Election 2016 Analysis Part 1: YOU GET WHAT YOU PAY FOR

Quietly released on a Friday Night

It’s All Your Fault! And why it isn’t

By Dean Heagle

In writing on the subject of the 2016 presidential election, I found that exploring any one topic, consistently shed light on more and more details. Gladly, the passage of time has helped solidify and expand these ideas. Thus, what was originally intended as a short article has become a four part series, replete with sidebars and additional analysis.

(Photo: Shutterstock)

The unlikely election of president Trump was made possible in part because over 41.5% of the eligible population just couldn’t be bothered enough to vote. They couldn’t find time, or worse, they just didn’t care whether Trump or Clinton would be president. They somehow believed the outcome would not affect them at all.

Apathy and indifference were in full play this election season. What was not in short supply was an abundance of snark, cheap jokes and denial. Many just threw up their hands. We couldn’t believe that both candidates seemed so flawed. Many feared the hell out of Trump who they saw as reckless and egotistical, but many also, for a variety of reasons, couldn’t stand the thought of a Clinton presidency. Contrary to creating excitement, this was the election that made people want to put their heads in the sand.

Voter turnout in the U.S. is ranked at 31st out of 35 developed countries tracked by Pew Research. People have many excuses for not voting. It’s true that having elections on Tuesdays is antiquated and inconvenient. Long lines at the polls and confusion about polling locations are contributing factors that make it more difficult to vote. But perhaps the biggest reason that people don’t vote is because they are apathetic and indifferent. One reason for this apathy is that many people don’t see meaningful differences between the candidates. Many people suppose that all politicians are crooked. And many people live in denial and believe that it really doesn’t matter who controls their government.

Many of us seem to walk around in a haze. And we are always in a rush. We are always busy, working, relaxing, getting and spending. We choose from thousands of songs and channels on a variety of devices. And the smart phone is always with us, always begging us to touch it. We have hundreds of “friends” on our social networks and yet we may feel more alienated from each other than ever before. And this goes on relentlessly each and every day. It doesn’t matter if it’s a night with presidential debates or even the day of the election. The constant drumbeat of working, rushing and pursuit of entertainment never gives us a break or a moment to stop and think.

It’s an understatement to say that Americans tend away from civic-mindedness. We have become comfortably numb in how we view our government. Most of us expect the government to keep rolling along without us. It’s viewed as something outside of our control, something we probably complain about or might even be the brunt of our jokes, but something we believe we have little effect upon. And perhaps even more importantly, we feel that government only affects us in superficial ways. That no matter who is in charge, that our lives will go on about the same.

There is little in our culture which leads us to be involved or even interested in politics. We have been trained to be good consumers. Every corporation makes use of every media to constantly compete for our eyeballs. It’s hard to pay attention to the presidential debate when simultaneously there is so much else competing for our attention. We have become entertainment junkies. Politics does not fit neatly into our worldviews. And voting and serving on a jury might be the only civic obligations that we will even consider. And at the same time, we will often do anything to avoid jury duty. And as for voting? We will get around to voting that if we can spare the time.

The capitalist orientation where the majority of activity revolves around getting and spending allows little time for other pursuits or activities. Individuals slog along trying to make the best of their circumstances but feel alienated from their communities. They may see wrongs and injustices in the world, but they feel powerless to bring about change. And this mindset creates apathy and a feeling of helplessness. It’s as if the system were designed to intentionally keep the average person down.

This helps explain why so many Americans are apathetic about politics. But moreover, it’s that the political sphere does not fit neatly into the rest of American culture. While some may give money to their favored candidates, far fewer take the additional step of volunteering their time. We are not motivated or trained to do the grunt work that is really needed. But right now what we need is more boots on the ground.

The unlikely event of a Trump presidency took place in the environment of apathy and indifference by a populace that felt powerless. But imagine for a moment, even a slight shift in our cultural priorities. Imagine a new awareness where civic-mindedness and politics not only really mattered, but could be molded and directed even by average citizens. Imagine an electorate that was empowered by a much higher level of community involvement. And if this was the case, elections and even the candidates would be much different.

If more people were involved in their communities, it would cumulatively benefit the nation as a whole. Then, it’s hard to imagine the level of apathy and indifference which made this last election possible. And it would be hard to believe that someone as unsuitable as Trump would ever be elected again, simply because the general population would be so much more aware and engaged. There would be so many other better candidates. And another Trump wouldn’t stand a chance.

LINKS: (Part 1 of 4)

Over 90 Million Eligible Voters Didn’t Vote in the 2016 Presidential Election

U.S. voter turnout trails most developed countries

Why is voter turnout so low in the U.S.?

NEXT: Election 2016 Analysis (Part 2 of 4)

Coming soon Election 2016 Analysis (in 4 parts)


Election 2016 Analysis (In 4 parts)
It’s All Your Fault! And why it isn’t.
By Dean Heagle

Summary: This is a four part series about the 2016 presidential election encompassing issues of voter apathy, the mainstream media, the vanishing middle class and a way to make the system better. Many of the topics introduced include additional information as sidebars.

In writing on the subject of the 2016 presidential election, I found that exploring any one topic, consistently shed light on more and more details. Gladly, the passage of time has helped solidify and expand these ideas. Thus, what was originally intended as a short article has become a four part series, replete with sidebars and additional analysis.

errata and correction

No, I wasn’t on the cover of the Rolling Stone and I also I didn’t get interviewed by the New York Times. That was just wishful thinking on my part which I would still prefer to hope is a sort of prescience.

Legal authorities from these two organizations should understand that I posted these ditties in the spirit of respect with the hope that I am foreshadowing an altered career. Yes I work harder at it than some people do but apparently I still have much work to do to fully understand that writing is it’s own reward.

NYT interview: Dean Heagle has a big list!

Your 4-part article about the 2016 election was recently published in Rolling Stone. Was that a big surprise? It was a really big surprise. I had already been turned down by The Nation, The Atlantic, Mother Jones and Dissent Magazine. So I submitted to Rolling Stone as a last ditch effort before I self-published. Wow!

Have you had other writing published? My writing always get published, but usually it’s self-published.

Why do you write about politics? I think it all comes from the desire to make the world a better place. I was an anthropology major for my undergrad,  so I’ve gotten some perspective on history and different cultures. In looking at our American politics, I decided that since it really is a two party system, that it’s important to throw down with one of the parties. Then it gets into a matter of values. Even though their are a tremendous amount of things wrong with the democratic party, their core values and most of their historic stands on issues, more closely reflect my own values. Ultimately it would be better to change our political system so that more voices get heard. However, change in this area is very slow going.

When did you start writing? I wrote some in college and became the publisher of a “zine” called Nowhere which was a mixture of art and politics. My personal treatise began, “Out of boredom, I became a revolutionary…” That was in the 80’s. And I really didn’t start writing again until George W. Bush became president. After 911 there was an absence of dissenting voices, so I was motivated to write about things that I felt were under-represented. In time, there were plenty of voices of dissent against the Bush administration and I also got busier with family matters so I found that I wrote less and less.

I have begun to write more again, mostly in blog form. So many things about our society seem more like distopian science fiction than reality. I find these trends both humorous and scary at the same time. So I write about them. And as a political topic, we now have Trump and that trajectory is so unfathomable that it’s motivated a lot of activism, not just writers, but a lot of other people are getting out there and trying to make their voices heard.

Were you surprised that the NY Times wanted to interview you for their Sunday Magazine? I was really really surprised.

What’s your fantasy project? I actually have several. They are not so much fantasies as things I hope to ultimately get around to doing. First, of course, I want to write the great american novel. I have a few ideas, one is just writing about the current state of the society which is almost like science fiction that writes itself. Another is a novel about moving to another country where one is suddenly displaced and has to learn everything quickly to survive. I also have an idea for a series of tween novels in which the main characters will somehow help save the world. I know that “saving the world” sounds grandiose, but hey, why should it be about anything less? I also have ideas for a few photography and coffee table books. And I’d like to get back into doing more with music.  So, I have a really big list.

What’s next? I have notebooks with lots of unfinished projects. So sometimes, I just pick something and try to see it through. Finishing often gets harder than it should be. There’s lots of unexpected obstacles. I hate that part, but I love the satisfaction of seeing something  through.

  • Dean is an award winning New York City based graphic designer who also writes about culture and politics. Besides numerous writing projects, he is also putting together his first solo photography show.
  • Age: 59
  • Occupation: Designer / Writer / Producer
  • Hometown: Buffalo, Minnesota (I have now lived in NY twice as long as I lived in MN)
  • Heroes:
    • Kurt Vonnegut
    • Carl Jung
    • Al Gore
    • Gandi
    • Thorstein Veblen
    • Rachel Corrie
    • J.K. Rowling


COMING NEXT?: politics, politics and more politics

Gonna see my smiling face on the cover of the Rolling Stone. But which picture? I just can’t decide…

This blog was going to be reserved for politics for the next month, as I was finally posting my longish 4 part analysis about the 2016 election.

I had already submitted these articles to a few different publishers and was universally turned down. So I was about to throw in the towel and self-publish.

But just now  realized that I hadn’t yet submitted to the Rolling Stone. So I guess  I should give them a shot first. That only seems fair.

=======================================================COMING NEXT SOON?:
Election 2016 Analysis
It’s All Your Fault! And why it isn’t.
By Dean Heagle

this is getting personal

Some might say, I am in a personal crisis. At least it seems that my personal life’s issues and decisions might make better reading than much of the rest that I’m usually prone to publishing.

However, I’m not quite ready to post much about my personal life, since I feel it needs to be separated from my political and other commentary posts. This blog, is after all, something that potential employers might just happen to see.

So right now, I’m trying to figure out whether to go with a WP multi-site or just start yet another blog. (I would be happy to hear a recommend of a WP guru if anyone knows one.) Until this is decided and made so, I’m not changing the format of this blog. But in time, this is about to get much more personal.

about artemisnyc.org

the horseshoe pit in Ft. Tryon park, NYC

Artemisnyc.org originally began when I saw some +50 year old trees being needlessly cut down. Originally there was a desire to form or find a coalition of partners who could work together on various ecology issues in NYC.

When I looked into the laws, it turns out there are no protections in NYC for trees on private property. Quite simply, landowners can do whatever they want. Also in this particular case, it seemed that most people didn’t even notice the trees being sawed down or their absence. The same thing happened a year later, again with little notice from my neighbors. And so it goes. I haven’t completely forgotten about the original idea, but nothing much happened with my original web-site concept.

Recently artemisnyc.org has become the online home for the Margaret Corbin Provisional Horseshoe Pitching League, which is another pet project of mine. In time, artemisnyc.org  may expand and deal with more NYC city ecological and quality of life issues. But for now, I’m happy that the nascent horseshoe league has an online home.

May 4th is National Horsehoes Pitching Day

Practice or just dumb luck?

Northern Manhattan celebrations will take place about 7:00ish at the horseshow pits in Ft. Tryon Park near the A train station at 190th St.

“National Horseshoes Pitching day” began in Northern Manhattan with the awareness that there was already a perfectly good horseshoe area in Ft. Tryon that had long been neglected and just needed to be cleaned up. Once this cleanup was accomplished, a national day of celebration seemed in order.

Be advised the “National Horseshoes Pitching day” is not to be confused with “National Horseshoes Pitching is Fun day” which is sponsored by the National Horseshoe Pitchers Association.

Questions?: admin (at) deanheagleblog.com


holy carbon footprint AGAIN Batman! (Why I “love” Amazon (moreover!))

Just got the batteries I ordered from Amazon. I’ll admit that I was a little worried that they’d arrive damaged.

Amazon didn’t scrimp on packaging for the batteries I ordered.


But Amazon had my back and provided lots of extra cushioning. This is why I love Amazon, it puts extra effort and thought into how every order is packaged. I hate getting imperfect batteries.

Who cares if I have to throw away a lot of plastic. It’s really important to me that the batteries I ordered arrive without a scratch. These are for my son’s watch. And among the values I am trying to teach him is the importance o being on time. And Amazon is a good role model. I got these batteries with 2 day delivery.

I love Amazon because they put the customer first. Why do you love Amazon?

=======================================================COMING NEXT WEEK:
Election 2016 Analysis
It’s All Your Fault! And why it isn’t.
By Dean Heagle

Trump signs executive order changing April Fool’s day to April 2nd

Trump signed an executive order changing April Fool’s day from April 1st to April 2nd. In doing so, he said he has proof of a long standing conspiracy within the Democratic party. According to Trump’s sources it was FDR who changed April Fool’s day to April 1st following direct orders from Joseph Stalin but against the wishes of Churchill.

Trump proclaimed this is a huge victory for the American people and said he knows some of the best people, really great guys, who have told him that because of this date change that America will great again. Trump added, “I’m so great, so now America can be great too and this date change will make me even greater.”