Before moving to America, I had zero interest in politics. In Jamaica, we can afford this privilege. In the grand scheme of things, our politicians are remarkably similar. As a people, we all share the same general goal and vision for Jamaica. Our only real reason for disagreement is based on our opinions of who can get us there faster or with less collateral damage.
America is nothing like that. Liberals and Conservatives have remarkably different ideas of what America should look like for today and the future. On the one hand, there are progressives trying to push forward into the America of Tomorrow. And then, there are the ones trying to bring America back to an archaic sense of when it was “Great.”
I often wonder if these people recognize that the greatness they’re referring to is fueled by fewer rights for everyone else but them. Of course, America was greater for White People when Black people couldn’t vote or attend the same schools they did. Of course, it was great for them before a Black man could have the audacity and opportunity to become President.
The Non-Voters in America
Before I get on my soapbox about racism and how and why it thrives in American conservative ideology, let me get back on track. I started this article off by being very clear that I never cared for politics before migrating to America and I explained why. So, please do excuse my hypocrisy while I make less than favorable remarks about people who do not vote in America.
Let’s consider the implications by taking a look at Joshua Tree, CA. I have explained in several prior articles that I left Georgia because I felt cornered as a Black person in the Southeast. The KKK is still active in Georgia and even adopted a highway, despite Nathan Deal’s best efforts to stop it. Now, when you drive into Georgia, you are welcomed by the KKK, so you know precisely whose country you’re in.
Not surprisingly, when I started looking for somewhere new, I wanted nothing to do with any red state or red town. For that reason, I immediately crossed Joshua Tree off my list. I instead considered 29 Palms, which was considered moderately left-leaning. However, when I arrived in California, guess which place was actually more left-leaning? Why, Joshua Tree, of course!
How did this happen? Statistics can only count the people who vote and who are registered to vote. They cannot account for the people who choose to go unheard. So, in an incredibly hipster, cutesy, Instagram-worthy, influencer-haven town strewn with hippies and L.A. transplants, Conservatives held the vote.
No Choice Is a Choice
These people were essentially volunteering to live under Conservative rule while protesting it. Even more hilariously, this was happening to them in the most left-leaning state in all of America. Throughout my travels, this has been the most poignant example I have seen of what happens when people choose not to vote.
The Rise of the Middle Ground
As divisions have widened between Liberal and Conservative politics, a new growth has emerged. They call themselves the Moderates, but whenever Liberals hear this description, we chuckle a little. I often wonder if Conservatives do too. That’s because Moderates overwhelmingly have incredibly conservative ideas and value systems. They just don’t want to be associated with Trump.
The same is true of most Libertarians. I mean, isn’t it funny how the political group that does not support federal involvement actually went to the Capitol to participate in federal manipulation by a previous Administration?
Right of Center
I first encountered Moderates in Wyoming. At the time, I really did think that these were people firmly set in the middle ground. I thought they would have remarkably reasonable opinions somewhere in-between. But, the more I listened to them, was the more I developed that little chuckle every Liberal has when the conversation of “Moderates” comes up.
Left of Center
I will say I have met one Moderate who was actually pretty far left. At first, I couldn’t understand why he described himself as Moderate at all. We agreed on just about everything when it came to politics, socio-economic policies, and race. But, then I thought about it. He was a left-leaning man in a rural, Conservative Colorado farm town. Maybe it was easier to hide behind the banner of the alleged middle ground.
The Arrogance of the Middle
While I quickly caught on to the right of the middle, I didn’t catch on to the arrogance until my parents visited me in Mexico. There were not that many TV programs in English except for a moderate U.S. “news” station. So, every so often, Mom would choose that to get a break from reading subtitles.
I had never had any discussion with my mother about the right of the middle, but as soon as the guy started talking, she looked up. “Why does he sound like a Trump supporter?” she said. “Didn’t he say he was moderate?”
As if by some stroke of irony, after railing on Biden and defending Trump, the guy then informed the viewers that this is why they should watch his segment. Because he had a balanced and objective view of politics as a Moderate. The look on my mother’s face was somewhere between not knowing whether she should laugh or be horrified.
I thought this was just a one-off shot, but since then, I have encountered several other self-identifying Moderates who spoke similarly. They would say the most bizarre things and then follow up with the reminder that they are the objective ones, so I should listen to them.
“I’m not from America,” I reminded one recently. “I came. I traveled. I saw. I chose. So, if you want an objective opinion, maybe you should be asking me.”
Final Un-Moderate Thoughts
As a follow-up to this, one day, I would like to write a post on why racism and racial ignorance thrive in Conservative areas. Personally, I think this is an issue Conservatives who do not consider themselves racist should answer. However, most of them are more concerned with convincing you they are not racist than they are with actually resolving racism in the circles they themselves occupy.
As someone who has traveled to 35 U.S. states, I can tell you that as a Black person I know immediately when I cross a red vs blue border. I bought land in a tiny town with less than 200 people in New Mexico, a reliably Democrat state. Meanwhile, I couldn’t even enter a town with 55,000 people in Arizona without running into the Confederacy and blatant hostility.
I know what you’re thinking. But, Arizona and Georgia are blue, now! No, they are not. Democrats won by a very slim margin in these states and, ironically, they both have Trump to thank. Statistics show that he spent so much time disparaging the mail-in-ballot system that a lot of people who confirmed him in the Republican primary (via mail-in-ballot, no less!) chose not to vote in the final elections because he had inspired their doubts in the election system.
In fact, the Secretary of Elections in Georgia went on record to state that had Trump just shut the hell up, he would have won Georgia by 10,000 votes. I do not doubt for a second that something similar is true of Arizona.
I guess, in some ways, it’s a little funny, isn’t it? Georgia and Arizona became the flip side of Joshua Tree on a statewide level.