Despite This Dismal Election, There Is Yet Hope

There is no question that we are at a significant turning point in the history of the United States. In many ways, the people are divided to a degree that has not been seen since the Civil War. Some are enthusiastically voting for Clinton or Trump, unable or unwilling to see the glaring unfitness of either candidate for the highest office in the country. Others are completely disgusted with both these options and are voting for a third party in an attempt to enact some positive change, or they are simply staying home.

Yet, if you delve into what lies at the bottom of all the heated political arguments happening across social media, some of which have torn apart families and years-long friendships, it becomes obvious that we have more in common than perhaps we realize, no matter where we stand on the political spectrum.

One thing is certain. Neither of the major parties could care less about the majority of Americans. If they did care, we would have a real living wage, universal health care, free higher education, a healthy ecosystem, a robust infrastructure, and we would not be at war with 7 different countries.

What most Americans can agree on is that there is something terribly wrong with our country. We have suspected it for years — but with the proof now finally revealed by Wikileaks, exposing the dark underbelly of how our political system really works, full of corruption and corporate cronyism, coupled with video evidence of militarized police brutality against indigenous people and people of color, we can no longer deny the huge problems staring us right in the face. Our government and society are desperately in need of serious changes.

One thing is certain. Neither of the major parties could care less about the majority of Americans. If they did care, we would have a real living wage, universal health care, free higher education, a healthy ecosystem, a robust infrastructure, and we would not be at war with 7 different countries. The wealth gap between the richest and poorest of us would not be of Grand Canyon-sized proportions.

And vile as Trump is, the people voting for him are not all ignorant, racist, misogynist xenophobes. I’ve heard from a number of Trump voters who are simply sick of politics as usual — in which wealthy elitist politicians who give lip service to working for the struggling middle class, the poor and the disadvantaged are only in office to line the pockets of their wealthy donors, the corporations and banks, who are really running the country.

On November 9, none of this will have changed. The problems that created these two abhorrent candidates will not have gone away. Whether Clinton or Trump is elected, it will still be essentially the same Congress, made up of both major parties, controlled by a corporate oligarchy, who will once again be running the show.

If Clinton wins, we can be assured of all-out war with not only countries in the Middle East, but with Russia as well. The current administration is already rattling their sabers, spoiling for a fight so we can fuel the military industrial complex that Eisenhower warned us about over 50 years ago. Our increased military aggression will only serve to make us more disliked across the globe, increasing acts of terrorism.

If Trump wins, we can be certain that minorities, women, and the LGBT community are going to face increased acts of violence and discrimination because the segment of the population that truly does share Trump’s repulsive views will think their disgusting beliefs are now ok to express openly — a scenario horrible to imagine. However, it would at least drag the prejudices of our nation out from the shadows into the light where we can deal with it so future generations do not grow up with these poisoned views in their veins.

The most hopeful thing we can do at the moment is to cast a vote for Jill Stein, the only intelligent candidate with real ethics. If the Green Party receives at least 5% of the popular vote (assuming the votes are actually counted), it will receive federal funding and will be automatically included on the ballot during the next election. Even if you do not agree with every item of the Green Party platform’s Green New Deal, nobody can deny that it is a platform for the people and the planet, not a platform for the 1%.

After this election, as never before, we will need to put aside our differences and come together in order to enact serious change in the way our country is run. It’s important for us to start truly listening to one another so we can find where we share common ground. Too many online arguments have consisted of nothing but people insulting one another, rather than discussing the political issues that are making them so passionate. It’s important to remember that we all want basically the same things — even the men and women in law enforcement. We all have families and children we love. Everyone wants to live a happy and peaceful life. Underneath all the riot gear, even the militarized police are human. They just need to be reminded of that.

On November 9, none of this will have changed. The problems that created these two abhorrent candidates will not have gone away. Whether Clinton or Trump is elected, it will still be essentially the same Congress, made up of both major parties, controlled by a corporate oligarchy, who will once again be running the show.

We will then need to start getting out in the streets and disrupting business as usual, which is the only thing that will get the attention of our corporate-owned government. We will need to demand complete election reform so voting will actually have some meaning, to keep fighting the oil and gas pipelines that benefit only the projects’ wealthy investors, and to battle prejudice wherever it shows up, whether in our neighbors or in law enforcement.

And perhaps most important of all, we need to demand our country stops all military actions in foreign countries. No significant improvements can be made in America until we dismantle the military industrial complex. The men and women in our armed forces are slowly waking up to how they are being used by our government, not to defend the people and the Constitution, but to secure the profits of the banks and fossil fuel companies.

Above all, no matter the outcome of the election, it is important that our actions remain peaceful. The brave water protectors at Standing Rock are a perfect example of how real change will eventually be made. History has shown that no government can stand up to prolonged, peaceful acts of resistance. And we are on the right side of history. No matter the power of the government, if we are united, there is nothing the people can’t accomplish.

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