So as the nation's favorite reality tv show - The 2016 Presidential Election - progresses, I keep finding myself asking "How did we get here?" How is it that our two "choices" of candidates are two people that I wouldn't feel comfortable leaving my theoretical children with. I swear, if any of us had the opportunity to interview these candidates to be a co-worker at our respective companies, we'd say: "HELL NO, he/she is evil and terrifying!" Yet somehow, these two characters are the options for us to "vote" to represent our country. I say "vote" for because our "vote" is a complete farce and if you don't believe me, this cheesy yet informative video explains why: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=90RajY2nrgk.
I know that this idea of our vote is meaningless is upsetting and Un-American but I can't help but need to share it. Our continual choice to participate in a system that is expertly designed (NOT "BROKEN!") to eliminate the individuals' voice in the democracy is frightening. We continue under this veil of choosing the lesser of two evils and I fear that this is fear driven logic that will only perpetuate the problem. We want change, yet we aren't individually willing to make sacrifices in our own lives for it because we don't reeeealllly care. Maybe that's a generalization. Actually, not maybe... that is a generalization. It is one made based off of my life. I spend my waking time split between working on music, tutoring, art, food, working out, and leisure. My and, I'll generalize, our day to day lives are more important and demanding to allow us to really spend time on the country. I think this is an outcropping of the shocking level of privilege and patriotic hubris our country champions.
I had an amazing opportunity to live in Vienna, Austria for 9 months and I would discuss politics with my Austrian roommate. He was far more knowledgable than I about the workings of the Austrian government AND, sadly enough, the American government. I thought maybe he was an anomaly, a political buff per se, but he said that almost all Austrians knew as much as him, if not more.
Anyway, at some point I indicated that he MUST think Austria is the best country and must be teeming with Austrian pride. It's YOUR TEAM bro! Quite contrary to my belief system, he said that he didn't think Austria was the greatest country at all and that he was very dissatisfied with so many of the flaws in it that he couldn't conclude that they were the best. He then challenged me: "why it was so important for you to believe that America is the best country?" I was shocked. My whole life I had been so pumped with the obvious fact America IS the greatest country in the world that I had never thought to ask why it mattered. I recognize that we have more freedom, power, and military safety collectively than any other country. Yet instead of being taught to be incredibly grateful for these gifts, I've been taught to wear it as a badge of pride:
I've thought about this through the years and I can only conclude that this obsession with American Pride must root in political propaganda and be a ploy to control the constituency. What better way to be able to do whatever the FUCK you want than to convince your populace that they are the best: America, we are the modern Chosen People. Give your populace enough luxury: a vote, upward financial possibility, infrastructure, and a dream rooted in monetary success, to appease them. Then pump them with the idea that they are great just for being a born here:
We won't ask questions... We all want to believe we're special after all. Sure, some will ask questions but only if they're ostracized within the community we'll be too comfortable sacrifice the time to be a drop in a bucket for change.
So yah, I'm sitting here preaching to not participate in the vote! Or at very least not to vote for either of the two principal candidates...
I know. It is so offensive...
I'm on my high horse telling you NOT TO participate in the 1 day out of every 4 years where you exercise your 'MURICAN FREEDOM for the sake of the country by "choosing" between two previously selected candidates put forth from two massively corrupt parties funded by morally dicey corporations.
I'm telling you not to participate because I believe that every time we do, we are buying into this attractive falsehood that we have some say in who runs our country. We don't. Not on a national scale. So lets quit lying to ourselves! It is perpetuating a delusion that is going to destroy us. If we want to participate in our democracy, we HAVE to participate small. We have to run for local boards and councils. We have to sacrifice and put our time into our communities and trust that other Americans will also.
That's tough^ and I'll be honest, I'm not willing to sacrifice my time to do that. But at least now I'm accepting the fact that I'm living quite selfishly in regard to the political climate of our country. Calling myself selfish sucks; I don't want to be selfish. I don't think any of us want to be selfish, yet I think most of us are... I certainly am. When I sit here and call a spade a spade on myself, it makes me want to participate in my local community more. It makes me want to be the change that I want instead of just blog or post on facebook about it. It also makes me disgusted at the patronizing Gold Star "I VOTED" sticker our government gives us to make us think we're doing something. Those stickers are kinda like when you tell your 10 year old cousin that you'll time him to run downstairs and get you a soda. WOW you got it in under 45 seconds! YOU DID IT Johnny! He feels great about himself and is none the wiser to the fact that you manipulated the shit out of him.
What can we do?
In reality, I think the only way real change is going to happen is if young companies start incentivizing their employees to participate in local government. Google does a 4.5 day work week and gives the remaining 0.5 day to their employees to work on something they're passionate about. You know what came out of that project? GMAIL... the single most successful email product in the world.
I can't even begin to imagine what change we could make if our corporations paid us even a half day a week to work on the development of our communities: bonuses to run for alderman, sit on a board, or participate in local votes. This IS possible. And we - the young - have the power to demand this. Companies need us the same way that we need them to make a living. Why not demand this public service from our private organizations.
But what do I know? These are just...
-The things I think I think