Warning - depressing post ahead!
I don't know about the rest of you, but I feel like my heart rate has been permanently elevated these past few weeks. I'm both waiting for and dreading the outcome of the US election all at once. Mostly though, I'm just appalled by how vicious this election cycle has become. Every day, I wake up to new, even more horrific, ads and insults. The people at these Trump rallies...how can they also be Americans? I just identify in no way whatsoever with these crazy white extremists.
It has me wondering - have they always been there, lurking beneath the surface? Or is Trumpism like a disease that's spreading across the US? I mean, the US is by no means perfect, but the one thing I was always proud of was the people. I just keep going back to what I was taught in school - we're a melting pot. We're a place where people can keep their language and culture and also be American. We're a country united by our diversity. Where has all that gone?
I also think the media has had a huge role in the negativity in this campaign. What's happened is that they spend so much time on Trump's craziness (and really, there's no lack of fodder), and that to appear fair, they feel they need to give equal negative coverage to Hillary. And the only major negative thing she's got is the whole email fiasco, which is why we've been hearing about it over and over for the past six months. I get it's a catch-22 for journalists - really, how can you cover Trump and not appear biased - but I still feel the media is largely in part responsible for the situation we find ourselves in today.
The other issue I have - and C and I actually got into an argument about this last night - is why aren't more people standing up to say that this kind of talk is not normal? That it's unacceptable and hateful and not the kind of example that we want to set for future generations? Why is no one saying "STOP. You've gone too far. You can't say someone should shoot presidential candidates, and you can't show up at rallies wearing a mask of our current president with a noose around his neck. You can't say assaulting women is no big deal. You can't lump entire religions or groups of people into one basket." And on and on. Where are all the reasonable people? I know they're out there. Why are they not saying anything? Though maybe they're like the Minnesotans in the most recent This American Lift podcast, and they don't dare speak out for fear of offending family and friends. But the other side is not in anyway worried about offending people...
C's side of this was that you can't reason with the crazies, so it was no use trying to talk with them or convince them. But if that's the case, how does it ever stop? Where are the limits of society? How do these people know when they've gone too far? For me, it's similar to the gun control debate - there's no easy answer and both sides are so heated that they can't have a civil discussion, so we do nothing and people keep getting killed. But how is that a solution? I just can't accept anymore "Well you can't reason with those people anyways..."
I feel so strongly about this, and I'm starting to understand the expats abroad who feel the call to go back to their home country to fight for change because things are falling to pieces. (Though this normally happens in third-world countries, and we're talking about supposedly the "strongest nation in the world" here). With all the places I've visited, I've often wondered about the countries who used to be superpowers and who are now in ruins. It was just so inconceivable to me - How did they go from being number 1 to the bottom of the list? I'm afraid we're now going to see it firsthand.
The worst part is that politicians all over the world are starting to tow the Trump line because they see it brings in voters. It's happening in the UK, the Netherlands, France, etc. What kind of world are we going to be 10, 20, 30 years from now if we all go back to being isolationist and protectionist countries? If we only worry about protecting ourselves and not the greater good?
C thinks I'm taking all of this way too much to heart and that it's not worth the negative affect it's having on me, but I just can't help but feel a sense of despair and a profound disappointment in my countrymen. It's really got me down and all of the above is what keeps me up at night, wondering what our future will be and how I can influence it. I just feel so helpless watching it all happen from over here.