2016 US Politics from a Centrist’s Perspective

The 2016 election feels a little bit like a game of “would you rather”.

Would you rather vote for:

  1. A cold, untrustworthy, above-the-law politician who rigged the system
  2. A reactionary, intolerant, sexist, bigoted, demented narcissist

I’ve said for years now that I’m neither conservative nor liberal. That I eschew dogma of ANY kind and make my own mind up about the world around me. Sometimes the right side of the issue resonates with me. Sometimes the left side.

For example, I tend to lean to the right when it comes to things like national security, Government involvement in trade and economics, and fiscal solvency (social security, Medicare and Medicaid which make up more than half of our $3T annual budget).

But I tend to lean left on social issues such as marriage equality, outright bans or increasing difficulty in obtaining guns, religious tolerance, legalizing recreational drugs, and aid to refugees.

But here’s the problem.

What has been happening over the past year has me winding up more and more on the left side of my conversations with my friends. Most of them have just written me off as a converted ‘liberal’.

I’ve had to think about this. Maybe I am liberal?

Turns out I’m not.

America is not a closed system. We’re influenced by the rest of the world — and more so than ever. And the rest of the world, generally speaking, aligns to the left of US politics. These days I see myself more as a ‘globalist’ than a ‘nationalist’. Yes, that means that I respect cultures around the world — even the ones I don’t agree with or understand. It also means that I don’t put the rights of Americans above other human beings.

I’m not a liberal. I’m a globalist.

Normally there’s a balanced conversation in our country about progressive agendas vs. conservative agendas. But 2016 has seen the conservative side of the conversation being contorted by reactionary voices given weight by — and ultimately culminating in — the presumptive Republican nominee.

If the Republican party had nominated a stable, polished individual fit to lead our nation into heady waters of increasing globalism and international affairs, I’d probably vote for that individual. Instead they’ve nominated the least desirable and most reactionary candidate that ran this election cycle.

It’s not very hard to find yourself to the left of the presumptive Republican nominee in his views. His insensitive, tone-deaf, racist, disrespectful, sexist and unpredictable commentary remind me of more dictators than Presidents.

It’s also hard to swallow the lack of likability and honesty surrounding the Democratic nominee. A rigged electoral system, above-the-law attitude, and the cold feeling I get from her leave me looking around the room for a third option.

I speak for those of us who live in the middle — the ‘true’ silent majority of people who roll our eyes at the ridiculous 2nd amendment rights memes covering Facebook less than 24 hours after yet another shooting, and who also can’t really feel good about putting a “Clinton 2016” sign in our yard.

The gap between the Democratic party and the Republican party is widening to a point where I can’t keep feet on both sides anymore. And my assessment is that the Republican party has been hijacked by a reactionary movement fueled by hatred, violence, fear-mongering, and xenophobia.

I’ll never pull a lever in favor of hate. And yes, that means I’d prefer pulling a lever in favor of deceit.

And I think I speak for a lot of the silent majority caught in the middle of this ever-increasing gap between the left and right. I know I speak for the majority of the world outside of our borders.

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