In reality, our world is worryingly fragile. We have built this ecosystem from the ground up over generations that is stacked together more like Jenga pieces than like Legos. Case in point, a software developer got in a minor dispute and single-handling broke the internet a few months back. Because the entire system is built in a way that can happen. That one guy can take down the internet. Crazy.
It’s not built like that on purpose, by the way. As people live and explore and try and learn and push – some things end up working. When those things work, more is built on top of it, and that object/concept/idea starts evolving. The fragile vulnerability is not realized until one of “those things” breaks – and often at that point, it’s hard to go back to the foundation and build it in a different way. You’ve made assumptions and relied on the foundation. You now inherit the vulnerability and risk and move forward. But you keep trying to make it better.
What does this mean?
It means I have to trust software developers. I know that there are a plethora of smart software developers that could take down the internet. I need to trust that they won’t.
It means I need to trust our public figures. I know that our public figures can use their words to create havoc in the world. I need to trust that they won’t.
Donald Trump’s World
In Donald Trump’s world, there is havoc. I listened for an hour and twenty minutes of havoc inducing fear. In Donald Trump’s world, it is current American citizens vs. immigrants, blue vs. black, American economy vs. Global economy, 2nd amendment vs. gun control, Christian vs. Muslim, Washington insiders vs. citizens.
I can’t live in that world. That world causes me to lose sleep (two nights and counting). That world, on top of a fragile system, will and has caused havoc. That world is so very unsettling.
One of the first things I noticed when Donald Trump announced his candidacy was the use of absolutes in his language when there is no way an absolute could happen, and the use of unknowns when it would be dangerous for a public figure to be speculating on a topic.
In corporate America, you learn to not use absolutes. Nothing works EVERY time. No one ALWAYS wins. No metric has a goal of 100% success. In reality, nothing can be done in absolutes. Donald talks in absolutes. It drives me insane because it’s both artificial and demonstrates a real lack of understanding of how things actually work in this world.
In the same way, there is no tolerance for guesses / hypotheses in my job.
The stock will “maybe” get to the store on time.
Our customers will “probably” be happy with this.
“I don’t know him, but I think” he’ll approve this request.
Words beaten out of your vocabulary when you have a boss that is depending on you: probably, maybe, I-think, I-don’t-know-but… Pay attention to the dizzying amount Donald uses these words. I have never heard a candidate speculate so carelessly. He does it about everything from conspiracy theories to actual important things that candidates should research and KNOW, not guess about.
The power of your words is so important – when you say something “probably was” people will repeat it like it actually was. And then we all talk about things that Donald made up. Then we all get twisted around in what is fact vs. Donald’s reality.
For “fun” (if you define fun as insomnia created by fear of someone becoming president), I searched Donald and Hillary’s twitter feeds for the words “probably” and “maybe.” Literally pages of tweets from Donald. Hillary had one “probably” (Used correctly in the title of an article “6 things you probably didn’t know about Hillary”) and three “maybes”. 1 Maybe quoted someone else, the other two are below:
Screenshots from Donald Trump’s twitter when searched for “probably” and “maybe.” The list is much longer than the screenshot, but you get the point.
In my world, words are respected. We get the opportunity to speak after we’ve done our research and know our facts. It’s earned.
In my world, things are pretty dang good (not falling apart). Yes, we acknowledge and respect the frailty of the system. We acknowledge we have some real problems with terrorism, with crime, with guns, with race… But it is not dooms day.
In my world, the Jenga pieces that are America’s foundation are respected. Our country was built by white men for white men. That has and will continue to cause problems with race and gender equality in this country systemically across all things (not just law enforcement). In my world, we recognize and talk openly about that.
In my world, we live on the power of “AND”
- Current American citizens AND immigrants
- Blue AND black
- American economy AND Global economy
- 2nd amendment AND gun control
- Christian AND Muslim
- Washington insiders AND citizens
I like my world. I want more people here -inspired and doing more to bring this world together.
- I need Hillary to be inspirational and positive. My world is not falling apart. We have issues that we need to deal with, but there are so many good things in this world to inspire us and push us forward. I need her to bring those good things to life.
- I need her to explain an “AND” world. I need her to acknowledge the intricacies of our situation and talk openly about them.
- I need her to answer “how” questions. For an hour and twenty minutes I endured Donald throwing out absolutes such as ‘we will build a wall’ and ‘America will be safe again’ without telling me how he plans to accomplish those things. At one point he referenced a ten point plan, but never talked about what was in the plan. I need Hillary to talk about the “how.” I know this is hard in these speeches due to time constraints and you can’t hit every topic’s “how,” but at least a few times – I want to hear the “how.”