I think I’m voting for Bernie Sanders. This is a bit odd for me because I consider myself to be on the Republican/Libertarian side of things. Sanders is hugely anti-Wall Street (which really means anti-finance) and my husband works in the finance industry. His suggested policies and tax ideas are no bueno for my family.
Seriously, find me a viable alternative and I’ll swing, but he seems honest and even the policies I don’t agree with make some kind of sense.
All that aside, I want to talk about America. Every election year there is a lot of America-bashing that goes around and in many ways, this is a good thing. We accurately identify problems in our country. We weed out things that need fixing and then talk about them until they get fixed, more or less. In the process, we get compared to many other countries that seem to do some things right. European countries with low crime rates. Better health care systems. Lower unemployment and incarceration rates.
We can and always should learn something from our neighbors. But guys, we are doing something here in The Land of the Free that no one has tried to do before. Those European countries we keep getting compared to are almost entirely homogenous– in race, wealth, and political opinion– and when they’re not, such as in the case of France, serious problems with racism emerge. We become shocked and conclude that we’re backwards when we find symptoms of racism within our own society, but we’re the melting pot. We’re bound to stir up more problems and should continue to deal with them; it does not mean we are failing.
Point being, these statistics are misleading. Every country comes with its own history and its own set of problems. In the debate tonight Sanders mentioned that the US has more people imprisoned than China, a communist country. Sure, but Tianemen Square only has to happen once for you to scare the living shit out of your population. They have achieved subjugation by crushing the lifeblood out of their people. Maybe prisons are thin on the ground, but personally, I’m very glad I don’t live there. We can and should learn from our neighbors, but from China the take away lesson is How Not to Run a Country. I’ll take free speech any day.
You think I’m exaggerating, that the rest of the world isn’t that bad. Maybe so. I’m not trying to convince anyone that America is the best. I’m simply grateful to be here, and I think we’re onto something.
The only other system I have any kind of experience with is India. In India the system is so corrupt that you can’t get out of a parking ticket or, get this, through a popular temple without bribing five different people. And it goes up the whole ladder. Every politician has a price. It’s not even subtle. People really do not give two shits about the average Indian that lives and dies on the roadside.
Guys, we care. We screw it up and we sensationalize it and use it, but we’re trying to care. I think that’s worth something.
P.S. And okay, it may not be heartening that we are seriously considering a man like Trump as a presidential candidate, but it is a really good thing that we allow him to live in this country without lynching him. I’m serious about this. Fifty years ago it was women and black people that had the unpopular opinions. He is afforded the same rights even when his positions reflect poorly on our country and have negative ramifications. This is kind of sucky at times, but so important because we finally realize we do not determine someone’s rights or their worth based on how much we like them.
See? We’re trying even when it’s really hard for us.