By Mark Bauer

There’s a term investors use in the stock market when things reach peak panic and investors sell their stocks during a period of market decline: Capitulation. It’s borrowed from a military word meaning “surrender.” Rather than hold on hoping for a rebound, they give in and sell the stock for a loss rather than risk losing even more.

I was thinking about that this week as things seemed to reach peak stupidity on social media, where everyone seemed to be at each other’s throats for merely breathing the wrong way. Will we be like this forever? The answer is likely not, but those interested in seeing that change will have to endure more shenanigans until the pendulum starts to swing in the other direction. 

Admittedly, I’m not a very patient person, and as Americans we aren’t a very patient society. Pop culture has done us a disservice by leading us to believe how fast change can occur. In makeover shows, someone can be a sloppy mess at the top of the hour, and by the end, he can look like a Disney Prince. Or couples with a marriage on the rocks can be reconciled in one sitting by a guy who isn’t really even a doctor. 

Yet real, long-lasting change that ends up sticking in our lives takes years of painstaking and purposeful repositioning of our values, norms and customs.  When you envision what that ideal future looks like as an individual, and also as a nation, what does it look like? What do we have to change to get there? What are some things you can do differently in your life today that will help make that vision a reality?

Maybe it’s knocking on doors for a candidate you’re passionate about. Maybe it’s donating time or resources to a local food bank. Maybe it’s mentoring young people to help them realize their full potential. Maybe it’s supporting grassroots organizations like Rank the Vote helping to expand democracy through electoral reform.

Whatever you choose to set your hand to, understand that the change you seek might not be immediately discernible and that’s OK. Just like in the stock market, capitulation isn’t something that can be identified until after it’s occurred. And while we might still be trending down in our political doom spiral, be encouraged that men and women are working hard to get us out of it and you can be part of that good work too.

We may not arrive within 30 minutes, a year, or even a lifetime—but that’s not our primary concern. What’s most important is that we took the step to help make the world incrementally better today than it was yesterday.


Mark Bauer is a producer, entrepreneur, day trader and former Independent candidate for Congress in Texas. Previously he spent 10 years as a legal journalist covering the legal market in Texas and regulatory issues in Washington DC.

Mark’s primary interests involve using content and storytelling to help different groups of people better understand one another.

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Rank the Vote, its members, supporters, funders, or affiliates.