And it’s messy,
but it’s the best system we have!
My Hatred of Politics
Eight years ago, I intervened between two colleagues who were going at each other over President Obama. I simultaneously defended and chastised them both. I explained to one that the other wearing an Obama T shirt was appropriate as he was our new president, while explaining to the other one that calling a colleague ridiculous and out of touch was not appropriate, especially in the hallway, and that arguing in front of our young students about politics was never OK. I remember saying to them – I love you both, but I’m not choosing sides, this is what democracy looks like, you don’t always get your way. Admittedly, it was easy for me because I hadn’t voted for either guy.
Much to my husband’s chagrin – until this year – I refused to vote as long as he had known me. I was so sick of the lies, the blame game, and the entrenched political sides – that the last time I voted for president was for Ross Perot. I voted for Perot because I was tired of the status quo choice. You either get liberal academics, with little business acumen, trying to run a very big, very diverse country, OR you get conservatives that wanted to push their own religious agenda on the same diverse country. No matter which side was in power, they all seemed to fight continuously, getting little done, lining their own pockets handsomely, while placating Wall Street and selling out the American people.
Before I begin the rest of my story, I feel this background is needed.
Years ago, (way back in the 80s) I met Donald Trump at a book signing. I went to get a book signed for a roommate as a surprise. The book itself had been a gift from her father and since I didn’t have much money, I thought getting it signed would make for a nice birthday gesture. When I gave her name, he smiled, told me that it was a nice name, but explained he didn’t do names, just his signature, which resulted in me briefly explaining that it wasn’t my name and then why I didn’t have a book of my own (broke single mom) when he asked. We had a brief exchange about how I could change my circumstances in life. He grabbed a book from a nearby stack, opened it, signed it, and handed it to me, and said, “My gift, I know you will be fine.”
His very brief advice:
Find a thing(s) you like, that you do well, and become expert at it.
Find a way to make money at it.
That advice resulted in me ramping up a gymnastics program I had started at Beale AFB, and finding a job working at a school, even though I was mid-degree with no teaching credential at the time. Both served me well as I raised my daughter.
My views of Donald J Trump were in place before he ever ran for president. The DJT the media kept portraying was not the man I met.
This year, I watched all of the debates, and watched closely as CNN (and basically every other MSM network) spun for Clinton and as FOX spun for the GOP. I watched them spin each story, enflaming the American public as much as possible. Taking every word, gesture, and past action, and twisting it, and blowing it way out of proportion to fit their agenda. The media spin was worse than I’d ever seen in my lifetime. The news people and their lies finally disgusted me more than the people running for office.
Things that struck me as unusual this year:
RNC – Trump, a political outsider, actually getting the nomination and Peter Thiel, an openly gay techie genius billionaire from Silicon Valley, throwing his full support behind Trump and speaking at the convention. I read Ivanka Trump’s proposal on how to help working women. I was watching as the party I had come to view as intolerant bible thumpers – reach out to the “outsiders” and acknowledge women as more.
DNC: – Democrats not listening to and following their own base, basically anointing Clinton, and CA delegates for Bernie Sanders being treated poorly at the convention. I was watching as the party that preached diversity, peace, and tolerance – became less peaceful, less tolerant, and no more diverse than the other side.
It was a strange thing to witness.
My Cross Country Trip
I drove cross country along I 40 and back in an RV shortly before the election. Getting to my daughter’s house by vehicle took me directly through some of what many people often refer to as the “fly-over”states. Before that trip – it was a given that Clinton, in my mind at the time, as much as I detested her (and her husband) – would be the next president.
To my surprise, on the trip east, I saw and counted:
161 Trump signs (a dozen of them from CA farmers on I 5)
2 Clinton signs (both in CA and sponsored by the Bunny Ranch)
And a half a dozen Gary Johnson signs.
The signs made little sense to me, but I just supposed that Clinton supporters just figured she had it so sewn up, why spend money on signs.
While driving down to the Fiesta Bowl with my dad, I noticed all the Trump signs on I 5 now have Thank You signs over Trump’s name.
That trip opened my eyes. I talked to people at truck stops and RV parks that were angry, worried, sad, and hurting. And not just a little bit. They were angry because their forced, useless, high deductible healthcare was going up to twice what their rent was. Others didn’t even have the money for that and were forced into paying the tax penalty. Many of those people had not yet recovered from losing a home in the mortgage crisis. I talked to union members who were angry at their unions for supporting a nominee with no input from them. Oh, how I related to that! I talked to people who were worried and sad that they had been laid off due to company closures and who were now living in the family RV. They were working odd jobs, many just trying to find a minimum wage job, feed their children, and get them to school on time. These people were not part of the alt-right, they were beaten down every day Americans.
I couldn’t even find many Clinton supporters in Arkansas, (there visiting my daughter) but heard stories about threats, beatings, deaths and disappearances of those speaking out about the Clinton’s dirty dealings, Bill’s sexual escapades, and Hillary’s racism – including the common use of the N word when referring to the help. These people were not part of the alt-right, they were people with real experiences.
Even after that, on my drive back to CA, I was still convinced Clinton would win because of the numbers in places like NYC, LA, and SF.
What Happens in a Democracy
As Michael Moore projected in his pre-election diatribe (I detest him too) those beaten down people got out and voted. But, he was wrong about it being a FU vote. They didn’t vote as a FU, they voted for Trump because they really felt as if they had nothing left to lose, but they still had two things that were free to every citizen – they had hope and their vote. Middle America was not bullied by the arrogant coastal elites, Hollywood, or the media. They voted and they got their way through the electoral college.
And yes, the electoral college IS relevant. Our forefathers put it in the constitution for a very good reason. Learn WHY, before you decide it should be thrown out as irrelevant.
Clinton did win the popular vote, but one has to wonder – how many conservatives in huge states like California and New York (the reason she won the popular vote) didn’t bother to vote because they knew their state would go blue, regardless. And yes, the vice versa could be said for the red states, but how many of those can compete with the populations of California and New York?
Since I have long detested both parties, watching Trump take on both political sides, (let’s face it – he’s not really a republican and was a liberal democrat his whole life until he ran for president) the out of control propaganda media machine, and Hollywood elitists, has been the greatest political pleasure of my lifetime.
My trip reminded me of something that I already knew in the back of my mind, that people in coastal CA (especially Hollywood and the Bay Area) are hopelessly out of touch with the rest of the country, their pain, as well as their real life experiences with the Clintons.
Those that would rather support obstruction, place blame, call people like Steve Harvey, Senator Tim Scott, family of MLK Jrs – house n*****s, Uncle Toms, and other equally appalling names, and live in their echo chamber are probably going to guarantee Trump a 2nd term. I’m still at a loss as how women can be up in arms about Trump talking about grabbing women by the p****, but Bill Clinton gets a pass on actually DOING IT – repeatedly! And don’t even get me started on the peaceful protestors – turned rioters. (Note: I am OK with protesting, but when you block freeways, assault others, start fires, smash windows, or do anything else harmful or illegal – that’s called rioting!)
Trump doesn’t scare me near as much as having a R house and senate. It’s easier to see clearly when you aren’t loyal to a party. I still don’t have a party because both sides are still too far entrenched in their side.
I don’t have a party because I want things that don’t fit neatly in party lines.
Basic health care for all, that people can actually afford AND use.
Rights for all citizens, including LGBTQ and women’s right.
A closed border, a halt on immigration from high risk countries, a deportation of criminals who are in our country illegally, as well as a path to citizenship for productive members of our society.
A Supreme Court where things like upholding the 2A and a woman’s right to make choices about their own bodies – are both equally important.
An overhaul of the educational system, preferably where the federal government returns more of the control to individual states. I’ve long wanted the Department of Education to cease to exist.
The only path I saw to any of that happening was Trump, and like Middle America, I don’t care what you think about it. My vote belongs to one person – me. If you hate me for that, we were never friends to begin with, and I’m OK with that. On the other hand, you might want to quit calling people racists, misogynists, and other names because they voted their own conscience and in their own best interest. You might want to take just a few minutes to listen to the other side. You just might be the one out of touch.
There is a reason Mark Zuckerberg made his New Year’s resolution to travel this year. He realizes what many people are not, California is way out of touch with much of America. Both sides have an obligation to listen to the other side. Many people were scared when Obama took office. Now, some are scared because Trump is president. This IS what democracy looks like. It is scary, it is messy, and it requires a dialogue, not a monologue in an echo chamber.
I’d like to point out the obvious, since many are missing the point. Without democracy, without a variety of voices being heard, our country could look like North Korea or Saudi Arabia. We could be experiencing the current events of socialist Venezuela. If you think you’d be OK with that – go live in any of those countries for a year and let me know how it goes, I’d truly be interested in your thoughts.
Note: Yes, I realize that the USA is not a TRUE democracy, but I used the word “democracy” the way it is typically understood in our society. We have a republic, but many people have no idea what the word “republic” means.