Totally Frenched Out

From the blogger formerly known as Samdebretagne

Thursday, November 3, 2016

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.

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7 Comments:

Blogger Unknown said...

I feel ya, Ksam (longtime reader, first time commenter). This election is seriously disturbing. And that episode of This American Life was majorly depressing, too. I'm from Minnesota and it made me so sad to hear people from my homestate - which I always describe as super liberal, but I'm from Minneapolis - find such insane ways to justify their intolerance. They say it's not about race, but really, if those immigrants were white christians, I can't see them having the same complaints.

On the election, I have to agree with your husband. We CAN'T control what other people believe and we don't have as much influence as we would like to think. I had to detach from it months ago because it's too damaging to mental health to follow Trump's crazy. I only have my one vote, and I knew what I was going to do with it long, long ago. I am open about my political beliefs on facebook (such activism) and I do try to stand up to bigotry when I hear it around me, though, and being from Minnesota and living in Texas I am surrounded by people who don't share my beliefs. I like to think that if they are friends with me it's because they see I am a good and intelligent person, so when I explain my thoughts or knowledge on an issue we don't agree on, it at least gives them something to reflect on. But I know I'm not changing anyone's fundamental beliefs and the most I can do is let them see there are real, rational people on the other side of the argument, too. Living here has given me some insight on their side, for sure - I see the fear they live with and are fed by their news sources, and though I see it as completely unfounded and also not an excuse for despicable behavior, it looks like a pretty uncomfortable way to live.

But yeah. It's a shitshow and I can't wait for it to be over.

November 3, 2016 at 1:12 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

Oh, my name's Ingrid btw!

November 3, 2016 at 1:12 PM  
Blogger Jennie said...

Totally agree with you KSam and Ingrid. I live in San Francisco so I have been combatting my anger by going to Hillary headquarters and working the phone and text lines. I actually got to shake Hillary's hand one of the days that I was there. I also blame the media to a big extent. They are not reporting news but are reporting sensationalism. They are as bad as the Trump followers in my opinion.

November 3, 2016 at 1:33 PM  
Blogger melinda said...

this election is unlike any other I have experienced....yesterday there was a debate for the Louisiana senate candidates & David Duke was on the stage!!! sickening...(and I'm originally from LA).....our state (NC) is a major player so there are constant ads, calls, etc....and it's very tense on both sides.....obviously there are a lot of angry white poorly educated men out there who seem to be coming out of the woodwork...and now they openly throw the confederate flag and/or white supremacy in with Agent Orange. We have a chance to ...finally...have a female president...you'd think that would be exciting for most people, especially women (how can any woman vote for the molester?)...Let's hope it goes her way (but i feel like even if she is elected, the GOP will obstruct everything she wants to do...they have said as much) so I doubt it'll be over on Nov 8th.....but I will breathe easier without the orange one near the nuclear codes!

November 3, 2016 at 1:37 PM  
Blogger A Tank said...

I totally agree, this election has been terrifying. The past few weeks I've had a permanent knot in my stomach. Part of me thinks that he could never actually be elected, and then I think about Brexit, and the fact that the main issue for all these voters truly is to stop immigration, and it makes me worry it will happen here too.

I agree that the media has a huge role to play, and I think the expansion of all these cable news networks and the internet makes it worse. You asked why people aren't saying that talk like this isn't ok. We are saying it! But the people who need to hear it are consuming entirely separate sets of media - they aren't hearing it, they're not believing it, and everything they see and hear confirms what they already think. You can find any kind of community on the internet, and it serves as an echo chamber to validate your ideas. There is no more conversation or discourse. I think that's why everything is so divided. In the past, everyone was consuming the same media, so it was hard to not have any common ground at all. These days it feels like the norm.

I don't know what's going to happen, but sadly even if Hillary wins, I think this horrible racism that's been stirred up isn't going away. I don't know what's going to happen to our country, and it seems Europe has been infected too :( You're not the only one feeling helpless... it's been tough over here as well.

(As a side note, it's been really interesting living in Utah right now. They're super conservative but also really sensitive to religious persecution, so the garbage Trump is spewing is also horrifying to them. So much so that it's a three-way race here right now! So I'm also having a hard time understanding Trump's draw, as I've barely even met anyone who supports him.)

November 3, 2016 at 3:37 PM  
Blogger Anon said...

Agree totally. Voting early this week lightened my mood considerably. Now feeling serenene I feel the electorate will ultimately vote in a landslide for Hillary.

Lovely catching up with you.

Hope you are feeling better.

November 4, 2016 at 2:41 PM  
Blogger Anon said...

Agree totally. Voting early this week lightened my mood considerably. Now feeling serenene I feel the electorate will ultimately vote in a landslide for Hillary.

Lovely catching up with you.

Hope you are feeling better.

November 4, 2016 at 2:41 PM  

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