Hi! Remember me? I know, it’s been a minute. I was hoping that the next time I got the urge to jot down my thoughts, they wouldn’t be politically oriented but I guess that didn’t happen because…
It’s Election Season…again
Yay. Yippee. Woo-hoo.
If I don’t sound too enthusiastic, it’s for a reason. In a season when I’d like to be walking through piles of bright colored leaves, I’m walking through a cesspool of hate, lies and vitriol. Between the candidate signs everywhere, the political ads all over the internet, the SPAM emails and the veritable forest of dead-tree crap delivered to my door, I’m ready for Fall – this one, anyway – to be DONE!
Politics in this country are less about what each party thinks is best for America and more about garnering and keeping as much power for themselves as they can. Oh, on the surface, it doesn’t seem that way but anyone who can read a headline knows the truth.
Both sides want to WIN!!! And they’re willing to do whatever it takes to make sure they do. Politics in America has always been something of a free-for-all but, for the last several years, it’s gotten more and more vicious. This year, I don’t recall seeing a single ad saying why I should vote FOR someone. All I seem to see are ads telling my to vote AGAINST <insert candidate’s name here> because he/she is a lying bag of shit who wants to <insert dog-whistle slogan here> which will destroy the <country/state/county/city/family/whatever>.
If the sides were evenly matched, it might not be so bad but things are definitely not even. Getting the Democrats/left/liberals to do anything as a single group is like trying to herd cats on acid. The Republicans/right/conservatives are much better at all pulling together. The only problem is that they are all pulling has hard and as fast as they can toward a cliff.
Worse still are the basic issues defining this election. One the left hand, you’ve got a very unorganized bunch of people pushing for what boil down to basic human rights – healthcare, equality, freedom of choice, freedom of self-identity, bodily autonomy. On the right hand, you have a much more focused and organized group pushing hard to impose what amounts to a theocratic state where, if you don’t believe right or worship right or have the right gender identity or the right skin color…or if you have a uterus, you don’t get to have any rights.
The way it seems to me, the left wants everyone to get and give the best they can while the right wants to control who you are, who you can be and what you can do or get. Yes, this is a gross over-simplification…but it gets the point across.
The great divide…
Every Democrat/left/liberal politician I’ve heard wants women to have bodily autonomy, wants people to be able to decide for themselves what gender they do or do not identify as, wants everyone to have healthcare, wants people to be treated the same regardless of what color their skin is. They want to be/stay in power the same as their opponents but the agenda they are pushing is based on giving people more what they need to live (as opposed to survive), making the corporations and the rich pay their fair share and doing what we can to make sure there’s still a planet to live on a generation or two from now.
By the same token, every Republican/right/conservative politician I’ve heard wants to control women’s bodies and make blanket decisions about their healthcare rights in spite of the fact that every single medical professional and healthcare organization says that’s a bad idea. They want to limit what gender someone can be even though science and history both say that more than two sexes exist in nature. They want to Make America WASP Again, ignoring or rolling back the hard won progress this country has made toward true universal equality. They want the Government to be based on Christian principles even though this country was formed on the fundamental belief in religious freedom, religious tolerance and the separation of Church and State. And by the way, the “Christian” principles they espouse sound more like they came from Mein Kampf than the New Testament.
The ad is mightier than the sword!
The problem is, with the right ad campaign, anything can be made to look good. If you phrase something right, with the right visuals and sound track, you can get people to help you commit mass murder. Don’t believe me? By any chance have you ever heard of the Nazi death camps?
Hitler preyed upon people’s distrust of strangers. He blamed the bad German economy on Jews. He promoted an Us vs. Them feeling in everyday life and then gave the people a convenient scapegoat. In the end, a charismatic madman with a lust for power had talked an entire country into killing six million people.
Make good choices…
That’s easier said than done. Who do you believe? How do you figure out who is lying? How do you decide who to vote for? Or against?
“If you are part of a society that votes, then do so. There may be no candidates and no measures you want to vote for … but there are certain to be ones you want to vote against. In case of doubt, vote against. By this rule you will rarely go wrong.”
― Robert A. Heinlein, Time Enough for Love
Frankly, I assume that every politician is a liar. They want to get elected and they’ll say whatever they need to in order to make that happen. My yardstick to decide where to cast my vote is to look at what they say. (Wait!!! What? You just said they’re all liars.) Yes, I did. But what a candidate says and how they say it can tell you a lot.
Are they pushing an agenda that includes people or excludes people? Do they want to help people or hurt them? Do they talk about all of us together or us vs them? Do they preach love or hate? Are they willing to compromise with their opponents or is it “my way or the highway”? Finally, if they have held office before, what is their voting record.
There is no way I’ll agree with everything a left/liberal/Democrat – or any – politician says. I don’t trust the Democrats any more than I trust the Republicans. But for now anyway, the Democrats are not trying to divide us as a nation. They’re not trying to exclude. They’re not trying to divide. Oh, they still want to be large and in charge, just like the right/conservative/Republicans but they’re doing it by pushing programs that help people. I’ll vote FOR inclusion and helping people and love every time. Just like I’ll vote AGAINST exclusion and hurting people and hate every time.
Sheep or goats?
Oh, and I’m aware that my intention to vote Democrat will undoubtedly get me called a “sheep”. Here’s a question for all the self-proclaimed Christians out there who don’t want to give people health care or feed the poor or welcome strangers…look in the mirror and answer yourself honestly…are you a sheep? Or are you a goat? If you want to call me a sheep, that’s fine. I’ll thank you for the compliment and try hard to live up to that standard. Will you do the same?
31 “When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his glorious throne. 32 All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. 33 He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left.
34 “Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. 35 For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, 36 I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’
37 “Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38 When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? 39 When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’
40 “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’
41 “Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. 42 For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, 43 I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.’
44 “They also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?’
45 “He will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.’
46 “Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.”