Chacos column: It’s a huge election year — here’s what you need to do
Enjoy the Ride
Some say I’m a snowflake; condemned to be an activist with no platform, a rebel without a cause, a delicate flower with little resiliency. I’m pretty sure these aren’t compliments, even though flakes are scientifically spectacular, each ice crystal creating a unique path toward the finish line.
And, while my fellow snowflakes haven’t flurried together recently, now feels like the time to plan for a blizzard. The 2020 presidential election is only months away, and I have work to do.
First, I will not stay politically uninformed any longer. Listening to the impeachment hearings gave me conversation starters and talking points around the water cooler at work. Yet, I was no smarter for it. I still don’t understand the intricacies of a caucus even though the news peppered me with flowcharts.
Back in college I took courses in political science and government; however, I still require refreshers every four years on the weight of the electoral college. Maybe I should have enrolled in the president’s said-name university instead.
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It’s time for me to acknowledge that my ignorance in these affairs is not a badge of honor. I have access to information and the wherewithal to search for answers on important questions. In lieu of Googling why my airplane seat needs to be in an upright position for take-off and landing, I should probably focus on the confusing Colorado caucus and primary system this election season.
Next, I will accept that education confuses people. Deniers of climate change refuse science the way flat Earthers fuel the absurd. These zealots go to extremes, upholding their right to speak and live in a manner consistent with their beliefs. There’s no point explaining day and night, shadows and the horizon, physics or the curve of a rainbow. It’s like talking to a brick or trying to explain to Britney Spears how disgusting it was when she walked barefoot into a gas station bathroom back in 2004.
I’ll never win an argument with solid reasoning, but I’m going to work hard at making common sense fashionable again.
Ideology is not knowledge; it’s deeply rooted conviction, and our current democracy cocoons these false truths. I doubt logic and facts could ever win the ongoing debate about displaying the Confederate flag, Russian interference, or who really deserved the congressional Medal of Freedom.
But, for the record: the Confederate flag is a modern symbol that represents white supremacy, the Russians really did interfere with our 2016 election, and a Tuskegee Airman should have that medal instead of Rush Limbaugh. Unfortunately, in the end, every single one of us looks ridiculous posting the latest meme about it on Facebook.
Additionally, I will swallow my fear this election season. This powerful motivator, weaponized by the current president, keeps us hopped up on the latest threat du jour. Let’s restore the rule of law and secure our border from the (caravans of!) illegal immigrants. We must protect the American people from explosive terror attacks by pouring (billions of needed!) dollars into our military by using (whatever!) methods necessary to protect our nation.
We devour inflammatory rhetoric like rabid animals at a Thanksgiving meal served well after the last football game of the day.
But it’s exactly this type of bombastic speech that fuels our collective, but truthfully, unfounded fear. The sense of chaos is frightening (dangerous!), and as a result, we’ve demanded order and security.
The unintended consequence, sadly, is excusing bigotry in our bakeries, beatings at our border, and racism before the ballot box because our bully in sheep’s clothing confidently wails that he will drain our stinky swamp.
He’s our whatever-it-takes, modern, (dare I say, sexy!) Marlboro man. We’ve even rationalized the latest atrocity, the firing of EU Ambassador Gordon Sondland and Army Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman. It’s exhausting, because I can’t even find a meme befitting our reality.
This snowflake will vote. I’m betting others will, too.
Andrea Chacos lives in Carbondale, balancing work and happily raising three children with her husband. She strives to dodge curveballs life likes to throw with a bit of passion, humor and some flair.
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