Friday, March 11, 2016

A Few Political Musings

This election cycle in the USA is crazy. I follow politics, I have opinions, but I am at a loss of what to write, what to think. I thought Donald Trump was a joke, I thought the polls were simply because of name recognition, and I have been absolutely floored by the amount of support and actual votes going for a man who is utterly ridiculous and whose opinions are racist, sexist, xenophobic, anti-Christian, etc. I do not believe he will be either the Republican nominee or the eventual next president of America, but I still am dismayed.

  1. In college I was in many conversations about racism in America. The general consensus among the white educated Americans in my circles was that racism should be fought and still existed, but in extreme cases or in systemic ways. I believe that people like myself have been slapped in the face by blatant racism and xenophobia by a surprising percentage of the American populace this year, and our African American fellow citizens have simply nodded and said, yes, this is what we have always known, you really didn't see it until now?
  2. I know there's a lot of discussion of evangelicals voting for Trump, but what it has exposed for me is a real split in what is publicly known as evangelicalism. I am steeped in the American evangelical world and I have yet to be exposed to someone that in any way supports Trump. My world – which includes pieces of life in Colorado, Kansas, Texas, Iowa, and Chicago.... is entirely mystified. If my research is correct, what we're talking about is the self-identifying “evangelical” of the South (which I have little connection to or understanding of), who is generally not actually church going and has no college education. Sounds to me like this is the perfect description of the American “cultural Christian”, and this has only strengthened my feeling that this version of American cultural Christianity bears little to no connection to the Jesus that I know and the Church that follows Him. It also emphasizes for me the great need for actual practicing Christians to see their "Christian culture" as in need of being reached and discipled.
  3. I read that 60% of Trump supporters believe Obama is a Muslim, and I flash back to idiotic email forwards I received during Obama's first campaign and I think, “oooooh... so that is who these people are.” There are just more of them than I expected. I have thought back to my days in public school in America and think, ah yes, that makes sense so many of those kids who were doing drugs and making out in the halls in middle school are now adults and these are the kind of choices they are making. It makes me more concerned about the future of America and the state of education in America.
  4. I have always struggled to have any sense of loyalty, patriotism, or personal connection with me being an American, as a part of my own identity. This does not help. However, I will say that because I have for years now followed the news, participated in the discussion of the public square... I care. I feel even more alienated in some ways from this American identity, but I care about the future of this country, for the sake of Americans and the world.
  5. I wondered 8 years ago if I was engaging in a rebel swing to voting for a Democratic candidate, if I would one day look back with shame on my “liberal” choice. Honestly, I still have no idea. When I look at the Republican circus, I have actively spoken in support of the candidates that I see as more moderate and less utterly ridiculous. But then, when I think of the full platform of even the rational Republican candidates, I completely disagree with them on several major issues. I really have trouble with the Republican party platform as a whole.
  6. However, when I look with frustration at the platform of the party I feel like I am supposed to support, I turn and look at the Democrats and I am equally frustrated. I find some of their most passionate points to be morally reprehensible. Does this just make me a moderate, a swing voter? I don't know. I am still completely undecided, following closely, and rather sobered by the whole thing.
  7. Very much an echo to the Foreign Affairs article "The Obama Way" that I praised last month, this week The Atlantic published an extensive feature called "The Obama Doctrine" (this time no subscription required), an in-depth and insider look at Obama's foreign policy. Considering my two votes for Obama were cast largely because of his foreign policy vision and the way he thinks about the world and America's role in it, I obviously am biased. I will say, though, that after 8 years I am very supportive of most of the foreign policy decisions Obama has made, even those that the establishment or the general public disagrees with. At points in the article I cheer aloud. I also love the shout-outs to Indonesia. So tell me, friends, which of the current Presidential candidates will carry us further down the road that Obama has turned us onto in our foreign policies? 


Kari said...

I think Hillary is more hawkish than Obama but I also think that they worked together on foreign policy for quite a while and so probably she is the closest to him.

I hope you keep us posted on your thoughts - I enjoy reading them.

Kacie said...

She is absolutely more hawkish. Reading the articles that give insight into the round table meetings on foreign policy pretty clearly exposes that. Enough that she kind of freaks me out, and yet she's closest? *sigh*