We Built This Shitty
As Americans, we become increasingly more appalled by our apparently legally elected commander-in-chief. I say “legally” because according to the laws, as they are, as we currently interpret them, and as we currently understand the most recent presidential election, he was elected legally. Let’s not forget that. I am aware that he lost the popular vote by a landslide, but that’s our system. What I mean is, as we stare at the demon-possessed toddler in the checkout aisle throwing self-centered tantrum after poop-filled diaper at everything we hold dear, we have to realize, that it is our fault. America made this beast.
This is a tough thing to own up to. That’s just human nature. There’s a term within the study of communication called attribution bias. Attribution bias means that people, without having been trained away from this tendency, will tend to attribute great things that happened to them to some intrinsically good quality that they possess. On the flip side, we tend to attribute bad things that happen to us to some outside factor—something we didn’t do. And sometimes it lines up with the truth. However, other times, like the circumstances surrounding our current international shame, it is absolutely not the truth. Someone outside didn’t do this. America did it to itself.
We trusted our governmental and economic systems, our country and ourselves without actually checking to see if they still deserve our trust. We thought, “The electoral system isn’t perfect but it’s not so bad. Besides it’s there for some reason, right?”
So even after the disaster that was W (Yeah, I know. He’s a cuddly, landscape-painting teddy bear now, right?), who also lost the popular vote when Gore voters all raged against the voting machine, the rage only lasted until that battle—the recount, the hanging chads, the Supreme Court—was over. Then Team Gore slumped away, shrugged, saying, “Well, that’s the rules,” and made a documentary about something noble. (Pat self on back.)
Now, the same system that brought us an unjustified war in Iraq to justify Bush being re-elected as a “war... prezdint” so that the wealthy elite, corporate overlords and the heads of the military industrial complex could stay in power, that same system has, not so surprisingly, failed the world again. Why? Because some outside beast attacked us with all of Satan’s power? No. It was because we, as a people, haven’t changed much. And we didn’t change anything that we should have changed when we had the chance. Not the laws, not our level of media savviness and not our attitudes about the rest of America.
I understand that there was a reason for the electoral college. That reason was basically that the founding fathers didn’t really trust true democracy. Madison was afraid of “the tyranny of the majority.” However, if we all are actually equal, as we purport ourselves to be, then there is no tyranny in the majority. Just consensus that a minority must abide by if they truly believe in democratic principles that make up our nation.
Some might cry that going strictly to a nationwide popular vote will alienate rural voters or those in areas where the population isn’t as dense as in rural areas. However, the converse of that is also true. The current situation disenfranchises others, those who live in densely populated areas, by devaluing our votes. If you like old, trusty catchphrases (and I assume, being American, you probably do) here’s a good one: One person. One vote. That sounds like America, right? Well, it’s currently not the truth. Who did that to us? We did!
Let’s also look at the phenomenon of so many people coming out of the woodwork or maybe just the woods to vote for a snake oil salesman with terrible skin, hair, and gross personal morals and sickening business morals. Why did they believe him? Because he was the loudest and the flashiest.
He saw people who were disinterested in the democratic process or who resented it because either they didn’t understand it or they felt it overlooked them. These are the people we’re worrying about leaving behind. People who didn’t care about voting until someone made nutso, messianic claims about what he could and absolutely would do for them. Ridiculous claims. Ridiculous posturing. Cave man strategy. And it worked because we still have that level of willful ignorance walking around. The elite encourage it. Pure capitalism ensures it. It keeps the wealthy and powerful wealthy and powerful if the masses stay uneducated. Remember, Trump said, “I love the poorly educated." Our easily fooled and baited brethren are America too.
If we believe in America, we have to know that all sides of America are America too. That means America is nauseous right now.
Maybe the fact that both sides see each other as other is the biggest sickness we as a national entity have.
It’s not external to us. It is us. We have to keep discussing, arguing, hashing things out. I’m just saying that, as a nation, we’re wrong. Whatever we’ve been telling ourselves about what made America great in the first place is old news, even fake news.
Many see Trump as an external monster that is destroying us when he’s actually just another part of us that we must own up to. We deserve the scorn. He is not a murderer of Lady Liberty. He is Lady Liberty committing either intentional or unintentional suicide.