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Watching from Afar

I have been distracted throughout the day watching the American election results roll in. I tried to explain what was happening and why to my children earlier this evening, and found myself playing devils advocate – trying to explain in terms they might understand why anybody in their right mind would vote for either Trump or the Republican party.

It’s a difficult argument to balance out on this side of the planet, because we have socialism, and have had it for generations. We didn’t go through a cold war where several generations were indoctrinated through everything they read and saw that communism and socialism were somehow terrible, and that capitalism was the solution to everything.

The thing I find interesting is that while our world view might seem very different than a typical mid-western American, the same concerns cause people here to vote for right wing governments. When your primary concerns are keeping your job, keeping a roof over your head, and putting food on the table, wider concerns such as foreign policy, prejudice against minorities, and even the risk of a global pandemic can become less important.

Many people (around the world – not just the US) have never left the area they live, let alone visited other countries or continents. It’s easy to see the “rest of the world” as just that – “them”. It’s easy to disassociate, to ignore lies, and to keep your head down if the chaos surrounding you doesn’t directly impact you.

The growing reach of the internet and social media has brought challenges too. The loudest voices on social media – and much of their audience – tend to forget that they are in a minority when compared to the wider world. What seems like a ground-swell of opionion on the internet often translates to no more than a ripple when viewed from a distance.

Anyway. I think that’s enough thinking for tonight.

It’s too easy to sound aloof and judgemental when you’re watching drama unfold that doesn’t involve you. At the end of the day, everybody casting votes in elections the world over makes the best decision they can for themselves and their family. Each person’s reason is different, and not necessarily “right” or “wrong”.

By Jonathan

Developer, Writer, Runner

13 replies on “Watching from Afar”

Perhaps it might help your children to understand the US is a very large country: 30 European countries would fit inside the US. (My state, Oregon, is larger than the entire UK.)

Think about the difficulties faced finding political agreement within in the EU, or just the UK for that matter.

Here is a map overlay as a helpful visualization:
https://matadornetwork.com/read/map-shows-many-european-countries-can-fit-continental-us/

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Absolutely – I talked to them about that this evening – that the US can be thought of (in terms they understand) as many countries – each with their own rules, and their own counting processes.

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In all fairness, the voices on social media are a large portion of the population. To say they’re a minority based on polling results ignores years of voter suppression by the Republican party and disenfranchisement from the Democrat party. That’s the umbrella that most Progressives (including myself) put themselves under since our country is still solidly a two party system and we have to go somewhere. The Democratic party itself is still fairly centrist and status quo and does not court Progressive voters and instead keeps running centrists like Biden. So a lot of people, particularly young voters who tend to be idealistic and also a lot of times part of the groups that also face voter suppression, feel ignored by the Democratic party and it doesn’t rally them to vote. It’s mostly the voter suppression though. And of course there’s the whole issue of the electoral college. Biden currently has 71 million votes which is 3 million more than Florida Man. He’s winning the popular vote same as Clinton did in 2016.

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I’m not saying that the whole of the social media populance is in a minority compared to wider world – just that the most vocal, and their followers tend to end up in small bubbles – and social networks are designed to prune away discordant views – which only makes the effect worse.

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So, if you find an easy, coherent explanation for why voters would vote against their self-interest, for Trump, please do share it. The best that I can do is wonder if people are happy to be relieved of their duty of critical thinking, and jump on the bandwagon of bigotry–because it’s known, and familiar. It makes me crazy.

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Children in cages! Children, ripped from their parents arms–and then lost in the system. All so he could send a message to immigrants not to come to our borders. All done, in complete disregard of international law regarding asylum seekers. I have no sympathy for him, or for anyone who has enabled him in this regard–even if that just means they went to a rally and chanted “Build that Wall.”

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The divide exists because people who vote democrat can’t understand the republican’s point of view and vice verse. There are pros and cons to both sides but most people won’t take the time to consider both sides. Most people choose the familiar choice because it’s comfortable.

Seeing how the liberals have practically destroyed Canada (liberals are the equivalent of democrat), I can totally see why people would choose to vote for the republicans (in Canada, we call them the conservatives). As to why people still vote for the liberals and kept Trudeau in power for this long is beyond me.

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This is what I was trying to explain to my children – that everybody has their own reason for voting how they have – and that it’s not really about picking sides (although you might think as much, from the behaviour of some people) 🙂

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I know some hard-core Republican voters who dislike Trump as their representative but still want their party to govern, and who dislike the Dems even more, discribing them as conniving and corrupt. They didn’t know how to vote. Many dismissed their concerns bec of how Trump acts, is. How they voted in the end is a mystery.

Watching from Canada is exhausting….🇨🇦🙂

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Ugh, don’t even get me started. I will never understand why so many people in this country voted for that disgusting, racist, orange pig.

I do know that the ones who run in fear screaming about socialism have no idea what they’re talking about and need to PICK UP A BOOK AND READ and learn the difference between true socialism and offering social PROGRAMS. And then if they’re still anti-government social programs, they can send me their Social Security checks every month.

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