In the trough of the wave that was the build up to the 2016 Presidential Election, my tweets from 2015 looked something like this:
“Donald, are you for real?”
“Can we all just agree to vote for Gary Johnson? #debate2016”
“Everything about this election just depresses me”
“Donald Trump might singlehandedly save Twitter by increasing user engagement through enticing outrage. Justtt looking for the positives”
Admittedly, I can’t remember who Gary Johnson is. And Trump might actually have made Twitter relevant again. The point is, I felt lost in the 2016 election.
I originally liked Jeb Bush. I knew he was considered a great governor in Florida who did good things for the education system. He had a hispanic wife, which in my eyes made him sympathetic to immigrants and minorities. Jeb never had a fair shot because he couldn’t escape the shadow of his big brother George. After Jeb fell out of the primaries, the only candidate I even remotely liked was John Kasich. Despite 8 years of liking Obama, there was no way I was voting for Hilary Clinton.
For me, the Clinton’s were tied with crooked politics, immorality, and they were absolutely the inspiration behind House of Cards’ Frank and Claire Underwood. My step-grandparents grew up in the same social circles in Arkansas as the Clintons, and they reiterated that these were some bad hombres.
Another factor was the Supreme Court Justice seats that we knew would likely be vacated within the next presidency. Along with many other Americans, these vacancies were probably THE thing I was voting on. Supreme Court Justices determine many major decisions and rulings in our country, and I didn’t want the Clinton’s choosing who set major judicial precedents. My main concern was abortion without limitations being legalized via Supreme Court rulings.
You see, I am the often ridiculed moderate. Ridiculed mostly by far left extremists and self proclaimed “progressives” (whatever that actually means), I stand firmly between the polarizing Democratic and Republican parties. The fact that people like Mitch McConnell are standing on the house floor, representing my interests actually makes me want to hiss out loud. But so does the image of the hypocritical Nancy Pelosi. She comes from a district that claims to be for the people but has a homeless crisis like nowhere else in the country, while she lives on a hill, in a mansion, in a city where a one bedroom apartment cost around $3,000 a month on the low end.
Climate Change is important to me. Regulating fossil fuels, protecting national lands, eliminating environmentally hazardous practices like fracking, and making sure immigrants and asylum seekers are given a fair chance at the American Dream are all important to me. Power being in the hands of the people, over industry, is important to me. However, an abortion past 15 weeks of pregnancy, a system that keeps those that “benefit” from it trapped in poverty, and a general intolerance of anything less than extremely liberal views on issues like transgender children while denying the violent and divisive practices of Antifa, keep me at bay from fully devoting myself to the democratic party. After 3 years of being under California rule, I can attest to the fact that the Democratic party is also a slave to industry, as much as it wants to claim that it belongs to the people.
The democratic battle cry of intolerant tolerance and extreme progressivism has pushed voters like me begrudgingly into the arms of a republican party that has appointed an oil tycoon as head of the EPA. I feel extremely disconnected to the ruling culture when I open up my news app in the morning to see the latest NYT article that is arguing for universal healthcare for illegal aliens. I am not anti-immigrant, but I am pro-making sound economic decisions.
The democratic party would have us put more money into the hands of a government, to be redistributed; a government that has proven itself corrupt and unable to manage resources time and time again. How does this make any sense? Why would I want to give this government any more power?
The Republican party would have us destroy the planet, close our borders, let big businesses slide by without paying taxes, and isolate ourselves from every international ally that we have.
I believe that the average American stands somewhere on that middle ground, but the voices that are the loudest make those middle ground Americans feel alone, and unrepresented. So they choose the party that feels safest to them, which is usually the one with the least radical claims (Defunding the police? Sounds smart. I’m sure Nancy in the suburbs with a daughter who just moved to New York City loves this idea.)
In 2016, and now in 2020, I am being forced to choose what I feel is the lesser of the two evils. And right now, the less of those evils is the one who is most protecting my constitutional rights and freedoms.
If companies like Google, YouTube, and Facebook, who are practicing censorship and content manipulation while capitalizing on user data, align with the democratic party, then I cannot align with that party.
If left leaning liberals who call anyone who voted for Donald Trump a racist or a bigot, or can’t engage in a conversation with a republican without an accusation of racism, I cannot align with that kind of prejudice and intolerance.
If California, where I live, is the model for what democratic leadership looks like, where the homeless population grows daily and addicts overdose in the streets of San Francisco, where some of the biggest socioeconomic gaps in the world exist, and cost of living soars; I cannot align with that kind of economic leadership.
If my individual rights mean naught in the wake of the “greater good” (I’m sorry, but aren’t these like the famous last words of every failed society), I cannot align with that.
If taking away medical freedom, as has happened in California through SB 277 and SB 276, is a prediction of what the future would look like under a majority democratic rule in this country, especially under the guise that having the right to choose is a priority, I cannot align with those Public Health principles.
If the handling of the COVID 19 crisis where lockdowns happened first and are lifted last, crippling not only our economy but our physical and mental health; I cannot align with that.
If this party berates police to the point where they are almost inhuman, but falsely claims compassion for all people over the accumulation of health and individual rights, I cannot align with that level of hypocrisy.
But the biggest determinant for me is the media. The corrupt insurgence of mainstream media that loudly echoes one resounding opinion on every topic, leaving no room for a conservative voice without “canceling” that person, and sewing a division so deep that it is provoking and validating rioting, shaming your fellow American for making a different choice, and practicing the religion of politics in place of an individual moral compass, I definitely cannot align with that.
In early 2020, I donated to Pete Buttigieg. I thought he was a reasonable, moderate, sensible, candidate, and I wanted anyone but Donald Trump. He had the pro of being a gay man that made him sympathetic to minorities, combined with being a military man which assumes he has a strong sense of duty, integrity, and standing firm for democracy. But Pete yielded to Joe Biden after he rode the wave to success in South Carolina on the backs of the black voters that he keeps verbally insulting, and here we are 3 months before another election where I feel that I am choosing between a narcissistic pea brain, or democracy being upheld. The censorship and the intolerance of anything other than one type of opinion is driving me into the arms of the “other” party. I don’t want my media outlets, or social channels, freely pumping propaganda into the bloodstream of the American people, so you’re likely to find me on whatever side of the coin is the opposite of those outlets. Censorship is a threat to democracy.
The Division that is being sown by the media and intolerance of anything but one world view, is taking power away from the people. Unity is where the people get their power. A divided people is a weak people. Why are they so very interested in pitting us against each other? Why have I read multiple news articles this year that encourage you to openly shame your neighbor if they make a different choice than you?
Fascism is hiding in plain sight under the banner of “social responsibility” as the information that is available to us is openly being censored.
I will do what I think is right, which is vote for the party that is most likely to protect the basic rights that our country was founded upon, like freedom of speech and information. Yes Climate Change is an important issue. But I’d rather die on a burning oven of a planet than to live without being free. Free to have an opinion that is different than yours. Free to engage in conversations where we disagree. Freedom of bodily autonomy. Freedom of thought. Freedom to support police while simultaneously supporting police reform and increased social programs in high risk neighborhoods. Freedom to not fit into a box.
I cannot stand behind a party who makes me feel like any of these things are being jeopardized.