Lesson 16

One of my coyotes had a scare last week.
A serious scare.
There was a prank in her family of yanks – and it was a prank that went WRONG.

Her father made them all believe that he was voting for Trump.
And her family were in PANIC!
Siblings texting each other…
Mother concerned about the man she’d been married to for years…

For years I’d heard about political viewpoints breaking up relationships and causing strains within families.
This felt like a particularly American thing to me.
An issue that I probably assigned to another country as it was such a foreign concept to me.

Until now.

Vikinglise entered crisis mode.
And we were all there with her.
The rest of us discussed the differences we have with our parents and their political standpoints.
We shared our strategies for coping with the seeming contradictions we find between the caring, loving, intelligent folks we know so well and what, to us Gen-Y-ers, can seem to be old-fashioned views.
But there’s something very different between having a staunch Australian Liberal Party supporter as a parent and a parent voting for Trump.

At least, it felt that way to us.

So, why?

Because, for all of the discussions between the four of us ladies, one thing was a matter of consensus – Trump’s appeal was to people who don’t care for the greater good of others.
For the greater good of their nation.
For the greater good of the world.
We felt like the people who would vote for him were – for want of a better word – rednecks.
Narrow-minded thinkers.

He spreads words and thoughts and ideas of hatred and intolerance and therefore we couldn’t understand that anyone we knew – let alone, are related to – could bring themselves to vote for him.

Let me be clear – I’ve not yet had the luxury of casting a vote for some one person or party whom I believe speaks for me completely.
I don’t agree wholeheartedly with most politicians.
Or their political parties.
Even the left-winged ones, and that’s clearly the leaning I have…
But to vote Trump?!
That’s a whole other kettle of flame-grilled, what-the-hell flavoured fish!

I found this article for us all to read.
It offered an interesting perspective.
But still – we were all wondering how the Viking’s family could deal with this revelation.
Could they talk him around?
Would he allow them to debate this position with him?

It turns out that Mr Viking-yote’s claim was all a big dad joke.
It wasn’t funny.
No-one laughed.
But we did all let out a collective sigh of relief.

And, naturally, as things are wont to do, it made me reflect on the current state of world affairs.
Especially since I’ll be voting in the EU Referendum next week.
And I’ll be voting in the Australian Federal Election in July.
And I wish I got to vote in the US Presidential Election.
Alas not.

I am not used to being so politically-minded…
And, I’ve previously been of the thinking that my votes are a private thing…
But my thinking is starting to change.
I’m starting to think that it’s more important to open the discussion up.
Start a “dialogue” as they say.
You know, the “they” everyone is always talking about.

I don’t know if it’s my age, or if it’s the current global political situation, or a combination of the both, but it feels more and more vital that my votes count.
More and more urgent.
In combination with this, I do also feel sometimes that it’s all a little futile…
Dare I say, hopeless…
But it’s fighting against that feeling that pushes me to keep invested.
To make sure I do vote.

Back in the land of Oz, voting is compulsory.
There are still people who don’t vote.
Those who place dummy votes.
But they are supposed to vote.
There are fines if they don’t.
Coming from that background – which included classes at high school that taught us about the democratic system within which we operate and how our electoral system works – I have been programmed to inform myself of even the most general policies.
I’ll seek out stances on things that effect me most: Women’s Rights, Arts Policies, Education.
But there is so much to be informed about.
And it seems like everyone else understands all the political jargon.

I’ll tell you a little secret though…
Come on, lean in close…
Not that close.
I can smell your garlic breath.


Lesson 16

I don’t know what’s going to happen this year.

To me, the worst case scenario is that the UK will leave the EU, The Liberal party will win the Aussie federal elections and then Trump will be elected to the US Presidency.

The only comfort I take in this scenario is that if he does win, I figure it’s only a short matter of time before he accidentally (or deliberately) hits that big, red, DO NOT PRESS button that destroys the world.

The interesting thing I’ve taken from this current state of affairs is the ways in which the youth voters have been targeted.
As the pivotal voters to swing all of these decisions, every effort is being made by those they can help.
And, for the most part, that comes from public personalities.

Russell Brand is the spokesman for a generation or two. Allegedly.
Eddie Izzard is a campaigner for a nation. Apparently.
A former Australian Idol host is challenging the Australian Prime Minister for his electorate. Actually.
And an infamous real estate tycoon is running for President of the World – despite his hatred for everyone in the world coming to HIS country.

There is nothing new in celebrities running for office.
Ronald Reagan was an actor who became a President.
Arnold Schwartzenegger was a body-building, “acting”, whatever-he-was before he entered politics.
In Australia there are former rockstars, Olympians and more who’ve recently held office.
My knowledge of British parliamentary history is not as strong, but I have no doubt that these stats will hold here also.
I do know that Al Murray the stand-up comedian did run a campaign or two…

In the current climate of millenials and Gen-Y-ers gaining a lot of their information online, it’s not a surprising turn of events that the “known” and “recognisable” get noticed.
It saves anyone reading boring pages of policies.
It saves anyone watching dry political debates full of jargon and hot air.
It saves anyone having to do their own voting homework.
I mean, I’m as guilty as the next guy of watching John Oliver break things down.
The man makes everything clear.
But, just as I warned in Lesson 11, it’s dangerous to rely solely on social media for your knowledge.
Yes, I am all too aware of the irony of how I’m spreading this message…

I guess the lesson I’m trying to leave you with this week is not to vote Trump.
And, don’t joke about it.

And, if you are planning on voting Trump, don’t.

But do vote.



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