Tuesday, November 8, 2016

What Have We Learned This Election Year?


No. Look.

It's been an interesting election year. We almost had a Democrat candidate who is something kind of resembling a socialist. Certainly enough to be called a socialist in a derisive tone by the right. He was loved, he was nearly pure, and he lost under suspicious circumstances. To a capitalist and imperialist.

On the other side, Donald Trump did what I thought was impossible and got the nomination as no other candidates could reconcile the divide in the Republican party between semi-reasonable human beings and far right Tea Party racists. Turns out all they needed was... more racism.

And since that day in the summer of 2016 where it became certain that it would be Clinton vs. Trump, I've been torn.

And it's only gotten worse. Election discourse has gotten to the point of "if you don't vote for Hillary Clinton, LGBTQ+ people/immigrants/refugees/Muslim individuals will never forgive you." I'm not exaggerating. "Will never forgive you" is something I've seen on a Tumblr post going around that is fairly popular.

At the same time, I've been told that if I do vote for Hillary Clinton, I'm further supporting a system that results in the suffering and death of millions of people every year. The difference is that while Trump/Pence will try to legalize conversion therapy and do a lot of other things that will hurt people who live in the U.S., Hillary Clinton has been directly responsible for policies, military actions, etc. that have resulted in the current suffering of many black and Latinx individuals and countless deaths and immense suffering in countries that people in the U.S. are less apt to care about than their own. Haiti. Syria. Honduras. And so on.

Point: Would Trump/Pence continue these policies? Yes.

Counterpoint: Those two men are highly incompetent compared to Hillary Clinton and might not have the know-how or connections to increase warmongering, imperialism, and other bullshit overseas, while Clinton most certainly does.

None of this is for sure. I'm not intimately familiar with the inner workings of our federal government. I can't see into Hillary Clinton's heart. What I do know is that in pretty much every Tumblr/Facebook post, article, or conversation I've seen about this shit from either side (must elect Hillary Clinton vs. stop participating in a horrible system) leaves multiple points out of their argument.

So much Election Discourse leaves out the simple fact that the electoral college system means that in a strong majority of states, your presidential vote hardly matters. Yes, if at some point too many people realize this and use their votes for something else other than Red vs. Blue, the color of a state like Washington could change. But I'm considering that to be very unlikely in this election. Early voting is already showing that this is not going to happen.

If you are in a swing state, the conversation is a bit different. The stakes are higher. But that's not what I'm talking about here.

What I've been torn on are the ethics of Averting Increased Local Suffering in the Near Future vs. Ending Long Term Global Suffering.

I have come to one conclusion. We're not ready for a revolution. We're not ready for a sudden overthrow of the system, of capitalism, and of the U.S. government. I don't believe that you can work in the system to make things better when the system is designed to be oppressive. At the very least, such a thing has never happened. It needs to be destroyed. But if we're not adequately prepared for a revolution, then we're unlikely to end up with anything better than we have now. We need resources built up to protect and care for the vulnerable, the sick, the disabled, the mentally ill, etc. We need a structure figured out that will prevent the further subjugation of people of color, women, LGBTQ+ people, etc.

We don't have any of that. Until we do, revolution will only hurt people.

I think my next step is to figure out how I can best work toward building up resources or help work out a plan for tearing down this self-destructive system we have, namely capitalism, and replacing it with something better. I like the sound of anarcho-communism myself. All I know is that our current system will only plunge us deeper into shit. It will destroy us eventually - maybe sooner than later. So we'd better get to work.

I guess my point is both sides of the judgmental as hell coin needs to stop ignoring the legitimate fears and points of the other. Stop acting like people voting for Hillary just don't get it, because many of them get it just fine and are simply terrified that they or someone they love might be killed, directly or indirectly, by Trump becoming president. Stop telling people not voting for Hillary that they're terrible people, because many of them are not, and are in fact looking at the bigger picture and want the current system of "fuck up the brown people for oil and power" to stop. Or they can't because a black or Latinx or Native American loved one died in prison or was killed by a cop, or by a coup/civil war started by U.S. fuckery.

We're all victims of a fucked up system here. Criticize and challenge one another, but don't lose sight of what is the ultimate oppressor. And we need to start real work for replacing the fucked system we have now, particularly those of us with a lot of privilege. Do what you can. Humanity will survive if it deserves to.

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