This is different than my usual posts, but I am going to try to write a post once a week or once a month on current events because being informed is important, and I have a lot of opinions and feelings on things other than depression and anxiety, and I’m going to try to branch out and write about them.
I’m interested in Politics – I even majored in Political Science in college – but I usually hate talking about it. There’s always someone more articulate who can make my point better than I can, someone who is better at debating and can refute the points of the other side. I just have my beliefs and can usually back them up with facts, but I don’t like arguing with people, and political discussions always turn into arguments, not calm debates. But it’s my turn to say something, even if my points have been made already by other people. These are my opinions on some current events:
U.S. Election 2016
I don’t think Hillary is as bad as people say she is. At least the people in the circles where I hang out – young, mostly white, liberals. A lot of them are frustrated that Bernie didn’t win the nomination, and they think that Hillary is only marginally better than Trump. “Bernie or Bust,” they say. And that’s just as scary to me as any Trump supporter. While I did like Bernie better than Hillary, I did not like him so much that I am willing to overlook Hillary as a candidate. She and Bernie voted the same way 93% of the time. They’re both experienced politicians, who understand the political climate. Bernie pushed the platform of the Democrats further left, which is a good thing. It’s more progressive, and more forceful in its approach to making sure everybody has the same rights and freedoms. However, if Hillary Clinton is good at one thing, it’s compromise. She’s able to actually work with Republicans and make them see things her way. Her time in the senate is proof of that. Now, that may be a bad thing for some people who want things to be even more liberal, more progressive, and are worried that Hillary will compromise on something important. And that is a reasonable worry. But baby steps are just as important as long strides – even if the long strides are better, sometimes all you can do is shuffle your way forward. The “Bernie or Bust” bros, as my friend calls them, will accept no compromise. But that means that their ideals are more important to them than actual human rights. By voting “bust” in this election – either by voting for a third party candidate or not voting at all – they are essentially saying the theory is more important than the actuality – it’s taking a step backwards. It’s like saying that if they can’t have filet mignon they won’t eat anything at all.
Now, in this country, a third party candidate just isn’t viable. I dislike the two party system – as do many other Americans – but it’s the one we currently have. A third party candidate will never get enough votes to win the presidency as things stand, so in an election like this, voting for Jill Stein or writing in Bernie’s name is worse than throwing away your vote – it’s like a vote for Trump. There are no conservative third party candidates, so it’s only the liberals who are split. And you can only afford to have your ideals if you won’t be affected by the actuality of what happens underneath a Trump presidency. That is, if you’re a straight, white, male, or to a certain extent, straight, white, female. Trump may be a misogynist, but he’s not specifically looking to take away the rights that (white) women currently have. Trump wants to build a wall on the Mexican border, deport Muslims and keep them out of the country, denies that trans people exist and will not let them use the bathrooms of their actual gender, but instead based on the gender they were assigned at birth, is against Black Lives Matter, among many other things. A vote for him is a vote for these policies and a vote not for Hillary is a vote for Trump. It’s more than unfortunate that’s the way it works, but that is how it works as of now in the United States. If you are a non-white, non-straight, poor person in the US, you can’t afford a Trump presidency because he will take rights away from those groups of people. But a “Bernie or Bust” idealist doesn’t seem to care about that – they only seem to care that their progressive ideals aren’t getting passed.
Hillary is NOT as bad as Trump. Certainly she has made mistakes, bad mistakes, like Benghazi, like using a personal email address, to name some of the well-known ones, but she still cares about people. And, perhaps more importantly, she is growing, learning, and changing her opinions and becoming more progressive as she learns. For example, back when she didn’t support gay marriage, she learned. And when she realized she was wrong, she changed her opinions, and became a vocal supporter. That’s just one example. Trump is a static entity. He is stuck in his ways, and won’t compromise. We can’t have a President like that, from either side. Compromise is an important part of the presidency. And we certainly can’t afford a Trump presidency in any other respect.
Trump is currently preaching that we live in an almost post-apocalyptic America. People are being gunned down in the streets. Police are being ambushed and shot. There are no jobs being created, terrorism is running rampant, et cetera. Whereas Obama and the Democrats are currently more optimistic. Now, the truth is somewhere in the middle. It’s true that innocent people, particularly black people, are being murdered in the streets by both civilians and the police, it’s true that the police are being shot in revenge, and it’s true that employment has only been growing by about 1% this year, whereas healthy growth is 3-6%, I believe. But will Trump change any of this? No, he won’t. His vision for America is an oppressive regime ruled by the white upperclass. He doesn’t support gun control, which might help stop the violence of terrorism and citizen shooting sprees. He doesn’t support an overhaul of the entire racist police structure, which would be difficult, I’ll admit, but would help stop the shoot-first-ask-questions-later attitude the police hold towards innocent black men and women. A Trump presidency will actually turn this country into something post-apocalyptic. The shootings will not stop, they will, in all likelihood, increase. Protests will not be heard, and may, at worst, be treated like terrorist organizations, especially if the shootings of policepeople in retaliation continues. Of course, this is just speculation. But speculation based on the very scary reality.
Hillary will not solve everything. She might not even solve most things, but she at least believes that people are people. She is for gun control. She still has a rich, white person mentality, but as far as I can tell, she is working on changing that. Maybe not fast enough, maybe not to the full extent of what she could be doing – but she is miles and miles ahead of Trump.
Historically, elections in the US have been voting for the lesser of two evils. No one candidate is perfect for everybody. The musical Hamilton explained this perfectly when Alexander Hamilton was saying who he supported in the upcoming election, “I have never agreed with Jefferson once / We have fought on like 75 different fronts / but when all is said and all is done / Jefferson has beliefs / Burr has none” Hamilton would never vote for Aaron Burr, and even though he didn’t like Jefferson, he knew Jefferson would do a better job. The difference between that and this election is, for me, that I actually do like Hillary. I know she’s not the best she could be, but she is good. And moreover, she is definitely not Trump.
I am voting for Hillary in November. I hope you are too.
Now, I don’t have nearly as much to say on Brexit, because I’m not nearly as informed. Most of my opinions come from 3 months studying abroad in London and reading a lot of BBC news articles on the situation, which are usually pretty biased.
But Brexit really surprised me. First of all, it surprised me that the referendum was actually happening. I didn’t hear anything about it in the US media until about a week before the vote. That’s when I started reading the BBC news. I mean, I know the election is big and important news in the US, but we can report on other countries too. (Not that we do that anyway, unless something big is happening, like the terrorists attacks in Nice and Paris…but you would think this was big enough to report on sooner, wouldn’t you?) Second, I didn’t really think that Britain would actually leave the EU. I thought it would be like the most recent Scottish referendum, where there was a lot of hullabaloo about leaving, and even a lot more folks than expected voting to leave, but in the end they would Bremain. That’s obviously not what happened though. It was a vote of 52% voting to leave to 48% voting to stay with about 72% of the population voting. 4% may not seem like a lot, but when it comes to political divisions, it’s huge. It means, very clearly, that Brexit was the preferred outcome. That 4% is some 1.2 million more people voting in favor of Brexit.
A lot of what I’ve heard that’s come out of Brexit is a lot of people telling immigrants to “go home,” as if the UK was not their home. Immigration was one of the big issues and deciding factors in the Brexit decision. Many people seemed to have felt that there were too many immigrants coming into Britain, and that it wasn’t for the British anymore, or something like that. I just got racist undertones from it all. Or overtones, as I’ve seen videos of people literally yelling at others to go back to where they came from. It reminds me of Trump’s promise to “make America great again” – which also has racist undertones. Great again for whom? For the rich, white, elite.
Now I don’t think Brexit equates to Trump, but I do think some of the same fear-mongering tactics were used to get the Brexit vote passed. I’m afraid for the future of the UK, because the statistics I read said that the majority of young voters voted overwhelmingly to remain in the EU, whereas it was older voters who wanted to leave. Now the youth will inherit a Britain they didn’t want, with potentially very little way to fix it. The UK could potentially rejoin the EU, but it would have to start the process at the beginning, as any new country who wants to become a member state needs to do. There is no special readmission process, and the UK will not be treated any differently because they used to be a part of the EU. In fact, because people are inherently biased, the entry process might be harder for the UK than it otherwise would be. Now that is just an opinion I have, not a fact.
I think it might be interesting if Scotland has another referendum and votes to leave the UK, because a majority of Scottish people voted to stay within the EU. I don’t believe; however, that they will be allowed to stay in the EU, even if they are no longer a part of the UK. I believe they will have to apply like any other country. I was under the impression that one of the major reasons that Scotland voted to stay in the UK was because they wanted to stay in the EU, so this must be like a slap in the face to them.
I think it’s interesting that David Cameron stepped down and Theresa May was appointed Prime Minister. I don’t have much to comment on there other than I don’t think David Cameron was a bad Prime Minister – he was the PM when I was studying abroad in London, and so I got to see Question Time, and he was a very articulate man. Question Time is just a fun and funny experience, but I digress. I’m interested to see what Theresa May will do. It’s groundbreaking, she’s just the second female PM in the UK, and there’s already people comparing her to Margaret Thatcher, perhaps simply because she is a Conservative woman. I know next to nothing about her policies, so I can’t comment further.
Brexit is a revolutionary and scary thing. My opinion is that they should trigger Article 50 as soon as possible, as opposed to prolonging it. Prolonging it just means that everything will be up in the air for longer, causing a state of confusion. Not to mention, I believe that I read that the EU will refuse more compromise discussions until Article 50 is triggered. I’m not an expert on the subject by any means, but it seems to me that actually leaving the EU after voting to leave should be done as soon as possible.
These are just a few current events that I feel I have enough information to express an opinion on. If you’d like to see me talk about other current events, please let me know in the comments!