As some of you may have noticed, politics is a subject I rarely discuss on social media. It’s not because I don’t care or I’m politically unaware, it’s because politics have becomes so ugly and divisive that any conversation having to do with politics usually ends badly. We as a society seem to have lost the ability to discuss things in a calm and rational manner when there is a difference of opinion; people can’t accept that not everyone will agree with them, and there is no more “agreeing to disagree.” It almost seems like people would prefer to see the country fall apart rather than let the opposing party win, which says a lot about how divided we’ve become. You’d never know we’re all citizens of the same country. I never imagined a scenario in which the citizens of this country would get so fed up that there would be any thought give to the possibility of an uprising against the government, but now the likelihood of that happening seems all too plausible given the amount of social unrest we’re now experiencing. Maybe the Doomsday Preppers have it right after all.
But since the election is getting close I thought I’d share my political views. I’ve been a registered Democrat for most of my life with the exception of a short period of time when I was an independent. I have always voted because I felt it was the right thing to do and my mom instilled in me how important it was to exercise our right to vote. But over the past decade or two as the government has become gridlocked and seems incapable of addressing the needs of the country and politics have gotten so ugly and corrupt, I have become one of the many Americans who have lost faith in our political system. Our government is broken, and unfortunately I don’t believe we as citizens have the power anymore to make changes to fix the problems. Those in power have created a system which ensures that the status quo remains in place, so the government keeps chugging along the same way it always has in spite of who we elect.
I have always been politically aware, partly because I follow the news and current events, and also because I took the time to educate myself about the issues so I voted intelligently. Having said that, I’ve never liked politics or had any desire to be involved in any capacity, such as volunteering for a candidate. Politicians are generally people I have nothing in common with and people who have not given me much reason to trust them. Certainly we’ve had some politicians throughout the history of our nation who have shown themselves to be great leaders and deserving of our respect, such as George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln, and Franklin D. Roosevelt, but they are by far the exception rather than the rule. I sometimes wonder what the Founding Fathers would think if they could see the current state of the country and the government they created. I suspect they would not be happy.
I have felt for a long time that our government has ceased to be a true representative democracy. Instead, it has become a government which is accessible and beneficial to only a select few; the 1% if you will. Our government has always been run by wealthy white men, and it is the wealthy who benefit most from it. Meanwhile, the rest of us, the 99%, are left feeling disenfranchised, like we don’t have a voice in our own government anymore. How can someone who has lived a life of privilege and luxury understand what it’s like to struggle and have to worry about things like money and employment? The short answer is, they can’t, and those are not overriding concerns to them unless it affects their chances for reelection. And the end result is that you have a lot of people who feel their voices are not being heard, that our votes doesn’t count. But, while we may have a lot of reasons to complain about how screwed up our government is, I still believe we’re better off than the majority of other countries.
I will confess I haven’t voted for several years because I grew discouraged with the political system. But having become more active within the trans community and advocating for LGBT rights, I’ve come to see how important it is for me to once again exercise my right to vote. It’s crucial for people in our community to vote because there is so much at stake for us; we stand to lose all the progress we’ve made if Trump wins and repeals all the legislation that has been enacted to protect our rights and prevent discrimination. It is so important that we make our voices heard and let the politicians know that we won’t sit back while our hard-fought rights are taken away.
So, the final question is who will get my vote. Like so many others I’m not too thrilled with the choices I have. If “None of the Above” were an option I’m sure that would win in a landslide, but then we’d just be back at square one with nothing accomplished. In theory the idea of a businessman running the country has some merit, except that Trump’s track record in business is not all that good in spite of his claims. And not being a career politician is also a good thing in many respects and could be a plus for Trump, except that he has clearly shown with his cavalier attitude that he is a loose cannon that can’t be trusted. But for me the bottom line on Trump is that every time he opens his mouth he shows his ignorance and his bigotry. Simply put, there are far too many reasons to list here as to why I will not vote for Trump. Clinton has some pluses going for her, namely the experience she has in politics, and also the fact that she is a woman. However, the experience she brings is highly tainted by the many allegations of wrong-doing against her. Like Trump, her credibility is suspect. But, in the end, I feel she is the better choice and the country is better off with her as President. Is she the right person to lead this country out of the quagmire we’ve been in for the past two decades? I have serious doubts that she is. But on the bright side, we get to have Bill Clinton as the First Husband, and that ought to be good for a few laughs.
Regardless of who wins, they are going to have a difficult job pulling the country back together and getting the government to work together in order to get past the bipartisan gridlock so that some of the problems that plague our country can be addressed.
One final thought. John F. Kennedy challenged this nation to go to the moon, and we were able to achieve that goal during the 1960s which was another period when this nation was divided and there was a great deal of social unrest. Going to the moon gave us as a nation something to feel good about and made us proud to be Americans. We could sure use something similar right now to pull us back together and to feel good about, but sadly, I don’t see anything like that on the horizon.