I am a reformed political junkie. From the dark days of the Great Hunt of President Clinton in the 90's to the questionable wins of Dubya in 2000 and 2004, eight ensuing years of war and economic mess, and right up until the first election of our current POTUS, I yelled at my radio in the car and shouted at the Sean Hannity's and the Bill O'Reilly's and cheered on Keith Olbermann and Bill Maher. I had my views, based on my own personal experiences in this life, in this country, and I always believed it was important to stay on top of things. You know, keep a watchful eye on who I saw as the wrongdoers while cheering on and helping those who I thought were doing right by us. But that all changed in 2008.
At the time, Election Day 2008, I was super elated. We had just broke unprecedented ground by electing our first (paritally) African-American president and we were finally ridding ourselves of the shackles that had a terrible hold over this country for the previous eight years. The names Cheney and Rumsfeld would soon fade into obscurity and finally we could get on to cleaning up the mess that they all left behind.
I soon realized, though, just how nefarious our system of checks and balances can work. There's been enough of a strong Republican base out there to give that party a hold of Congress, and the unprecedented obstruction of the elected president's policies began. Tea Party politics fought Obama at every turn, making it difficult for him to get anything done. The power of a President is not as great as people think. Heck, the party that says it admires the Constitution so much has unconstitutionally held back the appointment of a Supreme Court Justice for 8 months now, leaving it one man, or woman, short. Deplorable! Out of complete disgust, I stopped paying attention altogether...until now.
An Election that Could Change the World
It's been really hard to avoid this current presidential election, probably the most disgusting of all time, but until yesterday I've managed to hold off on voicing my opinions for the most part. Doing so does nothing to change minds and only works to create a divide among friends who may have different opinions than you, especially in this time where all civility has flown out the window.
I've said before that what has become of politics in the past 20 years or so is this my team, your team mentality, no matter what. It's not about helping us, the little guys. It's all about winning. A Republican comes up with an idea...a Democrat will reject it before he even hears it. A Democrat proposes something, it too is rejected unequivocally by a Republican without reason. If the other guy comes up with something good, it makes our side look bad, so we're going to block it at all costs. And this ugly new norm on has worked its way down to the American public, who will side with their own side just because. Pretty sad state of affairs, no?
Reluctantly Rejoining the Discussion
For the past few months, this election has been gaining steam, and I've bitten my lip many times over a Facebook post or a Tweet that I don't agree with, but I've said nothing. It's not worth it. But what I've been watching this past week has been truly alarming and I just had to do something about it, I shared an article on Facebook with a simple comment, This is very scary.
The article, from the Boston Globe, was entitled Trump's supporters talk rebellion, assassination at his rallies. In case you've been living in a bubble, Donald Trump has been feverishly telling his supporters over and over this past week that the upcoming election is a big conspiracy and is rigged against him. Perhaps he senses a loss and is trying to find something to blame it on. He is, after all, an egotist.
The reason I decided to share the story had nothing to do with which candidate I favored. In my opinion, and in the opinions of many others, this talk is nothing but dangerous and irresponsible for any presidential candidate to claim, especially so far ahead of Election Day. For someone to speak of such things and incite such anger can lead to very serious consequences.
One of my friends innocently commented on the post:
I was hoping this whole article was satire. It does not appear to be. People make me sad.
Almost immediately, another friend of mine, an outspoken Republican and Trump supporter/avid Hilary Clinton hater, ratcheted up the conversation with an angry reply. The two, who have no connection to one another aside from knowing me, went back and forth for some time. I was dismayed with each reply. I knew I shouldn't have posted anything. Ugh, politics!
The second friend was soon joined by yet two more friends, who simply posted videos showing how it's the Democrats who cause violence at Republican rallies. Videos were posted, Imagine if conservatives disrupted a Clinton rally (an opinion piece), White girl attacked by Mexicans at Trump rally, and Rigging the Election: Clinton Campaign and DNC Incite Violence at Trump Rallies. This is exactly what I was talking about just a few paragraphs up...no matter my intention, the other side will deflect the conversation by attacking, without reply to the original point. I finally responded:
First of all, to friend #1 and friend #3 (the poster of the first tow videos) I admire your civility towards one another. If only that existed in all political discussion. (Their replies to one another were civil.)
My reasons for posting this piece have nothing to do with this side, that side, blah blah blah. To me, my choice in this election is a no-brainer, but regardless all of this talk about election rigging so far in advance of the election is potentially dangerous.
Trump said, and I quote, "If she gets to pick her judges, there's nothing you can do folks...although the Second Amendment people. Maybe there is. I don't know."
What is that supposed to mean? A candidate for the American presidency veiling a call to "Second Amendment people" to do something about it? That's horrific, and from the fervor I've seen on the part of his supporters, does no one think that maybe, just maybe, one might try and take him up on it?
We are the United States of America, champions of true democracy, where no one gets to hold the highest office for too long. In more than 240 years of presidencies, there have always been peaceful transfers of power.
Whether he meant it or not, that very statement and the constant gripes about election rigging and media conspiracy instead of talking...in detail...about the issues, is the height of irresponsibility, and I only hope my fears will be assuaged come November 9th.
Still, the arguments continued. Excuses were made, Hilary and Democrats were attacked, and other issues were brought into the fray. I once again tried to quell the arguing by reasoning my point again:
I said NOTHING of who I am voting for or anything else political. My only point here was that one candidate for the highest position of power in this country thinly veiled a call for his supporters to shoot (yes, I think when he said "second amendment people," that's exactly what he meant!) the other candidate if he loses. If you're okay with that...I don't give a crap if it's Hilary Clinton or Bozo the clown, that is absolutely disgusting and dangerous, and no, this wasn't just reported by the liberal media, I heard him say it! If that's okay with you, then the America you want to be a part of sounds a lot like some of these other countries from where you'd like to keep people out. (Immigration, one of my own hot topics, was brought up and not in a positive light!)
I ended the discussion, which was clearly avoided by the majority of my friends, probably out of the same fears as I'd earlier harbored. Once again, the article I posted had nothing to do with political favor. I was simply making a statement that this type of talk is incendiary. It has the potential to come to fruition and that is very dangerous ground to take and is highly irresponsible on Trump's part. Though it should seem like a good situation, a non-politician running for office, unfortunately someone who's never been in politics should never start out by vying for the highest office in the land.
No one ever knows with certainty what will happen in the future, either come Election Day or a year from now. Deplorables worry about Muslims and Mexicans wanting to kill us, yet in the 16 mass shootings over the past 8 years, the vast majority of them were perpetrated by not Muslims, nor Mexicans, but by Americans. And they're worried about the the immigrant? One of the highest prices we've always paid for freedom is the sad reality that there are crazies out there, of all stripes, and we can never see beforehand which ones will act upon their crazy. I just hope to God it is not one of these guys.