My Fellow Americans–
No, that’s too formal…
Hey, guys, what’s up?
We’re about seven exciting weeks away from the next presidential election, and I’m not sure if you’ve noticed, but you guys are really letting it get to your heads. Between the endless protests and puffing up your chests on social media, you jabrones have been unkind, unpleasant, uninformed, and downright retarded. So let’s gather ’round for a chat, shall we? I think we’re due.
Let’s start off with the big one. Stop being afraid. Or at least, stop pretending to be afraid. As Americans, we’ve been nothing if not resilient and we never lie down and die. No matter what the sociopolitical climate is, we overcome adversity; whether it be by conversations, debate, or a good old fashioned fight. Yes, sometimes violence is the answer, but that doesn’t make it an excuse. No one is taking our country away. America is an idea. I can’t be taken away by immigrants, irrational protests, politicians, or anyone else. Your fears are unjustified. Disaster could arise out of any potential scenario, so suck up your fears, and hope for the best, no matter who is elected.
What we really want to say when we say we’re afraid is that we don’t trust our neighbors. And that’s the biggest fucking mistake we could ever make. Of course there are bad people out there, but they’re a product of their environment. Your fellow Americans are your friends, and they care about your well-being. They may not show it all the time, but it’s in everyone’s best interest to look out for one another. That’s how society functions. Subconsciously, we all know that we’re all heroes and villains. We’d all leap into the street to save a child from an oncoming bus, but we’d also all rather buy a new iPhone than make sure that same child has dinner tonight.
And that’s OK. We’re allowed to be flawed self-serving hypocrites. We’re animals. But most importantly, we’re products of our environment. I used the word “retarded” in the first paragraph for two reasons:
- I’d really like to turn off people early on who aren’t going to like what I have to say, regardless.
- Because we all act and behave with varying degrees of actual mental retardation.
Someone who is mentally handicapped can be said to not be in control of many of the skills and functions that a “normal” person with in tact facilities would be perfectly in control of, right? But are we really in control–those of us who don’t believe we’re retarded? The truth is, we all have a mental illness, and it’s call the illusion of free will. Our thoughts, actions, and behaviors are all essentially just governed by our past experiences and the environment around us. We dwell on choices we could have made differently, but there’s no scientific basis to believe–given the opportunity and same circumstances–we would have made those different choices.
And this leads into our cultural mental state. Because it’s an election year, and a particularly fucking volatile one, all of the cultural elements we’ve been ignoring, or pretending to ignore, for the past 4 years are doubling and tripling down. But the majority of Americans–that’s you guys–are caught somewhere in the middle of a confusing and inflammatory culture war that you have no business being involved in. I’m going to try my best to be completely fair here, but it’s going to be tricky…here goes nothing…
On one side you’ve got those who feel it necessary to be on team “good.” Now, good in this sense does not necessarily mean “right.” In this sense, good means behaving in a matter that the zeitgeist has deemed virtuous, for now. While none of this behavior is quantitative or qualified by anything concrete, it has more to do with emotion and being a champion of the little guy, or girl, or any of the other infinite number of genders that the “good” feel validated by. Good is popular. Good wins you friends. And if you’re not too much of a Wil Wheaton about it, Good can get you laid. Because people like Good. But there’s a problem with Good. Good goes two very drastic directions…very boring and safe…or very very dangerous. We’ll get to that in a second, but first, let me get to team “bad.”
On the other side, of course, you’ve got people who are compelled to treat team “good” with nothing but outward hostility, so we’ll code-name these fellas team “bad.” For the sake of this discussion, team Bad aren’t evil. They aren’t terrorists or racists, but they can be. They’re not criminals or sociopaths, but I won’t put it out of their reach. Because all of those attributes can describe people on Team Good just as easily. Team Bad doesn’t really have a direction or a motive. They hate team Good, but they don’t really know why–or their reasoning is convoluted and weird. Bad can’t get along with Good and Good can’t get along with Bad. They’re different, and no amount of preaching or proselytizing will change the other’s mind. Bad not only cuts you off in traffic and doesn’t hold the elevator, Bad spits in your coffee and preys on the weak. But–and this is important to reiterate–they don’t excuse it. They can’t. They don’t know why they do it. They’re animals. Bad is the lion devouring the gazelle. Harambe was Bad.
I’m sure most of you reading this would identify as Good. You look out for each other, try to do your best, and never act maliciously without a justifiable reason. But you’d be wrong. You’re all Harambe, dragging a kid through the mud by his leg…because at this moment…for reasons you can’t even begin to articulate…that kid you’re dragging is the most important thing in the world to you. And it very well may be. But it’s going to get you shot. Dicks out.
The Good in us allows us to rationalize our feelings, right or wrong. The Bad–the reality–is that we’re operating on pure instinct and our individual choices are a lie. This can be boring and stale. I don’t want to look at someone like stupid Wil Wheaton and automatically know everything about his beliefs and politics. It’s not fun. I don’t want to know that he’s a smug atheist who thinks Trump is “just the worst” and probably says things like “is this ok?” in bed. I don’t want to know these things! But I also don’t want our spontaneity and drive for adventure and danger to lead us into places we can’t return from. Our passionate attitudes for things we believe are well-intentioned are often just based on self-destructive lies. We don’t need to respect each others beliefs, but we do need to respect each others humanity. And that means:
-You don’t need religion to be kind.
-You don’t need to be a feminist to believe women are equals.
-You don’t need to be white and upper class to avoid getting shot by the police.
-You don’t need to stand during the National Anthem to love America.
-You don’t need to be a career politician to be President.
-You don’t have to go with the flow, follow the leader, blend into the crowd, or watch that new Netflix show everyone’s been talking about.
-You don’t need to have played Wesley Crusher on Star Trek: The Next Generation to be wrong about everything.
You have no obligation, and there are no parameters to define you. You’re American. There are no rules.
We’re losing our minds over a handful of key issues that none of us have had the time or energy to truly think through. We’re constantly inundated with new and conflicting information, forcing us to latch onto key memories and instances that made us feel empowered.
Ask someone why they hate Hillary Clinton. Nearly everyone in America has a reason to dislike her, whether they’ve decided they “have to” vote for her or not. But really listen to their reasons. Do they sound rehearsed? Calculated? Untrue? It’s likely because they’re a version of a story they never bothered to read and they’re giving you an abridged version of an anecdote. There are plenty of legit reasons to dislike the Democratic nominee. There are very good, very important reasons one may be swayed to dislike her, her politics, her demeanor, her history, and more. But none of those reasons make her any less qualified to be a political leader. That does not, however, make her the only viable candidate…which a large portion of you seem to want to believe.
We place an undo amount of attention and importance on who we choose as the President of the United States. We think the rest of the world will judge us, that our friends will judge us, that we have to “vote our conscience” because our conscience has always led us in the right direction before. If the election were held today–and let’s face it, it ain’t far off–Donald Trump would stand a very good chance of becoming president. And that scares people. He wouldn’t win because he’s the best option; or because people think he’s the most capable man in the room. He’d win because people like Chopped Champion, author, sniveling bridge troll, and GQ columnist Drew Magary think that slandering his neighbors and making anyone who actually likes the guy out to be objective “losers” is how you sleep cozy at night. And that scares people.
But it shouldn’t. You shouldn’t be afraid of anything. You should stand up to it. Drew Magary is a multi-talented family man with a good heart and a solid grip on reality. So why is he so frustrated and wrong about this one thing? There are plenty of reasons to dislike Donald Trump. But the ones you’re all using are invalid and only hurting people. Just like the supporters of Bernie Sanders, who felt that the only way to get it through to those “racist homophobe” Trump supporters was to riot at their rallies. If Donald Trump wins, it won’t be the ignorant Bible belt rednecks who push him over the edge. Those people are few and far between, and they never win national elections. Donald Trump will win because rational, well-educated, hard-working people who you write-off and call reckless racist “trolls” want to put a stop to you.
America, we’re all Bad, but we all want to be Good. Some of us want to be Good so badly that we do horrible dangerous things. A majority of this country are open and progressive, but you treat the country like it’s an empathetic dead zone. It’s not. Social media has changed the perception of our nation into a land of attention seekers. People who seek attention will say and do anything to gain it. Twitter is not a microcosm of America…or the world. It’s a random sampling of people who think their voices must be heard…and people who want to be famous. We’re liars who believe so strongly in our faux free will that we buy into our own insane rambling bullshit.
As a Nation, we think, act and articulate our feelings like children. We’re treated like children by the media we consume, and by the people around us that we trust. We asked for it. We deserve it. It’s only when we see our politicians (people we pretend to look up to) behave like children that we awaken from our nappies for a brief moment and stomp our feet. We expect everyone who isn’t us to be “better” than us, but we hate when they actually are. You don’t trust you to be President, and that’s why you hate Donald Trump. And you don’t trust a politician to be President, and that’s why you hate Hillary Clinton.
You can throw out your “racist” allegations, because you’re unquestionably more racist than Donald Trump–and I don’t even know you.
And you can throw out your “emotionally unstable” allegations, because you get in a psychotic frenzy whenever the man on the TV screen say something you don’t like.
America, you’re an immature emotionally unstable baby, and neither of the people you would vote for in this election will change that. You have to do that, yourself.
You can’t make your favorite athletes stand for the National Anthem, because they’ve made a decision based on what you’ve been telling them. And your favorite athletes can’t protest enough to make police stop hunting black people in the streets because you made up that police were hunting black people in the streets.
You’re fishing in a pond you stocked yourself, America. And it’s cyclical. We accuse the media of lying to us, then we become the media, and then we lie to each other. Science and facts only matter when it’s convenient, authoritarian leaders are only bad if they disagree with us, and your best friend is only fucking your girlfriend if you know about it.
We need to come together as a country and realize that facts are always facts no matter what our feelings about them may be. Facts are all that matter, and someone’s political opinion is only invalid if the facts don’t support it.
If your friend is voting for Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton, maybe you should just listen to why and not dismiss them as ignorant for making a choice that–in all likelihood–they’re not 100% happy with in the first place.
But friends don’t let friends vote for Jill Stein.
Thank you, America. Peace.