Argue For Things That Improve Society

I have noticed that in the United States, there is a considerable outcry about how elections have been stolen. Donald Trump, and not to his credit, is the most recent. His aggressive approach may have done more harm than good even if he was right. We’ll never know about that.

The one I found most interesting was the 2000 election where Florida became the deciding state. It took until mid-December before the legal wrangling ended and George Bush came out as president with Al Gore left at the side. Who recalls “hanging chads” and “dimpled ballots?”

That election arose again recently. Rhetoric mostly

At the time I was comfortable with the outcome and not because of the scholarly legal arguments to the Supreme Court. Rather it was because of the vote in Tennessee. The final Electoral college vote was 271 Bush to 266 Gore. Tennessee has eleven Electoral College votes. Tennessee was the home state of Al Gore. He had represented the state in the senate and his father did so before him. It is reasonable to assume the citizens in Tennessee knew him best.

Nonetheless, their Electoral College votes went to Bush. If the Tennessee votes had gone to Gore instead of Bush, the result would have been Gore 277, Bush 260. Whether the Florida vote was right or not would have not mattered at all. The people who knew him best, supported his opponent.

How arguing works

The last presentations are about arguing not reaching the best solution.

Arguing, particularly political arguing, is aimed at winning. Reducing your clearly wrong opponent to dust. The method is to take all of the points that favour your position and devise defenses to any that might be raised in opposition.

If you are Democrat you only talk about Florida. If a Republican only about Tennessee. There can be no definitive answer. That’s ideal from the political standpoint, it permits division and conflict and both are useful for politicians.

A better way

People want to know what is right instead of who is right. The argument must be different. It must deal with reality instead of talking points. Today, that point is the answer to a question. What must we do to improve election integrity? How will we know that any person entitled to vote can, and can be sure their vote is registered and counted as they wish it to be?

Fighting over election results you don’t agree with is destructive. It enhances the idea that elections don’t matter. That cannot be a positive thing.

It leads people to think like Joseph Stalin. “Those who vote decide nothing. Those who count the votes decide everything.”

People who value the idea of free and open elections deserve to know elections are honest and any reasonable person can know it to be true. Perception matters too.

The bits to take away

Argue to find a better way and avoid the win at all cost approach.

We are all in this together. Cooperation is a powerful tool to improve society.


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I build strategy and fact-based estate and income plans. The plans identify alternate ways and alternate timing to achieve both spending and estate distribution goals. In the past I have been a planner with a large insurance, employee benefits, and investment agency, a partner in a large international public accounting firm, CEO of a software start-up, a partner in an energy management system importer, and briefly in the restaurant business. I have appeared on more than 100 television shows on financial planning, have presented to organizations as varied as the Canadian Bar Association, The Ontario Institute of Chartered Accountants, The Ontario Ministry of Agriculture and Food, Banks – from CIBC to the Business Development Bank.

Be in touch at 705-927-4770 or by email to don@moneyfyi.com

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