The Miseducation of America

American Beliefs and how they are shaped in the era of Trumpism

As I write this, America is entering its third day of tallying votes after what has been one of the most historically charged elections in American history. I don’t write about politics, it’s not my expertise, but one cannot deny or fail to realize more and more, we all have to take part in this conversation. I’ve had several discussions in the past few weeks with Americans who have or voted again for the current regime (regardless of their race, class, or religion) and they have one tragic thing in common; the sheer lack of proper education and information regarding the politics, and social structures in their own country and even more so the rest of the world. America was always a place of assimilation but what is more and more apparent, in the current political climate, it is now increasingly about creating isolation and widespread misinformation. Your average voter, the citizen is absolutely clueless as to how the rest of the world actually works.

Driven either by improper education or sheer lack of interest in the facts, conservative and current republican voters pipe on about the big words they have been driven to fear (socialism, immigration, open borders, closed borders, those countries over there with all those problems, they all want our freedom, etc). All this perpetuated not only by conservative-leaning media or right wing mouth-pieces, but primarily by the mountain of factually incorrect information the current administration has fabricated over the past six years. Lack of facts, outright lies and purposeful misinformation repeated, over and over until it sticks. You hear something often enough you start to believe it.

It all starts with Education.

Bernie Sanders, said it again and again. The uneducated masses, the foot soldiers of the rich ruling class are doing their bidding; with absolutely no knowledge on how the economy works, how trade works, how their blood sweat and tears have been manipulated in order to cash in on fear, prejudice and outright racism.

The education system in this country is broken, and it is that way on purpose. The voting public votes with their misguided and misinformed fears of how socialism is bad, even though probably most of their family members get a social security cheque each month, their kids get school lunches and their parents are on medicare or medicaid. They talk about people being able to make an honest living, even though most administrations; most recently the current one, have made zero progress to support small businesses, fund and publicly support freelancers, and basically import everything from toothbrushes to car parts from China. They talk about those other scary places over there that are shit hole countries that suppress their people, but hardly recognize or understand that the regime they vote for does the suppressing and the dividing around the globe for the sake of capitalism and the all (not so) mighty dollar.

Intelligence has left the building.

The viewpoint of the average American voter has drastically decreased over the past four years in ways I would not have fathomed even during the dreaded Bush years. The level of disinformation is staggering, frightening, and worrisome. Cognitive, analytical thought has all but disappeared. I don’t think all of the voting public out there are spiteful, vindictive or vengeful, but there seems to be an increasing lack of knowledge, understanding of history, and general common sense. I would like to think (or hope) most Trump voters, deep down are loving, caring individuals, who really want a better future for their families, however their access to proper information, on the one hand, and vehement opposition to finding it on the other, makes me think that willful ignorance is systemic and cultivated on purpose. It’s to the advantage of the current regime to breed mistrust, self-doubt, and fear. Divide and conquer politics is what fascist and totalitarian regimes are built on, and Trump used the playbook of much smarter figureheads than himself. However…

American Politics are World Politics

As I’ve written before and will write again, the American election defines and affects the world stage. As America votes, the world is affected. The only difference now, after four years of a deeply divisive, and polarizing regime; with a leader who quite plainly lacks leadership skills, lacks empathy, and knowledge, lacks humility and understanding of how the democratic process works, the way America votes has given other countries and economies a massive headway. China, Russia, India to name a few, have surpassed and will leave behind America in technology, education, and innovation. The shithole countries so colorfully described recently by the demagogue in chief, actually have a leg up on microeconomics, have elected more women in leadership positions, and have better education systems than America has had in a long time.

So where does this upcoming U.S election leave us?

The rifts and deep divisions created by the past four years (and lets be honest way before that), are even bigger and more destructive than before. The seeds of ignorance, hate, white supremacy and nationalism are alive and well. People have been fooled into thinking those others are at fault for their plight, and only one man is capable of fixing it. But as the famous saying states. The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, expecting a different result. True change is painful, messy and difficult to swallow. Which pill are we to choose ? The red pill or the blue pill. Do we continue to ignore the obvious, and look the other way while regimes like this one claim they are supreme leaders who won’t relinquish power? or do we take the dive into the uncomfortable reality that if we really do want change we have to fucking fight with passion and conviction.

Only when we absorb these horrific lessons from the past can we prevent them from happening again. So far it seems that the lessons are doomed to be repeated. We failed first grade, again and again, writing needlessly on that blackboard, “I’m a bad student, I’m a bad student”, over and over again. I’m an optimist at heart, but my skepticism has grown over the years as I hold my breath for what I hope will be a turn towards unity, rather than a quick dive into the flames of hate and fear.

This man child in chief never cared about his country, or the people who he tricked into voting for him, this was clear from the beginning. Those who voted for him, not once but twice, falsely believe in lies because this regime has told them over and over again something they want to hear rather than what they should be hearing. Elections that are compromised (and we’ve heard of all of them from afar) were compromised due to corrupt leaders who wanted to hold on to power much more than to be true leaders of their electorate. This is demagoguery, (Greeks invented it, it seems to be in fashion again all over the world), this is not a surprise. He knows how voting works, what he doesn’t know is how to sit down, shut up and accept that not everyone likes him.

Till then we have to sit and wait, and hope that the fiasco that is American society and politics will get its shit together and grow the fuck up. Our planet, our young people, and our lives depend on it.

Why I vote- How the U.S vote the world votes.

There is a fundamental truth that prevails in how the United States are seen by the rest of the world.


How the US vote the world votes.

I was very aware of this reality from a very early age. I was born in Greece to an American mother and a Greek father. I’m an American by default; I didn’t become a full fledged  “American” until after our arrival here as a family in 1992, at the tail end of the first Bush administration. As a young teenager, I discovered a very different America, from the one shown to the rest of the world. The America advertised in the movies, was a completely different place, than the America we saw through its politics.

The America sold to the world is not the America lived up close.

US citizens living abroad are most aware of this dichotomy and its consequences. The US are a super power, and for as long as I’ve been able to understand the political process, they have been actively determining how the rest of the world works.

Every US president is deemed by Greek society and the media as the Planet President. He who acts so powerfully towards the rest of the world, that the rest of the world inevitably is forever aware and reminded of its place. The U.S president is seen as a supreme leader. Most Americans have no idea who the president or prime minister of other countries is; they don’t have to until its a problem for them, or their old “friends” become “enemies”.

Everyone knows who the US president is and what HE stands for. From the first moment I set foot in the US to live, I realized my unique understanding of what it means to exercise my civic duty. I exercised and continue to exercise my right to vote because I knew it was my obligation as a U.S citizen who was born and raised abroad, to cast my vote for how the US is perceived, through its international image. Local politics determined international relations, trade, war, peace and prosperity. The most chilling reality most Americans don’t see is that America’s president and Americas elections dictate how the world functions.

My resolve to vote in every election  was cemented further after the 2016 elections results, (and in previous years) I was mostly disappointed, disheartened but not at all surprised. So my vote is not a reaction to the status quo but as an affirmation that people who vote for the greater good also vote for their local good in their families, communities, friends and fellow citizens.

That’s the only way I know how to be. We all have a responsibility to have governance that is for the greater good and not only through personal growth and gain. Demos-Kratos was a fundamental building block of what we like to call a democratic society in Ancient Greece, and although America prides itself as the longest running democracy; it’s policies around the world have time and time again supported, funded and praised a very different type of governance.

The reason people opt out of the vote is that for whatever reason at least up until recently it wasn’t dire it wasn’t imperative it wasn’t necessary it doesn’t help. The people are powerless.Voting is not just a privilege it’s your obligation to show up, and make good on the pure fact that you’re a citizen of a town, a city, a country and you matter.

I voted for those who can’t, and to honor the city and town I have come to call my second home.

Eleana Kouneli
“The naked body is no where near as scary as the naked soul.”
Yoga Instructor / Blogger/ Photographer