Last week, I made a comment on Facebook stating that would Americans who vehemently defend the Electoral College since Donald Trump was elected president would be so supportive of it if it had handed the election to Hilary Clinton, despite losing the popular vote. Consequently, I had many responses trying to convince me that the Electoral College was fair and how it was a true representation of how Americans voted. There was some small debate, something which I welcome as well as people being free to state their opinions. That’s what a free society is about.
Before I go into the main point of this post, let me tell you, in a roundabout way, my thoughts on the above. I voted for Jill Stein of the Green Party in 2016. She only received two per cent of the vote but if by some weird happening, the Electoral College had put her in the White House, I would have been embarrassed. I would have felt that she truly did not deserve to be president even though I had voted for her. In my opinion, her election would have made a mockery of how the American people had voted. Some will point out that the gap between the two ‘main’ candidates was closer and Trump’s election was justified by the result of the electoral college. I am still of the opinion that the election of the President should be a direct vote of the entire nation, devoid of state boundaries. That’s my opinion and you are free to disagree or agree with me. On a side note, at least I can get to say to my British friends who criticize Americans for voting in Trump, that they didn’t. The Electoral College elected Trump.
To my main point, I must commend everybody who commented on that Facebook post for simply stating their opinions and not hurling insults at persons whose opinions were different to their own. A few years back, I used to follow an opinion sharing site called Soda Head where people weren’t so civilized when confronted with an opinion different to their own. Both right and left were guilty of this practice. I will now list some examples from my own experiences.
- When I mentioned how a couple of my fellow Marines had their service careers ruined because they had failed a drugs test, I was called a “Shit for brains, drugger.”
- I pointed out that in my then 25 years of living in the UK, how I heard when people said things said about minority ethnic groups in the country were called racist but when they said similar or worse things about Americans, were ignored or even applauded, I was called ignorant.
- Posting a question as to whether Sweden was doing something right because they hadn’t fought a war in over 200 years, I was told to go live in Sweden. Additionally, two people engaged in a debate on my point because Sweden had sent support troops to Afghanistan which, 25 Swedish soldiers were killed. The debate ended with one calling the other a ‘stupid moron.’
- Responding to a question about President Obama, I was told off by one person for “chiming in from the UK when I didn’t live or vote in the US.” I informed that person that I was American born and bred and because I live in the UK, I feel it’s even more important for me to vote in US elections because I now see first hand that when America sneezes, the rest of the world catches cold. I got a lot of “Likes” for that response.
- Stating the fact that I was circumcised at birth and it didn’t do me any harm, I was told I was too dumb to know what I was posting about.
- Not on the Soda Head site but on the Supply Teacher’s Forum on the Times Educational Supplement site, I asked if I was thick because I stated that the normally union hating Sun newspaper might have been sympathetic to teachers going on strike in support of a colleague who had been struck off the teaching register for participating in a TV documentary where she went into classrooms with a hidden camera.
As most people with Asperger’s Syndrome might tell you, they can often take what was said to them to heart. That has always been a problem with me. In my early life, I was often teased, called names and downright bullied for daring to venture a different opinion. It’s also why I wrote this post and why I strongly hate those who belittle others who’s views are different than their own. By the way, both right and left are guilty of this. For Conservative types, just because someone’s opinion is different to yours, doesn’t make the a wimp or a socialist or even a liberal. One person thought that calling Jill Stein a socialist would stop me voting for her. For the left, a different opinion doesn’t make someone a racist or a redneck. In both cases, it doesn’t make anyone stupid and calling a person such isn’t going to change their opinion even if you do think it’s wrong.
Going back to the beginning, my main beef isn’t the Electoral College. Being a Stein voter, I was dismayed how she and Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson were barred from participating in the presidential debates. This was in spite of the fact that 56% of Americans thought they should. The 15% on the polls qualification is unfair to minor candidates and it’s an affront to democracy. A better rule should be if a candidate’s name appears on the ballad in a minimum of forty states. That’s just my opinion.
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