Once upon a time, I took everything my father had to say as gospel regarding politics and government. My dad was a conservative evangelical Christian who genuinely believed he was right about all the issues. I think that is a large underlying problem with all people who eat, breathe, and spit out politics.
A Shift of Views
Life experiences and the lessons I’ve learned from God have significantly changed my political views, but I didn’t embrace becoming liberal. It was more about finally walking away from conservative views when Donald Trump ran for president and the aftermath that followed after he won.
I’ve shared this before, but my father and my stepmother didn’t like Donald Trump. His behavior and tone offended them as Christians who wanted Ted Cruz to win. When Trump attacked Cruz’s wife, they were beside themselves.
My dad explained that he and his wife would grin and bear it while holding each other’s noses at the voting booth because it would be a “Cold day in hell” before they voted for a Democrat, especially not a Clinton.
The Lesser of Two Evils
Their justification was “Voting for the lesser of two evils,” which never sat right with me. A vote for the lesser of two is still a vote for evil. What would Jesus instruct you to do? It was the first time I didn’t vote in an election when 2016 hit America with this impossible choice.
My mother was furious, screaming, “If you don’t vote, that is a vote for Trump!” I’ve heard that saying before, but I’m afraid I have to disagree. Not voting is exercising my human right NOT to cosign to behaviors and policies that I can’t entirely agree with.
I imagined standing before my maker and answering for my decision to vote for either of them, and I couldn’t find enough in either Trump or Hilary Clinton that deemed them worthy of my support and vote. I realize I will be chastised for confessing I didn’t vote, but that kind of thinking is another problem and brainwashed response.
Against the Odds: Trump Actually Wins
When Trump won the 2016 presidential election, my body had a visceral reaction that resembled a heart attack. I honestly called 911. I realize how absurd it sounds, but it’s my truth. It was a natural response to the news.
My body and spirit were so bothered by the news of the “Impossible,” as they were calling it, that I had a total panic attack and called 911. The thought of paying for an ambulance terrified me, and the operator helped me take some deep breaths to calm down. But things ultimately progressed into other fits of panic.
24-Hour News Cycles
People are being politically programmed, creating toxic extremists in both the Republican and Democratic parties. I watched my parents become angry and loud all of the time. FOX News conditioned my father, and he went from his wife holding his nose at the voting polls to defending Trump and his rude, ridiculous, and dangerous ideas and actions.
My mom became conditioned and consumed by hatred for Donald Trump and every single thing he did or said. They both ran 24-hour news cycles of different ideologies poisoning their minds.
Worse, they were both sick—my dad with primary progressive aphasia and my mother with breast cancer. I wonder if the anger and stress helped escalate and exacerbate their conditions.
Losing both parents simultaneously is a difficult lesson I’ve learned in this life. My dad’s aphasia took his ability to speak first. But it didn’t deter him from trying. He was so angry, and everything became politicized. I’d visit him to watch films and grabbed Analyze That with Robert De Niro, one of his favorite actors of all time.
He even did a pretty spot-on impression of him. Without warning, he began screaming about De Niro being a piece of turd because of something he said about Trump. Because my father was so political, getting him to talk about anything else was difficult.
So, unfortunately, my last communications with my father mainly were him stuttering to complete angry sentences about the Democrats. It was sad and unavoidable. For the first time in my life, I didn’t agree with anything he was spouting, and I had to hold in my own beliefs for fear of enraging him in his condition of dementia.
Joe Biden Enters the Chat
My mother was a Joe Biden fan and spent her last conversations convincing me to vote for a Democrat for the first time in my life. She guilted me about not voting and insisted if I didn’t vote that, it was a vote for Trump. I am uncertain as to why I allowed her that influence over me because I didn’t believe it.
I had concerns about Biden. From strange allegations and visible footage of him smelling people’s hair, I didn’t know what to believe about him. But after four years of Trump, I did not hesitate for too long about voting against him, seriously fearing a second term with a man who idolizes dictators.
Now, I watch, and Joe Biden honestly resembles how my dad began sounding and acting with his dementia as it progressed. Yet, some extreme liberals refuse to acknowledge it, even making excuses for him and angrily attacking anyone who says differently.
The hypocrisy of the matter is that they had made these dementia allegations about Trump and wanted a doctor to intervene, but now with Biden, who can barely complete a thought or sentence, they turn a blind eye. It’s maddening to watch both extremists live in hypocrisy and not know it.
An Impossible Decision
Politicians do not have the people’s interests at the center of their politics. Why else are we serving up Joe Biden and Donald Trump again? Neither of these politicians has the mental capacity to perform the job, and they are both terrifying in different ways within that position of power.
It’s becoming more apparent each day that the system is rigged and bought out by corporations. But the Democrats and Republicans operate as political cults with centuries of conditioning.
Much like any cult, if you don’t remove yourself, you’re subject to their brainwashing hold on you. It is frightening to know people are consuming 24-hour news cycles on top of an internet algorithm that serves as a biased echo chamber to further solidify their views. How will we ever come together to resolve the real issue — the government?
They have us fighting each other over trans rights and Bud Light, police violence, and supporting the thin blue line. The culture war division is intentional, and people are falling for it.
Outside of the Box
Because things have become so polarized on each side, you’re not allowed independent thought. If you question anything, you are viciously attacked, from comment sections to attending protests. But I don’t fit into a box.
People find it impossible that someone would support gun rights but want restrictions, women’s rights but think so feminism is toxic, LGBTQ rights but not agree with trans women competing in women’s sports, and marijuana rights while still acknowledging it is an addictive substance, all while identifying as a Jesus-loving Christian.
People don’t comprehend that I can support Black Lives but do not fully agree with the Black Lives Matter movement. It’s become all or nothing; pick one or the other full-scale, no questions asked.
And I feel displaced. I don’t know where I fit politically anymore or where others who feel and think like me operate. But surely they exist? I’ve become politically homeless, and both sides don’t acknowledge my existence as valid.
The far left thinks I’m a closeted bigot, and the far right thinks I’m sitting on the fence with a bleeding heart. It’s a lonely place to be. Are any of you with me?
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Elizabeth Ervin is the owner of Sober Healing. She is a freelance writer passionate about opioid recovery and has celebrated breaking free since 09-27-2013. She advocates for mental health awareness and encourages others to embrace healing, recovery, and spirituality.