This election year has been absolutely unprecidented, even for people who have no real interest in politics. The television tells us that one of the two most untrusted, disliked candidates in living memory will become our next President- while simultaniously mocking and berating those who challenge the validity of this "representative democracy". Red-baiting, rampant corruption proven by email leaks, and mainstream denial- how the hell do we fix this?
The key to understanding the chances of real change lies in recognizing that the most important variable in that equation is us. Life isn't a tv channel or Facebook feed to get updates on; it must be interactive for any success to occur. Think of Bernie's groundbreaking campaign- did we all just wait to see the results? Or did we make it happen? Yes, we were driven by enthusiasm and hope back then, which is now (quite purposely) in short supply...
It's not all our fault- this purposely widespread and worsening poverty gives us no time or energy to do much more. Our "education" trains us to be disciplined robots, skilled mostly at consuming, following orders, and fighting with each other over petty personal differences without ever grasping the bigger picture. That self-destructive cognitive dissonance is also a primary cause for this country's (profitably medicated) rampant depression and mental illness.
A lot of the issue is our successful creation of a "viewer" society, where the majority lives off the media's narrative for their reality checks instead of actually making anything happen. Reality is external, somewhere else, something that you get updates on from Twitter. In our Coke-or-Pepsi mentality, any healthy skepticism about the credibility or motive of 'news' is mitigated by the choice of different flavored networks- 'lesser evil' narratives become "truth".
Then add to that all of the indoctrinated divisive thinking perpetuated by over-hyped labels, categories, and blatant scapegoating. Community spirit and true patriotism is disintegrating, being replaced by every-citizen-for-themselves desperation which breeds populace infighting instead of cooperative pride. The establishment's version of society is just another corporate product that we were lured into, then became a stranglehold monopoly at all our expense.
What both Bernie and Trump had in common was the idea that we don't have to be willing victims to it. But while Bernie's approach was civil, gentlemanly revolution built around equality and integrity, Trump's was empowerment of belligerent non-conformity and disrespect as a blunt anti-status quo tool. Thus, we Berners largely considered the Trump crew to be ignorant and chaotic; the Trumpers called Bernie and his fans weak, establishment, and "cucks".
As is the reality in just about every polarized situation, neither are entirely correct... and neither entirely wrong.
What Trump's crew has right is that we are the victims only because we allow ourselves to be, following the polite rules even when completely, irrefutably unacceptable. We've just been held hostage long enough in an undemocratic system that our own rights and freedoms are things we no longer personally defend, just wait and hope desperately that others will- yet our lives, laws, and opportunities are dictated to us, worsening, and we have proof it's rigged.
It's completely valid; however, when framed in a mob mentality with a fairly universally distasteful leader, it's easily condemnable, thus easily dismissable, thus susceptible to the current mainstream media tactic of "Trump says that the elections are rigged, CAN YOU BELIEVE IT? Because if you do, you must support TRUMP. How can anyone be so anti-American? PEACEFUL TRANSITION OF POWER, SAUSAGE BEING MADE, now here's more celebrities!"
In a capitalist land of scheming dishonesty, where respectful integrity can be perceived as a fatal disadvantage in business, life, and politics, Trump fans picked their well-qualified challenger. Consistency and trustworthiness came second to the justified anger and hatred toward the smug, elitist establishment "left". Under that completely untrue false-progressive flag, dismissal of the Democratic party also easily included their 'socialist' alternative candidate.
What Bernie's political revolutionaries had right is that populace unity is absolutely essential, and finding common ground is always more powerful and productive than finding differences to fight among ourselves over. His example was that respectful dialogue, even (or especially) with those with opposing views, could be done using merely facts, not incivility and cheap personal shots. He taught an entire generation what the words "civil servant" could mean.
The contrast left many Berners logically analyzing everything and everyone with their now validated "unrealistic ideological purity", including the ridiculously over-covered Trump campaign. They saw the violence, heard all the cavalier rhetoric, and summarily dismissed Trump and his fans as irrational, dangerous fools. While Hillary must indeed be stopped, exchanging one ego-driven con artist for another wasn't just irrational, but a moral antithesis.
In my view, both were doing the best they could under ugly circumstances to work for the common greater good- end of this neoliberal tyranny, recognition of the ugly reality for the majority, and swift accountability for those who orchestrated and profited off this corporate takeover and subversion of our democracy. Those are the overlapping goals I firmly believe we must build on to take our country back; surely it far outweighs what might divide us all?
The rich, duplicitous political actors have taken over both controlling political parties, replacing representation 'of the people, by the people, for the people' with representation 'of the sponsors, by the corporate media, for the elite agendas' - which by their greedy nature and forced perpetuation must continuously run contrary to our own rights, freedoms, and any hope of sustainable quality of life. This affects us all, regardless of our personal political views.
What most people have lost sight of is that a political party is merely a tool, not an identity. Protecting our futures and say in governance cannot be effectively nor ethically handled through empty slogans, high-dollar lobbyists, or focusing on trivialities while atrocities get effectively normalized. Successfully clouding this fact has allowed most political opinion and direction to become just dictated and assimilated, instead of generated and represented.
How about instead of teams or details, we unite in basic ethics? I know we've been taught "winning by any means" justifies dishonesty and spin for the greater good, but this bad logic is the same one being utilized by those we must overcome. Lowering ourselves to their level only evens the playing field to where sheer power and money win. By outdating our integrity, we've unfortunately turned reality into just another opinion to be argued away or ignored.
We must face our reality; neither minority-yet-controlling party represents or protects us. Equal justice under the law is a bad joke. Native Americans are now being arrested trying to stop more oil dumping into our water. Families in places like Flint are being poisoned by their own crumbling infrastructure. Our bloated military, bigger than the next several largest combined, are now bombing seven different countries while most of us drown in poverty and debt.
One candidate still in this race is fundamentally opposed to every single one of these issues. Dr. Jill Stein of the Green Party has spoken out but largely not been heard, buried under verifiably skewed polls and the childish, distractionary soap opera drama our mainstream media has chosen to focused on instead. We have a true "none of the above" third party solution available to 48 states- plenty to collectively say to the reigning duopoly, enough is enough.
There's a good chance that voting will still be rigged- bring it on. Bernie's run helped us prove that the DNC ran a completely fixed race, with every kind of manipulation and collusion possible being used. His mass appeal and turnout forced them to expose their own criminality in covering it up. Why not do it again? Make the whole damn country light up Green, see how well they can manipulate that with the whole world watching and reporting it closely.
So what are our "chances" of real change happening? That's up to us- all of us- and whether we can lay down our arms against fellow countrymen to finally effectively overcome the domestic terrorism of oligarchic oppression. I urge everyone to talk openly with your friends, families, strangers, anyone who will listen. Let's create informed voters. Let's beat these guys at their own game. Let's stop just complaining, and start actively organizing a truth offensive.
After all, America historically finds greatest unity and patriotic pride when facing its biggest threats; surely this one qualifies?