Berlin, News, USA

Open Letter – The U.S. Election

September 23, 2016

Time for another popular “open letter.” For past letters, see here and here.

Dear Berlin Friends Asking Me About the U.S. Presidential Election:

It’s not my fault.


As we are on the eve of the first Presidential carnival sideshow debate, I know you want to know how this could happen. And that I’m American makes it logical you’d ask me.

But I can offer no rational explanation how we got to Evil Corp vs Evil Corp (with Wikileaks in the role of fsociety) and, to a lesser extent, a former governor who smokes pot and thinks Syria is the name of a Grateful Dead song, plus…someone named Jill from something called the Green Party. And for good measure, we still have the haunting specter of Bernie who really believed a socialist actually had a shot at this thing.

I know you can’t help giving me that “seriously, WTF happened to your country and don’t you know this affects us too?” look. But I’m not to blame for this one. I’m not that crazy. Remember, I left all this behind.

Election? A cage match at a UFC event has more class than this thing. Each side warns that should the other win, it will be the death knell for the USA. Some say, either way, it’s already here. I finally had to prune my Facebook feed to get away from all this (see you guys back in November).

I mean, remember what happened to Jan Böhmermann when he insulted Erdogan? Imagine if he starts insulting Trump if he wins. Poor guy will be tied up in court the rest of his life, let alone the Twitter wars that would ensue.

As much as I get it from you guys, I get it from American friends who want to know what you all think of this. As if they want some validation that you don’t think they’re nuts. Which, of course, is exactly what you think.

With your social-democracy, Germans are arguably more politically aware than those in the United States (hey, first candidate who tweets a selfie with Kim Kardashian wins!). Presidential race aside, the percentage of Americans who vote, or even know who is running most of the time, is lower than most of Europe. That’s a sad state of affairs given the world influence U.S. elections have.

Um, sorry?

The point of my letter is not to be political. If people vote for a certain candidate and can have a civil and rational discussion, I will respect their viewpoint. Civil discourse has become a thing of the past, especially with the rise of social media. But when you, my European friends, look at me and say, “the election”–as in “THE election,” followed by a head shake, scowl, look of disapproval, I get it. I am the closest thing to the USA at that moment so I bear the brunt of the shame. My British friends are now experiencing the same thing. One word. Brexit.

I can only think it’s this discourse that got us here. When I listen to you guys discuss politics here, it feels more civil, somehow. Although now that I’m learning German grammar, I realize that you guys don’t interrupt because you have to wait for the freaking verb at the end of the sentence to know what the other person is talking about!

That aside, in the U.S., what decent, honest person would want to go through this crap? And yes, I know that referring to any politician as decent and honest is the same as believing in unicorns. But I would like to believe some of them started out with good intentions.

I mean, the Republicans had 17 candidates at one point. 17!  And once it was clear it was going to be Trump, his supporters said, “Wait, you’ll see. He’ll change once it goes to the general election. He’s talking like this to get to the nomination.” Umm…

And the other side. The first woman president. I get it. I agree, it’s time. Hey, if the world had more women as world leaders I’m convinced we’d have a more peaceful world. But there was only one? In the entire Democratic party that they could put the fix in for? Really?

Okay enough. I can’t wait for this to end. The looks of disappointment. The shame. The attempts to pass for Canadian (yay Justin!). No matter what, I hope we’re all still friends whatever the results are. And that my visa will still be valid.

Kanye in 2020!

Best,
Michael

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