As many of you know I have been blogging since July of 1997, which was five months before the term ‘weblog’ or ‘blog’ was even coined. I have used my personal website slobokan.com, and now michaeltbarrett.com, as a platform to write about issues that are important to me, as well as to display my photographic work. If you have read my blog, or you have followed me on Facebook and Twitter for any length of time, you know I am an Independent. I am not a Republican nor am I a Democrat.
We have just wrapped up the 2016 Presidential Election. Hillary Clinton lost the election and President Obama will be working with Donald Trump for a smooth transition of power. Although our system of government is setup to provide for that smooth transition, there is a lot of anger, pain, and disbelief circulating among everyday people on the Internet this afternoon.
Let’s talk about the consequences of elections…
In the run up to the election of 2008, I refused to jump on the Obama bandwagon and I was chastised by many people for that choice. Every time Barack Obama spoke he seemed to contradict himself and I expressed my worry. I pointed out those contradictions and I was called a racist. I researched each candidate extensively, like I always do, and the more I researched Mr. Obama, the more I saw danger in his proposals and ideas. I did not want to ‘dislike’ Mr. Obama, but with the exception of one sentence, he never spoke a word as a candidate or as President of the United States that I felt I could believe. If you do not believe me, look back on my posts from 2007 through 2009.
I warned my readers that Barack Obama was dangerous for America, and I was called paranoid. When Mr. Obama was elected in 2008, I spoke out about his policies and initiatives, because each one seemed to contradict one of his campaign promises, require a large increase in tax revenue to fund, or infringe on our rights to implement. Throughout this process I was a called a racist, a bigot, and a hater. Then came the “Affordable Care Act”, which I actually read. Did you? I wrote several blog posts about it. I analyzed each section, pointing out the huge increase in government oversight, costs, and policies that would infringe on our rights as a free people. I did my homework. I saw it as the train-wreck that we know it is today. I studied, and although I had valid reasons (all of which have been proven true since then) for refusing to support Barack Obama, I lost friends, I made enemies, I was labeled by my opponents, and I even lost my job.
Eight years ago, I was laid off from a job that I had for more than a decade because Barack Obama won the election. My employer at the time had warned all of their employees that if Obama was elected they were going to “scale back”. The details of the way I was asked to train two H-1B Visa recipients to perform my job duties before I was suddenly laid off comprise a story for another day. The bottom line is that I sacrificed a lot eight years ago because I refused to ignore the truth, and I will not ignore the truth today.
So here we are.
Many of the same people who called me a racist for not supporting Barack Obama are now calling Trump supporters racists because they voted for him. The same people who said I was bigot because I did not vote for, or support, Barack Obama are calling Trump supporters sexists because they did not vote for Hillary Clinton. The same people who called me a hater because I pointed out the truth and stood by it, are now hating on Donald Trump yet refusing to see the truth, let alone acknowledge it, in their own flawed (and failed) candidate. It is funny, however, that I do not notice Independents, Libertarians, or conservative “neverTrump” supporters attacking anyone this afternoon. Call it what you will, but attaching labels to people is never a good idea.
Do you dislike an individual if they prefer different food than you do? Do you hate someone who drives a different car than you? Would you attack someone simply because they supported the theatre rather than a sports team? I highly doubt it. Yet, people today are unfriending each other on social media, attacking each other, and pulling the racist/sexist/bigot/hater card simply because they supported one candidate over another. This is ridiculous… Again!
Let me make one thing very clear. I had no dog in this fight. I voted for Gary Johnson because I was hoping to further the effort to bring another voice to the national political stage in the next election cycle. I voted for Gary Johnson because I do not believe our government should be involved in ANY aspect of our personal lives. I voted for Gary Johnson because my conscience would not permit me to vote for the lesser of two evils, which is still a vote for evil no matter how you look at it.
With this said, I will now receive hate mail from some people telling me that it is my fault that Hillary lost because I “wasted” my vote on Johnson, even though my vote would not have made a difference here in Georgia. I will receive insults because I will remember the words and actions of Donald Trump from days gone by and use those words to point out his own hypocrisy and disdain for the truth if he crosses that line. I will be labeled with one of those cards listed above simply because I will write about the issues and our President-Elect while making reference to that one word that is vile and repulsive to many who debate politics and religion. That word is ‘truth’.
The truth is, I remained fairly quiet during this election cycle because I did not trust Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump and espousing the values of my own independent positions would have fallen on deaf ears. Now that he has been elected, President-Elect Trump will have to earn my trust, just like any other candidate. He will have to prove that his words during the election cycle were true. He will have to prove that he is the man he says he is today, and not the man he clearly was before the election cycle began. Most importantly, he will have to prove that he is different than Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton because I know the reasons why I could not, and do not, support them.
A little over eight years ago, on October 30, 2008, candidate Barack Obama promised to “fundamentally transform the United States of America”. That sentence, that sentiment, is the only sentence he has spoken since 2007 that I feel I could believe. He has fundamentally changed our country, there is no doubt about that. Attacks on personal freedoms (ie: religious liberty), our still broken healthcare system, and legislating through the use of Executive Orders are just a few examples. The past eight years have brought strife, turmoil, and angst to many Americans, but today there is hope for the future, but only if we work together to be a force for change.
Last night was a wake up call to America. The people made it clear that they want change. Real change. Will Donald Trump work to bring that change? I hope so, I really do. I think he did a great job last night with his victory speech, and truth be told, I feel a bit more optimistic today than I did in 2008. The one thing I know for sure is that America today has fundamentally transformed since 2008, personally I have fundamentally transformed since 2008, and I will once again optimistically look forward to tomorrow but I will not refrain from referencing the truth as we begin this journey into tomorrow!