I have begun something on social media just this evening. It is something I call the Progressive Challenge. It’s really simple. I post one question at a time, asking respondents to post an exact quote as to what their preferred candidate has to say on a specific subject. No opinions, no assumptions, no beliefs. Just exact quotes.

Thus far, I have asked what candidates have to say about pardoning (dropping charges) against Julian Assange and Chelsea Manning. Another post asked what their candidate has to say about meeting with other leaders with whom they do not agree.

The only response with a quote before I left for work has been someone who quoted Tulsi Gabbard. Otherwise, every single response I have received has been attempt after attempt to change the subject. Or to ask something like, “Do you think she can win?”

I’ve responded to this before by way of articles explaining that Tulsi is the most likely to unite people across party lines. After all, she truly is the only one who is even attempting or suggesting reaching across party lines while also standing by her values. Yes, the only one.

The literal goal of this series of posts is not demeaning or invalidating any candidate. The goal intended is to encourage people to stop assuming anything and look directly at what their candidate has stated in real words. You cannot assume that any candidate supports a specific issue or has a certain stance because you “have faith” in them.

I have tried informing people of the differences in policies with limited success. This is merely taking a different approach. It is trying to get people to do their own research. Ask a question to which people think they know the answer. When asked for a direct quote, they realize that they cannot recall the exact words they heard or read. So, they go looking for those words and find the words do not exist.

Some people ask me, “Do you think (blank) can win?” If I state a certain name my statement is invalidated with, “They can’t win.” As I have before, I have to reply with a question: What do you think you are “winning”? You cannot vote for a name, you vote for ideas, for policies. If you are unaware of what policies and ideas you are directly supporting, you cannot call it “winning”.

Invalidating the views of others, ignoring facts, creating policies in your own mind which do not exist, personal attacks, calling people liars for saying what you don’t want to hear are not a means of winning anything at all. Maintaining division and animosity against anyone who doesn’t follow a NAME solves no problem. Ignoring major issues like warfare, regime change, murderous sanctions which damage our own economy, freedom of information and literally fighting for election integrity does not move any of us forward. All of this creates more problems than it has any hope of solving. The only path to WINNING is not by defeat against other candidates/camps/ideologies for the sake of a name has no more effect on democracy than the outcome of the latest football game. We have to reach across party lines, we have to be aware of what EXACTLY we are voting FOR, NOT AGAINST. The only way that can happen is by keeping an open mind, admitting when we are wrong, acknowledging when we don’t know something as a FACT, not an assumption or belief. This is not religion, this is not jihad, this is not a football game. This is real life and real lives, BILLIONS of lives hang in the balance.

So stop putting your FEELINGS above all else. Trust me, if you find out you are wrong about something, you’ll get over it. If we wind up at war with nuclear powers or have no hope of regaining election integrity, you will NOT get over it. You never learned anything new in your life by assuming you knew all there was to know on any subject.

I do not ask anyone to change their minds instantly. I don’t really ask people to change their minds at all. The ONLY thing I ask people to do is make INFORMED decisions. Why does that seem like too much to ask of so many?

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Issues unite, names divide

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