But one thing I did hear while at sea was commentary from some that lacked any connection to reality except a blind belief that things are going to get better for all of us. As far as thinking things will be better and actually becoming better, we have seen throughout history that perception is half the battle towards accomplishing success. But a couple of conversations I overheard (and chose to refrain from interjecting myself into) arose between some slightly intoxicated folks rambling about why Donald Trump got their vote and will be a "great president." As the alcohol fueled discussion began to heat up, two folks seemed determined to silence the others. One was a gentleman who claimed that he "was tired of losing his freedom" to over-regulation and how Obama had destroyed our democracy by single-handedly creating a $20 Trillion deficit. Yep, you read that right. According to this guy, Obama using his tyrannical edicts singlehandedly caused our once great nation to become financially and ethically bankrupt and only Donald Trump will be able to eliminate our massive federal debt by slashing all regulations and taxes that threaten our "freedom." While sitting directly behind and around the corner from him, I chose to let him control the discussion and remain disengaged from it. I mean, we all know presidents can only spend money approved by Congress (See Article I, Section VII of the United States Constitution). We also all know, regulations can be checked by Congress through their Constitutional oversight role. But what really caught my attention after the lengthy pontifications of this gentleman came to a close, was a question someone unfortunate enough to have to endure his rants came around to ask him. "What line of work are you in?" His response? "Me, oh I'm retired!" And there you have it. His "Freedom" being taken away from him due to overly-restrictive "Obama Regulations" really have had little to no impact on his life - despite the emotional argument he made. He is no "Captain of Industry" overwhelmed by bureaucratic regulations. He then went on to boast that virtually all of his income comes from Social Security and investment income from the "markets." Yet, he passionately believed that his freedom was lost due to Obama being president.
When he finally walked away to get another drink from the bar, a woman chimed in to add that she "could never vote for Hillary Clinton." When asked by someone sitting next to her, why? "Oh, I could never vote for a woman to be president. My daddy taught me all real ladies need a good man to take of them." Yep, she said that! Here I am expecting to hear thoughts on Clinton's dishonesty, lack of character, you name it. Nope, the only reason she could never vote for Clinton was because she will never vote for any woman to be president - ever! You can guess that it was then time for me to walk away as I would have nothing to add to those conversations (unless I was drinking and I was not).
So about a month after the elections, we are learning some of the reasons people voted for Trump were not because the Democrats have led us astray, but because some have a fundamental misunderstanding of how our government really works and the other, that even women just can't accept women as equals to men. I highly doubt I could pursuade either one of them that their personal views are, well, a tad off. After all, their vote flowed right into the deepening river of misinformation.
As President Ronald Reagan once wrote; "There are no constraints on the human mind, no walls around the human spirit, no barriers to our progress except those we ourselves erect." Looks like some of us still have a lot of work to do in bringing an appreciation for what is actually true in the politics that control our contemporary lives. Have a great week!