Road to DC: Reno, NV
We met Dave M. at a coffee shop in Reno, Nevada. My cousin introduced us. Friends since elementary school, he and Dave are personally close but politically far apart. So when my cousin heard about the Pop the Bubble Tour, he thought Dave could provide an interesting perspective. He was right.
On his political evolution:
“I was a democrat when I graduated from Cal. Then in ‘76 I voted for Carter. That was the last time I voted for a democrat for president. By 1980 I’m working in aerospace and thinking I’m making all this money at twenty-one thousand bucks a year, and then I get this huge frikkin’ tax bill and I’m thinking like, ‘you gotta be kiddin’ me!’ That was my experience with voting democrat.”
On the current state of political discourse:
“I have never in my life experienced so much polarization so quickly, it’s like you’re either way over here or way over there. And people are really emotional about it. There’s like zero critical thinking.”
“I’ve never seen anything like attacking a president elect before he’s even in office, I mean they’re already talking about impeaching him and he hasn’t even been inaugurated. I’ve never seen anything so hostile.”
“I am so skeptical of everything I hear it’s just ridiculous.”
On the media:
“The media does a terrible job of it. I used to listen to NPR all the time and now it’s like, wow, can you guys at least try to be objective a little bit? I can hear the snears, and the aggressions when they talk about Trump and this and that…at least try to sound objective about stuff. It’s just the constant little jabs.”
“With immigration reform, I’d love to see the low hanging fruit first. I happen to think we should toss out all our criminal aliens. I don’t see any reason to keep them here. You protect the border, I don’t know if that’s a wall or fence or whatever. I’d like to see a secure border. I don’t like seeing a lot of these middle eastern guys pretending they’re from Central America sneaking in, and who knows what they’re up to.
“We should have an immigration policy where we can encourage the best and the brightest to come here. I think we have that right.”
“With Trump, he’s so unusual. I mean, there was a dozen times during this campaign when you thought, ‘oh he just blew his chances, he’s done.’ And then somehow he recovers. I went through that cycle multiple times as I think most people did. And somehow he still resonated with his basic messages.
“He’s so different, it’s almost like you just gotta wait and see what he does instead of what he says…he’s bombastic and used to being in charge and he’s already running into some resistance from his own house and senate, cause he’s not their boss, and he’s gonna have to realize that it’s three branches of government not one, you’re not king.
“So I like the fact that he’s shaken things up because our government definitely needs to be shaken up. Whether it gets shaken up and results in something better remains to be seen, but I’m totally comfortable with waiting to see what happens. He’s not going to go blow up Moscow or something.
“Now that I understand the Trump bravado and belligerence, when it settles down it’s not that far from what I want.”
One question you want people to think about:
“What do you really expect from your government? Do you really expect your government to take care of you? So you don’t have to work? Do you really expect a guaranteed basic income, where everyone gets a certain amount of money for doing nothing? Is that the country you really want to live in?”
On finding common ground
“I think we have been [finding it], and more so in the last ten years than I can recall in my entire life. My view of gay marriage 10 years ago was 180 degrees from where it is today. Gay people are not bad, it’s the hand they got dealt…there’s no undoing that. I don’t blame them for being gay. And you know, then you meet some gay people, and you interact with them, and it’s like, ‘there’s nothing wrong with these people.'”
On Popping Bubbles
“Culturally, we’re spending so much time behind screens and not interacting… There’s a relatively small percentage of our society that really interacts anymore. And you’ve got all these groups of like-minded people and they tend to polarize.
“One area where you can break through those bubbles: I’ve got this group I joined, it’s a mountain biking group, a Tuesday night ride group that has like 400 members, and the only prerequisite is that you like mountain biking. So you get all kinds of views all over the place. So that cuts across all the sectors.”