Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Let’s Get Political

In an election year that is shaping up to be the biggest circus the electoral process has ever seen in the United States, I feel it is important to vote, and I will as I have for the past several elections. At the very least, that’s my carte blanche to complain, and at the most it’s my contribution to the democratic process, even if I'm in Puerto Rico (as a US territory, Puerto Ricans can vote in primaries although not in presidential elections, something I still don't quite understand).

Now I don’t expect everyone to agree with me on any of my stances, but I do expect my opinions to be respected as I would the opinion of anyone who is kind enough to read me. A lot of people want to keep their political views private, and I get it. I’m actually not one to mull over politics because I’ve noticed that a lot of people get very touchy when you don’t agree with them on everything. So to anyone who disagrees with my points of view, my apologies.

Off the bat, let me say that for demographic purposes, I’m 35, Hispanic, married, and mostly liberal. Some people may call me naïve, some people may think I have an idea of what I’m talking about, but the reality is that I’m just a human doing his best to be a good human, with whatever knowledge I may have. I pay my taxes, I try to recycle as much as I can, and I am sure people from all denominations are also doing their best and like anything, I welcome a healthy debate.

As I write this there are basically 4 remaining candidates in the electoral process for the presidency of the United States: Donald Trump, Ted Cruz, Hillary Clinton, and Bernie Sanders. (Not really counting John Kasich although he is a better candidate than both Trump and Cruz, from what little I've read. Let's face it, the other two make so much noise it's hard to break through the clutter).

First up, why I’m not voting for Donald Trump. I’ll admit it will take a lot of effort to not be snarky, but I want to make a point and don’t wish for a joke to get in the way of said point. Simply put, Donald Trump represents way too many things I can’t agree with: misogyny, elitism, racism, and what worries me is how much he incites violence and how eager people are to please. Bully tactics, smearing, and a severe lack of political intellect or a general sense of respect should make him the least likely choice to run for anything, yet he’s high up in the polls, as in VERY high. As a Puerto Rican, I’m worried. I’m genuinely worried and won’t deny I am fearful of even visiting pro Trump states. The slogan of Make America Great Again might as well be understood as Make America White again because that is the tone and manner in which he carries himself and his campaign. His ideas of foreign policy make Bush sound like a genius and his “make a wall” sound byte won’t happen for however much he barks. This has been a campaign run on violence, smoke, mirrors, and very little substance. “We’re going to get it done,” I often hear him say… but I rarely if ever hear HOW it will get done.

Secondly, why I’m not voting for Ted Cruz. When you have a video montage of how you cook bacon by wrapping it around a machine gun and release it the same week or week after a mass shooting, I have a problem with that. To say Climate Change is not science but religion is also a dangerous proposition because his campaign is running strongly on religious faith. I for one am for the complete and utter separation of Church and State, ESPECIALLY in the US, but that’s another matter altogether. I think it’s bad politics and can spark violence instead of harmony. He is the other Republican candidate that has made headway even if he’s way behind from Trump. Still, a Cruz presidency guarantees that nothing will be done to address the serious issue of gun violence in the US while more decisions will be made to appease lobbyists and large companies that focus on dollar signs instead of climate talks.

Thirdly, I’ll openly say that in the Democratic Primary between Clinton and Obama, I voted Clinton. I thought the US was due a woman president and I still stand by that vote, although I do think Obama has done as best as he can, even if I don’t agree with some of the decisions made, i.e. Iran invasion, Israel-Palestine situation, etc. Still, there has been a lot of progress and I think with all the challenges this administration faced coming in, they’ve done a good job, an opinion a lot of people don’t agree with me on. Although let’s be honest, we have NO idea what goes on in politics or international politics to be honest (meaning behind the scenes). But back to Clinton. Her experience and stances on minorities, equality, and other topics at that time were to my liking. But this election has cast an odd shadow over this potential Clinton administration. Simply put, it feels as if she’s playing with loaded dice and this does not feel like a fair race between her and the other democratic candidate. CNN and the media in general have played a rather odd hand. I think she has the qualifications to win on her own. I really do, but it does feel as if everyone wants to declare her victor and it feels odd and a little off.

Then there’s Bernie Sanders. A candidate who talks about the middle class, something I don’t think anyone has done and being middle class, that’s a welcome change. I hear informed answers, I hear and see a plan, I see the potential for change and I would like for change to happen. He flies coach, his donations come from ordinary people (like me), he has desisted from attacking candidates as much as he can, and he stays on topic. Oh, there’s also the small detail that his stance now is consistent with what it was 5, 10, 15, 20, 25, and even 30 years ago. That definitely sets him apart from most candidates and is one of several reasons why I will vote Sanders in Puerto Rico.

Do I think Clinton is capable of running the country? Yes. Highly so. But my gut tells me to go with the other guy, for several reasons but I’ll sum it up this way: the difference between Hillary & Bernie is that Clinton looks in a mirror to know she wants to become president. Meanwhile, the same sentiment comes to Sanders but when he looks at people. Or at least that’s how it feels for me. Does that sound idealistic? Sure. But it is still my opinion, and you can have yours as well. Here’s to voting and regardless of the outcome to everyone doing their part to help the greater good.

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