Every four years, there comes an event that brings excitement to my bones. Not leap day, which throws off my whole sense of time, or either Olympics, which is essentially just sports, and therefore of absolutely no interest to me. It is Election year, and consequently, Election Day. It is my favorite of all the holidays. I look forward to it with gleeful anticipation, ever since I was 17 and disappointed my birthday fell short of the election. I was raised in a Democratic household, but at the time had no real understanding of party lines. I had just learned how elections worked, and wrote an article on the Electoral College for the school newspaper. That article was my first real moment of understanding that maybe, just maybe, this might be bullshit. Then the election came and the popular vote did not resonate with the Electoral College result, and we ended up letting the village idiot run things for a while. That election got me invested in the electoral process, and politics in general. It became an interest and a hobby of mine to keep abreast of what was going on in the nation.
As soon as I turned 18, I registered to vote, and urged all my friends who hadn’t to do so. And guess what? It was super hard. First of all, your average 18 year old can’t see life past next Tuesday. Secondly, they still feel like the adults are in control, and will take care of them. One night, while sitting in a friend’s garage, I went on my usual spiel about registering, and it sparked a political discussion amongst the group. I listened to these people who had told me they didn’t want to vote and I realized something: I didn’t want them to vote. They had no business voting. They barely knew what they were talking about. In this particular situation, I happened to be the most educated person in the room, but I was wholly outnumbered by people who believed incorrect information. They’d all heard such-and-such from so-and-so, so obviously I must be wrong. It reminded me of a social studies class from childhood, where we were learning about the Holocaust. We were taught that the Nazis had made a bunch of films and such for propaganda, and we were told that other countries controlled their radios and televisions so that the people in them only heard what the government told them. Then we were told that we didn’t do that here in the goof old US of A. I looked around the room at people arguing and quoting bogus news stories and thought maybe, just maybe…this is bullshit.
I celebrated my first presidential election at my best friend Jaime’s house, armed with a map of the United States and my red and blue crayons. As each state was called I would color it in appropriately, and then do the electoral math. I was disappointed that night, as Cokey McOilmoney won again, and I kept my map as a sad reminder of what could have been.
The next time around, I felt a renewed sense of hope, now that Bush was on his way out of office. It looked like Hillary was a possibility, which I was totally for. And yes, it was because she was a woman. Like 95% why, I won’t lie. See, I could not understand why we hadn’t had a woman president. I mean I still can’t. I was literally in my 20’s before I recognized sexism. No one had ever told me I was different from a man in any respect except anatomy, and I was absolutely furious to discover otherwise. I loved Hillary, and I was prepared to vote for her…and then this Obama guy came up out of nowhere and that was that.
This one left me scratching my head, though. I liked John McCain. I didn’t agree with his every policy, but I thought he was a respectable candidate with some good thoughts. I would call myself a party Democrat, but there were some Republican values I identified with. However, John McCain made a huge, huge mistake, and her name was Sarah Palin.
Yes, I want a woman in the White House, but you have got to be fucking kidding me.
I pretty much knew I would vote Obama anyways, but now there was fire. She was an idiot. She had no idea how to do the job or what was going on in the world. The Republican Party was obviously losing its marbles. This brought on another realization, one that reminded me how stupid I myself was 8 years earlier at that party: the adults ARE in control, and they WILL NOT take care of us. And yes…no maybes…this is bullshit.
But out of that bullshit came President Barack Obama, easily my favorite yet. A lot of people argue me on that, but I’m proud to say that every argument either ends with an “oh my god, you’re right, I was mistaken,” or the other person storming off because fact-supported truth is scary. No president is perfect, but neither are you so stop acting like it. And if you were, then you would be aware of how the government actually works, and maybe understand the role of Congress in this whole charade. But I digress…
To me, Mitt Romney was no threat. You can’t go out there and say you’re going to screw over women and win an election. That’s half your voters. You can’t do it. Also, people get freaked out by any religion that hasn’t had its 200th birthday yet, and gets a bad rap from its fundamentalists. I mean, plates in a hat ain’t nothing compared to talking snakes and magic apples, but people love the classics. I was not at all surprised as I colored in my blue states on the map, and practiced the only math I enjoy, watching Obama’s numbers grow before me. I smiled at Tom Brokaw, feeling hopeful about the democratic system, and where our country was headed.
It was spring of 2015 when Hillary announced, and I immediately sent for a bumper sticker. However, by the time I received it…there was Bernie. I was conflicted in a way I did not expect. Here was this old white man, the exact opposite of what I was looking for, and he was talking about things that mattered to me. Things that would have mattered to that garage full of 19 year olds. Things that would have riled us up and gotten out the vote and improved our lives. Bernie was a whole new kind of politics, the kind that could affect real change. So naturally, he was slammed as a crazy old man and the media pushed his campaign down in favor of big spender Hillary. Which only further upset me, because money does not impress me, unless it’s being used to provide free college.
Which brings me to Donald Trump.
As said, I am a Democrat, but party politics does not even play into this. If Donald Trump were running his campaign as a Democrat, spouting Democratic values, I would not want to vote for him. He could get up there and legalize weed, ban assault rifles, give equal rights to everybody, and provide universal healthcare and I would still be on the fence. Why? Because he’s incompetent, guys. Like, even worse than Bush, who had at least a basic understanding of world policy. Also, he’s a psychopath. I’m not calling names here…look up the criteria for a psychopath. Go ahead, I’ll wait.
And once again, AGAIN, I find myself in that garage, except now they’re not teenagers, they’re half the nation, and it’s not a garage, it’s an entire county. And apparently, I am still the most educated person in the room. So here’s a cheat sheet, just a couple facts to remember, since it seems a lot of people have forgotten these truths:
America is not a Christian nation. This is why we have separation of church and state. That means that the Muslim family has every right to be here as the Jewish family, as the Hindu family, as the Baptist family.
If you are not a Native American, you are born of immigrants, and have no right saying we need to close our borders to people in the same, if not worse, positions than our ancestors.
Your television is a liar, propaganda is real. Go turn on any news channel right now, and see how long it takes to hear a REAL piece of news presented with absolutely no bias. Again…I’ll wait.
Finally, Donald Trump only cares about Donald Trump. So if you’re Donald Trump, you should probably vote for him. If you’re not, but still feel like you have a reason to, feel free to contact me and tell me your reasons so I can explain why he will not live up to them. (Note: as always, my blog is not a democracy, so if you feel like commenting, great, but hateful racist asshats will be either mercilessly teased or deleted.)
I don’t know what instilled my love of government and politics…I assume a combination of my love of history, talent for righteous indignation, and a healthy dose of episodes of The West Wing. This election, though, leaves me at a loss. I cannot believe how ridiculous it’s become (on both sides,) like a bad reality show we can’t stop watching. I know that come November I will be staring at my television with my map, likely accompanied by a bottle of Xanax as I will need to be immediately tranquilized in the event of a Trump presidency, lest my television be smashed in rage. There remains a hope in me, however, that the world will remove its head from its collective ass and somehow manage to put this weirdo back where he belongs.
Except…I know how the Electoral College works. So it’s not that easy. My friends that are voting for Trump and reside in New York? Probably doesn’t matter. New York typically goes blue.
Those who would vote for Hillary in West Virginia? Same problem, different color.
Because it’s bullshit. And it’s bullshit that affects all of our lives whether we recognize it or not, so what are you going to do about it? When are we going to stop believing bullshit? When are we going to learn to compromise for the betterment of our people?
My Christmas is coming soon, and as I am about to move into a nice new apartment, I’m thinking of having a real Election Night party. I’d like to get a whiteboard map with erasable markers, and serve patriotically themed food and drink. Other people don’t understand my fondness for the political system, particularly in spite of all the holes I have discovered over the years. Still, every four years, I look for hope in the hopeless, and pray for a better tomorrow, a time when it’s not just me who can see through all the bullshit, but everybody.
Your political affiliation is meaningless. Your humanity is not.