I’m sick of discussing this election.
No matter the political affiliation, it seems everyone has proven they are incapable of taking a reasoned approach to covering the candidates. We are all in a rushing to reach the moral high ground and the reality is that none of us deserve it. In an effort to prove how different and better we are, it seems we have accidentally stumbled onto some common ground. We – liberal, conservative and everything in between – are all terrible.
Don’t worry, this isn’t going to dissolve into some holier-than-thou column discussing how politics are meaningless. I think the political process is meaningful. Furthermore, I feel it is the height of privilege to be able to claim the government does nothing to help or harm you. But that being said, I think the way we approach elections is pretty gross.
Have you heard that Hillary Clinton is sick? Did you know Donald Trump is fat? If you google either of their names, you will find some version of this spewed into a headline as if it is actual news. Maybe it’s just my election fatigue, but I don’t give a crap about either of those things. Conspiracy theories regarding Hillary’s health ended up forcing the candidate to come forward and admit she’s been battling pneumonia. Not that it’s necessarily any of our business to begin with, but I’m glad that her condition is treatable and she will likely be back on the campaign trail after a little rest. End of conversation? Of course not.
In order to have the moral high ground, somebody has to be wrong. So, after putting Hillary through the ringer to prove her physical well being, we believe Trump owes us documentation of his own health. Because, in America, we are all free to make each other feel like shit. So, Donald Trump presented the results of his most recent physical to Dr. Oz (because of course) and we learned that Trump is not exactly what you’d call “thin.” Thank god! A flaw we can use to tear him down – you know, because we were so severely lacking in evidence to prove he is not fit for the presidency. Now we know he is fat, and fat is worse than sick. Or the same. Or better. Either way, that shit is going in the burn book.
Somebody has to be right, apparently. And what better way to reach the high road than throwing your opponent off the road and into oncoming traffic?
There are so many things we must know about a candidate in order make an educated decision in an election. Their education, their voting history, their plans for their time in office. Of course we require some level of transparency. But the rhetoric of this past week? Literally nobody needs to know the results of a candidate’s physical exam. This isn’t just an opinion – this shit is protected by HIPPA and the Americans with disabilities act.
We don’t have a right to demand anyone’s medical records – not even if they’re being an entitled hypocrite about it. And let’s say those records DID prove that one of the candidates had a chronic condition? What if Hillary Clinton WAS suffering from something more than pneumonia? That doesn’t actually disqualify her from office.
Being ill does not necessarily interfere with one’s abilities to perform a job. We literally have a law in place to protect from this kind of discrimination.
None of this was any of our business. But it seems we all felt entitled to some piece of it. That’s pretty disgusting.
(Quick side note: We all seem to be forgetting about President Franklin Roosevelt, who was wheelchair-bound due to the effects of polio. It was a condition he did his best to hide from the public. Roosevelt refused to be seen in public or photographed in a wheelchair. And yet, despite this illness, he was elected to office a record four times. He also helped guide the nation through the Great Depression and World War II. While in a wheelchair.)
I’m not saying elections are going to be all sunshine and rainbows. That’s not the way it works. But this incessant need to prove how horrible the opposing sides is, well, it’s not exactly helpful. Liberals call conservatives stupid and racist. Conservatives call liberals elitist. Others say both sides are sheep for buying into a flawed system to begin with. The argument seems to be that somebody must be wrong, but what if we’re actually all correct? We can all be stupid and a little (or a lot) racist and elitist and smug. Maybe we’re all equally terrible.
It seems we’ve all turned into mean girls, competing to tear each other down in the most underhanded ways possible. Trump’s fat and he has a small penis. Hillary is sick and, lest we forget, she couldn’t stop her husband from cheating on her. Trang Pak is a grotsky little byotch, and Amber D’Alessio made out with a hot dog. Who the fuck cares?
Seriously, we need to stop calling each other sluts and whores. Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump have the lowest approval ratings of any two people running for office. They are both flawed candidates with legitimate reasons to want to vote against them. But if you can’t express your point without name calling or attack a candidate’s appearance or questioning his or her health, then you have no right to claim moral superiority.
Don’t give me the argument that the other side started it or that it’s okay because he/she is just so reprehensible that you should get a free pass on being a dick. We are all down in the mud together. And the whole world is watching this. So whether you are “with her” or hoping to “make America great again,” you have to start by growing up.
Molly Regan is an improviser and writer in Los Angeles. She likes chicken pot pie, Adam Scott’s butt and riot grrl.