My Clearest Statement on the Election

Steven Barnes
12 min readAug 1, 2020

I dislike politics, which I consider an exploration of “how can we win?” preferring a more foundational approach to life, the philosophical “what is true? Who am I?” And have involved myself in the political world as little as possible. I admit to “waking up” with interest when Obama ran for office, but when Hillary and Trump went head to head, I was trying to roll over and go back to sleep. I discarded Trump as a possibility because he had zero government experience, which said he was egotistical enough to think he didn’t need it, and also that we would have zero idea how he might function within a chain of command.

It was a simple choice for me, and to be honest, I didn’t look further. When he began his campaigning, I listened to his “Birtherism” and was appalled. That convinced me that he was precisely the wrong person for the job. And while I’ve spoken about this to some degree, I’ve never laid out all my thinking on he subject, and might not have did I not believe we are way, way beyond the “merely” political and asking ourselves existential, philosophical questions about what a nation is, what WE are as a country, what we owe to each other as human, and whether we will survive. Literally.

Yes, I think the issues are that important. And that makes me want to make the clearest statement I can of where I think we are, and why I consider the upcoming election to be so important.

And believe it or not, I regret having to say this so clearly. Ugh. But it would be coardly and irresponsible not to. So…here we go.

And while it is complex, ultimately, once again, the Three Gates come to the rescue.

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Trump’s “Birtherism” predicts much — but not all — of the current disaster. What can I say clearly and honestly based upon it?

  1. IMO “Birtherism” is a different kettle of fish from, say, accusations of Russian interference in our elections. Such a conspiracy is at least possible, even if it didn’t happen, or if he knew nothing about it. IT IS POSSIBLE. The mechanisms are fairly clear. On the other hand, the classic “Birtherism” theory demands a conspiracy of astounding breadth and depth, involving all of America’s intelligence apparatus. Hell, if you pay attention to birth announcements it damned near demands time travel. So I begin with the clearly stated position that not only is it untrue, but demands ignorance of how governmental systems work, a belief in impossibly complex…

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Steven Barnes

Steven Barnes is a NY Times bestselling author, ecstatic husband and father, and holder of black belts in three martial arts. www.lifewritingpodcast.com.