Barking to run in the land of the free
So much rain fell, we couldn’t tell if we missed an irrigation rotation, and with branding not until the middle of the month, we went to Russia for more than two weeks. And are glad to be back in our own country, even if it is a little crazy right now.
We traveled with a group of about 128 passengers reviewing Russia’s past and present, aboard a ship moving down the Volga River from St. Petersburg to Moscow via some cute riverbank towns and commercially created villages. The passengers, English speaking Europeans, Canadians, Australians and such all asked, when we sat down together for dinner, the same question, “What is going on with your country’s elections?”
Our Russian guides had told us democracy in Russia was like being a chained dog. It gave them a longer chain, but their dish had been moved further away, and now they could bark about it all day long. I think Americans are starting to feel that way.
The folks on the ship were seeing what some Americans do after being lied to for decades, manipulated to vote against their own economic interest and told to fear and hate. They are America’s exposed raw nerve. Citizens ground down looking for salve. Some so raw they are accepting snake oil.
Somebody with television reality show savvy is tapping this raw nerve to make a grab for the White house. He is telling people what they want to hear. Blaming emigrants, pro-choice women, liberals and the like for the present woes in America.
Although, from what I witness at home and abroad, I think America is pretty great already. I do not want to give up any more freedoms to have security like Russian citizens. I don’t want a wall, don’t want to punish woman for making tough choices, don’t want to banish religions, and certainly don’t want a bankrupt practicing misogynist leading me anywhere.
I tried explaining this election cycle in the states is like a circus, or a bad reality TV show or a weekend night comedy act that has gotten out of control because political professionals did not take America’s raw nerve seriously.
The average American, I explained over my exquisitely prepared evening meals, is not politically active. Barely a majority vote on non-presidential years. Few caucus or vote in a primary. An American majority did not pick the party’s front-runners. Some people are so apathetic about the American political process they don’t vote at all.
This time people who were motivated to vote in primaries or caucus were angry.
Mad and motivated enough to look beyond party standards to make changes. Unfortunately these political nerve tappers are not really soothing. One spouting falsehoods people who follow him want to hear. Others feeling so disenfranchised support those who promise roses in a very thorny world.
Americans discouraged, know they have gone to war through false pretenses. Know the climate is changing, but told by political influencers they can’t do anything about it. Feel anger toward big banks and big business they had to bail out from their own greed.
During desserts, I shared we Americans are funny how we vote, however, most of us want the same things. To get along, raise our families, earn decent wages, and live satisfying lives.
Enjoying evening drinks I admitted the Russia we were being shown was beautiful, learning details about its erratic history interesting, but I would not want to be a chained dog in any county, so I bark, and vote, to run free.
Marie Johnson is a Carson Valley rancher