If I were sufficiently mentally ill to run for President of the United States, I believe my campaign slogan would be, “Humanity First.” How odd that I found a candidate who stole my idea. His name is Andrew Yang. He keeps that a bit on the back burner, and he generally uses “Moving Forward,” which is undoubtedly more inclusive of various ideologies. Humanity First is an Idealist’s ideology. It includes, to me at least, my core belief that there is no Them. We are all Us.
Moving Forward is political. Humanity First is philosophical. To win an election one must be concerned with the political spectrum first, I suppose, although I find that the least desirable part of the idea of running for office. The measured words based on poll results and popular opinion are the enemies of honesty.
Donald Trump billed himself as an outsider. He was not among those who measured his words. He said what he believed. I should, therefore, admire him. I oppose him, however, with all the power my words grant me. Why?
What he believes is as changeable as an infant’s diapers, with which it has any number of elements in common. I rarely know what he means. He simply abuses the language I’ve spent a lifetime learning and loving. He makes it into a weapon of mass destruction of the ability to think coherently. He exhibits no interest in Humanity. He chooses words of separation, and he mocks the empathy I believe to be at the core of being human. Even if I supported his policies, I would loathe his rhetoric.
I will, of course, support any multi-cellular animal that runs against the President in 2020. The first priority is that we change the President before we become a dictatorship. If he gets a second term, I have little reason to believe he will leave at the end of it. He will become what America was designed to defeat.
Having said all that, I have strong preferences. My favorite candidate is the most idealistic, and, quite possibly, the most politically savvy. Yang wants to enact many of my dreams, particularly in that he wants to fix the ills of the world from the bottom up instead of the trickling down bullshit we’ve been sold fruitlessly since Reagan.
He also has the ability to unite Conservatives, Progressives, and even this Idealist. A good example of that can be found in the increasingly quickly blooming “Moving Forward Podcast,” hosted by Rio Verndonir and Corey Cottrell.
Rio is is one of the few Conservatives I know who is capable of changing a Progressive’s mind. While I still disagree at the core with the idea that all people should be self sufficient, he’s made several very powerful cases on the podcast that have made me reconsider my positions on certain issues. He and I could have a great debate.
He never leaves himself open for the easy attacks, though. No use of the Whataboutism that has become the hallmark of the hijacked word Conservative. No ad hominem. No misapplication of quotes. All my easiest avenues of attack are unavailable with him. I’ve never had a more difficult time writing an article as I’ve had for the past couple of weeks trying to come up with my Idealist’s response to his Conservatism.
Corey does an excellent job of supporting the Progressive point of view, and while he’s clearly the first officer to Rio’s captain, he doesn’t lay down.
And here’s the part that is most unbelievable: They can disagree ideologically all day and all night, but they agree on the solutions Yang proposes. Yang appeals to the Conservative in Rio by being a business man. Unlike Sanders, Yang doesn’t loathe the wealthy. He respects them, but believes they need to pay their share, and he’s getting them to do that with the dreaded VAT tax that my more Progressive friends fear.
He appeals to the Progressive in Corey by concerning himself with the Have Nots. Give people $1000 a month, and suddenly there is freedom they had never imagined before. Two or three homeless people could find a place to live together just on that. That place gives them a chance to shower, which increases their odds of getting a job. It gives those who can’t work an address from which to apply for the benefits they need to survive. It gives them a little something to eat. No, they can’t live entirely on that money, or at least not in the way most of us want to, but they can exist. They can fight to survive. They have a chance they won’t get from tax cuts that have no meaning for them.
Giving the money to the Middle Class gives them an opportunity to explore some of the areas of life that were previously unavailable to them. Why take a lousy job when you have the opportunity now, with your guaranteed income, to find one that you enjoy, perhaps even one that pays you to do what you love?
In my Idealist’s world, we would live in a post-scarcity society. We would welcome automation, and we would allow the machines to do the work we no longer need to do. I can be stoned and go to the store for the much needed Eskimo Pies because I will have a self driving car. I have the money I need to survive, because we have come to a place where we can feed and house the world. We are all working on improving ourselves and mankind instead of working 60 hours a week in a futile effort to pay rent, eat, and hope you might have enough left over to go to a movie once in a while. We have time to enjoy being alive. We can read a book, we can watch a movie, we can enjoy a sunset, (or a sunrise… Corey has started broadcasting those daily on YouTube, and it’s more beautiful than you might think) and we can sit up at night thinking all we want because the alarm clock isn’t in charge. We’re done building Walls and calling people “Illegals” instead of human beings, because we all have enough, and we have no need to invent scapegoats for our lack of resources.
I live in reality, however, and I recognize that this isn’t going to happen for a very long time. The longest journey begins with the first step. Universal Basic Income is the beginning of our trip down The Yellow Brick Road. Oz may turn out in the end to be the charlatan behind the curtain, but even he knows what matters is courage, and the ability to think, and to feel, and to love.
The Progressives can enjoy the idea of guaranteed health care for all.
The Conservatives can enjoy the injection of money directly into the economy when people begin to buy more because they have more. Each transaction creates a new job. The job creates more wealth. The wealth creates another job.
There is a feeling that Idealists loathe the wealthy. We don’t. Nor are we jealous of them. I, for one, am happy for them. They’ve managed to figure out a way to prosper in our society. This is good.
What I object to is the idea that only those who have already achieved wealth have any right to it. The idea that wealth is the result of hard work is demonstrably untrue. If hard work created wealth, the waitress working 60 hours a week, 51 weeks a year, would make more money than the lawmaker who works less than a third as much. It’s that some have skills for which our society pays well, and others have skills that are valued at far less. I recognize that’s part of how capitalism works, but that doesn’t mean that anyone should be without the resources to survive. I am a skilled teacher and writer. I can’t make a lay up shot to save my soul. Michael Jordan will have much more than I will, but I don’t believe my contributions to the world are any less valuable than his. Do you?
This is the sort of discussion you’ll find on The Moving Forward Podcast. There are no claims to absolute truth. There is no hidden agenda. It’s a discussion of… believe it or not… ideas! I invariably come away from an episode rethinking my own ideas. Some of them are reinforced. Others are challenged. New ones appear on my horizon.
Eleanor Roosevelt is reputed to have told us, as I’m sure you’ve heard several thousand times (though I challenge you to find a video or show me the book in which she wrote it), “Great minds discuss ideas; average minds discuss events; small minds discuss people.” You’ll find a little of each in this podcast, but the events and people are always discussed in the context of ideas.
If we have a chance of saving the world, it will come from discussion of ideas that might accomplish that lofty goal. We will never accomplish anything by attacking each other. Epithets are not to be mistaken for arguments. The moment someone comes out with “Libtard” or “RepuliKKKan” the discussion is polluted beyond salvation. It’s no longer a search for solutions. It’s a symptom of the cocksure ignorance that will block any solution that doesn’t fit with our team.
“You can’t change the world,” my Grandpa Schuelke told me when I was a boy, “but you can change your corner of it.”
In this corner, I present to you the ideas of Rio and Corey: The Moving Forward Podcast.