Probably I shouldn’t blog about politics ever. And usually I can hold my peace. Because I believe 99% of it is hype to fill up the time between commercials on the 24/7 news channels.
But I have been thinking about this blog post for a few months now, so here goes.
Did Russia meddle with the US elections? Here is my answer: I have no idea. And neither do you.
But perhaps a better question would be “Would Russia meddle with the US elections if it had the chance?”. Um, well, if given the chance, I wouldn’t put it past them.
And I am quick to add, I wouldn’t put it past the United States of America to meddle with nearly every significant foreign election in recent memory.
The second question would be “what is Russia trying to communicate to America?”. I will take a stab at that in a moment.
I was convinced Hillary would win. I didn’t think for a second that Mr. Trump had a chance. Shows how well I understand politics. Even with my misguided views, I was invited to do an interview on the eve of the election with Russia’s Rossiya-24 channel.
After the interview, I was heading home on the commuter train when I received a mysterious invitation to “An event at an undisclosed location. The location would be announced only immediately before the event was to begin.” I sort of thought that the “event” might include me digging a shallow hole in the woods. But my wife said, “That’s cool. You should totally go”. So, I did.
It’s sort of difficult to describe what the event was. I guess it was like a pro-Trump/pro-Kremlin election watch party. The speeches seemed to be very pro-Trump and anti-American government. But the main idea was a simple belief that Trump was the one who could improve Russia-US relations. I was asked if I would like to give a speech. I explained that, uh, I felt that probably nobody there wanted to hear my opinion on Trump. Although I was no supporter of Hillary either.
It was an interesting couple of weeks around the elections. It seemed the Russian people were euphoric about Obama’s exit and were convinced that Trump would improve the relations between our nations.
During that time, I talked to a lot of folks. And I guess I could say this is a list of things, in no particular order, the Russian people would want America to know (now that we have your attention).
Not saying that I agree with all of this, but I think it is helpful for Americans to understand. Because I have heard many of these points not just from Russians, but from folks I’ve met from many nations around the world.:
- Russians want better relations with the United States. It also seems they want it on their terms, just as America (1st) wants these improved relations on its terms. Not sure how that is supposed to work, but I believe there is a real desire for improvement of relations. Even at the awkward pro-Kremlin watch party, I sensed a sincere desire for improved relations, and a real concern for America.
- It’s strange for you to be indignant about any meddling in your elections. No one outside of the United States believes that the US isn’t getting their fingers in all of the pies.
- 800 Foreign Military Bases is a slight overdo. Maybe we could tone it down just a bit… and save some cash!
- The price of oil being attached to the dollar is unfair. That’s a really long conversation. Google it, if you’re interested to learn more.
- America’s democracy isn’t really a democracy. Elections are controlled by corporations, etc.
And maybe this is the moment when I can mention perhaps the one thing I don’t love about Russia. That is, I don’t love it when Russia blames America for things. I don’t love it, because I believe that Russia is a powerful nation, so the actions of other nations shouldn’t affect it. And in years past when my Russian friends would ask me “what Americans think about Russia”, I would shrug my shoulders and say something like “usually they don’t”.
But now, America, a superpower, and maybe we could say the superpower, is doing the same thing- blaming Russia for its own problems. Maybe we could pause for a moment and look at ourselves, instead of Russia. And maybe, just maybe, we can stop pointing fingers at Russians, Republicans, and Democrats.
Because although we are all sinners, if we make a little effort, we might just be able to begin working together again.