1. It’s still Tuesday, November 1, 2016. The election is still seven days away.

2. Starbucks put out its holiday season cups today. They’re gorgeous, with the artist using a single line to connect all the people on the planet. And, of course, they don’t mention Christmas.

That will have the War on Christmas Warriors all in a schvitz.

Now, remember, a year ago, when Starbucks did a plain red cup for the holidays, Trump picked up on the fury stoked by Fox News and the Breitbart crowd. He said that when he was elected, everyone would say “Merry Christmas!”

Starbucks chief Howard Schultz is rightly proclaiming that a cup like this is meant to be “a symbol of our shared values.”

But, not being as magnanimous as Schultz, I can’t help but hope there’s also a middle finger somewhere in that drawing for Trump and the haters he enables.

3. The reason I’m writing a second post is something that I discovered in an assignment for my Media Writing class at William Paterson University in New Jersey.

The assignment was a blog post in which the students needed to express an opinion on the election. It didn’t have to be for against Clinton or Trump. It could be about the campaign, yard signs, ads or whatever.

Two of my students were down on the whole idea of voting. And they expressed it this way: It doesn’t matter how I vote, because the Electoral College will decide the election the way it wants.

The way the posts were written made the Electoral College seem like a star chamber – a bunch of people sitting somewhere who will take the election results and decide if they’re OK. If not, they’ll install the other candidate as President of the United States.

So, first, a big zero goes to social studies teachers who have somehow let kids have a complete misunderstanding of the election. I took it upon myself to explain how the Electoral College works.

Secondly, even though my students couldn’t have been any more than kindergarteners in 2000, that election has scarred them – and probably the nation as a whole.

The fact that Al Gore got more votes than George W. Bush never sat well with a lot of people. That, and the fact that the Bush presidency included the Iraq War and the worst economic crisis since the Depression, undermined faith in the system more than anything else.

The solution to that isn’t abstaining from voting. But that’s going to be hard to sell to a bunch of 20-year-olds. They don’t believe it, and their interest isn’t all that great, either.

And it’s difficult for me to sell them on the idea of participating in democracy without advocating a position. Part of our problem right now is that disenfranchising people is a key political strategy for one side – to the point that voting is seen as a political statement in itself.

So I’m going to start simply. By explaining that the Electoral College is a stupid name. That the system is designed this way for a reason. That if you believe it’s a lousy system, the only way it will ever change is if more people vote and clamor for that change.

And that Electoral is not a 15-point underdog against Alabama on Saturday.


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