Saturday, November 12, 2016

Reflections on the 2016 election

As a gay man, I feel vulnerable due to the new presidency, house, and senate. If the media is to be believed, then Pence is going to push hard for repealing LGBT rights. Some of my Latino friends feel vulnerable due to Trump's rhetoric on immigration and the negative light it casts on people of color. Some of my female friends feel vulnerable because the president elect stands accused of multiple rape accusations, not to mention the whole "pussy grab" thing.

I hear you and your feelings are valid. I feel that the establishment and the media have taken advantage of us, and this is the consequence. The establishment and the media will continue to take advantage of us unless we make a change in the way we approach politics.

Silencing and ignoring the other side of the argument is not the way to change hearts and minds. When they go low, we go high.

We can and must do better. Mudslinging is not good enough. Fear tactics are not good enough. Winning 48% of the popular vote and losing 47% of the popular vote to the president elect is not good enough; that is 47% of the voting population who legitimately felt that Trump was the best candidate. Yes, Trump. The electoral college gives smaller states slightly more weight than is proportional to their population. This is by design. It is part of the checks and balances intended to protect minorities from the tyranny of the majority. Well the smaller states have spoken. Maybe we should stop insulting them and start listening. What does Trump offer them as a candidate that made them choose him over Clinton? Have you tried really listening to the other side, or do you merely dismiss them as prejudiced, holier-than-thou idiots and fools? And sorry, but you don't get to tally every single 3rd party vote as a lost vote for Clinton, because some of those people would have chosen Trump if 3rd party weren't an option.

I have considered myself conservative in the past, but more liberal in the past few years. I see the same divisive and ineffective tactics on both sides. I'm tired of the media preying on my fear. Because fear gets more clicks and more shares. Negative stimuli are more powerful than positive stimuli. It's just how our brain works.

The media would have you believe that people on the other side of the argument hate you. The media would love for you be one of those hateful people, so that they can get more clicks by making the other side afraid of you. I can't help but feel that the top 1% wins regardless of which party is in office, by pitting us against each other, a la hunger games. But we can and must do better. Our country is full of loving, compassionate, intelligent people, and they're not limited to just the red states or just the blue states. The artificial divide needs to come down. The vast majority of liberals are not out to get conservatives, nor vice versa. The more we see each other as real people, the more I think we will find that the fear will dissolve and we will be able to reach fair compromises that protect us all.

I remember the Bernie campaign started off by promising that they would not be mudslingers. That promise was quickly broken, but I really think that is what we need to get back to.