I spent the first 17 years of my life in dark-red Alaska. I grew up amongst hunters, fishers and farmers. Most people around me, including most of my family were very conservative. I spent most summers of my youth with my Grandparents in Huntsville, TX. I did not see much variation in political views. I lived in the same Alaskan town as Sarah Palin and in 2009 she became John McCain’s running mate. I had met her and gone to school with a daughter of hers. Later I’d realize what an embarrassment she was.
I moved to Reno, Nevada to finish high school and began seeing much more liberal ideologies, but even with the outdoor haven of Lake Tahoe and San Francisco being just over three hours away, most in the suburbs were conservative. I lived briefly in Mobile, Alabama which was of course quite conservative. I then lived in Orlando, Florida which was more liberal and progressive. Still I prided myself on being a centrist and independent. The common phrase “fiscally conservative and socially liberal” was appealing to me. Every ideology test had me right in the middle, though I was not fond of either political party. Looking back, I realize I really knew nothing about economics or capitalism. I always accepted and loved people of other races, sexual orientations, gender and religions.
I always had an interest in politics and was a political science minor until it became my major. Though not until the 2015 campaigns for the republican and democratic nominations did my political ideology completely change. In May 2015, Donald J. Trump announced his candidacy for President. I always believed someone outside of politics had no place in the oval office. I began hearing racist, homophobic and xenophobic sentiments from not just Trump, but the entire Republican Party. The proposal of the Muslim ban, the wall, and misogynistic statements completely infuriated me. I began seeing police brutality and videos of African-Americans being murdered by police. Trump advocated for stop and frisk which puts are civil rights at stake.
The Democratic Party was not any better. They were bought by corporations just like the Republicans. Hillary Clinton specifically seemed much more fiscally conservative than some republicans. The one person who really got it was Bernie Sanders. Sanders is kind, anti-establishment and honest. He is the only independent in the Senate, but was forced to run as a Democrat since our two-party system is dominate, despite the wishes of the framers of the constitution. Sanders advocated for keeping big money out of politics. He stood up for civil rights, being arrested in the ‘60’s which was admirable.
After the democratic intervention to assure Clinton’s primary victory, I was at a loss. I figured I’d vote for Jill Stein as she advocated for the same things I believed. Despite this, Sanders urged his supporters to vote Hillary as it seemed this was the only real way to go directly against Trump. We all assumed Clinton would win in a landslide. No one anticipated the election results. It was a complete shock and worrisome.
Trump said he would “drain the swamp,” but he brought in some of the worst monsters ever to Capitol Hill. Trump added climate change deniers to the EPA, Devos, a complete idiot to the education department, and Steve Bannon, a white supremacist as chief strategist. Even worse, Jeff Sessions to Attorney General, a man who supported the KKK until he realized they smoked weed. Our country is in absolute turmoil.
The hypocrisy within the Republican Party is rampant. Despite Trump saying he has the right to sexually assault women, he was still supported. The “party of family values” completely lost its morality. Religion is used as a tool to take rights away from others, abortion for example. The irony is that Jesus said we should take care of the poor, shun greed and love everyone. Republicans are greedy and only care of themselves and their pocketbooks. Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell are absolutely spineless. They tried to push through a bill taking all healthcare away saying it was “compassionate.” Ted Cruz supported Trump even though he brutally insulted them all.
I was a centrist, but after this particularly divisive election, I cannot support anything on the right. Capitalism is systematic racism and poverty. The rich get richer while the middle class shrinks and those on the bottom are completely forgotten. As a country that is supposed to protect and enforce human rights here and abroad, we have failed. We cannot turn our back on refugees who are being murdered daily by their leaders. We cannot ignore the systemic problems in the criminal justice system, the militarization of the police and murder of innocent people. We cannot build a wall and deport people who are vital to our economy. We cannot support Putin who is complicit in war crimes and interfered with our election. We must acknowledge climate change and the damage we have done to the environment.
Our country needs a change and Trump is not it. Trump has completely changed all my stances. I moved to a supporter of socialism from a centrist. People like Bernie Sanders are the change we deserve. We cannot support Trump as he has betrayed the nation.