Hillary Won. No, she didn’t! Yes, she did! Come on, people, let’s be accurate.
The airwaves are already filled with advice about how to help our young people through this divisive moment in American history. One important bit of advice I haven’t heard yet: be accurate.
So much of what people say to each other is ego-speak, words that express our world-view in an effort to bring other people’s world-view around to ours. Such arguments define our tribe rather than further discussion. Should we teach Huckleberry Finn, or natural selection, or Ebonics? Such arguments are not about education, but about who gets to brainwash the children into which culture.
Election time is grand time for ego-speak. One often doesn’t hear anything but ego-speak. Now, however, in the interest of the children and the nation, we should drop the ego-speak, and be accurate.
Unlike most of the adults who surround them, a child’s brain is on a mission to build itself into an accurate model of the world. Now, to serve the children properly, parents and all other educators must serve that mission. Instead of telling children “the truth,” we should be strengthening their reality-testing mechanism.
Here’s an example. My wife Victoria wrote:
Hillary Won. I’m not dreaming or delusional. Hillary Clinton won the vote for President of the United States. She lost the election, yes. But she won the vote. Why does that matter? It matters because accuracy matters; it helps us discern and communicate the truth. It matters because people will extrapolate from the results of the election, and if they are not accurate about the results, the wrong narrative will emerge.
As of this morning, with 99% of the vote in, Clinton was ahead by about 400,000 votes. (update 12/5: 2.65 million). Therefore, the following statements are accurate:
- There is no silent Trump majority.
- A majority of American voters are ready for a woman president. They selected one.
- A majority of American voters selected the candidate who said racism, sexism and bigotry is wrong.
- A majority of American voters rejected the platform that was anti-immigration, anti-trade, anti-Obamacare.
- A majority of American voters selected the candidate who was for women’s reproductive rights.
Am I just being a sore loser? No. I’m being accurate. We lost the office of President, and I’d rather we would have won it. But being denied that, I don’t want the minority to win the narrative. Because the narrative matters, too. It tells us who we are; it tells the world who we are. And, yes, there are many of us who are scared and racist and sexist. But there are more of us who are not. The majority of Americans want a country that is fair, inclusive and progressive. That’s why we can’t leave. Or retreat into hating “America.” We are America. Say it loud and say it proud: Hillary Clinton won.
One important test of how educated we are is: how good are we at thinking creatively and critically in collaboration with others so that we collectively come up with a closer approximation of the truth than we had before?
For anyone worried about the future of America at this point in our history, this is my recommendation: let’s all practice the disciplines of good educators, the disciplines of surfacing the truth together. What do we tell the children? Let’s be accurate.