Complaining Rights 10/16/20

Thoughts by Richard Bleil

Here is a statement that should frighten a vast majority of Americans. I’m a male Caucasian baby-boomer and I voted.

Honestly, you can’t have a more ghostly complexion than mine. I’m white. I’m very very white. Last time I took my shirt off outside a 747 thought I was a landing light. To be fair, I’m actually European white, meaning that I’m only third generation native born American (maybe only second; I need to find my grandfather’s birth certificate to be sure), but while America was struggling with the civil war, my family was farming in Germany. Probably farming. All “Bleil” families in America originated from the same small town in Germany (Erligheim), which I hope to visit if we ever get past this virus. But regardless of my roots, I’m still excessively pale.

And yes, I’m actually a baby-boomer. I know, “boomer” is now used as an insult (proof positive that it’s not the word; any word can be used as an insult), but apparently, the baby boomer era ends, according to sociologists, around 1964. Being born in 1963, it might be the tale end, but that makes me officially a baby-boomer.

Now, the reason the opening statement seems like it should be frightening is that, generally, male Caucasian baby-boomer generation voters tend to vote conservative. I guess I consider myself a slightly conservative moderate, but these days when one says “conservative”, immediately Trump-supporting Republican comes to mind, especially for male Caucasian baby-boomers. I think my regular readers know me well enough to realize that I’m actually quite liberal. In the current political atmosphere, “moderate conservative” is often equated with “radical liberal”, but frankly, I’m happy if anybody wishes to call me a radical liberal, or a socialist if you prefer, because I do support the concept that everybody should equal in rights. Recent actions by the current Republican leadership (how much more “old white male” can you get?) appear to me to be blatant attempts to restrict the rights of minorities and women, and supportive of socioeconomic divide. I cannot, and will not, support these efforts, and I’m sure that my regular readers know for whom I voted even though I will not spell it out explicitly. Or, more explicitly than I’ve implicated here.

There are, though, many old, white men out there voting, and they are very much supporting the conservative Republicans. Four years ago, this was the main voting block that managed to get Trump into office in the first place despite the fact that he failed to carry the minority. This means that for the last four years, we have had a president that has been enacting policies and laws on behalf of less than half of American interests. What’s more, the Republicans in Congress are also representing a minority in America, largely because of gerrymandering and the incumbent advantage.

The “incumbent advantage” comes from fear of the unknown. There’s a phrase we use periodically, “better the devil you know than the devil you don’t.” Well, honestly, we have seen what happened in four years of this presidency, and if you like the direction we’re going, you should vote for him. But, if you feel like we’re going in the wrong direction, there should be no incumbent advantage. If you feel we’re worse today than we were four years ago, then it’s time to try something different. In my humble opinion.

There are three presidential candidates. I wasn’t even aware there was a third until I saw the ballot, and frankly, I see this as a problem. There are only three candidates, so why were all three not included in the debates? Why is the press only on the two party nominations? The reality is that the two party nominations both have problems. I would love to have a viable (“viable” being the operating term here) third candidate, but I feel like if I vote for a candidate with no chance to win, it’s too similar to not voting at all. I know who I do NOT want in the Whitehouse, and I voted for the most likely candidate to prevent that from happening. I wish I could vote for somebody I like, rather than vote against somebody I dislike, but that isn’t the case this year.

But I can tell you this; I feel like if I don’t vote at all, I have no right to complain for the next four years. If my candidate wins and does something I don’t like, I have at least as much right to complain if not more. Of course, if the other candidate wins, I’ll start complaining from the day the election results are announced, but I can do that, because I voted. I spoke up, I voted my conscious, and that gives me complaining rights. If you fear that I voted the way a male Caucasian baby-boomer often votes, then that’s easy to rectify. Cast your vote. Counter my vote if you believe your vote would differ. And earn your right to complain.

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