Thoughts from Pre-Election

This was a response I wrote to a Trump supporter and Hillary hater.

I liked Bernie’s platform (I side with Europe on a number of socialist values), but I know how some conservatives in my family feel about that. Democratic socialism is the closest thing I can imagine to a modern day, functioning utopia. The strong defending the weak! Because as it is now, capitalism will not ‘fix itself’ — the rich will keep ensuring legislation and policies and lobbyists that favor themselves, which will just lead to greater and greater widening of the wealth gap, and shrinking middle class. I’m wary of Clinton’s history on foreign policy and her relations with Wall Street, and the general platform of “business as usual” that would have continued from Obama…

1) “Lyin’ Hillary”: I used to believe she wasn’t trustworthy, without justification, without proof, without evidence. I didn’t really care for her, personally, as a politician. I didn’t blindly hate her, but I honestly didn’t know that much about her. Then I heard about and read one article in DailyKos. And then to validate that, I read another. And another. And the more I researched plain old facts, the more it became evident that this “liar” image cast on her was actually the result of decades-long smear campaigns. Statistics and facts put her as one of the most truthful candidates who have been running since the beginning (here, comparing Republicans only). How could someone be the “biggest liar ever” when there is no real evidence to support that claim? She does not lie more than the average politician. At the other end of the spectrum, I’m a bit horrified at how willfully ignorant some Trump supporters spout off, and how much Trump lies.

2) Sexism is intertwined in our culture, and it was hard for me to realize even I, as a woman, was susceptible to it. “Manipulative” is the negative characterization of a woman who wants something and/or gets something done. If government is anything like House of Cards (which is highly dramatized), then she is playing the political “game” to get things done, even if that means compromising. And compromise she has, passing some bipartisan legislation although not more so than Bernie. I acknowledge the truth that she has changed her position on certain issues a number of times. But politicians, and many logical humans, have done so too. In order to win the popular vote, she has changed her stance. That is not a great thing, but it has become inherent in our government.

You might be open to supporting female politicians, maybe even a female president. But you have to factor in the type of woman who can take the punches to get that far up in the ladder. Sexism is real. Being President is a thankless job. The stress and pressure and complexity and problems of a large nation will all take its toll on the human being who has the strength to endure it (and wisdom to understand it, which excludes W).

3) Do you know just how affordable college is in the rest of the world? It’s practically free in Germany. People hate when their education system (e.g. Chile) emulates the expensive, capitalist American private college system. It blew everyone’s mind in Europe when I told them how much my university education cost, per semester, much less for all four years, and that’s not even the worst. Americans should not take out loans that funnel them into a vicious cycle of credit and debt, which has become normalized in U.S. culture. Other education systems are better than ours. We need to learn from them. (You rock, Finland. I remember my delight when I first went to a workshop there and spoke with academics.)

4) I agree Obamacare is flawed, but even before it was enacted I knew it wouldn’t be good enough. I won’t qualify for unemployment because the past four years I have been working outside the US, but I need health insurance, just in case. If we judge society on how the worse off are treated, then, until I find my next job, I will be directly affected by how the US treats the unemployed, via Medicaid and ACA. That means welfare and safety nets to help those in a society who can least help themselves. This happens to most people, at some point or another. Universal healthcare is a European given, and I want that for our big, flawed, divided nation. Why does every other country get to be better than us?

5) Gun control doesn’t fix mental health care in the US. But until we can improve that, making it so easy to for anyone to get a gun is giving anyone the opportunity to commit ‘population control’. That makes it open season, all year round, and anyone (but most likely specific groups) can be a target. The majority of people in the US want increased gun control. Poll after poll after poll confirm this fact. PBS covered it, too. “Support for background checks and other measures being debated in the Senate hovered around 90%” (CNN). Why isn’t this a factor?

6) I won’t dispute Wall St. because I think it is a weakness of Clinton’s.

7) Regarding Benghazi, the fact of the matter is we don’t know what was said behind closed doors (Politifact). “A clear picture of whether there had been protests in Benghazi didn’t come together until Sept. 15, a day after Clinton met with the families, according to multiple Senate investigation reports.” The movie 13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi, is NOT a documentary — it is not detailing facts, but creating a story, because we don’t have all the facts. And I don’t have the faintest idea of what a conservative thinks s/he means when saying Hillary will “sell U.S. out to ISIL”. It’s just hyperbole.

Trump is not a good businessman, but he is a manipulative one. Business Insider. Newsweek. Washington Post. Rolling Stone. These are all things he has said. Everything he’s said about his own daughters. CNN compiled proof of what he has said about women after Fox News’ Megyn Kelly asked him about his behaviour towards women in debate. Especially after that video, I honestly feel that the women in my family would not be safe alone in the same room with him. Like he says, he would get away with it. It sometimes seems I can only get more and more horrified about what he has said about women, such as when it borders on pedophilia. Trump does not have his heart in the right place. When people speak well of Trump, I feel like we’re talking about two completely different people. It should be clearly obvious — Trump only loves himself.

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