Like you, I have watched my newsfeed fill with political memes, rants and debates for the last two years and gladly welcomed this election cycle’s conclusion. I welcomed its end not because I supported Trump but like many people, I was happy to know my newsfeed would get back to its usual self.
Being who I am (Georgetown University Government Major / former Congressional Candidate) and knowing what I know (American History / Constitutional Theory / the Political System) I am always asked my thoughts on politics and politicians every election cycle. However, unlike many of my friends on social media, I stayed away from posting about it. No memes, no rants, no debates. I posted about art, culture and the awesome things I saw people doing in the world. But now that this presidential election is over I want to take the time to let my friends and anyone that might care to know exactly why I was silent on the subject and at the same time let people know about the biggest, never-talked about story this election.
Many people seem to think we live in a democracy. It’s spoken of so often on television that we don’t think twice of it. We think the government gives us a right to pursue happiness but they don’t — that’s in the Declaration of Independence (not the Constitution). We might also think that this is “the home of the brave and the land of the free” but those are just the lyrics of a song (not the Constitution either).
When you read the actual Constitution you discover many surprising things, but especially this — the word democracy doesn’t appear, not even once. What is a democracy? It is government by all the people. It is supposed to be a system where everyone gets together and votes on issues and whoever gets the most votes wins. Now, you may think that I’m about to bring up the fact that Hillary Clinton got more of the popular vote than Donald Trump and that’s not us being a real democracy. No, (that happens to be true though) but I’d like to point your attention to something more glaringly problematic with what people consider our democratic system.
In the 2016 presidential election there were 130,305,000 votes cast. 130 million people is a lot of people but let’s remember that there are actually 318 million people living in the U.S. There’s a lot of kids and other people not eligible to vote but when you look at how many people were eligible to vote this election year you get this number — 231,556,622. That’s right, 231 million people could have voted but only 130 million people did. If not everyone votes, that’s not a real democracy right?
What else does this mean? Well, the election went like this:
231,556,622 eligible voters
130,305,000 people voted
101,251,622 decided not to vote (44%)
59,626,052 voted for Hillary Clinton (25%)
59,427,652 voted for Donald Trump (25%)
Donald Trump wins with 25% of the vote.
So basically 1 in 4 people (a minority) voted for Trump to be president. 1 in 4 people (another minority) voted for Clinton to be president. Here’s the kicker though: almost 2 in 4 people (44%) decided (VOTED) not to vote for any politician. They basically decided it didn’t matter who won, and guess what guys, a majority of Americans are right. Why? Because you don’t change a country by changing its government or its politicians. You change it when the people change. The government is supposed to govern, to control what is already happening. The people determine what is going to happen, not Trump or Clinton or any of the other politicians we’ve had over the last several hundred years. You have to ask yourself, what exactly is a government governing? The government will only be as good as the people it governs.
What Elon Musk is building right now matters more than the laws that will pass in Congress this year. What artists, entrepreneurs and innovators create and produce will be of more value than anything the president will speak about. At the end of the day it will be the ideas of individuals, the production of people and the changes in culture that will bring about the things too many people are looking to the government to accomplish.
Government is not the creative engine we think it is. It’s not true leadership, only the illusion of it. Who really leads? Probably YOU. The type of person that would read a blog because they care about what’s happening in the world and are interested in things. The top CEOs read a book a week and their knowledge and curiosity enable them to lead others.
If you made something today, if you created something that will help others, you are already doing more than any politician ever will as he discusses what law (limitation) to add to the millions of other laws that no one but lawyers will ever read. Laws written down on pieces of paper will never create more jobs or uplift a country. Only innovation, inventiveness, creativity, imagination, hard work and real production from actual people can make a country a better place to live.
So when you look at the actual numbers of this year’s election, know that the numbers tell the real story. The facts are 1) our president-elect received 25% of the people’s votes and 2) most people voted (by not voting) to ignore the politicians and the government altogether.
Why didn’t I get caught up in the political memes, rants and debates so many others found themselves in? Because I studied government at Georgetown, I worked on Capital Hill and even ran for Congress myself (Trust me, I wanted to make a difference and tried the way most suggested to me) and I discovered first hand that the only real way to make change in the world has nothing to do with convincing people to like and agree with you. It has everything to do with liking other people enough to know that the way you really help them is not by making speeches but by taking actions, by building a better world every day with what you actually build.
I say it continually but, artists run this planet. Not the politicians, the bankers, the governments or the armies. It’s the creators that get things moving and operating and send mankind to greater heights.
Voting is okay but understand you don’t have to wait every four years for the president to make the kind of world you want to live in. You do it any day of the week, all day long, every second you breathe life into what YOU make. Creating always trumps voting :-)
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I'm David Carus. From overcoming one of the most dangerous cities in the country and graduating from one of the most prestigious colleges in America to leading an educational movement as a teacher and running for Congress at the age of 25, I decided the best hope our world has is through art.