This election cycle has been more exhausting and traumatising than any that I can remember. Not even our most violent elections in Jamaica come close to how traumatised I am right now and we still have another 4 months to go before it’s over.
I feel beaten down and sore. There is so much violent rhetoric everywhere and nothing anyone says can be taken on face value. No one is trustworthy and everyone is corrupt and a liar. Some more so than others until you talk to someone who actually supports that one and then … not so corrupt. It’s exhausting. The number of media houses who are willing to examine this race from an objective perspective is slim and people stick to their preferred outlets even when they know how biased they are. I really wish that the public was more discerning than they are.
I don’t even know how I got so gung-ho about voting either. I haven’t been this interested in voting since I was first able to vote as a young adult in Jamaica. And that was a pretty disappointing experience. I voted for a woman I thought would have more interest in contributing to bettering the community than anything else. Boy was I disappointed. Whatever progress was made was invisible to me and it tainted my view of politics and government for years afterwards.
As I grew older, though, it became clearer to me that politics was less about me and more about community, the most needy, and optics. And it is that last bit that poses a conundrum for me because I am of the opinion that it really should not matter what people think of you, but at the same time I am very much in favour of not behaving like a complete numbskull in public either. Which isn’t necessarily contradicting stances, mind you. One can be one’s true self without being an ass so long as one is not actually an ass.
And this brings me to this whole 2016 election. We’ve got an ass and a hardass as choices. I dunno … it’s kind of shitty that the one year I decide to be good citizen, my choices are between Tweedledum and Tweedledee. And while I am of the firm opinion that one of these is worse than the other (and I am not here to say which that is), I really am tired of the way in which people have taken these elections and turned it into an excuse to belittle one another, alienate one another, and shut one another down.
As someone on a friend’s Facebook thread said, this election season is way too long. Most marriages can’t last with this level and duration of vitriol. Why are we doing this to ourselves?
I am new to this country, this the United States. I’ve been traveling back and forth here almost all my life, and I became familiar with a lot of the conveniences that make this country so loved back home. But now that I live here, I am learning more about what makes this country tick.
In school back in Jamaica, we learned about the first immigrants to the US. They ran away from religious persecution in Europe, looking for a land they could call their own without fear of retribution for their beliefs. A country that did not belong to a sovereign so distanced from her people that it was laughable that she was able to make decisions for them. This made the new America a wondrous country. These were people who stood up to oppression and took their lives into their own hands and demanded that they make their own decisions about their freedoms, their lives.
They formed a nation built on freedoms for each person without fear of persecution for whatever they chose to believe in. They built a country where the people were the ones who dictated the rules and made the decisions that affected them instead of a monarch sitting on a throne far removed from everyday life. They wanted the freedom to choose what they should believe in, how they should earn their living, and what they should own. And this is what America was supposed to be all about… The land of the free. Am I right?
Yet I sit back and I listen to the debates currently on about reproductive rights of women. I listen to them object to giving women the same rights to choose that their ancestors fought for in the 1600s and 1700s. I listen to them compare women to beasts. I listen to them planning to take away the very freedoms this country was built on. And I wonder if they even realize just how much they are causing the founding families to twist and turn in their graves at the prospect of squashing the very freedoms they fought and died for. I wonder if they realize that they are essentially plotting to remove the freedoms they so lovingly and proudly boast about having?
And then I listen to them turn around and condemn Islam for being uncivilized, fanatical, violent, and evil for clothing their young women in swaddled of cloth with only their eyes visible; keeping their women from learning in school or having the freedom to choose a life path. And I have to pinch myself.
If comparing women to beasts and wanting to restrict their choices for their own bodies is not uncivilized and evil, then I don’t know what is.
At least the Muslims have centuries of history to support their so-called ‘uncivilized’ traditions. What does America have? A history they choose to shit on every time each of these imbeciles open their mouths. What a world we live in when the stupidest among us get to reign in power over the masses. Wait a minute…. Isn’t that what the middle ages was all about?
Hmm… Someone help me find my way back to that time machine. I seem to have stumbled into the 13th century without knowing it.