Today's moment of gratitude: I'm not back in the States for this ludicrous election cycle. I mean, even the relatively normal Democratic side is historic, with one candidate a Jewish socialist, the other a former First Lady currently under an FBI investigation. But that's nothing compared to the total catastrophe across the aisle. Just look at this summary of the latest Republican debate from Pajiba. All the important topics concerning our nation are there: Donald Trump's penis size, candidate's yoga practices. Though at one point Trump does reach new heights, when he doubles down on his suggestion that war crimes are totally necessary in the Middle East today. The democratic process at its finest!
But luckily I'm in Germany. Everything here is to the left of the United States. My German colleagues are boggled by the current election and are constantly asking me what the hell my fellow Americans are thinking. However, back home isn't as liberal... My workplace back in Indianapolis has a stereotypical political atmosphere. Use this handy pseudo flowchart!
White, male, American? Republican.
The only person I know who does not follow this trend is a white American man who votes Democrat because his political point of view is to just to follow his Sanders-loving wife. Everyone else falls firmly along these demographic lines. Unfortunately, I work with a lot of the first on the list. Making election seasons rough.
This week, colleagues from Indianapolis were in town. And they were all white American men. And seriously Republican.
One of the guys was somewhat new and I wasn't sure of his political affiliation. He started to bemoan the state of our country, how we were headed in the wrong direction. I was somewhat optimistic - maybe he's as frustrated with Trump's success as my German colleagues seem to be? But then he takes a turn and I realized I'm talking to a goddamn Tea Partier: He is worried about the values in the country, he doesn't feel he can be himself, this isn't the America he grew up in. Seeing as he was born in the sixties, this is a good thing, right?
I honestly have no idea what he's talking about when he says 'be himself'. He's lost me. So I inquire - what the hell are you talking about?
The PC culture means he can't say or call people whatever he wants. He can't wear his gun on his hip wherever he wants to. He can't force a woman to have his child - why don't people think of the men when they talk about abortion!
Jesus H. Christ.
You're at a business dinner. You are in your forties. Surely, twenty years in an industry would teach you that you do not talk politics at dinner, especially when you don't know half the people at the table. You don't bring up abortion when everyone else is talking about the best beer gardens in Munich.
Also, the hypocrisy of this asshole. I mention that I actually think we're moving in the opposite direction, as people of color and various genders, sexual orientation, etc., have more opportunities than they have before.
His response? Oh, that's fine for you. I don't care about those things. I just want to be able to take my gun wherever I want to.
But what if this makes people feel unsafe or threatened?
That's not my problem.
And then he moved on to abortion. How is that not letting him be who he wants to be? Apparently he is upset that men (specifically, the sperm donor) don't get a say in whether or not a woman can get an abortion. When I mention specific examples of raped women forced to have their attackers' children, he rolls his eyes and says I'm being emotional. Since he doesn't have a uterus, I am not particularly moved by his argument. And even if we're not talking about rape, the guy doesn't have to go through the pregnancy, isn't required to help the woman during the pregnancy or raise the kid. Fuck him, basically.
The German sitting next to us heard our conversation. Knowing firmly which camp I'm in, he asked me how I feel about the recent Super Tuesday results. I tell him that I will be staying in Germany if Trump wins in November. His response: Honestly, if Trump wins, my wife and I agree that our annual trips to the United States are over.
Republican Asshat grunts and turns to his fellow 2nd Amendment Chest Thumper, leaving us liberals to our wine and steak. Five minutes later, he's complaining about how all women are crazy and terrible drivers and can't be trusted.
I might need to stay in Germany regardless of who wins the election.
It's been a few days and I'm honestly still a little ragey about it. The smugness, the hypocrisy, the total ignorance and apathy to anyone else. Also, a quick review of the Wikipedia page and a gossip session with another colleague, I'm pretty sure the guy has Narcissistic Personality Disorder. I mean, I did take a whole semester of Psychology in high school.
Honestly though, I'm grateful to be overseas for this election. It's nothing but hate and anger and lack of real discussions or ideas. The most recent GOP debate started off with a discussion about penis size. It's depressing and embarrassing. At least I only have to face the stupidity during business trips instead of sharing a cubicle wall with it every day.