The US presidential election has been distracting me. The writing-in-progress concerns a monumentally crooked election, which is kind of a theme with the two hotheaded nations causing most of the trouble in my fictional universe. Volume one of the trilogy features a country where they couldn’t seem to get through an election without an unfortunate number of assassinations, until one politician passed a bill (signed in blood) decreeing that if you managed to murder the premier on the spring equinox, you could have his job.
In volume 2, we get to spend some time with their enemies, a nation made up of clones. Because the smartest guy in the nation murdered everyone else and replaced them with clones of himself, just so the world could take note that he won, and also, that he was the smartest, and that he really showed us. They are having a particularly vicious debate over which clone is going to lead them – the one who actually gets along with people who aren’t clones of himself, or the isolationist who pulled the trigger with regard to the murdering of everyone else.
Compared to my fictional universe, the real life election is comparatively sedate, with hardly any assassinations yet. It involves one of my least favorite politicians of all time going up against an unqualified populist whom I think would stumble into all kinds of egregious mistakes. Since my primary issue is having the US get medical care for their populace established so that (e.g.) unintended devastation from antibiotic-resistant bacteria stemming from a large untreated sector of the population won’t happen in the upcoming years, I’m voting for Clinton.
As are most of the people on my Facebook feed, aside from one of the last adopted relatives I’m still in contact with, who is a fervent member of the religious right and whose posts serve as a constant reminder why I left home as a teenager. As well as a reminder that the red-blue split is a biological one to a large extent, with the religious isolationists and the intellectual cosmopolitans forever deadlocked even when belonging to the same culture, and cynical politicians forever exploiting that rivalry. All my blood relatives seem to be liberals that like music, and although some of them are religious, it's more of a joyous thing rather than aggressively looking for sinners to bully.
I grew up under a toxic strain of conservatism, and as a result spent a lot of time as a reactionary liberal until I found my bearings as a liberal primarily interested in keeping the humans, animals and environment healthy. I also spent a lot of time actively disliking religion, and in the process, I learned that I’m the sort of person who responds to my own dislikes by intensely studying the subject in an attempt to find out why.
Then I got to a place where I decided that being sensitive to the religious and conservative was probably just as important as not being bigoted with regard to ethnicity or neurological factors or any of the other stuff I espouse, so I’ve been working on not being too hypocritical in that regard. I’m not always successful, but I do try to step away when people that I agree with are savaging the opposition. Respect is important for everyone. Just because you dislike someone’s bigotry, for example, it doesn’t mean you have to throw in their hairstyle and county and favorite pizza chain and their mom as co-complicitors. That kind of meanness is how we end up with candidates like Trump in the first place.
One thing I have noticed is that both liberals and conservatives despise having the enemy’s values forced upon them. If propagandists push enough buttons regarding this people tend to get even more polarized, until sane political discussion is made impossible by the sheer weight of the emotional reaction people bring to the table. This tends to turn social medial like Twitter and Facebook into a fever swamp of irrational reasoning as both sides try to get their constituents and opponents to squirm.
So on that note, my statement is that I’m in favor of talking to foreign people, and not being jerks to others based on innate physical characteristics, including political affiliation. I’m in favor of giving everyone medical care until we’re all in stable condition so that we can discuss things further. I see no reason whatsoever for making the state expend money to punish people for being poor, or to subsidize the irrational violent urges of racists, or to establish an ISIS-like state religion. I believe every child deserves a nutritious breakfast, lunch and dinner, every day. I'll be voting for Clinton, because she's a few steps closer to alignment with me on those issues, and someday I hope to vote for someone even better.