I don’t spend a lot of time talking about politics here or in other social media forums. This is not because I don’t follow politics (I do, and quite closely), but because I have an extreme aversion to debating politics. Some people who’ve debated them with me, in particular members of my family, would probably scoff at that admission, but it’s true. Politics divide just as often as they unite, and I prefer to focus my attention on the things in life that have a better track record. I’ll argue politics if I have to, but I don’t like it.
Right now, I feel like I have to.
The Brexit results have got everyone shaken up, myself included. I’ve been reading assorted news reports and opinion blogs all day, and I’ve seen an enormous range of responses. Andy Borowitz penned a lighthearted mock report about how, in the wake of the Brexit vote, Britons are mourning the loss of their ability to claim an intellectual superiority over Americans (a superiority they hope to regain in November). Writers like Charlie Stross, Kieron Gillen, and Foz Meadows were far more somber in their assessment of Brexit’s ramifications. Laurie Penny spoke passionately of the dangerously frustrated and fractured country the vote has exposed; Nicholas Barrett eloquently summed up the damage it has done to the future lives of countless young people in the UK. Paul Krugman offered a thread of hope, predicting that the economic impact was likely to be less severe than predicted (although, since many are predicting doomsday, I’m not sure how much of a comfort that is). John Scalzi and Chuck Wendig took the opportunity to warn their fellow Americans that we, too, could suffer the same fate if we don’t get our shit together and thoroughly spank Donald Trump and the GOP in the upcoming election.
I’m going to do the same.
We cannot have a Trump presidency, not if we want to avoid a disaster of potentially catastrophic proportions. He is a bigot who espouses fascist rhetoric while revealing a startling lack of political knowledge and demonstrating what appears to be a clear penchant for fraud. I’ve been saying this for a while now when I find myself dragged into the political debates that I abhor, and I’ve been laughed off, and patronizingly reassured, and told that a Trump presidency is the quickest way to a bloodless revolution—something that sounds an awful lot like Nigel Farage’s despicable, and false, claim that Britain’s Leave campaign gained victory without a single shot fired. Trump is a serious problem for America; the fear and hate that he taps into, and that has catapulted him to the GOP nomination, is a serious problem for America. We have got to start taking it seriously and actively campaigning to ensure that he does not take the presidency in November.
Right now we are standing on the precipice of a very high cliff, and it’s a long way down.
We have to be smarter than we’ve ever been before.
We have to elect Hillary Clinton. She’s much more like Bernie Sanders than you might think, and—more than that—she’s a remarkably astute politician. While the latter point may put some people off, I really cannot understand why. I have never understood why we Americans shy away from the idea of electing a shrewd politician to do a politician’s job. Or why we reject, so stringently, the notion that it is a good idea to have someone qualified do this-or-that high profile job. Whatever the reason, we have to put that mentality to rest. We have to stop pretending that education and experience are commodities to be looked down upon. Hillary Clinton is one of the most qualified presidential candidates the contest has ever seen, and (even if you don’t believe that) there’s no getting away from the fact that she’s better than the alternative that’s currently staring down the barrel of a gun at us.
The 2016 US presidential election is going to be one of the major turning points in modern history. We can embrace hope, tolerance, and opportunity for all, or we can turn to fear, hate, and an isolation that will kill everything we’ve ever stood for as a nation.
Do not be complacent this November.
Do not believe that a Trump presidency is so absurd that a protest vote won’t hurt. Or that a Trump presidency can do no real damage to our democracy. Look at the UK—look at what is happening in the wake of their decision to vote for fear, hate, and isolation—and learn from them.
It’s more important than ever now.