I’ve seen a lot of “why I’m voting for _______” posts the last week, and I make a point to read them all. I encourage you to do the same. The lack of actual critical thought on display this election cycle is unseen in my lifetime, and we’ve only ourselves to blame.
The two unifying traits I see in all of them are as follows: 1 – Reckless adherence to fallacies and sweeping, uninformed generalizations couched in schoolyard character attacks, regardless of candidate. 2 – A hollow and apologetic tone for their own candidate that feels similar to an abused spouse explaining to a cop why it’s not their partner’s fault that they are abusive through a tear-stained black eye and bloody nose. A party-line Battered Spouse Syndrome that keeps the cycle of abuse active based on fear of the other side “winning.” Much like Battered Spouse Syndrome, the abusers are keeping their spouses in check by making them afraid of the world if they’re not protected by the abuser. Is that what we are? Is that what we deserve?
In a word, yes.
I finally came to that conclusion when I saw an almost uniform THIRD similarity in these posts; attention to the vice presidential candidate. This is the first time I can recall that BOTH parties’ supporters pay special attention to the vice presidential candidate as a mid-term successor to the president. It’s the first time I can recall in my lifetime that both party supporters have liberally used the phrase, “I think _____ will be a good president if something happens to _______.” Both parties have a suspicion and possibly hope that the law will step in and take away their abusive spouse. Before an election is held, we are uniformly whispering the word “impeachment” about our own candidates before we have cast a vote.
My God, what have we become?
I’m not interested in telling you who to vote for. I can write an extensive and 100% verifiable, fact-based post on why you should not vote for Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton, Gary Johnson, and Dr. Jill Stein. Hell, I can write you an extensive and 100% verifiable, fact-based post on why you should not vote for Simpson/Hemstead (which I’m sure will confuse and annoy the upwards of 7 people who have said they are voting for us this November – and I do love you vote-throwing people). I’m only interested in you getting help, like anyone suffering from Battered Spouse Syndrome.
Your actions are hurting you. Your actions are hurting us, the rest of your American family. If you continue to get your information exclusively from your abuser and your abuser’s like-minded friends, you will forever be stuck in a fear-based cycle of battery. I want so much more for you than that.
I would love to see you do the unthinkable. I would love to see you reach across the party line and have a conversation with a facebook friend on the other side. I do mean a conversation, not a shouting match of social media rhetoric, but an actual conversation. This isn’t to convince the other side to join yours, but to find out what you have in common. Support each other, because I promise you that they are as scared as you are. Find out how we can help each other rather than correct each other. Avoid using the following words and phrases: Republican, Democrat, Libertarian, your people, liberals, conservatives, Cheeto Jesus, Grandma Murder, or really any slur of any kind. They’re not clever and they don’t help. Try to see yourself from the other side. Or if that’s too hard then when you get stirred up and want to jump into the fracas against the “batshit crazy” supporters of your opponent, just repeat this line from Buffalo Springfield, “nobody’s right if everybody’s wrong.” A bit of a generalization of course, but perhaps it will give you a moment of perspective to change your tactic.
It’s not surprising our abusers have slowly and methodically driven a wedge of fear and distrust between us to keep us in line and to keep us subservient, our strength comes from our unity. Unfortunately, our unity was the first casualty of our apathy. The age of a great politician uniting us is gone, if it ever really existed. It’s up to us now. We’re grown ups. We need to set a better example. We need to be better Americans to Americans.
My fellow Americans, make no mistake, what is happening in our country right now is what we deserve. It’s what we’ve allowed by taking the easy path and by vilifying our neighbors. If we don’t start EARNING something better, we’ll be doomed to apologize for our abusers until there is no more humanity to beat out of us. And I think we can earn something better. And We will always be here, ready to listen, to commiserate, and maybe even try to help.
And to those seven who planned to cast their vote our direction: When the dust settles in mid-November and people on both sides of the parties are muttering their discontent, I want you to look them in the eyes and say, “Blame me, I voted Simpson/Hemstead.” And as always, we love you.
And as always, we love you all.