Wednesday, November 9, 2016

The 2016 General Election, The Flint to My Fire, and Vera

Trigger/Content Warning (TW/CW): this blog post contains mentions of terror attacks and words describing racism, sexism, xenophobism, and ableism.  Reader discretion is advised.

Like many of you, I am totes exhausted from last night's 2016 US General Election results tally.  Hell, I am even surprised that my brain is somewhat functional.  But it is what it is.

Donald Trump (Republican) defeated Hillary Clinton (Democrat) and several lesser known candidates to become the 45th President of the United States.  President-elect Trump will be sworn into office, along with his running mate and now Vice-President-elect, Mike Pence (Republican, current governor of the state of Indiana), in January 2017.

Most of America is asking themselves: "well, how in the holy fuck did this happen?"

I am here to ask you, "where in the holy fuck were you while this was happening?"

Note: this is an opinion piece, take of it what you will.  The words "you" and "we", unless otherwise stated, is referring to the general American population.

My first presidential election was in 2000.  I was 19.  The country was coming to a crossroads; Y2K didn't affect all of our computers like we had feared, the "dot com" boom went belly up, Napster was starting to decimate a once mighty music recording industry, and the President leading up to the 2000 General Election was Bill Clinton, Hillary Clinton's husband.  The majority of Americans were enjoying having a congressional budget surplus while some were so seething over the fact that Mr. Clinton was cheating on Mrs. Clinton with a plethora of women, some of which worked in his office.  But because Mr. Clinton lied under oath about having carnal relations with an internship, the opposition had decided to impeach (or charge for official misconduct on) Mr. Clinton.

By August 2000, two candidates, one from each of the two biggest political parties in the country, had emerged as their party's nominee for the presidency.  For the Democrats, then Vice-President Al Gore was running for president, and his running mate was US Senator Joseph Lieberman from Connecticut.  On the Republican ticket, Texan George W. Bush, son of the 41st President of the United States, George H. W. Bush, pounded the concrete with their feet alongside Richard "Dick" Cheney, who at the time was president of a private company, Halliburton, despite his previous office held as a US Representative from Wyoming.

But Gore and Bush were not the only ones running for office.

There was this folklore legend who had challenged numerous companies for failing to provide safety features for their products also in the mix.  In fact, I had just learned about this man in high school a few years prior.  His name was Ralph Nader.  He was running on behalf of the Green Party.

I was so excited to be a part of the 2000 US General Election, to vote for the first time my selection for president.  Sure, I knew it was going to be a long shot for Nader, but I felt that my vote counted.  Until some folks found out who I was voting for, and decided to berate me for it.
  • You can't vote for Nader! 
  • A vote for Nader is a vote for Bush!
  • With Gore as president, we can continue our prosperity for these uncertain times.
Talk about getting an earful from folks, both within my age range and beyond it.

When it came time to cast my ballot, I seceded and voted for Al Gore.

Little did I know what was going to happen shortly after the nationwide polls closed, one time zone at a time, that the country was literally deciding on a president based on not entirely punched out holes on voting cards, leaving the punch out, or chad, hanging off of the hole itself.  And then nobody budged.

That's when the country figuratively divided into two; those who wanted Bush, and those who didn't want Bush, in office.

For the next 16 years, this country has gone through hell in a handbasket and back.  If the country was so divided back in 2000 with the election, then supposedly the terror attacks that took place several months later in 2001 was supposed to unite us as one nation indivisible.  The sentiment only lasted for almost a year until the nation underwent a metamorphosis.  Folks couldn't keep focus on what was happening in this country, so many turned to things that at one time seemed incredibly ludicrous; trashy reality television not named "The Real World," comic books being turned into movies and later incredible profit (to what I call "The Revenge of the Geeks"), being enamored with "leaked" sex tapes of various somebodies like Paris Hilton and Kim Kardashian.  Cat videos on YouTube (I'm just as guilty).  And so on.

In short, the nation had experienced a real trauma, primarily from the 2000 General Election, but was exasperated by the terror attacks of 2001.  It was too much for a majority of Americans to handle.  Except, we didn't know how to handle these emotions, because for the most part, words like "depression," "anxiety," and "traumatic stress" were nothing more than dog whistles to describe someone who was inferior to them.  To let that "weakness" show would mean loss of status with your friends, your colleagues, your peers, and even your own family.

Many of us turned to the news to find out what was going on, only to find out that one news network in particular was generating stories that were tailored to a specific group of folks.  And it was all legal, thanks to the repeal of the Fairness Doctrine in 1987 by then President Ronald Reagan, z"l.  When the Fairness Doctrine went away, it lead to a new type of talk radio and television unlike which the American public was ready to deal with: names like Rush Limbaugh, Laura Ingraham, Michael Savage, Ann Coulter, Glenn Beck, Sean Hannity, and Bill O'Reilly became not only popular, but exceedingly profitable.

How did this happen?  Simple.  It was done with one of the oldest tricks in the figurative book; fear.

Fear is what made most of the American public begin to hate all things Muslim and Arabic.

Fear is what made most of the American public begin to hate all things lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, and intersexed individuals, among others.

Fear is what made most of the American public begin to envy illegal immigrants and African-American folks, for they perceived that White folks "work their butts off" and "pay a lot of taxes" while not getting the support and benefits needed so they could thrive in society.

Fear is what made most of the American public begin to hoard guns and ammunition, because "the big bad government" was coming after their weaponry and abolish the Second Amendment.

Fear leads to control.  Having no control over a situation makes a person desperate.  To find a person who perceives to be fearless, and therefore showcasing some sort of control, is seen as a G-dsend.

And this is why we can't have nice things.

This US General Election for the Presidency was no fucking different.

I had people come up to me and ask me who I was voting for.  I told them who I wasn't voting for, and that was Trump.  But the looks on people's faces told a story that I heard from many years prior.
  • You can't vote for a third party!
  • You're going to throw away your vote!
  • You might as well not show up to the polls!
  • A vote for anybody but Clinton is a vote for Trump!
Except this time, I didn't budge in my position.

And why should I?  Because the sky is going to fall, like it supposedly did back in 2000?  Really?

Here is a fundamental hypothesis that I have derived from history:  we are humans, but we do fight for what we want, correct?  When you look at history, and the different styles of parliaments and dictatorships, royal courts and tribunals, we are always reaching for a land grab of sorts.  That was until the Vietnam War, when the land grab was thrown out and in its replacement was the ideology of being correct. "Whoever does not follow this doctrine shall be put to death."

But instead of being able to rely on quality news sources with intellectual journalism, such as Al Jazeera, Agence France-Presse, and Reuters, we relied on news sources that weren't perceived as "tainted," ironically ran by private corporations who had a stake in what news stories were being shared in order to appease stock market shareholders.

But instead of being able to have an open and honest conversation about how to improve relations of race, color, nationality, gender identity, sexual orientation, and disability, to name a few, and to put those ideas into everyday practice, we felt that we needed to know who was going to advance to the next round of American Idol or be glued to who did Glenn kill in the season premiere of The Walking Dead.

Instead of doing the work of both cognitive and dialectic therapy to face what this country faces, we have decided to remain addicted to mind-numbing substances, but proverbial and literal and to be oblivious to and laugh off any suggestions that the American people just couldn't be this stupid.

Granted, we have made some significant improvements within the past 30 years: the repeal of the Defense of Marriage Act and the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy enforced in our military services.  The creation of the Americans with Disabilities Act in 1990.  The Affordable Health Care Act in 2013, and so on.  And that is because some of us went out and protested and made our voices heard about these situations.

Today, we face much bigger situations.  The Standing Rock Standoff against the Dakota Access Pipeline construction project.  Black Lives Matter.  Blue Lives Matter.  Having Disabled voices recognized and listened to.  Folks graduating from college with a gazillion dollars in student loan debt with the uncertainty that they will be able to even pay the damn thing off.  Our military veterans getting inadequate care from hospitals designed to take proper care of them.  Too many of our loved ones being stricken with cancer and/or being exposed to heroin and methamphetamine.

These problems will not go away on the next episode of Dragon Ball Z.

These are your problems.  These are my problems.  These are our problems.

If we dare make this country great again, it's because we had to work together for the common good; our future generations, so that they do not have to suffer like we are right now.

And only until that day comes, we as a nation are 100 percent fucked.

That's why I voted for Ric Flair and Waka Flocka Flame as my write-in choices for US President and US Vice-President.  Because if I'm going to get fucked, at least allow me to ride on Space Mountain.

No comments:

Post a Comment