First of all, I’d like to thank all of the American people who voted in this year’s election. We have apparently turned out in record numbers, even during a deadly pandemic.
Second of all, I’d like to commiserate with everyone out there who feels a sense of disappointment about the results. There is some indication that what our Constitutional authors intended as a system of checks and balances has now devolved into a system of total gridlock, at least on the national scene. Any expectations for advancement in terms of such issues as universal healthcare for Americans, for instance, can now be shelved for at least two more years. It will now take a miracle to prevent some 20 million of our people losing their health insurance in this next year or two.
The fact that many of those people who will most likely lose their health insurance, bearing sometimes fatal consequences for themselves, essentially voted to make this happen, I have a third point to make in this speech.
I concede that I was wrong in expecting people in a democracy to behave rationally in an election.
Let me state that a different way.
I was irrational to expect that humanity would behave rationally if given an opportunity to decide their own fate and that of other people around our world.
I have been one who wrongly assumed that humans are, by nature, rational beings.
I now concede that human nature is instead driven by fearful impulses and instincts.
As such, political behavior is highly charged with emotion, not reason. At our core, animal instincts become the source of our political energy with which to act. And fear is the driver of our electoral process. Nature is on the side of emotional decision-making. Impulse shopping, as it were, is what has accounted for America’s 2020 election results as well as our response to the Covid Pandemic. The American people largely operate on animal instinct. Even when proactive in one direction, we may react in the opposite direction. We are collectively what the the Diagnostic Manual for psychiatric diseases might classify as an Impulse Control Disorder.
I concede that I have also been wrong about the very notion of political pollsters having any real degree of believability. Pollsters measure plans, not impulses. They calculate reason but do nothing to measure emotions, which are entirely fluid and given to last-second impulsivity.
Here, my concession takes the form of two particular examples of classic Americana. One involves pulling up to a restaurant drive-through to place an order. The final order, that is our election result, depends not so much on the plan upon entry as it does the final impulse. In other words, who knows what we're apt to drive away with in the end?
Need another example? Consider the average American grocery list, assuming one exists at least in the mind of our consumers. People enter the store with one plan in mind and exit the store with rather different results. Sometimes a bag full of different results. Impulsivity and emotion get the better of us. We are emotional, not rational beings, by nature. We are human animals at our existential core.
Hence, polling voters before any political election is roughly equivalent to polling shoppers entering a restaurant drive-through or entering a grocery store.
Wrong as I have been to assume we human animals here in America were predictable in some way other than by our emotional, impulsive, instinctual nature, I refuse to concede that we are only driven by fear when it comes to our voting behavior at the proverbial polls.
I refuse to concede that nurture cannot in some way overcome nature.
I refuse to concede that reason cannot in some way overcome emotion.
I refuse to concede that insight cannot in some way overcome impulse.
I refuse to concede that love cannot in some way overcome fear.
I refuse to concede that truth cannot in some way overcome lies.
I refuse to concede that education cannot in some way overcome ignorance.
I refuse to concede that health cannot in some way overcome sickness.
I refuse to concede that wealth cannot in some way overcome poverty.
I refuse to concede that justice and peace cannot in some way overcome injustice and war.
I refuse to concede that hope cannot in some way overcome doubt.
I refuse to concede that human beings are not also spiritual beings, and that our divine spirit cannot overcome our animal impulses and instincts by nurturing our human brothers and sisters (what Jesus called our “neighbor”) in the areas of reason, insight, love, truth, education, health-care, wealth-share, justice and peace, and hope.
In the long run, my own mental health and that of our nation may well hinge on whether those items I refuse to concede will inform my decisions and actions in the days, months, and years to come. For as necessary as it is to concede and accept our losses in life, it may be even more necessary to stay the course and work for a better future, or what Jesus called the Kingdom of God on earth as it is in heaven. To concede that better future to our troubled present is sacrifice my spiritual faith altogether. And that is one speech I will never make.