Rallying against smoke and mirrors: a bare-bones approach to the presidential election

Being largely removed from newspapers, news broadcasts and propaganda seemingly displayed at every turn — I’ve turned a mostly blind-eye to politics in the States.

Instead, I’ve decided to cloak myself in the comfort of living abroad, of being an expat and focusing my efforts on soaking up daily nuances of cultures so different, yet decidedly, so similar to my own. I’ve read tales about these foreign, far flung lands and their neighbors. Tales that were painfully tragic, devastatingly beautiful — and more often than not, shook me to the core.

But growing up, I never learned about these tales — stories that even the most creative minds couldn’t come up with because these tales were nothing more than the historical and recent ongoings of these beautiful, far-off lands that I’ve found myself in.

I never knew that during my lifetime, there were men just as venomous as Hitler — men who killed off innocent civilians by the hundreds of thousands. Tyrants who found pleasure in stripping humans of their most basic rights. Dictators who lavishly fed their own egos and filled their pockets while forsaking their citizens.

But why — why didn’t I know about these major, (most often) current events? Because I grew up in the US— and don’t get me wrong, that’s something I will never take for granted. But the thing is, my birth-place has sheltered me. The country I was born in provided me with a stream of fantastical ideas that were often so far removed from the realities of the outside world.

The thing is though, the ideas that were fed to me were carefully crafted and permeated in every corner of society. They were in TV shows, they came up in the media and they were certainly spoon-fed to me in every history textbook that I was given in school.

What I believed to be cold, hard facts were largely finely crafted pieces of rhetoric keeping me peacefully, blissfully ignorant about the world around me.

So now, I’ve done my research. I’ve read my books. I’ve tried to keep abreast of global affairs and major historical events — and I’ve strived to see through the rhetoric that largely mars most of the content I see every day.

And finally, I’ve forced myself to become more tuned into the presidential campaigns currently unfolding in the United States. I’ve plundered through the political discourse, and true to my nature — I’ve tried my very best to remain neutral and take everything at face value.

Because yes, both sides are veiled with untruths, half-truths and let’s face it — all together lies. Trump is no novice when it comes to facing media scrutiny, and Hilary has had her fair share of subversive attention from journalists across the country.

But here’s the thing, since I haven’t been able to rely on the media — I’ve relied on my own truths. I’ve relied on my logic, my intuition and my visceral emotion — and as best I could, I’ve ushered them away from the harsh lights, smoke and mirrors that are political rhetoric. Instead, I’ve paired them up with the barebones political stances of each presidential front-runner.

My own truths tell me that building walls is a brutish, antiquated tactic that does nothing more than breed more unnecessary hate in an already devastatingly sad global climate.

My own truths tell me that as a nation, it is our duty to provide every, single person with access to good and affordable healthcare.

They tell me that humans are intrinsically good — regardless of their race, birthplace or religion.

My truths implore me to believe that the US can pick itself up and rid itself of hate speech. They make me believe that we can have a nation that uplifts itself not solely based on the strength of itself, but on the collaborative strength of each and every person across the globe that wants to elicit good in a word shrouded in the darkness brought on by a select few.

They want me to fight for a nation that spearheads empathy and altruism over merely an overused catchphrase so loved by the Republican presidential candidate.

So my dear reader, I ask only this of you: bring your own truths with you as you cast your vote. Let them stand tall and proud and free them from any notions brought to them by the media, a friend, a family member or a colleague.

Juxtapose all of your barren truths against the political stances that could shape our nation and our future — and then, then you can vote.