I am not a big fan of politics and this last election was by far the most challenging one to endure because of so many reasons. It was difficult to see the negative and outright disrespectful banter in person and on social media. It was heartbreaking to see so many friends distraught from the results. Like with most elections, I tried to keep to myself. Friends were surprised to learn of my registered political affiliation – not that it should matter. After all, I never judged them for theirs, so why would I even think they would think differently of me? Love thy neighbor folks. Remember??
I became the recipient of several comments…”I’m glad to see you came to your senses”, “glad you smartened up”, etc. regarding who I chose to support. In all honesty, it hurt to hear that. As if I was “stupid” because of my political affiliation, as if that dictated who I would vote for. What hurt was my intelligence was in question. Seriously people. Regardless of who my friends voted for (and why they did), I respected their decision however much I agreed or disagreed with them. Agree to disagree. What a concept that so many still struggle to embrace. Try it sometime…it’s quite liberating.
This election definitely brought out the ugly in this country, which is truly sad. As someone who has traveled a lot in my life and witnessed political turmoil and economic disparities in other countries, I still remain grateful and proud to be an American. Such a blessing to live in a country where someone as insane as Trump can be elected to the highest office, where Obama (our first black President) served two terms, where Hillary (as a woman) was so close to becoming elected, and where as a minority woman I can walk up to a polling location and cast my vote without harassment or fear of harm. As crazy as that all sounds, we are truly lucky.
In high school I spent one week in Mexico City as an exchange student. While I was there Luis Donaldo Colosio, the Presidential candidate for the PRI Party in Mexico, was assassinated. My host family explained to me the PRI Party had dominated the government for decades upon decades and was riddled with corruption. The PRI Party always managed to win every Presidential election. Colosio was the first candidate that really wanted to change things for the good in Mexico. One of the theories was his own party had him assassinated because he was straying away from their core interests.
A few years ago, in my parents home country of Thailand, the now former Primer Minister Thaksin Shinawatra was overthrown in a military coup to only be succeeded by his “sister” Yingluck Shinawatra. She was eventually removed from Parliament, but the influence of their family is still apparent with Thaksin living in exile somewhere in Europe. Imagine if Bill Gates, one of the wealthiest people in the US, was the most corrupt politician ever and would make anyone who opposed him “disappear.” That was how my parents described how terrible Thaksin was.
So while our country is bracing themselves for the inauguration of who is probably the most controversial
President-elect in our nation’s history, I consider myself lucky we will witness another peaceful transfer of power and that the people of our nation have the power to create change within their own communities regardless of who is in office.
In the meantime…let the political memes continue!