Tiny Truths for Election Day

Mark Mullins
3 min readNov 2, 2020

Some haiku-style thoughts about the US election

“On my arrival in the United States I was surprised to find so much distinguished talent among the subjects, and so little among the heads of the Government. It is a well-authenticated fact, that at the present day the most able men in the United States are very rarely placed at the head of affairs.”

Alexis de Toqueville, Democracy In America, 1835

Here are what I see as tiny truths (in a quasi-haiku style) on the eve of the US national election in five areas: rhetoric, voting, politics, discussion, and life:

Rhetoric

Trust and truth:

Two words often absent from politics.

Political promises are free,

And that sets their true value.

Political rhetoric is black and white,

But reality and voters live in a grey zone.

Listen to what politicians actually say

And what words actually mean,

Not what you wish or fear they mean.

Inflation in political promises

Causes deflation in voter confidence.

Question political promises:

Ask for specifics and reject nonsense.

Politics and facts seldom coexist.

Voting

Keep politicians on a short leash:

Exercise your vote.

How I see the world and

What’s in it for me

Is actually how people vote.

A vote is always relative:

A conscious choice

Between ideas and candidates.

Vote the person and the policies,

Not the image and the rhetoric.

A vote is simply a choice,

Not an epic battle between good and evil.

It’s an American election for Americans,

Not an opportunity to hate them

And their country.

Trump is flawed, Biden is flawed,

Republics are flawed, and Democrats are flawed.

Voters have to choose between bad options.

Respect the election results.

Be a gracious winner or loser.

Be thankful we can have elections.

Secret ballots are a sweet joy.

Politics

Hubris is the natural state of humanity

And politics is its grand stage.

Anything goes in politics:

It’s a no-holds-barred battleground,

Not a morality play.

Politics is nasty,

But always better than violence.

Politics restarts the minute the polls close.

Discussion

Hate the idea,

Not the person.

No one shares all of your beliefs and opinions,

So opponents have ample (and forgivable) flaws.

Treat opposing ideas as a tool to think and learn,

Not as a weapon

Or a threat to your identity.

Speak out

But do not speak down.

Only you can decide how to express your views,

So choose classy over trashy.

Don’t impute or impugn motives.

Don’t mispresent.

Truly try and understand others’ views.

Sarcasm and ridicule seem like fun,

Until they actually cause offense.

Share your views and beliefs,

Don’t tell others what to think

And how to vote.

Beliefs and opinions are not necessarily true,

So being humble and modest

Best reflects that reality.

You can have a discussion without picking a fight.

Social media is merely virtual,

While real life interactions

Demand tact and respect.

Everyone has some knowledge and some bias.

Take that with good humor and not malice.

There is some truth in most political opinions.

Search out those nuggets.

Life

Politics is often just talk.

Don’t let it set your mood.

Polls are wrong, bets are wrong,

Pundits are wrong, and markets are wrong.

No one can predict the future,

So don’t be so sure.

Life is not all about politics.

After November 3, give it a rest.

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Mark Mullins

I am the CEO at Veras Inc and an expert in global markets, economics, and public policy