The Upside Down

Well, I think we can all agree, no matter the outcome, it was never going to be pretty.

Like most of the country, I was resigned to the fact that Hillary Clinton would be made president. I didn’t like it, but I didn’t like the alternative either. What I wasn’t prepared for was the overwhelming anxiety and sense of claustrophobia that sunk in as it became clearer and clearer that Trump had achieved victory.

Every election, I feel like I’m in a unique position. You see, I was born into a conservative household -complete with my dad standing arms-folded and screaming in front of Fox News – but that household was located just outside of liberal San Francisco. So while my dad would bemoan the Clinton presidency, teachers would scream at us to get out there and vote democratic.

Like the majority of kids, my political opinions were those of my parents. And I think, largely, that that never really changes. I don’t know anybody that grew up one way and is now something else. But I reveled in being the only republican – out to gleefully piss off the liberal kids before I even understood what those labels meant (and in a big way, I still don’t). But I liked being the outsider, and once I discovered punk rock, it was as if the musicians were sneaking conservative messages into their otherwise liberal agendas. American Idiot? To me, that was John Kerry.

But then I grew up. Politics didn’t interest me, and once I moved away from home and the influence of my folks I realized that I didn’t know shit. And I didn’t really care to bother to learn  now that I thought about it. I couldn’t be bothered to get into politics for the same reason I couldn’t be bothered to get into X-Men comics – too much convoluted continuity. This person voted for that this year but that year they voted this way – who cares? As a student of punk rock and George Carlin, I know better than to trust any politician – left or right. If you’re running for president, chances are you did some pretty shady shit to get where you are. Just sayin’.

So for the past several years I’ve laid low when it comes to politics. I’ve resigned to the fact that I don’t know enough about any of it, other than that the politicians in question give me the creeps. And this has freed me in so many ways. I don’t get bent out of shape when talking to either side. I listen carefully and try to have thoughtful conversations with both conservatives and liberals because I genuinely believe I’ll learn something. And here’s the thing, I always do. When I talk to a liberal – they make a lot of sense. When I talk to a conservative… they also make a lot of sense.

And that’s what bums me out about this election. Neither side seems willing to listen and attempt understanding. Again, I don’t have a side – I feel like my politically bi-polar upbringing has definitely prevented that – but I will say that I find irony in this win. All throughout the election, everywhere I turned I would hear about how terrible Trump is, the terrible things he’s said, how he’s doing this or how he’s doing that. And then the same media outlets would say how Trump is controlling the press, or how the press is failing at their job. I would agree that the press did fail, but they failed at being impartial.

From a neutral perspective, Trump did not have it easy when it came to the media. Not that he should have. But to say that the media is biased in favor of Trump is laughable. Sure, you can cite Fox News, but that’s all you can cite. The dour expressions and obvious frustration on the faces of Charlie Rose and the rest at CBS last night said it all and made their biases clear.

And I want to be clear here – I dig the overall liberal lifestyle. I love diversity, I love the idea of city living, I love the LGBT community, I love minorities, I love education, I love women and think they have every right to choose. But if I’m being honest, liberals – the same people who preach love and peace and acceptance – are the first to viciously attack Trump and Trump supporters. The minute Trump’s elected he’s being called names, pieces of art showing him naked and crucified pop up on Instagram, and countless articles spring up all over the net prophesying out nation’s doom. The republicans turned out to be the silent majority, and the liberals – in my humble opinion – proved themselves to be as hypocritical as either of the candidates.

The majority of what I’m reading today is how America is one big asshole, racist and misogynistic for not electing Hillary Clinton. I find fault in this way of thinking. No president should ever be elected solely because they’re a woman, or black, or so on and so forth. They should be elected based on their qualifications. Now, Trump is clearly unqualified, but clearly half of the country would take that over someone with qualifications whose style of government they’re sick of. That’s all. Let’s not make it a race or gender thing. If you voted for Hillary simply because she’s a woman, I’m sorry but you voted for the wrong reason.

So what am I trying to say? I don’t really know. I wish I could fully support one party over the other, it would make things so much easier. And let’s be honest, being a liberal would be dope. You’ve got all the celebrities and media outlets in your corner, and it’s easy to be cool and hip and liberal. Not so easy to be cool and hip and conservative. But maybe that’s because of the way I grew up. Maybe my perspective’s screwed because I’m out on the coast. Maybe the country really is fucked. I don’t know. But neither do you.

And that’s the thing. Do I think Trump will be a great president? No, but I’m willing to give him a chance. See where it goes. Because growing up politically bi-polar, I’ve seen the same thing from both sides after every election I’ve been alive for: total freakout. “I’m leaving the country!” “Not my president!” “WE’RE FUCKED!” But guess what. Four years later, we vote again. A conservative gets elected, liberals lose their shit. A liberal gets elected, conservatives lose theirs. That’s the way it goes. Four years later we’re still here, the country’s still standing, and we get to vote again.

Hopefully next time we can come out more unified, ’cause this shit is sad.

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