Saturday, November 5, 2016

Times of hate, part 1

The past week has been incredibly stressful, mainly due to two reasons:
1) The approaching presidential election, which I know is causing increasing stress all over the world, and
2) the draft version of the environmental impact statement (DEIS) submitted by the National Science Foundation late last week, which means stress primarily for the observatory users and employees but due to the nature of the draft, the amount of stress is remarkable.

This post is just about the presidential elections. For my feelings about the DEIS, read Times of hate, part 2.

Most of my life I've been trying to keep out of politics. I have also tried political activism by signing up to a green party of Finland and attending a few of their events but never felt it my way to influence anything. I do want to bring out some thoughts of this election, though. Like many analysts of politics say, this election is unique compared to any other presidential election that the USA has seen. It's an election dominated by hate, but also one that can change the future of the whole humankind through decisions made concerning climate change and foreign diplomatic relations during the next few years. It is not only about the USA. However, millions of people will not vote based on which one of the candidates serves the greater good better with his/her policies, but the one that they personally hate less. Many will not vote at all just because they hate both candidates or don't think that their vote matters, although it can in reality affect the lives of billions of people.

While swelling in the hate for one candidate or another, it could be worthwhile to ask, why do I hate him/her? Because she is untrustworthy and I didn't like her political actions 20 years ago? Because he insulted or degraded me or my kin? Because he/she is a liar and untrustworthy? Or because the other candidate told me that he/she is a bad person or untrustworthy and deserves all the hate along with his/her supporters? Or maybe just because you don't like his face or her voice?

Internet has been a long time the perfect platform for hate speech, but this election has concentrated it to a certain topic. A word of critique about Clinton will be judged as that of Trump supporter and criticizing Trump causes full barrels of hate speech thrown at the critic. The result is that many people become afraid to express any opinion at all and give up on trying to make an input, even voting in the worst case, and also that the image of a candidate is so tarred that you can't see what's underneath, which is exactly what the other candidate is trying to achieve.

Another problem that I've noticed is how people stick to individual policies instead of the big picture and prioritize them. Of course, the fact that there is only two candidates/parties rarely offers the perfect combination of policies to anyone. But seeing how people prioritize certain policies on, for example, immigration, climate change, or relationships to other countries shows well the dominating effect of selfishness and short-sightedness.

If my sense of moral says that abortion is wrong and that coal mining should be continued to bring jobs back to my neighborhood, of course I would choose to vote for Trump. But what will the future be like for the baby that was born unwanted in a world drastically changed by the global warming that Trump chose not to fight against? For sure Clinton is corrupted by over-sized donations and compensations, but you can't surely think that Trump wouldn't be if given the chance? If you give him the chance, as soon as you find out he's not what you expected and get disappointed (which is what usually happens in all elections everywhere in the world), the one thing you will hear him tell you is: "Well, maybe you shouldn't have voted for me. Your bad."

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