A Letter To My American Friends…

I have something to admit.

I’ve failed you.

In the past I’ve consciously not talked about: politics, religion, or world events; on my blog or anywhere else for that matter.  I rationalized this choice in a few ways: I did not want to exclude any of my audience, and I felt unqualified to comment (I am, first and foremost an artist, so who the fuck am I to talk about this stuff anyway?)

But I’ve realized that really, deep down I was just afraid.  I had fear about putting what I really think and feel out into the world.  So I kept quiet.  And I was wrong to.

I was wrong because the first and last responsibility of the artist is: to tell the truth and be unafraid and in this I failed.

But failure is not an endpoint – as long as you pick yourself up, learn from your mistakes and course correct.  This post is me doing just that.

Here are my thoughts about the American Election.

And be warned:

I do not hold back.

The 2016 American Election:

You could argue that there are no good candidates in this election.  And I would not disagree with you.  The two main players are, after all, the two most unpopular candidates in the history of American politics.  That said, one is indisputably qualified to serve in the office of President, whilst the other is a rampaging whore-beast egomaniac who lives under a golf course.

Leaving Hillary’s problems aside for a second, one of the biggest problems when discussing ‘The Donald’ is that, like Voldemort, he gains more power every time you say his name.  You are damned if you do and damned if you don’t.  It is this kind of dark magic media manipulation that has allowed a politically unqualified reality TV host (who apparently pays no taxes) to come within a literal stone’s throw of The White House.

So after the smoke clears on Nov 8th, if nothing else, we can probably all agree that Trump’s ‘campaign’ will have exposed some serious flaws in the mechanics of the American political system.  Not least of which is that we seem to care more about the entertainment factor of a statement than whether it is: relevant, ethical, or even true.  (A recent study shows that Trump averages one falsehood every 3 – 4 minutes of public speech.  Yet he is still in the running.  And still has the support and trust of his voters.  Which is either completely insane, or one of the best magic tricks ever.)

I can see why you may be saying to yourself: ‘There are no good candidates so what’s the point?  Or: The system seems broken, maybe a vote for Trump will change the system itself.’ Or: my vote doesn’t matter.  All points of view which are both: completely understandable, and very, very dangerous.

First, despite what you may have heard, the system is not broken.  Don’t get me wrong, it is far from optimal and could definitely use an upgrade, but there are some good things about it as it stands today.  Burning things down may sound great in theory; a clarion call to action, as galvanising and sweeping as it is romantically appealing, but in reality it is the height of lazy thinking; a stark avoidance of the real work which is: to start from where you are, and try with all your intelligence, might, and willpower, to actually make things better.  (And besides, only a Sith deals in absolutes…)

Second, supporting Trump will not change the system one iota.  If Trump is elected he will be piloting exactly the same ship of state every President has before him.  The only differences being that he will be doing it without a licence, drunk on ego and sniffing like a beaver; whilst siphoning off as much petrol as he can for himself and redlining your engine into the ground.

And third, much as you may want to, you cannot abdicate responsibility.  There may be no ideal candidates, but a decision not to vote is still a decision and, when things are this close, that particular decision may well visit your least-desired outcome on you and yours for the next four years (or until the apocalypse.  Whichever comes first.)

You face a choice.  It is an ugly choice, but it is the one that is in front of you.  And in the interests of being absolutely candid, I will tell you what I would do in your situation.

I would vote for Hillary.

I would not like it.  I would not do it gladly.  But it is what I would do.  Because on Nov 8th 2016 one of these two people will be President, and I passionately want that person to be ANYONE BUT TRUMP.  Here’s why:

Trump is (among many other things) a fear-mongering exclusionist.   And although those two qualities can at first be lost in the rumbling quagmire of his many other undesirable traits, I honestly think that they could result in real lasting damage in our world at large.

I believe very strongly in Inclusion.  Which means I believe in doing the hard work to find the common ground on which disparate peoples and cultures can come together for the greater good.  If there is any true victory in our democracy, diplomacy, and politics as it stands today, then I believe it is to be found in the moments when it facilitates this kind of unity.

Spreading more fear and hatred is the opposite of that.  Doing anything you can for attention and ratings to glorify yourself irrespective of the damage and hurt you cause others is the opposite of that.  Excluding and dividing people against one another for your own gain is the opposite of that.

We can either build bridges to walk across together, or walls to cower behind alone.

Do I think Trump is evil?  No.  I think he is a human being honestly doing what he thinks is best, but operating from a wildly skewed, egocentric, and fundamentally ignorant viewpoint.  (Which probably means he shouldn’t be left in charge of anything more complex than a set of watercolors, let alone: a barely recovered economy, countless fragile international relationships, and a substantial nuclear arsenal.)

Theodore Roosevelt said: ‘Do what you can, with what you have, from where you are.’  Never has this sentiment been more apt than it will be on November 8th.  If you are American, know that your vote is truly important.  The fact that you use it is important.  And the fact that you vote for #AnyoneButTrump is important; not just for you, but also for the rest of the world.

If you are not already registered to vote, you can do that here.


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156 Replies to “A Letter To My American Friends…”

  1. I couldn’t vote for either. They are both completely self-serving, ego-maniacs who don’t care one iota for the common man. Clinton is simply pure evil… as a person, she disgusts me – she has a wicked track of what she does to those who cross her, or disagree with her; and her personal tastes include supporting rapists in law courts and indulging as regular practice, certain dark arts – I’m not going into it here. Trump – despite his huge ego, at least is not evil – but yes, he is also, highly problematic. I don’t like either person as a human being. Its a no-win contest as far as I’m concerned. I won’t say anything further. I’d just give a donkey vote as neither are worth my intelligence or, heart. Politics always divides – only music and the arts will develop empathy in the brain – neither candidate has this quality.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I hear you completely. I think that there are a lot of people who are feeling this way.
      You are right about music and the arts (of course) – I will try and finish this record, so I can put some of that out into the world ;-)
      Have a good day – really nice to hear from you,
      – J

      Like

    2. And Trump is not pure evil?? He has carried out an anti-establishment campaign to achieve the power. He is lying all the time, especially to the white working class, his main source of voters. If Trump wins this election, he will have to obey the rules. In the end the two candidates are puppets of the same establishment. The question is which nuances should American voters prefer, Trump’s or Clinton’s? Who looks more competent in politics? Who could do an inch more to fight social inequality? Clinton. The lesser of the two evils.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Boom! Compelling words from someone outside the United States – that view “from a further off perspective” is truly an enlightened one. Thanks for putting this out there and for counting us open enough to receive this. With that said, is there room in Scotland if Trump is elected? ;)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks so much, really glad you like it.
      There is absolutely room in Scotland. I hope you wont need it ;-)
      Have a good one, feel free to stay in touch about this, I am genuinely curious (and concerned) to see how it plays out.
      More power to you,
      – J

      Like

  3. James, I admire your courage to reveal your thoughts on the forthcoming election. Even if you were on the other side, I would still admire your courage, but in this case I totally agree with your views. If DT were to have power, it conceivably could become dangerous to reveal one’s views. (Maybe it is so even now.) For the good of our society, we have powers to exercise, namely power of the ballot, and not insignificant, power of the mind. Cheers

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Indeed, Americans need to wake up. The US Election 2016 is a sign of an underlying malaise, as you so rightly suggested. My own verse in ‘Atlantic’ in my Reflections series comment on that (though these were published long before the current campaign began in 2015. As writers we must speak out, as I have done, and as you have too. Robert De Niro used Trump’s own words to turn them against him; he’s a dog, a mutt, a pig, a con. Anyway, this disgraziato has given me plenty of material.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. If nothing else, I think the fact that this has given us much to discuss is indeed true.
      It continues to fascinate me. I will be watching the outcome with great interest (and a little trepidation, I am sure.)
      Thanks for reaching out – I really value this kind of discourse.
      It’s good to connect with you, and I wish you well.
      – J

      Liked by 1 person

      1. The world waits. Never more in my living lifetime has any overseas election been so important. I follow the French elections too as I have lived there, but Americans are swayed by la langue de l’haine then we are doomed. Britain is doomed now that we (not me, I voted Remain) are now regressing to 1936 -when the Daily Mail said ‘Hurrah for the Blackshirts’- I and many other writers (broke and peripatetic), members of the precariat, will not be seeing the future in anything but a fearful light. Dystopia, alas, will be – and is currently much of- our writing material. As I said in one of my Austerity verses, (#5) to be posed in my blog here, The British just don’t get angry. La Rue hasn’t the power as it does in France. But as writers we must get the message out there. Marchons, marchons!

        Liked by 1 person

        1. I agree very much about the import of this democratic process.
          I am not sure that Britain is doomed, I too voted to Remain, but where there is life there is hope! ;-)
          Lastly, I agree that we must work to get the message out there. I feel that many writers labour in relative ignorance of the fact that the written word can substantially impact culture. I believe this to be a responsibility from which we should not shirk.
          Thankyou for this. It is good to hear from you.
          Be well,
          – J

          Liked by 1 person

  5. Hello James!
    Glad to know that there’s still at least one US Citizen which has kept sane! :)
    As the European I am, I’m very concerned about these elections. The next US President won’t be MY president, but it will have a very strong word to say about what happens in OUR world, and to imagine that person to be Mr. Trump… It’s really scary. And yes, unfortunately I think that none of your candidates is a really good candidate, but only one has the ‘drivers licence’ to get this bus home, that’s Hilary! :P
    Please be wise on November 8th.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thankyou very much for this. I agree with everything you said – apart from the fact that I am American ;-)
      I actually live in Scotland. Edinburgh to be exact, but I have many stateside friends who I will be pulling for on the 8th.
      Thanks for stopping by, may the force be with you,
      – J

      Like

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