Today I am going to do something a little different.
I have been talking a lot about basketball, movies and music lately, but I want to do something a bit more timely, and political. I know that I have said that I don't like to talk politics. It makes me angry, I get all red faced and I tend to rant. But, the most recent remarks from that moron that sits in the White House right now have really made me disgusted, angered and scared for the future of this country. It has also made me take a hard look at the young voters, and people my age that may not have voted in the last election, or voted for the buffoon in office because they "didn't like" Hilary Clinton. And, before I get into the meat of my piece, you all know how liberal I am, and I consider myself a firm Democrat. Keep that in mind as you read.
The thing I want to talk about today, which was given to me by my father as we went out for our weekly cup of coffee, was how much the parties, and voting, has changed since I was eligible to vote way, way back in 2000. In 2000 I was about to become a senior in high school, and Bill Clinton was sitting in office. I lived in a household that has 2 liberal parents, and all my brothers were liberal Democrats as well. I knew, or heard, that Bill Clinton had done a fine job, save for the Monica Lewinsky stuff. He helped the country get into the green. We were doing okay. There were no wars. The economy seemed fine. Everyone seemed happy, or at least okay. I'm sure some parents of friends of mine didn't like Clinton because of the Lewinsky stuff but, as far s a nation, they really had nothing to complain about.
When I became 18, and legally able to vote, I did not know any better. I did know that I did not like George W Bush. He seemed ill fitted to take office. He was a silver spoon kid that didn't really have to work hard for much of anything. Everything was handed to him. I did like Al Gore. I mean, he was boring, very milquetoast and I think he assumed he was just next in line to president. I also didn't really know what he stood for. I was going to vote for him simply because he was the Democratic nominee, and I was, and still am, a Democrat. But then I read, and really got into, the third party candidate, Ralph Nader. This was simply based on the fact that he wanted to legalize marijuana, I am not a pot smoker by the way, and that he LOVED the NBA. He went as far as to write a letter to then commissioner David Stern about the injustice that the Kings faced in that ridiculous game 7 that the Lakers won, where they shot a million free throws. This swayed me. This made me think twice about who I wanted to vote for. And, like an idiot, I voted for Nader. I didn't realize at the time that voting for a third party candidate was essentially throwing your vote in the trash. I still regret it to this day. But, I figured all was good when Gore won the popular vote by over 500,000 votes.
This was my first time realizing that the popular vote didn't matter in the presidential election, it was all about the archaic electoral college. Bush somehow won this, and for the next 8 years, I grew more and more angry, and more and more liberal. I did not agree with anything Bush stood for. I am violently anti war. He started a war with Iraq because he felt like his daddy wanted him to. I do not think the rich should get richer and the poor should get poorer. All he cared about was his rich friends and rich donors. He was a horrendous public speaker, and his speeches that were broadcast embarrassed me to no end. He lost trillions of dollars while in office, basically erasing all the good Clinton had done. He famously fumbled the handling of September 11th. Everyone remembers the "Mission Accomplished" sign, right? His eight years in office, for me, were horrific, embarrassing and very, very rocky. It was near a nightmare.
Then in 2008 we had Barack Obama win the Democratic nomination. I was absolutely stoked by this. He was the first African American to win the nomination. He was eloquent. He was sharp looking. He gave me a feeling of comfort and enthusiasm Bush never gave me. I ran to the polls to vote for him. I could not have been more ecstatic. I was so ready for him to become president, and he crushed his way into the White House. After his first year, things started to get back to normal again. We started pulling troops out of an unnecessary war. We were making money as a country again. His people got Bin Laden. When he spoke, I stopped what I was doing so I could listen. He took a terrible situation from Bush and made it so much better. Sure, people have their problems with him, but the country was good. We were good as a nation. No one seemed to worried about war, debt or any other thing that could go wrong. We were in safe hands. I was even more stoked when he won reelection in 2012, but that seemed like a foregone conclusion. He exceeded every expectation, and became, in my opinion, the greatest president ever. He is also cool as hell, and in this day, that is important. Obama would show up to basketball games, he listened to hip hop, he was happily married with 2 great kids and a dog, he had a court out in at the White House, he would do podcasts. He understood the young generation of voters, and spoke to them. He is, without a doubt, the best representation of a Democrat that I have ever seen. I show pictures of him to my kids and sing his praises. I want them to know what a real president looks and acts like. I was in heaven for the 8 years he was in office.
Then November of 2016 came around.
Look, I was sure that Hilary Clinton was going to be president. So much so that I showed her to my kids and said "there is the first female president" about a month before the vote. She crushed in all the debates. She is a real politician. She is a genius. She knows how to handle herself, and she isn't a complete goon and doofus. Then something very weird happened on election night. She wasn't crushing the way I expected. She was killing it in the popular vote, but for some reason, that damn electoral college thing kept popping up against her. I was playing basketball that night, and I kept checking my phone and saying, "no, no, no, this cannot be happening". And then it was announced that the dickhead that lives in the White House now, was going to win. I was stunned, dismayed and terrified all at once. I went on for days afterward telling myself to wake up from this nightmare. Either I'm still asleep, or what is happening right now is real life. I wish I were asleep, but every time I pinch myself, or tell myself to wake up, I feel it and I am awake. These past three years have been nothing short of an absolute train wreck. I wake up everyday to something new that makes me even more terrified. I simply cannot believe what I am seeing, hearing and reading. It just gets worse and worse and worse.
It all really came to a head a few days ago when that dipshit was holding yet another rally, and his mouth breathing supporters started to chant "send her back" about Representative Ilhan Omar. Representative Omar is from Minnesota. She migrated to this country legally in 2000. She is more American than any person that was at that Klan rally the other night, Yet, when he is asked about it, he says he told them to stop. No he didn't. When other Republicans are asked about it, they skirt the question. When reporters at Fox News are asked about it, they make up excuses.
This is frightening. This is not the Republican party anymore. Sure, I very much disagreed with Bush, but he never put human beings in cages. He never put babies in cages. He never slept with multiple prostitutes. His wife wasn't a prisoner who only cares about money. His kids weren't all over the TV spewing racist rhetoric. His kids weren't involved in Ponzi schemes. He didn't, at least publicly, say racist homophobic and xenophobic things. He never said to "grab them by the pussy" when talking about ladies. And you better believe that Barack Obama never did any of this stuff. He was, and still is, all class.
Since the jackass that is currently in office has been there, not a day goes by that I am not afraid, embarrassed and want to shy away from being an American. We, as Americans, have become a joke and looked upon as idiots because of the current "government". I don't think this is what the Republican party had in mind when they nominated this idiot. But, they will not say a bad word about him, and even worse, they are now defending him. History books will remember everyone involved with this as horrible, horrible monsters. My kids will read about this in history books, and it will look to them like Nazi Germany looks to me.
What scares me most is my generation, and the generation younger than us. My generation has a few groups. You have the super liberals like myself, the "Bernie Bros" and angry people that will not admit they are racist, even though they clearly are if they support this current regime. The problem there is, the angry people go out and vote. Super liberals do too, but it is the "Bernie Bros" that decided to sit out the last election, and are now thinking about doing the same in 2020. Please, if you don't want to be afraid for the next 4 years, do not sit out the next election. Your vote matters. The generation younger than me is filled with rich white kids that think what has been going on for three years is funny, and that it won't affect them. Believe me, it will, and it will hurt bad. You will not always have mom and dad's money. You will have to work for something one day, and then, when you may be in a bind, this won't be as funny as it is to you now. When you can't find work, and the bills pile up, you may get desperate. And you know who won't be there for you, the current "government".
The current state of American politics sickens me and makes me sad. Also, if you can look at what is going on right now, and think it is okay, even if you are family, do not speak to me about anything political or racial. You are clearly a closeted racist, and you have no heart. This country has become a shell of itself since I was able to vote back in 2000. In 2020 we can change that and get back to where we were from 2008 to 2016, when Obama made me as proud as I have ever been to be an American. Now lets go out and make our voices heard, and show these bullies that we don't work for them, they work for us, and we want change.
Ty is the Pop Culture editor for SeedSing and the other host of the X Millennial Man Podcast.
SeedSing is funded by a group of awesome people. Join them by donating to SeedSing.