Vote Your Conscience

Vote Your Conscience

Is this what you call great?

America, I think you can tell if you’ve read many of my rambles, that I’m a bit of a fan of yours. I grew up watching your movies, listening to your music, and believing in the values you espouse; our inalienable right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Those words have real meaning for us all. And when you gained your independence you started a process that would undermine not only British, but all forms of Western imperialism.

I know that over-simplifying a complicated stretch of history but I live in a Republic today and I believe that’s because you exist.

I also grew up watching British movies, listening to British music and loved listening to debates about unions and solidarity and building a more just society for all. Do I think Britain is great? I think of Britain as being England, Scotland and Wales and yes, I think they are all great.

Do I think every country is great? Well … yes, I do.

So you’re a fan of everybody? Look, every country and every nation is great. There is no denying that. And saying that one thing is great does not detract from the greatness of something else. For example if I say “strawberries taste amazing to me” and in the next breath I say “and I think blackcurrants are wonderful”, does that in any way lessen the gorgeousness of strawberries? Of course not.

I’ve actually been wanting to make that point for a couple of years now. Not in regards to nations. In regards to saying everybody is special. Everybody is special. It’s an undeniable fact of life. The specialness of one person in no way detracts from the specialness of someone else. It’s not something that guarantees you anything. It’s just a fact. Everybody is special. I get so dumbfounded by how some people don’t instinctively get that.

So, yes. Every country and every nation is great. But I am a particular fan of yours. And I think a huge part of that is the ideals you represent. Not just represent. You built a country founded on those ideals.

I know the history of the United States is a very complicated and complex one. And the treatment of the Native American peoples is … well, there aren’t really words to do justice to what they’ve endured and suffered.

I am also aware that the nation, though founded on high ideals, was in part built by slaves who had no choice – or liberty – in what they were building.

All history is complicated. It’s why I prefer to look at it in broad brush strokes.

But those ideals outlasted the injustices. They defeated them.

Those ideals didn’t perish under the weight of riches your nation worked hard for and grew to acquire. They moved beyond your borders, they ran through this world and captured the hearts and minds of most all they encountered.

They are what make you great.

A man once said “Vote your conscience”. Unfortunately that man was Ted Cruz. I’m sorry Mr Cruz. I don’t know much about you. I thought the insults Trump spat at you during the 2016 campaign were truly awful and to be honest that made me feel quite sympathetically towards you. Until you then turned around and started supporting him???

I wrote a post about Brexit in which I said that it was wrong to assume that people who voted for Brexit were either racist or anti-immigrant. I meant it and I still believe it. With the way things are going I really hope for ordinary British people’s sake that they get a second vote. But that’s a completely different issue…

I’m sorry. As usual, I’ve veered off track.

Vote with your conscience, not with your pockets or your personal feelings.

I don’t assume that people who voted for Trump in 2016 are not good people. But if you vote for politicians who support him now, then regardless of your reasons, you now know you are voting in support of policies and positions like the ones documented in this video.

And that seems like a vote against all that makes you truly great.

vote with your conscience
Well said Ted.



November 7th – Results are in.

So the Democrats got control of the House of Representatives.

That’s good. But… considering … I don’t even want to think about it all …

– Trump’s response to the Charlottesville neo-nazi march, one of whom the next day mowed down a young woman standing up to hate, Heather Heyer.

– The “Travel Ban” which in its first iteration targeted countries with majority Muslim populations – after he had campaigned for the presidency saying he was going to ban Muslims. Not that what he says matters a damn. Remember how the ban was first implemented? Remember the chaos it caused? People with existing green cards being denied entry? Odd, wasn’t it? As if they set it up to fail so people wouldn’t question too closely the reasons for choosing slightly different set of countries they did in the next iteration.

 – His blatant lack of care or interest in helping Puerto Rico recover after the hurricane.

Do you know what? There’s just too many to list and it’s too depressing. Even one of those examples should be enough to give people serious pause about endorsing or supporting Trump.

I’m ashamed to say it but I didn’t fully give up on Trump until Charlottesville.

The thing about him is it’s obvious he likes to be liked so I thought maybe maybe maybe he could be persuaded to implement policies that would please people. Unfortunately Trump is focused on pleasing the people who voted for him. And he believes that his voters, his base, are truly deplorable. Hillary said it. But he believes it. And he will do everything deplorable he can to please you his customers snake oil drinkers voters.

I don’t think his voters are like that. I think they like him. He’s likeable – if you ignore all the awful stuff he does. And they do and will because they like him. They believe he means well – he doesn’t mean any thing. And they’re angry. I get that. I’m angry. I try and keep on the sunny side but I’m very angry about a lot of stuff. But I don’t see immigration or globalisation as the roots of our problems. I see inequality as the root cause of all our problems.

But going into that will turn this into another interminable ramble.

I’m really disappointed by the results. Even though I know they’re good. The situation is now better than it was before the elections. It’s just I was hoping that there would be such a strong shift in support of Democrats (or those who stand against Trump) that it would be a clear signal to your President that no one supports the wrong things that he does so if he wants anyone to like him he’ll have to change course.

Hopefully things will all work out well. And the House will be able to act as a strong check against the worst of Trump’s manoeuvrings and machinations. Hopefully. And I’ll feel pretty silly about writing this. Hopefully.

But America, why not create a third party? Seriously, why not? A third party wouldn’t even need a majority to become effective they would just need enough seats in both houses to hold the balance of power in each.

I get that other parties do exist – what I’m saying is votes to parties other than the two main ones should not be considered lost votes. And maybe start a new one? I don’t know…

Sorry Democrats I’m not trying to deflate your victory. It’s just from the outside looking in this is a question that constantly repeats.

It’s a good result. Congratulations to all who won.

Please try and put manners on your President.


With warm regards and sincere best wishes,


A fan


After some reflection…

OK. I know I was far too negative there. The results are good. And it seems they might be getting better.

I’ve watched some videos that just made me think – yeah, I don’t really know enough about it all. I decided to add this one here because … I think if an American with liberal and socially minded views were to read this they might be annoyed by how simplistic I can be about things. How simplistic and how not-well-informed-aunty-saying “come on now let’s all play nicely together” I might seem. And it’s easy for me to be that way 5000 miles away. So the video below is from a channel I think is very entertaining but it’s harsh in a way I wouldn’t be – because I’m older and so have too much history of being wrong to judge others too harshly.

Unless you’re talking out your elbow about housing or healthcare in Ireland in which case I can have a tendency to let rip.

But if you’re reading this thinking – she doesn’t get it. You’re right.

And you should enjoy this –

***Warning: There’s a teeny tiny bit of swearing in this.

I am going to say one thing though. I know that the Founding Fathers were far from perfect – but seriously America gaining independence from Britain was the start of the slow and really quite painful unravelling of Western Imperialism. Yes, it wasn’t straightforward. And yes Western Imperialism really had its heyday after that. But honestly that’s how I see it. And you may be screaming – you dumb twit America is Western Imperalism.

No. It’s different.

And I’m still a fan.

But one who knows I don’t really know enough to comment. I’d be better off just rambling on about what’s happening here in Ireland. Why amn’t I? If you think the Trump adminstration is depressing, try reflecting on the housing crisis here and how successive governments and housing ministers have failed to implement a tax policy on rental incomes that would encourage more stable and affordable rents. It may not sound as awful as putting children in cages but when you’re – actually sorry, no, forcing (through lack of proper policies) families into emergency accommodation is nowhere near as bad as separating children from their parents and housing them in cages. But it’s bad. And when I sit down to write something I get so down and angry about it that I just … watch some old movie instead.

You know one of the really annoying things about Trump? Prior to his administration I was very comfortable being highly critical of our politicians. And now when I start getting angry about things I find myself thinking – but come on now, at least they’re not racist, or obviously lying, and they do have a clue what they’re talking about. I may not agree with them. But they’re at least aware of the bare facts of … whatever. And they represent the country well.

One very last point – OK two – because I really don’t want to be rambling on about US policies when I live 5000 miles away so I’ll just put it all here.

One – I didn’t know about the birther stuff before Trump became President. I knew that idiots questioned if President Obama was American. I didn’t know Trump was one of them. I’ve never followed US politics as closely as I do now. And now I find it hard to avoid.

Two – America, please stop the gun violence. It’s horrendous. It’s sick-to-the-stomach awful. Yes. You need stricter controls on the sales of firearms. And if your politicians are unable to bring in these kinds of regulations then you need to make it costly for gunmakers and gun lobbyists (like the NRA) to oppose these sorts of regulations. Think about taking cases against them. How could you sue them for lobbying against gun control? Could this be considered aiding and abetting crime? Or incitement? Or some failure in a duty of care relationship? Does the NRA owe a duty of care to its members? Make the cases with the right plaintiffs in the right jurisdictions. You don’t need to win. You just need for costs not to be awarded – as in the defendants will have to pay their own legal fees. Do it. Make them pay for valuing profits over human life.

And yeah, I don’t have much of a clue, but even a clueless twit can tell you that the reason why you have a problem with mass shootings is because of a lack of regulation over the sales of firearms in your country.

So … please stop that.

And remember you’re great. No matter what. We all are.