*I feel like there should be a smiley emoji here, but it seems weird in a blog post. So, just imagine it, mmmmkkk?*
This morning I had a dream. I was in a bar and an older gentleman walked in, came over to me, called me by name and gave me a huge bear hug. It was former President of the United States, George W. Bush. He asked me about my family, how they were all doing, and I talked to him about the Invictus Games. It was a delightful exchange between friends.
And on the flip side, I can hear folks on the other side either nodding their head in agreement, or becoming increasingly frustrated with me. How could I, obviously a conservative Republican (because, seriously, who else would DREAM of Bush) be so brainwashed into my liberal views on so many subjects?
The word “liberal” has been thrown at me a lot. I used to consider it an insult… but now, after being called it so much, despite my very conservative fiscal views, or views on the 2nd Amendment (for example)… I realize that is just a WORD. One that gets thrown around a lot, many times when folks are simply frustrated by the conversation and have had enough.
The fact is that I am still a registered Republican, although that is changing soon. It’s on my to-do list… going down and changing to Independent or No Party Affiliation. This election cycle has frustrated me so deeply, I am so angry with both parties right now, that I can no longer be affiliated with either one. I am absolutely stumped at what to do on election day, and although I know the intellectual reasons I do not support either Clinton, Trump or Sanders… something about how I, Erin Whitehead, am processing this entire political circus… has really been eating at me. Why can’t I look at the options and make a decision on who, out of the remaining candidates, would be the best choice to lead this country that I love.
Until I had that dream. I realized what it is about this election that has me scratching my head and really just sick to my stomach most of the time. I don’t LIKE any of them. And I am not just talking about the three remaining candidates. The only person I actually kind of liked was Marco Rubio…and that ship sailed a while ago.
It seems silly, right? That I would base my vote on who I LIKE? Seems almost irresponsible and very un-adult like. Well, not really.
You see, character; how a person treats others, their loyalty, their sense of honesty… is very important to be. Now, these things are very, very subjective. I get it. I really adore George W. Bush because I saw him as a man of character who treated others with respect and kindness. I found him to be incredibly loyal to our military men and women, and when he spoke I believed him.
I can tell some of you are screaming at me through the screen. Hang on with me for a second, please.
I realize that other people had the exact OPPOSITE reaction to President Bush. And I am completely okay with that. I get that many people feel this way about President Barrack Obama. I will tell you that I did not vote for him either time. I have disagreed with many, many of his policies and actions during his time as President. But I understand why people love him, trust him even. I didn’t understand this before he was elected the first time, and probably not after the second time. But I can say that my feelings for him, as a man, have changed a lot over the past few years. The job of POTUS has got to be the most stressful job on the planet, I honestly believe that. And over the past few years I have noticed a weariness in President Obama’s eyes. I do think he cares for our country deeply… we just very much disagree on the best way to move it forward, on many points.
When I voted for McCain, I genuinely LIKED him. (Not so much anymore, but that is a different blog post entirely) When I voted for Romney I genuinely LIKED him, and I still do. I think he would make a great President.
But Hillary Clinton, I don’t LIKE her. I don’t trust her. Not just because of emails, or because of Benghazi (again, another conversation for another time) but because her words, her actions, her persona rub me the wrong way. I don’t find her to be honest, loyal, respectful of others… and that really bothers me. Donald Trump? I have not been shy about my feelings towards him. I think he makes a great reality star… and that, in itself, is my biggest indicator that he is not fit for the office. I don’t want to go off on a tirade here, so I will just leave it at that. Bernie Sanders is a bit of an exception here. I do actually find him to be honest and he seems to treat others well… I just so vehemently disagree with his basic political philosophy that I can’t even consider him.
What about those policies I speak of? Why can’t I look past how I “feel” about a candidate and look at their record? Well… here is the thing. First of all… it is becoming increasingly difficult to actually discern any politicians real “record” anymore. Let’s just leave out the fact that our media is run amuck and you can’t trust many news outlets to actually report unbiased information… so much of our political system is fraught with secondary agendas and back room deals… a vote is not an indicator of where someone stands on an issue. Then we take Trump, who has none of that stuff to look at, so we look at his business dealings, I guess? Again… that stuff is not black and white either. Big business is very much like politics… so what is the real record? Is that really an indicator of what they will do as President?
So, what if we focus on their words. What they “say” they will do while on the campaign trail. We all know that campaigning is just about THE most political thing any politician will ever be involved in. Even if every single word they say on the campaign trail comes from a place of honesty and integrity, even if they fully intend to do every single thing they promise… things change when the reality of the office hits. It’s been the case for every single President that I can recall in my lifetime, and I would venture to guess, many before that. You can desire to end a war, or cut taxes, or build a wall… but when you are actually sitting in the Oval Office and are faced with the realities of dealing with Congress and all of the other political systems in play, things just change. And I don’t think anyone, unless they have sat in that position, can really fully comprehend that.
So that is why how I “feel” about a candidate is the biggest factor for me. Why character, honesty, respect, loyalty… all of those things, matter when I am considering my vote. I want to know that, even if I don’t agree with 100% of your political intentions, that you will be kind, compassionate, tough when it’s warranted, honest, loyal… that your character will not be changed by the office.
I am completely at a loss this election season. In a perfect world would I love a candidate that totally aligns with everything I believe? Sure. But since I am not willing to run for any office… that is not going to happen in my lifetime. Because no two people are the same, we all have different opinions and beliefs. And that is the beauty of this world and the United States of America. But I would like to vote for someone who I trust, even if I don’t agree with everything they stand for. And right now, I don’t trust Clinton or Trump at all.
Perhaps that means that if Sanders ends up with the nomination, I would consider voting for him, although it might require me to be a tad bit (maybe more than a tad) drunk at the voting booth. I don’t know. I’m truly at a loss. I would prefer NOT to need to drink half a box of wine in order to exercise my right to vote. Sigh.
Please note: I welcome comments and discussion about this post. I even welcome criticism of my beliefs and words. But I know, I BELIEVE, that we have the ability to do so in a kind manner. That we can have a discussion without attacking, belittling, or offending one another. Please keep that in mind.
Many Kind Regards,