Red, White People and Blue

Elections are around the corner, and with that the Democratic Party campaigns are heating up.

And it’s not pretty.

Since I moved to Ecuador, I have made a conscious effort to reevaluate my role in United States politics. Mainly, how emotionally invested I’m willing to be. While also assessing ways in which I can be a part of change that is fulfilling and meaningful. And the interplay of what that looks like for me during these volatile times.

And to be honest, I have a hard time participating in a broken system.

As the kids say, sorry not sorry.

Because even if the very best of the Democratic candidates is elected next term.

What then?

They talk issues that are so near and dear to my heart with a vigor. Ones that have been beaten to a pulp under the current Trump administration. War. Human Rights. Capitalism. Equality. Healthcare. Environment. Education. Taxes. The list goes on…

And let’s say they roll out legislation that – for instance – reestablishes rights for minority groups based on race, nationality, gender, sexual orientation, gender identification and mental health, that have been systematically stripped away.

Will it stop things like – young teens beating a Mexican mother so badly she fell unconscious and was hospitalized for two days after she tried to stop them from attacking her son on the way home from school.

Sad, but unfortunately true story.

If we change gun laws, will it stop the sickness that plagues our country where the severely unwell have made it the norm to release the anger and pain they feel inside with bullets aimed at as many innocent victims as possible.

Or that if we enact more stringent policies on single use plastic and pesticides. That non-believers will not continue to be as wasteful and destructive as before in other ways.

Which is not to say that I’m not all for this.

I am with a passion.

But rules are just one part of the equation.

Band-aids.

Critically important, but insignificant when you factor in the reality that without a foundation of shared interest and respect to rest on, they are only as good as far as they are followed and enforced.

Which we all know can be total and complete bullshit.

So when I see Republicans so vehemently against Democrats. Democrats against Republicans. And now, Democrats against Democrats. In a bid to get their candidate to the top. I have to wonder how politics that are defined by divisiveness will ever come up with solutions that do not inherently create more conflict – even with it’s best intent.

It’s cultural. It’s social. And of course, the root of it all is economic.

And the result of constrained resources that have shaped the perspectives of our country’s people placing achievement, success and inevitably competition at the height of human nature. Which fundamentally suppresses things like empathy, compassion and tolerance making us view others as a threat to our own existence, rather than people just as deserving and worthy of the same as us.

Because of course, we want more.

We deserve more – and that becomes the justification to blame others for why we are left in that state of incomplete.

Especially others that we can easily distinguish from ourselves as different and/or deficient.

Immigrant children living in squalid conditions that most people wouldn’t find fit for their dogs. Without soap or bedding because – well, legally the government is not required to provide that.

That somehow placing that focusing on taking so painfully from those others in one way, will somehow make our lives better in another.

So yes, we can change the rules. And right now, the rules need to be changed. I’m not saying they don’t. It’s totally fucked. And I’m also not saying don’t get involved. We need people to care. I’m just saying that in addition to that, to really create change, we need to see all these sides coming together.

And that’s not happening.

The racist needs to understand the minority position.

And the Asian from the Midwest needs to understand that the values and beliefs of a generation are deeply steeped in the history of the nation. And cannot be so easily dismissed as intolerant asshole.

Because what I have learned personally from trying to rectify positions that are very near and dear to me, that contradict fundamentally with who I am. Is that we all come to the table with different life experiences. And those kids that are shouting to build walls at their classmates are kids who have learned this hateful rhetoric from their parents and people around them that they love and care for. The same people who tuck them in at night. Read them stories. Make them their favorite meal when they are sad or sick. And to rectify that what is coming out of their mouths as being wrong in that context, coupled with an impressionable and developing mind is nearly impossible to do.

And that’s how the cycle perpetuates itself.

Unless we do something to stop it.

And that involves finding a way to see the other side and be inclusive to their position. Which doesn’t mean you have to agree with it. It means you should try to recognize it as part of the conversation and be able to manage it with empathy.

That maybe it sucks for them that they weren’t raised the same way as you.

And that deep down, we’re all the same.

People who are a culmination of our life experiences.

And we can move forward with not an agenda, but a lifestyle that promotes equality and human rights with a strong foundation of public health, safety and well-being.

No parties.

No sides.

Just people.

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