liberal judges side with a woman’s right to choose.
  2. Overturning Doe v. Bolton involves banning abortions after 6 months. The majority of Americans do not support late-term abortions, especially partial birth, even among pro-choice women.
  3. Overturning Doe v. Bolton avoids the discussion of abortions due to rape and incest.
  4. Overturning Doe v. Bolton forces the pro-choice people to defend the abortion of a little person. An abortion delivers a dead baby and a C-section delivers an alive baby

We just completed a Presidential election cycle where I heard Roe v. Wade repeated but never Doe v. Bolton. The nominee to the Supreme Court will be nominated next week and I have heard Roe v. Wade mentioned multiple times but never Doe v. Bolton.  Why has this tactic not been tried in 40+ years? I would prefer for Congress to pass a law concerning late term abortions instead of it being a court decision. Any ideas whom in the Congress or Senate that would support this bill?Doe v. Bolton link that explains the case.

Doe v. Bolton case explained.






“Alice asked the Cheshire Cat, who was sitting in a tree, “What road do I take?”
The cat asked, “Where do you want to go?”
“I don’t know,” Alice answered.
“Then,” said the cat, “it really doesn’t matter, does it?”
― Lewis CarrollAlice’s Adventures in Wonderland

I don’t know. Let’s wait. I’m not sure. Maybe, possibly. One of the hallmarks of adulthood is exercising our freedom of will which is manifest in our ability to make decisions, which leads to consequences and rewards for our decisions. This requires a close coupling of authority, responsibility, and accountability.

There are various methods of decision making.

  1. Impulsive – I want it now – is a manifestation of lust, usually results in poor results.
  2. Analytical aka analysis paralysis – I need to consider all of the angles – is a rational process based on the facts as perceived by the decision maker.
  3. Intuitive – I know the right path – is a gift visionairies, successful business leaders, and many managers possess.
  4. Emotional – This feels right – is a result of the present feelings due to circumstances or relationships.
  5. Predetermined – My boss told me to do it this way – requires obedience to the person in authority.
  6. Biblical – I think this is the Lord’s will according to the Bible — could be based on the bible or spiritual knowledge and spiritual wisdom.

Indecision produces discomfort and pressure.  Seek God as you pursue your answer. God’s thoughts and ways are higher than your thoughts and ways.

Let the peace of Christ rule (be the umpire continually) in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. Col 3:15

1- Determine if this is a decision that you need to make. Can I? Should I?

2- Be thankful and peaceful as you pursue answers from God and enjoy the process because God is loving and faithful.

3- After your prayer is answered –  Congratulations. You added a new page to your testimony. Share the goodness of God with somebody else.

Can I? Should I?



Where should we focus our efforts?  The myriad of choices is endless. Decisions confront us at school, work, and with relationships. How should we prioritize our decisions?

There should be two parts to all decisions, whether you are boiling an egg or starting a company.

Can I do it? Do I have the skills or talents to complete the task? Can I learn the requisite skills? If you determine that you believe that you can, then comes the critical next phase.

Should I do it? This is where the profit is evaluated, a business case is built, or you trust in an intuitive sense. Some visionaries, like Steve Jobs and Elon Musk, developed products that people were not looking for.

Spending all day on social media or gaming consumes some teenager’s lives. The bible talks about most things in our lives should be tempered with moderation.

Focusing on “Should I?” will engage your mind and heart. Sit down before I share this stunning news. Believe it or not, there are mistakes, errors, and blatant lies on the internet. Anybody with a strong sense of right and wrong, could spend hours correcting spelling and grammar, discussing logic fallacies, and arguing about how their opinion is right. Or you can just ignore it.

Engage in the profitable, fun, and relational. There is no “Should I?” flowchart to follow, but just asking the question will improve the quality of your decisions.

Why Do We Need The Electoral College?


Why do we need an Electoral College to determine our president? Isn’t the popular vote a better way to elect a President? After all, the popular vote is the method to select Senators, Congressional representatives, Governors, etc.

The President is based on a national election. Our founders designed our government with checks and balances to limit control by a majority. The Executive, Legislative, and Judicial are designed to limit overreach by the other branches. The branches were designed as follows:

Congress – Each state is allocated representatives based on population.

Senate – Each state was allocated 2 Senators per state. The state legislators voted on the Senators. In 1913, (Woodrow Wilson’s term), the 17th amendment was ratified, which authorized Senators to be elected by popular vote.

Judicial – Appointed by the President and approved by the Senate. Legislatures need an amendment to overturn Judicial decisions.

President is decided by an electoral college instead of popular vote. The founders knew that the heavily populated states could dominate an election. How could they limit the impact? Through an electoral college. There are 538 electoral votes.  The same total as Congress, 438 representatives plus 100 Senators. The plurality wins the same number of electoral votes in a state regardless of the margin of victory.  In North Carolina we have 15 electoral college votes. If a candidate wins with 40% or 100%, then they both receive 15. This forces a candidate to campaign in all states. Otherwise they could target California, New York, and Illinois and avoid South Dakota. This encourages a national campaign to woo all voters. The electoral college is another example of the founder’s foresight and wisdom.

Constitutional Crisis?


constitutional crisis is a situation that a legal system’s constitution or other basic principles of operation appear unable to resolve; it often results in a breakdown in the orderly operation of government.

This 2016 election has presented an extraordinary challenge to the voters. The Democratic party nominated a candidate while under an FBI investigation. The case was closed on July 5, after the Democratic convention. New emails discovered during another investigation prompted FBI director, James Comey, to reopen the investigation of Hillary Clinton’s mishandling of classified material. Since the case will not be resolved by election day, then we could have a sitting President under indictment. The FBI is presently investigating her email and the Clinton Foundation, all related to her tenure as Secretary of State from 2009-2013.

A sitting President under indictment would give her power over the departments charged with investigating (FBI) and prosecuting (DOJ). The Constitution does not account for this scenario.  This problem has been highlighted by Democratic supporters.

John Kass from the Chicago Tribune, a Democratic stronghold, talks about the danger to the Republic of electing Clinton.

Doug Schoen, a Democratic stalwart and friend of the Clintons since 1994, voices the same concern.

In the next few days, I will monitor if this idea broadens.

Ketchup and the third-party problem

Note: This is an article from Seth Godin.
Sir Kensington’s Ketchup is better ketchup. Most adults who try it agree that it’s more delicious, a better choice. Alas, Heinz has a host of significant advantages, including dominant shelf space, a Proustian relationship with our childhood and unlimited money to spend on advertising.
The thing is, you can buy Sir Kensington’s any time you want to. And when you buy it, that’s what you get.
You’re not buying it to teach Heinz a lesson. You’re buying it because that’s the ketchup you want.
The marketing of Sir Kensington is simple: If you want better ketchup, buy this, you’ll get it.
Elections in the US don’t work this way.
I’m calling it a third-party problem because the outcome of third-party efforts doesn’t align with the marketing (and work) that goes into them.
Ross Perot, the third-party candidate who ran against Bush and Clinton, cost Bush that election. The people who voted for Perot got Clinton, and it’s pretty clear that the Republicans learned nothing from this, as the next winning candidate they nominated was… George Bush.
Ralph Nader, the third-party candidate who ran against Bush and Gore, cost Gore that election. The people who voted for Nader got Bush, and it’s pretty clear that the Democrats learned nothing from this, as the next person they nominated was… John Kerry.
[Irrelevant aside: John Kerry was married to the heir to the Heinz Ketchup fortune.]
[I’m calling it a ‘problem’ because I have such huge respect for people who care enough and are passionate enough to support change. The problem is that since Gus Hall, and then John Anderson and then the more recent candidates, just about all the changes that third parties have tried to bring to national politics have foundered. It just isn’t a useful way to market change in this country.]
If enough people spent enough time, day after day, dollar after dollar, we could fundamentally alter the historic two-party system we have in the US. But it’s been shown, again and again, that the easy act of letting oneself off the hook by simply voting for a third-party candidate accomplishes nothing.
The marketing of the third-party candidate is: Teach those folks a lesson, plus, you’re not on the hook for what happens. But…
No one in government is learning a lesson.
And you don’t even get who you voted for.
The irony is not lost on me. A small group of voters who care a great deal are spending psychic energy on a vote that undermines the very change they seek to make.
It’s a self-defeating way of letting yourself off the hook, but of course, you’re actually putting yourself on the hook, just as you do if you don’t vote at all.
No candidate has earned a majority of all potential (regardless of registration) voters, not once in my lifetime. Which means that the people who don’t vote, or who vote for a third-party candidate, have an enormous amount of power. Which they waste.
Yes, it’s on you. Your responsibility to vote for one of two people, and to be unhappy with that conundrum if you choose. And then work to change the system, and keep working at it…
But it’s not like ketchup. With ketchup, you get what you choose. With voting, we merely get the chance to do the best we can on one particular day, and then spend years working for what we might want.
It turns out that democracy involves a lot more than voting.