Monday, November 7, 2016

The US Presidential Election

First time I attempted to write this post, it was one month left until the election. Then it was a couple of weeks. Then it was one week left, dwindling down to a couple of days. And now, here we are, the night before the election.

I feel so many different things, I have many thoughts and there sure is a whole lot to say, yet I can't seem to find any words. I'm not even sure where I'm going with this post. I guess I feel that I should comment on the election somehow, considering how politics has been a passion of mine for years.

It's a tricky thing, being passionate about something. When you are passionate, you tend to care a lot. When you care a lot, you leave yourself vulnerable to a whole range of emotions. I used to get riled up over the smallest of perceived injustices, and I would rejoice with the smallest perceived successes. Because to me, politics is not about power and control, it's about people.

I think that's why I'm left speechless in this election. Regardless of party affiliations, ideological convictions or personal agendas, I believe that previous presidential candidates have all held a personal interpretation of what would be good for the country and for its people. It has been important to them to implement what they see as improvements for the population. There will always be disagreement over the content, but I welcome that debate, because an open debate about the public good should be at the heart of every democracy.

But what happens when a presidential candidate only cares about their own person, and is willing to take advantage of people, manipulate, intimidate and bully just to boost their own ego. When it's no longer about the people, when it's all about one single person. One person who encourages people to fear, fuels their anger and rewards their hate. One person who could not care less about who gets hurt or trampled on during the process, one who does whatever for his own amusement. A man who treats society like a mockery, a game.

Fear, anger and hate are such strong and consuming emotions. When tapped into, a person seems to be rendered blind and unable to think clearly. Why else would people look to a lying disrespectful rasist misogynist to "make their country great"? When people who struggle to put food on the table, applaud a millionaire bragging about not paying taxes, or when women would gladly give up their 19th amendment right to vote just to prevent women from voting against Donal Trump, we surely have moved beyond the interest of the country and become pawns in a sinister and twisted game.

To sum things up, the feeling I'm left with is one of profound sadness. Much can be said about Donald Trump, but he is only one man. It's what he has tapped into and unleashed that is breaking my heart. The many who have hated in silence, but found a voice in Donald Trump. Have they always been this many? Have they always feared and hated with such intensity? Have they all wanted to laugh at people with disabilities? Or bully bereaved parents? Have they always applauded sexual assault? For people like me, who value compassion, understanding and respect, this is a lot to contend with.

So yes, the countdown to the election might soon be over, but the consequences of this year's presidential campaigns are already being felt. And whatever the outcome tomorrow, the general lack of enthusiasm and hope is discouraging. Even I, the self-proclaimed optimist, is feeling deflated. I think I might need a moment, a moment to sulk. But I'm sure, before long, I'll be ready to pull myself up by my bootstraps and with renewed energy get to work, and participate in creating the society I want to live in.

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