I Mourn the Apparent Death of Civility and Equality

By Karina Park (San Diego Miramar College Undergraduate)

At the risk of becoming a punching bag, I have a confession to make. 

Despite being a woman who is pushing forty and being a registered voter for almost my entire adult life, I have been politically apathetic. I have registered as a Republican, Democrat, Green, and most recently as an Independent, but none of the boxes ever truly fit. I was trying, and failing, to find the party and candidate that aligned best with my personal values: integrity, courage, tenacity, compassion, gratitude, and excellence in everything I do. Because to the divisiveness and vitriol of politics, because I never saw any party or candidate as truly “better” than the other, and because I wanted to respect the voters that truly did care, I abstained from voting.

All that changed in 2016.

I was really excited to vote for Sanders, but then it came out that the DNC rigged things in Clinton’s favor. Disgusted, I decided to sit out another election, but as Trump continued to denigrate and attack anyone who was not white, male, or heterosexual, I realized there was no possible way I could sit this one out. My sense of social justice could not silently endorse ethnocentricity, exclusivity and blatant hatred. I understood why people supported him. I understood their rage against a broken system, but I still believed that decency, equality and experience mattered more, so I cast my vote based on that. 

Needless to say, I was devastated when the poll numbers started rolling in. I walked around in shock for the next two days. The outcome speaks volumes as to what my fellow countrymen and women value, and as a bisexual, multi-ethnic woman who hasn’t identified as Christian for over a decade, it was clear they cared more about being indignant than being concerned about people like me. I mourn the apparent death of civility and equality, and watch in sadness as the hate and division grew.

This is not how I envisioned my first election to feel. I hated my options, but still chose decency, equality and inalienable human rights over my disgust for a broken system. No politician or party has the moral high ground, because we’ve all contributed to the hateful discourse in some way. 

It is said that “insanity is doing the same thing over and over again while expecting a different result.” The two party system doesn’t work. The outdated electoral college routinely fails us all, yet we, the voters, still passively accept it all, frequently taking our frustrations out on another human being in the same exact spot. I’m so tired of the fighting, the anger, and division. We’re all just human beings desperately seeking love, joy, peace, connection & belonging. Now, let’s shake hands and work together to chart a new path. I promise I’ll even vote again!