With political polarization inciting violent insurrectionists to the brink of toppling the United States Congress on January 6, and with one of our major parties refusing to hold the seditionists accountable, the Department of Homeland Security is warning of a “heightened threat environment” from extremists “emboldened” by the breach of the Capitol Building. America is more divided than it’s been since the Civil War. But there’s a simple solution to pull back partisan tribalism from the brink: Ranked Choice Voting.
Our national redemption gave me the catharsis I needed to process a cycle of depression and anxiety that started exactly four years ago today. I’m finally ready to share my story from that day.
When Trump appeared to be winning after midnight on November 9, 2016, I was the only one still awake at my parents’ house in Ohio, where I’d spent the past four days getting out the vote. I asked on Facebook: “What to say to the millions of Americans who’ve been told they don’t belong here?” It wasn’t a rhetorical question. …
I’ll never forget the 3,000 Americans killed on 9/11/2001. The attack traumatized me as a 7th grader and set me on the path to working on international security. But I’ll also never forget the 200,000 (and counting) Americans killed by Trump’s decision — recorded on tape — to downplay the threat of coronavirus even though he said it could have a kill rate as high as 5%. And we now know letting the virus run rampant was a conscious political decision because blue states like New York were hit hardest near the beginning.
If you look at the only two viable presidential tickets and wish you had more options, I know how you feel because I actively campaigned for other candidates not on the ballot. But instead of surrendering America to corruption and mass deaths, we need to understand how we got here and work together to advance systemic reforms — namely Ranked-Choice Voting — to democratize future elections.
How Our Current System Rewards Negativity and Restricts Choices
When we’re only allowed one vote in a crowded primary, it’s easier to focus on a few imperfections for each candidate in order to eliminate…
When I started teaching history and civics in Lebanon during the so-called Arab Spring in 2011, I hoped a new generation would be able to overcome sectarianism and clientelism in order to build a more inclusive, effective democracy. Back then, the United States was seen as an example to the world. But in recent years, America has become more sectarian in its own ways, with increasing levels of corruption, incompetence, and conspiracies that remind me of Lebanon. …
Raised as a Cleveland sports fan, I understand the nostalgia and attempts to justify the “Indians” branding as a symbol of respect for Native Americans. I failed to see “Chief Wahoo” as a racist caricature until I was older and comparisons were made to other racialized team names and mascots. But now, when we see alleged fans paint themselves red and threaten to quit watching baseball if the name changes, do we really think they’re motivated by respect for the original inhabitants of the Cuyahoga Valley?
Cancellations have always happened, with historic figures literally fighting to the death and being remembered or forgotten based on their reputations. Or as Hamilton: An American Musical puts it: “You have no control: Who lives, who dies, who tells your story?”
Whatever criticisms about historical accuracy can be nitpicked about Hamilton, the major plot points are accurate. Alexander Hamilton canceled his own political career by writing the Reynolds Pamphlet. Then Aaron Burr got his own political career canceled by dueling and killing Hamilton. No one is safe from cancel culture, but can we learn to live with it? Should we?
President Trump tries to hijack the meaning of the American flag by wrapping himself in false patriotism again and again as he tramples the rights embodied by Old Glory — revealing himself and his followers to be star-spangled hypocrites. But our flag should stand for freedom, and Trump can’t take that away.
The day after President Obama left office and White House staff said our farewells as he and Michelle boarded their final flight on Air Force One, I donned my “Captain America” hoodie and joined the Women’s March to show patriotic solidarity. …
Working to save democracy. Formerly @ObamaWhiteHouse. Taught history in Lebanon. @OhioWesleyan & @Kennedy_School alum. Support @RankTheVoteOhio. Views mine.