At this moment (3:37 PM, EST, 10/28/16), news articles are emerging about new Clinton e-mails. One article quoted an official saying they “cannot yet assess whether or not this material may be significant.” Still, the media’s regarding it as a possible “tipping-point” for Trump and against Clinton.
Blah blah blah.
This election isn’t supposed to be about those e-mails, or about Trump’s crass personality and alleged groping hands. The election’s supposed to be about you. That sounds corny, and it certainly isn’t realistic, but this spectacle is supposed to be for your benefit. These things are all supposed to reflect your interests and values. Do they?
The simple reality is, average people live under a system that essentially locks them out. You can cast a vote every once in a while or not, but it’s truly not a big deal how you vote. You are just one person, for better or worse. The system is not going to change entirely at your behest, nor should it. The government has greater plans than that anyway. It does not need to listen to most of us, in fact. There are certain rules in place that theoretically restrict government, but those are not always adhered to anyway, and are selectively enforced. They almost seem more for show than anything else. Some will say, “Well, the government hasn’t barged into my home, so it’s not all bad,” and technically they are right. We are allowed a certain degree of freedom on average, unless we fall under the exception to the rule. In that case, most will either shrug it off or think we must have deserved it.
With most people liking it this way, I don’t expect much to change. Oh, sure people complain about this and that, but they tend to dislike the uncertainty of real change. They’re not asking the right questions. If Americans are fed up with the status quo, why are they so hellbent on changing the channel on alternate points of view? It’s because being outraged makes them feel good, look important, and relieves work related stress. It’s easier to look like you have something to say than to actually say something.
It’s also easier to scapegoat this group or that for all our problems. Let’s say it’s just illegal immigrants, the rich, politicians, corporations, rock musicians (at least in the 1980s), drugs, Democrats, Republicans, the patriarchy, etc. But it’s all of these things and more! The list of people to blame goes on and on, unless you’re looking in a mirror. Surely you did not create this entire society and its problems, but do you question your nature? I’m not talking about who you vote for, or even if what you’re doing is bad for the environment. I simply mean that if you spend time with introspection, you will be able to see the world more calmly. You probably won’t be as annoyed by political ads. You’ll still have opinions, but if you’re aware f your own flaws, you might not be so quick to jam your ideas down other people’s throats. You might be able to listen more and draw more out from what you hear.
Though the world loves a good villain, most people don’t fit that role. They may do regrettable things from time to time, but they’re typically not a key part in some diabolical plot. They’re usually just living life the best they can, working with what they’ve got, so they can work less for what they need. This is why I don’t think some grand, majestic upheaval is underway with anyone, at least not right now. People are too focused on the election to focus on themselves, therefore life will probably not drastically change. They’re still putting faith in the same old institutions and ideas, and expecting different, better results.
Some reforms will emerge that probably will make life better, and some things will worsen, but few are going to mobilize organically and change the way things are done, and even if more people engaged, they’d probably do so stupidly and violently. More people will still expect the government and corporations to do everything for them, and no particularly successful mass movement will take control and scrap the worst components of this system (which, by the way, are not high taxes).
Lest you think I’m above this phenomenon, I assure you I am not. I don’t do much, either, and I wouldn’t say I feel awful about that. I can’t mobilize anything, and I almost see virtue in being lazy at this point. If people won’t discuss serious alternatives to the status quo — like scrapping government and corporate nonsense, developing alternative motivations beyond money, etc. — , I am fairly comfortable playing a minimal role.
Aside from possible ballot initiatives, I’m going to select an empty cell this election cycle. I’m more fed up than any previous year. I was not an Obama-voting man I certainly disliked Bush, and I never supported Bill Clinton, either. I voted straight Green Party a few times, but as more of a protest vote. I knew something was wrong with our electoral system, especially when Democrats piled on against Nader, constantly claiming The Green Party was not a viable third party? For the most part, The Dems were just throwing around vague comments about “reform,” without focusing much on what’s actually out there. And a lot of what was out there, they helped cause.
They regularly threw around the word “Electable.” Electable, which also means “Lesser of two evils,” right? Most voters are in denial of what this means for them in the future, just as they were in the past. I will say this: If the media gave other parties more coverage, they would appear more “viable” to more people.
I got a breath of fresh air with Bernie Sanders, as he seemed to be respected more than the average outsider candidate. However, as anyone can learn, that had more to do with him being a registered Democrat by that point. Had Sanders simply stayed an independent, he would have remained in relative obscurity. Although Sanders undeniably did well, and helped shape the issues for the election, that was all put aside for Hillary Clinton, who offered voters the broad promise of a familiar face with war on her mind and a history with Wall Street. When Sanders gave way and sided with her against Donald Trump, I knew there was no way I’d be voting this election, at least not for a politician.
Donald Trump had success this time because, frankly, people are stupid and desperate. He reflects these ideals, which have been a longstanding part of American idealism, actually. Stupidity and desperation lead to thinks like flag waving and excessive pride in things that really are’t that great. People who cannot cope with reality still need a coping mechanism, so they build one up, or have one built up for them that they’ll buy into. You can buy an American flag at the store. It’s easy. It’s much harder to change the world around you, or yourself, especially when you’re told so many changes are not allowed — that to even discussing changing them is evil. And so, the steamroller of progress travels on, and most people never notice how it’s slowly headed for them.