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”.