The echo chamber of social media is strong, and this is our first election where the algorithms from Facebook (and Twitter to a lesser degree) are truly having an impact on people’s feelings.
I agree with a friend of mine who said he’s glad the country is ready to put this behind us. But the biggest work yet is ahead: bridging the gap between people who are supporting Trump in this election, and those who have felt very hurt by his comments.
Rather than simply shaming people for supporting one candidate or the other, I think talking about the places where people want improvements is a great starting point.
The biggest points I’ve heard from people who are in favor of Trump are:
- Shutting down (temporarily, as I am frequently reminded by his supporters) Muslims entering the USA
- Building a border wall (apparently just on the southern border)
- A vague desire for stronger military leadership
I’d love to address these one at a time:
Shutting Down a Religion Coming to the USA is Particularly Unamerican
Because religious freedom has been an absolute cornerstone of the USA since its inception, I simply cannot condone this idea.
However, I can understand what I believe the underlying idea is behind doing this: keeping people safer, and reducing crime. Improving our screening process is an ongoing thing that, perhaps, could use more specific focus over the next four years.
(Yes, recently Pence said that’s not the plan anymore. I haven’t heard Trump say that, though, and it makes me incredibly wary about someone attempting to roll back a controversial cornerstone of an election platform just 30 days before an election.)
Building a Wall on the Southern Border
As pointed out by various critics of this idea (most entertainingly by John Oliver), it is a huge amount of expense for something that will likely be ineffective. If we are concerned about border security, using technology in intelligent ways could help accomplish this much better. Tech-oriented jobs are the high-paying jobs we want in the US, so let’s put a focus there, rather than some monstrosity of a civil engineering project that would extend the reach and impact of the federal government on land in the area, rather than more elegantly figuring out where people breaking the law are at.
Even better, why are people illegally crossing the borders? Drugs is no small part of that. There are so many changes to our drug laws that we could do to reduce the reasons people are crossing the border illegally.
Desire for Stronger Military Leadership
I’ve heard arguments that Hillary is a warmonger, yet that she will follow Obama’s approach to much foreign policy, which, at least in the case of Syria, has been fairly weak. Foreign policy is an incredibly careful sort of thing to pull off successfully, and I think unless any of us have experience doing this, we cannot really pretend to understand all the complexities at work.
Someone who has served as the Secretary of State has experience well beyond anything us armchair quarterbacks can imagine.
My hopes, which come from the world of tech startups
I hope with discussions focused on the problem, we can get to happy mediums where we are addressing problems with solutions that solve the problems we want to fix.
In the world of software development and tech startups, it’s all about focusing on one specific problem, and relentlessly asking questions until it’s solved in an intelligent way. It’s not about taking the first idea someone proposes; it’s about trying something quickly, seeing how it works rapidly, then changing as we get feedback. Hopefully we can try things like that, and get input from both sides (because hey, my solutions certainly aren’t to everyone’s taste, but let’s talk through and actually try something… something which we can roll back much more easily than simply rejecting a religion or undertaking a massive, debt-massing project).