As an American currently abroad, I have taken great pleasure in engaging the people that I have been meeting about their opinion of the American Presidential Campaign. On subways, outside night clubs and in all sorts of places in between, I have found myself standing with mildly bewildered Europeans who like myself exist in a state of disbelief about the state of American politics. Like myself, so many of those who I have spoken with feel confused, disheartened and concerned about the state of our union and the future trajectory of our nation and it's ambitions on the world stage.
Presidential Debate as Macabre Spectacle
Like many of the conversations I have engaged in with friends and colleagues still in the United States, there is a sense of futility, the "lesser of two evils" and the "greater good" colliding with ethical considerations that even in my best intentions, I cannot internally reconcile. This is no doubt a very important moment in our national experience and I can only hope the American electorate rises to the challenge. I hope that I can find a way as a citizen to do the best thing; to act on my best moral imperative and with the clearest sense of what is right for the future of my nation.
Overwhelmingly the Europeans that I have spoken with, coming from all walks of life and from various political dispositions, see our election as spectacle, a carnival of ghoulish delight and all too fitting in keeping with the traditional fear the Halloween season incites. It is quite disheartening and frankly it leaves me quite ashamed to think of the way our nation is being viewed in light of the current day's on-going satire and the constant ebb and flow of blame, dishonesty and scandal which have so consistently characterized this election.
The politics of fear
Never before have I witnessed a national, state or local election cycle that has been as negative, fear based and scandalized as the contest currently playing out in the United States. It is not to say I am unproud of my nation. I love America with all my heart and soul. I find deep inspiration in our past commitments to democracy, liberty and justice as well as our future potential to lead the world on a path of sustainability and peace.
I want to believe in American prosperity and the potential that all our children have to grow into charismatic and inspired leaders who will erect a new future landscape of innovation and opportunity. I want to know that as a nation we will take the right steps forward to mend the vast injustices which have been revealed deep within our national character over the last couple of years. I want to feel that we are moving in the right direction and that our heritage of freedom can be renewed to meet the evolving challenges of the coming years.
Looking forward to tonight's final U.S. Presidential Debate, I want to believe that I will hear something, see something, anything that will allow what has transpired to wash over me. Anything to leave me with a sense of optimism and pride about where we have been and where we will go.
And yet, even in my most passionate embrace, I am apathetic too. I am disconnected and I don't know how to plug back in. I just want to believe. I've always wanted to believe, to see, to feel, to know. This year it's been harder than most and yet I stand in waiting, hoping, praying for change. Praying for the redemption of my nation and the renewal of our legacy.
Is there anybody out there?
Please somebody help me believe!
Give me the eyes to see, the ears to hear and the heart to feel. I don't want to close down. I don't want to turn away. And yet, nonetheless, the show must go on and I, like Alex in "A Clockwork Orange," must watch, no matter how it feels, no matter what it does or makes me feel.
I must endure. I must find a way to survive it. To find hope in the face of darkness and resilience in the mouth of madness. Humbly, I prostrate myself before the television, tears streaming down my face, unable to look away. #Donald Trump #Hillary Clinton #2016 Presidential Debates