Not with the Kremlin
I took Russian in high school. I took it again in college.
Why? Because my father was a military linguist, for a time, and I wanted to have adventures abroad like he did.
I also took German, Chinese (Mandarin), Spanish, and Swahili. I never studied Korean or Japanese in school, though I picked up bits and pieces when living in South Korea and Japan while trying to figure out what else I wanted to do with my life. (Paid to travel! Like my dad! Yes!)
I really, really wanted to know how to speak to people in ways they could understand, and thus have them also truly hear me.
Recently, I’ve spent an inordinate amount of time following politics.
I’ve learned that most mainstream U.S. media is owned by just six companies and that “the Clinton Foundation has received donations, some of them very large, from most of all the major media companies directly.”
I’ve discovered that everything sinister can now be attributed to Russia.
I’ve seen that many people aren’t aware of the difference between “leaks” and “hacks.”
When WikiLeaks publishes materials, they have been leaked to WikiLeaks, not hacked by WikiLeaks.
Indeed, I laughed when I watched the Maher-Assange interview where Assange said they were “working on” getting Trump’s tax returns. I understood that the comment was intended in jest, and was thus surprised when countless articles recounted how WikiLeaks was “working on hacking” Trump.
Folks posting this and retweeting it had not only not watched the video but had no idea the difference between “hacking” and “leaking material provided by someone else.”
In an age of unprecedented access to information, I saw that folks willingly refuse to access information first-hand in acceptance of second-hand recounting.
They see the recounting and feel as if they have seen the original.
Feeling it doesn’t make it true.
I took Russian in college. If you’re an American reading only one or two political articles a day, you might be asking, “So what?”
But if you’re really following U.S. politics, you understand that this statement is not a neutral one. In the new/returned era of redbaiting, you know it means that I might have suspicious connections with the Kremlin.
This chills me.
(Actual connections: none. Russian language ability: can read Cyrillic letters with close to zero actual comprehension.)
I, one of four children of an impoverished single mother abused relentlessly by her husband, am sensitive to assertions of power masquerading as truth.
I have no way to telepathically convey all the things that alarm me about our current political environment, especially to anyone who actively strives not to hear.
But I can tell you this: When I consider voting Jill Stein, my vote is not a vote that war hawk Clinton has lost to a naive, misogynist Bernie Bro. Mine is a vote that Clinton only barely, briefly had, and then with grave misgivings.
Mine is a vote not earned by a Democratic party that’s long shown–though I failed to see the signs–it has no interest in peace. That’s revealed time and again how it, too, is bought and paid for by billionaires and corporations who speak more effectively in money than I ever could in words.
In a world where the U.S. Republican party opposes the TPP and wants to break up big banks (!), Democrats court former Republicans in efforts to show they’re not soft on terror. They’ll fight to the end!
I was a Democrat until two months ago. Right now, I feel pretty certain I’ll never be a Democrat again.
That won’t be changed by shouting at me, shaming me, calling me a Kremlin supporter, or otherwise.
But the fact you think I might be a Kremlin supporter because I took Russian in college?
That tells me everything, everything, about the state of U.S. democracy in 2016.
p.s. I promise not to bombard you with political posts here moving forward.
Instead, I’ll post articles and reflections on my new “Politics” page.
Please check there often for new materials.
(I have bunches yet to post.)