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This entire election cycle has been treated like a joke; a really bad joke that I’ve been waiting over a year for people to realize has never been a joke at all.
Yes, even I made fun of the idea of Donald Trump running for President in an early comic 5 years ago… But it stopped being a joke to me the day he actually announced his candidacy by targeting minorities and non-white immigrants… And yet people laughed. Donald Trump stayed in the news cycle day after day saying more horrible things, completely idiotic statements, and a complete lack of actual policy. Still people laughed. I felt like the only one who saw how dangerous every word out of his mouth was and it’s future consequences.
I’m Black. I have to deal with often subtle forms racism, bias, and bigotry on a constant basis when I interact with the world and media. In Trump’s campaign, this is all plain as day amplified by a million megaphones. From the beginning I knew the danger of how broadcasting Trump’s word salad everywhere could inspire people to hate and embolden the hateful; how it would provoke and encourage violence and division; how it would remove any concept of truth and reason out of politics. Most importantly, I saw the deep cultural damage that will already occur for years to come as a result of a person of influence allowing this to become normalized behavior. I had a conversation with a friend a while back that considered this all entertainment. They couldn’t see what I could. They couldn’t see the consequences. I don’t have the luxury of finding it funny. This type of behaviour wouldn’t be acceptable by your own boss and this entire election season has been the job interview. If Trump wins, ‘entertainment’ becomes reality and the rampant racism, xenophobia, harassment, and threats of violence in his campaign becomes publicly acceptable.
I also knew that how people and media outlets reacted to his statements would define his campaign. I had hopes initially that he’d be put down immediately by the media and general opinion, but no, it was all a joke. News outlets have him on repeat every day lying and insulting constantly and presenting it as fact or at least never challenging it. Even “Entertainment News” that normally avoided politics seemed to cover Trump exclusively out of the candidates as another megaphone. Say what you will about the media, but they’ve fried bigger fish than Trump in under 24 hours for saying or doing a sheer fraction of what Trump has done all year. When Roger Ailes, CEO of Fox News, was recently accused of sexual harassment, he was completely ejected from the company in under a month! Don’t tell me nobody couldn’t have destroyed this Oompaloompa’s campaign in half the time. Despite Trump’s claims about the lying media and his love of conspiracy theories against him, The Media has been the biggest conspirator and enabler of his campaign. They’re just as guilty of building this monstrosity, despite constant threats of being sued by Trump for saying bad things about him (which are most often true). They seem to have started to slightly realize it recently, but it’s far too late for that.
Beyond just the media though, looking at their policy, it’s clear that Trump’s policy is terrible. He has no substance! It’s all just show-boating and narcissism. The problem is this election isn’t even about policy. It’s hardly talked about and when it is, it’s shut down immediately to turn politics into a reality show, as we saw in the shit shows that were the debates. No one seems to care about what either candidate will actually do for anyone. All they care about, more so than usual, is the scandals, both true and make-believe, what crazy thing will Trump say next, and resentment for both sides. An e-mail witch hunt, which has been investigated to death with no charges, incites more passion than the fact that Flint, Michigan still has poisoned water. We ignore policy and shrug off the fact that Trump bragged on many ocassions about sexually harassing women whilst simultaneously dehumanizing people of all colours, faiths, sexualities, and disabilities… Sometimes at the same time… On a daily basis… Because it’s ‘funny’.
This is what I hate about this election. Facts, policy, and even professionalism don’t matter anymore. It’s all about making politics, an important element in the foundation of every society, into a circus. Politics has become a joke. Nobody takes it seriously, despite how serious it is. All everyone cares is voting for whichever asshole entertains you more. You can go on about all politics being corrupt or whatnot, but if you know nothing about politics or how it works, then you can’t complain about what you don’t understand. Google is your friend and you can take 30 minutes to determine what is fact and fiction. Facts aren’t partisan or a ‘liberal agenda’, they are fact. Learn how the political systems work. Learn how society functions. Learn policy.
I’m not saying politicians are pure or good, but I realize that it involves a lot of tough decisions and judgement. Politics matters. Words matter. Temperament matters. It’s the people’s job to make sure they elect the best person available who can lead and handle that pressure and make policy that betters the people. I have no doubt in my mind that person sure as hell isn’t an irresponsible man-child like Donald Trump.
Yes, I know you Americans don’t like Hillary either (and she wasn’t my first choice for President), but out of all 4 of your candidates, I don’t understand how this is even a contest. I won’t tell you who to vote for… Just who I REALLY hope you don’t… Vote based on policy and reason, not random conspiracy theories. Base your decision on facts and not exclusively on whether your Grandmother knows how to use an e-mail account…
So please Americans, stop treating this like a joke.
Go Vote! Vote Seriously. Vote wisely.
Update: ... America, what have you done...
For the record, I've been pretty vocal about voting for neither Trump or Clinton. Both terribly flawed people.