U.S. presidential election

oh joy, right?  I just love politics.

The main candidates for the US presidential election coming up in November are a celebrity narcissist (among other things) and a politician’s politician (among other things).  The manipulation, silencing, and outright bullying of other candidates as well as the voting public- in both main parties- has been rather blatant.  Then we are told we have to disregard all that and “vote strategically” because this election is different, so much more is at stake here.  Only, it’s not all that different at all.  In fact, I heard this exact same rhetoric last time around.  Vote strategically because otherwise *THE END OF AMERICA AS WE KNOW IT*.

Yep, definitely sounds familiar.

Voting strategically means voting against a presidential candidate, in order to stop the apocalypse.  Apparently it is the only choice we have.  To think otherwise is offensively naive.  The thing is that, if the main parties can get their way by convincing voters to vote strategically, then they will continue to set up situations in which voters feel compelled to vote reactively/defensively/strategically, election after election, as long as it is effective.  It becomes just another way to manipulate the voting public.  And I hate to imagine if the voting public catches on or grows inured and is only urged to vote defensively by more and more offensive/scary/unqualified/whatever candidates in the future.

Why do the parties feel they can get away with offering up outrageous candidates?  I mean, besides the fact that they obviously don’t respect the voting public .  Maybe the candidates themselves don’t really have to be qualified or effective if they are just going to be puppets of their respective party (with whoever is really running the White House sitting in the shadows, in a padded arm chair, stroking a cat, I’m sure).  Or maybe the candidates themselves are manipulating the party, which is a daunting thought, as to do so they must have a different power base that is using them as a puppet.

(I think I am referencing puppets too much.  I am still getting over Sesame Street moving to HBO.  HBO!  Et tu, Elmo?)

I don’t really know why the parties think it’s okay to show up to a presidential election with no respectable choice for an informed voting public, and I don’t care.  It’s not okay. Come November, one of these people is probably going to run the country.  How is that okay?  Again, it’s not.  We need to be talking about how we got shunted those candidates in the first place (hint: not through the primaries or by voter choice, sorry), but, instead, the parties are distracting us with IMPENDING DOOM.  Our only hope is STRATEGIC VOTING!!!1!

Here’s the thing:    When you cast a vote for a candidate, you are voting for that candidate.

This is important.  Many of us are in denial about this.  We need to own this.

If you cast a vote for Hillary, you are casting a vote FOR Hillary.  You aren’t voting AGAINST anybody.  You aren’t voting against Trump; you’re voting for Hillary.

If you cast a vote for Trump, you are casting a vote FOR Trump.  You aren’t voting AGAINST Hillary.  No, you are voting for Trump.

It really only seems otherwise because, unlike the rest of the developed, civilized, free world, the United States of America only has two main political parties.  This is part of the problem, and the two main political parties are perfectly happy to keep it this way.  It’s a lot easier to force strategic voting for the lesser evil (ie, their candidate, they hope) if the voters only have two options to choose from (and both options are evil).

When both options are bad options, there really isn’t a choice at all.  To be even more specific, when there is no good option, there is no choice.  No matter which way the voters jump, the voters are going to lose.  (This is especially true when the two options that are offered aren’t really as different as everyone would have you believe.)

In the same vein as above, if you cast a vote for Gary Johnson, you are casting a vote FOR Gary Johnson.  Not for Trump.  Not for Hillary.  For Gary Johnson.  You cannot ruin America forever by voting for what you want for America.  If you cannot countenance Trump or Clinton or the other options, casting a vote for who you WANT sends a message to the other parties/candidates that they are not up to snuff and therefore didn’t get your vote this year.  But it first and foremost sends the message about what you DO want, about what you want to see MORE of in this country.

But if I don’t vote strategically, the anti-Christ may win!  Yes, but if you do vote strategically, the other anti-Christ may win.  Because you voted for them.  And the Democratic and Republican establishments will have no reason to change anything, and they will pull the same crap the next year, and you will never have a decent president for yourself or your kids ever, if that sort of thing (decent president/honest politician) is even possible.

I honestly don’t know what I’ll do yet. I’m just really tired of hearing how I have to vote for the lesser evil.

I don’t, actually. Neither does anyone else.

Bonus related discussion:

If the anti-Christ became president, would I leave the country?

Hmmmmmmmmmm.  Good question.  Let’s explore it further.

Hillary Clinton, how can I ever trust her?  She is a manipulator par extraordinaire.  She would not hesitate to manipulate whomever however for whatever she wants.  Some of what she wants I might even agree with (notably, not all, at all)(and honestly I can’t tell what she wants based on what she says), but the ends don’t justify the means and I am not sure how she (or part of her power base) is going to be held accountable.  The problem is that she is such a politician.  However, the flip side of that is that she is such a politician.  I’m not really worried about things spiraling magnificently out of control on her watch.  (I’m a bit concerned about things going exactly according to her plan.)  Heck, she might even surprise me by using all her means to ensure that her presidency is more perfect than any presidency that has ever gone before so that women will finally be grudgingly acknowledged as capable.  I guess.  But, ultimately, no, I don’t feel as if I would have to flee the country.

Donald Trump.  Just hell no and forever no.  I just, no.  Not because he’s a Republican, because he isn’t really, where is anyone getting that idea.  Because he’s an openly horrible human being and proud to be so.*  (ie, He acts like a consummate asshole in everything he says and does.)  That’s not just offensive, that’s dangerous on many levels.

If Donald Trump became president, I would not feel safe.  Part of that is because the man might probably spiral everything helplessly out of control on purpose and tell us it’s his new strategy and that we’re winning and that he’s the best.  To be fair, it would more likely be an accident with the same result; how reassuring.  I do think his party must plan to direct his every move while letting him think it’s all his idea, as much as possible (surely they have some sort of plan here); I’m just not convinced they will be able to keep him safely contained.  He, for his own part, is not prepared in any way to handle that office.

But the biggest part of why I would feel scared if Donald Trump became president is because that would mean a majority of Americans voted for him.  Or, at least, that he has very powerful supporters.  And THAT affects every part of my every day life.  To think that America wants to deport/ deny religious freedom and civil rights to/ microchip the Muslims in this country?  Do not tell me it will be safe to be surrounded by people who categorically condemn Muslims as terrorists and blindly hate all Arabic people they see, when my children are half Arabic and half the family is Muslim.  My son hears this ardently hateful rhetoric applied to his own grandparents alongside actual terrorists, as if that makes ANY sense WHATSOEVER, and we’re supposed to feel safe?  And how do safe do you think my children and I will feel, as disabled people, in a society where open mockery and derision of disability happens on the presidential level?  How much harder do you think it will be for me and my children to gain access to services and supports necessary for our lives, when our lives are not for a single moment given any modicum of respect?  If we are surrounded by people who openly disregard our personhood?

You know, I could keep going here.  You know I could.  But I think you get the point.

If Trump wins, it’s because people are buying what he’s selling, and since he’s selling hate like there’s no tomorrow, that’s scary.  That’s why I wouldn’t feel safe.

If Hillary wins, it’s because people are buying what she’s selling, and since she’s selling some sort of togetherness action plan, that doesn’t upset me.  Knowing that she’ll sell what we want to buy regardless of what she has to deliver is scary, but people wanting to believe her- not so much.

I hear people saying, “We don’t necessarily agree with Trump; we just hate Hillary.”  That does not reassure me.  You hate Hillary so much that you’re prepared to throw me and mine under the bus?  That does not reassure me.

A vote for is a vote for, not a vote against.

TL; DR:  If Trump won, I’d want to leave America because I would feel (even more) unsafe in an American society that CHOSE Trump for president.  (EVEN over Hillary, and that is saying quite a lot.)  Of course, it’s not really safe anywhere in the world in that situation.  After all, Trump might blow up Canada; there’s no telling.  (To be clear, Hillary is perfectly capable of blowing up Canada as well, but I think she’d have more finesse.  She’d probably just annex Canada directly via corporate takeover or something.)  If Hillary won, I’d be more likely to try and stick it out, at least at the beginning.  Hillary has some corporate sponsors or something that unsettle me deeply, but the majority of regular people voting for her want to believe her pretty promises and are not so troubling as are Trump’s supporters excusing all his hate.

But dear god I wish someone else, someone BETTER, would somehow win.

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Sometimes I feel like every bit of who I am has to pass (or, try to pass, if at all possible) off as something else, like it’s not safe/okay to be me as-is.

I realize that I am privileged in many ways, but I still have this feeling.

My autistic self feels like it has to pass as neurotypical.  My queer self has to pass as straight (and my pansexual self has to pass as bi).  My trans self has to pass as cis.  My non-binary self has to pass as binary (feminine).  My demi-sexual self has to pass as at least as sex-obsessed as the rest of American society.

My political self has to pass as ?honestly America, I can’t tell exactly what your politics are these days, but they’re not mine.

My working-class self has to pass as middle class.  My forty-year-old self has to pass as younger.  My introvert self has to pass as extrovert.  My atheist self has to pass as Christian.  Even my vegan self has to pass as meat-eating (in some places, saying you’re vegan is like making baby Jesus cry).

I am white, so, that’s huge.  So much privilege there.

Not sure what I’m supposed to do about feeling connected to my “roots”, though.  What are white roots minus cultural appropriation and the history of colonization and exploitation?  What am I left with- Wonder bread and tv game shows?  Do I go old school and bust out the bonnets and prairie dresses?  I’m only like 1/18th any particular descent line, so suddenly pretending to honor my Welsh (Irish, German, French, etc) ancestors that I don’t even know the names of would be about as bad as proclaiming my kinship to the infamously ubiquitous Cherokee princess who apparently was great-grandmother to all white people in the U.S.  /sarcasm

Being white gives me so much privilege, but not much real identity. Being white in itself is not something that I feel I can be proud of…  Being a white American invokes quite a lot of guilt and often shame in me.  Sometimes I wish I could pass as non-white (no pigment, no chance) just to escape that.  And then I feel a really complicated mess of guilt and grief and embarrassment over that.  Is there any aspect of who I am that I can be at peace with, in the greater context of society?

Still, I know how privileged I am by being white.  :/

Here’s to a future where no one feels they have to pass, for any reason (especially not for safety or for self-worth/ to avoid shame), because people are accepted, acknowledged, and appreciated for who they are.



Throwback Thursday- No sensory filter

from July 28, 2013:

Today is one of those days where I have no sensory filter. Nothing gets relegated to the background. Everything registers as a cause for concern or wonder, immediately demanding my attention, at the same time as everything else. It’s a ridiculous state; I know it’s just an ordinary day. But I have to verify every modicum of it as such.

Every smell bothers me, every sound, every visual, if only because it’s accompanied by a thousand others, clamoring for a conscious acknowledgement and some sort of verdict, as if I must personally assign or confirm its place in the universe. It is so hard to hold onto a thought, much less a train of thought; to recall a memory, much less form a memory; to focus on anything when it seems I must focus on everything instead. It’s a ridiculous state, but an overwhelming and exhausting one just the same.

It made me think about something Philip Larkin said, about death: “the bits that were you/ Start speeding away from each other for ever/ With no one to see.” How can you hold onto your self when you are flooded, when you start to break down and dissolve?

This won’t last all day- it’s already much abated- but, still, I had somewhere I was going with all this, some sort of insight wherein all was resolved and hope restored or something, but then my son interrupted me half a dozen times to tell me what happened on various episodes of Ask Charlie, the cats meowed my ears off in hopes I would feed them an hour earlier, and my daughter insisted on my making mashed potatoes, and I forgot what I was going to say.

It had something to do with cairns.

Still don’t remember.