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Stephen Colbert last night: "Politics used to be something we thought about every 4 years. That's good that we didn't think about it that much, because it left room in our lives for other things and OTHER PEOPLE"


I really appreciated Colbert's words that night, but I don't know how true his quote was. There was a great article I read a decade ago that I could never find again about, "How People Talk About Politics," and it matched my own experience.

Standing in long lines at the DMV in Virginia in 2000-something, a man says to me, "See what happens when you let the Democrats run things?"

Watching the dot-com bubble burst in 2000, a woman told me, "My grandmother said this would happen. She said the economy always collapses under Republicans."

Working IT at the Coast Guard for ten years, people talked politics all the time. All of that talk about as informed as the quotes above, but I try not to think less of people who are misinformed. Politics is hard. It's complicated, but we are all expected to participate in it and try to stay informed while most of us are unaware of how much or cognitive biases cause us to misunderstand and misremember the things we learn about the whole complex morass that is almost entirely run by lawyers.

For me, this election is now an exercise in compassion. I overheard two coworkers talking yesterday about how they both voted for Trump because they hated Clinton so much. What surprised me was the tone of fear and uncertainty in their voices at having won. They want what's best for America, just like their political opponents do, and they honestly thought their candidate was the better choice--with strong reservations. My life is great at the moment, so I sincerely hope their candidate delivers what they feel is missing in their own lives.

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