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.


I’m Working on some Cool New Stuff.

If you’d like an email when I release something new, click the link below. I won’t email you for any other reason, or share your address with anyone else.

Click Here For Email

156 thoughts on “ A Letter To My American Friends… ”

  1. Well said, James! I am both embarrassed, disturbed (and, to be honest, sickened) and now frightened by the phenomenon which is he-who-shall-not-be-named. This is a brilliant post. Thank you. And as an American, I’m sorry. On so many levels.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Of course I will vote. But then I always do. And, I am sorry for a number of reasons. Including the fact that there are so many people who feel so abandoned and not represented by the more traditional (sane) politicians that they would consider Trump a voice to speak for them. The gap between have and have not in the US is getting worse and worse. Maybe in other parts of the world too? I was a supporter of Bernie Sanders, and I think he was much more a voice for the people.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. I am glad. Voting is important.
          You are not alone. We in the UK recently experienced something similar with the BREXIT vote, which left many people feeling betrayed and misrepresented.
          To be honest, this was one of the main reasons I began speaking publicly about this election. If nothing else, I believe it has engaged a vast swathe of people in the political process. Which is a good thing.
          Feeling abandoned is never good. If you ever need to chat, I am here.
          Be well, take heart,
          – J

          Liked by 1 person

          1. Yes, I read and heard about your BREXIT and thought it sounded like a similar situation. Good for you for speaking out – and so eloquently. I wonder how you feel about Theresa May? Thanks so much, James. Take care. -M

            Liked by 1 person

  2. I’ve heard this term alot: just pick the lesser of two evils. I hate the term “the lesser of two evils” because I feel like it is so manipulative and subjective. Evil is evil and the question is really quite simple. (The world is simpler than we think.) It all comes down to right and wrong and good and evil. One choice is to go the past, a time when bad blood ran deep and poisoned the rivers of truth and dignity and alternately, if you have a powerful voice, use your voice and influence to lift up the human race, don’t crap on it (we create enough of our own problems all by ourselves). So many people in the world never have a chance to have a voice. We need a leader that we can look to and say with clear hearts: I’m proud to call you my fellow American because you uphold the beliefs and goodness that are quite alive in America (you won’t hear much about the goodness because good doesn’t sell) but I see it every day of my life. Unfortunately, ego-miniacism is running wild in the American election this time around. I have been told I can’t complain, if I don’t vote. But I can complain, because the laws and rules of this beautiful country, one to which my immigrant relatives migrated (and quite legally I must say from France and Ireland), and that the people have voted into the Land are being ignored and stomped on at every turn. Most people that I speak to from all parties, faiths and beliefs are quite fed up! A revolution is coming, but its not the kind one would think. Its a revolution of the heart (LIFE is a journey of the heart that requires the mind – not the other way around). America’s spiritual forebears urged us to bring BOTH heart & mind together – if we are to continue to stand for the uniqueness that America is – we must cling to the truth for dear life. I am so sick of political candidates who lie and lie and then turn around and ask for my loyalty. With that in mind, the decision of who or how to vote should be as gentle as the summer breeze. All the best to you. Hugs, Kat.

    Like

    1. Hey there Kat,
      Thanks for this – I am really loving getting different perspectives on this and you obviously have a very strong point of view. So, do you know what you’ll be doing on Nov 8th? I get the impression from your comment that you are going to abstain from the vote, is this right?
      You are right of course, ideally we would have political candidates we could genuinely believe in, but the question is: what do we do when this is not the case? I find it to be an interesting question and am curious to see what you think of it.
      Hope you are having the best day, be well,
      – J

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Hi, James. Thank you for reading my comment and as always you are very thoughtful and kind. I think what you are asking me or pondering about is this: (pleasae let me know if I am wrong) if the choice were simply narrowed down to who would a person vote for if both are equally disliked (as the polls do indicate but not the media since they have chosen one side over the other from the beginning which they have done since I can remember), if that is truly what it boils down to: then I would have to say the only possible choice is the candidate who is in favor of what the people voted for and shed blood for and were hunted down for in the first place, which is of course the the Constitution, the Bill of Rights and the laws of the land that are already in place but not respected or inforced by those that have been in power. In other words, we don’t need new laws, we just need the ones we have to be upheld. THIS is what the silent majority is upset about and why we have this situation before us to begin with and Donald Trumps, and Hilary Clintons emerge through the cracks to become a choice (and of course all their money does help). If the majority of the people’s voice and laws were being honored (remembering America is a democratic society, not socialist, not communist, not marxist) then we would have two honorable candidates running that we could viably consider. So, all that being said, I would have to vote, if I vote, for whomever is willing to uphold the Constitution and laws of the land. I hope that has helped and it certainly has helped me to go through and think more clearly what it really does come down to. Thank you for your awesome thoughts and hope your day rocks. Hugs, Kat.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. My day has been very cool, Thankyou.
          And Thankyou also for writing back with such an interesting comment. It is really hard to accurately judge what is going on in America purely from the media that we get here. This post has allowed me to gain a tremendous amount of insight from good people such as yourself, who are ‘on the ground’ so to speak.
          If nothing else, I think this election has provoked a great deal of discussion around the political and the current election process, which cannot be a bad thing.
          Please do stay in touch about this, I’d love to get your views as the cycle unfolds. And thanks again.
          Hope your day was awesome too, big hug,
          – J

          Like

          1. Thanks, James. I hope I helped some. I know it isn’t as easy as abc or 123’s but it is easy in considering what America is and stands for and unfortunately is not being voiced in the current elections. I can only imagine the viciousness that the media has portrayed some Americans and the elections here to be and as absolute truth and beyond reproach and quite honestly, I try not to get involved in any of that (it it so disengenuous and heartbreaking and not in anyone’s control). I do know when a person chooses to be an American citizen, they have to take a Plege of allegiance to America, so simplistic and yet so beautiful in its true meaning. The American Election process, as it was meant to be, is a time when we are all equal (as it should always be) the same as when we go to vote, it also means one vote per man or woman. To truly understand what it means to be an American, and to vote in an American election in the Republic, is to understand the Pledge of the allegiance to America. I thought it would be a positive and uplifting way to add some perspective to the American Electoral Process and have posted it for your perusal. I know alot of my international family wasn’t aware of this Pledge (although I feel you probably are as I find you quite learned and knowledgeable in all things – and I truly mean that with much admiration.)

            The Pledge of the allegiance: I pledge allegiance to the Flag of the United States of America, and to the Republic for which it stands, one Nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.

            Every citizen and thus every voter has taken this Pledge. I get goosebumbs just saying the words and in schools, the students recite the Pledge in the morning.
            Again, I hope I have helped a little in understanding why some Americans feel so strongly in some things and why we take all of the issues, good or bad, into account when deciding who will represent and speak for the people. It is a very serious process. BUT, the absolute good news: if we somehow screw it all up as humans often tend to do, the term for a President is four years and good or bad, every one’s term does end. In other words, there is always light at the end of the tunnel, no matter what side you are on, no matter how bad you think who wins is, or it gets.
            It was how our forefathers meant it to be and I think it was a beautiful, insightful thing.
            All the best to you, and thank you for having an open mind to listen to all sides and opinions. Not always found but most needed. All the best. Humbly your friend, Kat.

            Liked by 1 person

            1. This gives a really great insight. And you are right, there is always light at the end of the tunnel.
              If the vote goes to Trump tho, let’s hope that light isn’t a flamethrower or the glow of a nuclear winter ;-)
              I love speaking with you, have a good one,
              – J

              Liked by 1 person

              1. I sincerely doubt it! Although some would say we’ve already had a flame or two and most certainly we’ve had many deaths, and in places where I believe the people dying have already had their nucleur winter (Syria and Bengazi in particular), and so many Americans are suffering and failing. It all rests in what angle you are looking at the current sitation from, a Kalaiediscope or an hourglass. Running on a failed government policy isn’t a good idea and requires a separation from the current state of affairs. It could help one candidate in particular with the undecideds like me, who will determine the fate of the election. Warm regards and all the best, Kat.

                Liked by 1 person

                  1. Hey there, James. Sorry it took so long to respond, I have been working to complete my submission letters for my new Young Adult thriller. Super excited about it too!
                    My thoughts on second debate…well, from someone who is hurting out here in the real world – way too much personal stuff (entire first twenty minutes – dumb, dumb and dumber). We need to focus on what two-thirds of Americans insist is the number one concern and need – a change in the economic conditions in this country. If it doesn’t change soon, we will all be moving to Scotland (she says tongue in cheek.) Seriously, though, one-third of men looking for work cannot find a job or even “work for pay,” households are back to pre-1948 levels of income and unsustainability (meaning we are not able to pay our bills one month to the next and robbing Peter to pay Paul), GDP is dead, we have over 20 trillion in debt (more than all the other years America has existed all added together). Two-thirds of Americans believe their government (whom they hire and pay with tax dollars) has failed them, and education costs have inflated over 1,000% (my college bill is huge, insane interest – and that whole promise to reduce college debt – it was just a lie), no jobs after gradutation ( the percentage of high school graduates has fallen dramatically.) We are in DIRE STRAITS, a person cannot even start their own business because of all the red tape and pre-approvals you must obtain before you can get a license (I know, I tried to start one several years ago and still trying to get the paperwork looked at – it makes me sick). People do not want a politician, they want someone who can turn the country around economically, lower debt, lower taxes (we have the highest in the world), create jobs and give families SCHOOL CHOICE, away from the crappy educational system. And that is just domestic issues. Don’t even get me started on foreign issues. So, yes, I’m fed up with all the personal crap being thrown back and forth and dug up in this election(on both sides) – I don’t care about twenty years or ten years ago, unless you killed someone naturally. Yes, of course, the past is important, but seriously, if we don’t fix the present economic conditions or begin to make a positive move away from the current failed policies, then the America you know will be changing even more dramatically – and it will create a ripple effect economically unheard of around the world. Americans are the most generous and charitable beings in the world (we will literally give you the shirt off our backs and have) but you can only bleed the turnip for so long, then there will no longer be help for international countries, like Dafar, where it is needed so badly. So, there is a huge decision to make: Keep the American values we have and get our balance sheet back in order OR completely change to another type of country. James, hope you have room for a friend if it happens. I think Scotland is absolutely beautiful (she says smiling warmly).
                    James, just so you know, last time around, I voted for Obama over Clinton. She was scary then, and she is even more scarier now!! Her ideas are whack! It won’t work for the American people – economically, educationally or judically (she supported the laws to lock up more minority Amecians than ever in the history of America (it was her husband’s own laws – and its disgusting!) People forget these things.

                    Thoughts on the next and final debate: they have one more chance to get it right for the American people. I want the policies and issues of the country addressed and cut all the personal nonsense(it doesn’t pay the bills and stop the bloodshed) and yes, I have voiced my opinion – LOUDLY!

                    As always, all the best, your friend, Kat

                    Like

                    1. Thankyou so much for this. Totally fascinating.
                      I may live-tweet the third debate – really interested to see how it goes.
                      The whole race seems to be devolving into a mud-slinging contest. Is it usually like this? It seems to me that this one is really different.
                      I love your insight, speak soon,
                      – J

                      Liked by 1 person

                    2. There used to exist boundaries, politeness, some amount of mutual respect and decency but you have two liars and two narcissists running and its NO HOLDS BARRED. The 2016 American Election is most definitely the most disgusting and ugliest election I have ever witnessed in my lifetime (I have always voted since 18 years of age). It shows how much everyone involved is willing to sink in order to either keep control and power and money or gain control and power and money, which was why an outsider to the corrupt political process was so very, very appealing to begin with. Americans voters feel they are the ones getting totally screwed, not the other way around. We are about three weeks away and we still don’t know where they stand on detailed issues and policies, just more personal crap. It will probably end up with both sides sueing each other. Right?
                      All the best and love talking with you. Your friend, Kat.

                      Liked by 1 person

  3. Your entry, as always, is thoughtful. For myself, this past year presented to the American people the kind of opportunity that you might see in an old Frank Capra film: the chance to truly revitalize our country, put the focus squarely back on Main Street and empower those not entrenched in corporate greed. Bernie Sanders has the experience, charisma and heartfelt message to galvanize a nation. And he did. When the nomination was stolen from him, I think many Americans experience what I did: a profound disillusionment with the power structures in the US. The people (independents and some Republicans as well as Democrats – whose voices could not be heard in the primaries) had spoken -and been systematically silenced.

    Like

    1. Thanks a lot for reading this, and for taking the time to comment.
      It does seem like a very tough situation. I think a lot of people are feeling the same as you. It seems that, for some at least, Trump is being viewed almost as a protest vote against a system that they feel is not representative. It is not an easy one.
      Like I said in the post, I would vote for Hillary – but it would more be a vote for ‘not Trump’, then I would think about getting involved and trying to actually change stuff up in the 4 year breathing space.
      That is my 2 cents ;-)
      Please feel free to stay in touch as this whole thing progresses, I’d love to hear your perspective on it all,
      Take strength, take care, see you,
      – J

      Like

      1. James, after reading your blog and all the comments, maybe, since we Americans are for months shy of having DT as president, it would be interesting to see everyone’s views now.
        Personally I find this a disgusting embarrassment to this country. But as our forefathers put in place a ‘check and balancing’ system for our government, we are approaching (November 6th) election that might help us to keep DT a little short of successfully bringing our nation to it’s knees.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. First, thankyou very much for reading, and for taking the time to comment – I really appreciate it.
          It is a very interesting time stateside for sure. A large part of the problem seems to be the division evident in media sources – different people genuinely seem to be getting different information, which can make deciding on who to vote for extremely challenging.
          Personally I remain hopeful, and I have been heartened by how many people have begun to engage and take part in the duty of being citizens.
          Not all hope is lost! ;-)
          Be well my friend,
          See you soon,
          – J

          Like

  4. Wow. It’s like you reached into my head and heart and oh so eloquently said what I have been thinking for the past two years. Thank you. We live in a very unpredictable time where people have forgotten their history and it may very well repeat itself…think World War 2, Hitler. Again…thank you for this blog. If you’ve influenced even one voter to reconsider or vote for the opposition you have accomplished an amazing feat. Well done!

    Like

    1. You are so much more than welcome. Thankyou for this.
      It is a potentially crazy time, isn’t it? I have hope tho, you guys will come thru, I am sure of it.
      Thanks again for reaching out, have a good one,
      – J

      Like

  5. I so enjoyed reading your article after a friend of mine tortured me with his Anyone-But-Hillary tirade. My feeling on Trump is this: Be afraid. Be very afraid.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. James,
    Thank you for your thoughtful post. I hope it will be widely read. It has been fascinating to read the views of many people outside the U.S. who express the same fear many of us Americans feel about the possibility of Trump becoming president—and the danger he poses not just to the United States, but the world. I continue to shake my head in amazement that we have gotten to this point—elevating a narcissistic, possibly sociopathic or psychopathic bully to this position. He represents the worst of human potential, yet millions of people are idolizing him and giving him a pass on criminal, unethical, misogynist, and bigoted behaviors and beliefs. Hillary Clinton is not a particularly likeable person, but she is well-intentioned and highly qualified … and she is widely respected internationally. While it’s ideal if we can like our president, it’s more important that we can respect and trust her, and believe that she has our country’s (and the world’s) best interests as her priority. I believe that Hillary Clinton does and that’s why I’m with her. Thanks again for opening this dialogue internationally. I hope on November 8 we don’t let the world down.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. This is really great to hear. The best thing by far about this post has been the people I have connected with because of it.
      It is very good to hear that you feel the same way as I do.
      I will be watching on Nov 8th with a lot of hope. Feel free to stay in touch as this whole thing unfolds, and
      Have a good night,
      – J

      Like

  7. It was really great chatting with you yesterday over your post. I would actually love to know what you are reading right now? I’m always searching for new books to devour. Just curious what is on your list right now. :)

    Cheers, C

    Sent from my iPhone

    >

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I feel the same.
      Right now I am reading ‘A guide to the good life – the ancient art of stoic joy’ by William Irvine. Which is a pretty beautiful and useful book ;-)
      How about you?
      Have a good one,
      – J

      Liked by 1 person

      1. That sounds like an intriguing read. Thanks for sharing. I’ll have to check that one out. I’m actually reading a novel currently that a friend recommended, to revive my imagination a bit. – The Shadow and the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon I’m really enjoying it so far. A little escape for a moment. :)
        Have a great day!
        C

        Liked by 1 person

  8. Thanks for your thoughts. I’m an American who is terrified of what will become of international relations if Trump should win the election. It’s interesting to hear what those outside of the U.S. have to say, as well. Hillary Clinton is exponentially more equipped for the job of President than “the Donald.” My heart tells me that she will win, but I’ve been surprised in the past. Americans tend to behave as though our nation exists in a vacuum. I live only 100 miles from the Canadian border, and my family has had serious “what if” discussions if Trump should win. Our Sorel boots and walking sticks are ready! :)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Sounds like a plan to me ;-)
      Part of the reason I wrote this was because I felt the same way about the UK ‘Brexit’ vote (I.e. That we would stay in the EU). The result to leave surprised me (and not in a good way). I did not speak out about it then, so I decided not to stay silent this time.
      I have hope tho, and will trust your heart ;-)
      Thanks for writing to me, be well,
      – J

      Like

Click Here To Comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s