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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