I live in my home country Lebanon, and I follow foreign elections very closely. I read about candidates, I watch their debates, I work on my opinions, I make predictions, and I chart up my own analyses so carefully as if my analytic religiosity was going to be graded by Tomás de Torquemada. I peruse the profiles of every single U.S. presidential candidate for months before the elections with even more concentration than I give my stainless-steel pots and pans when I desperately try to get them to shine again. I study each candidate’s political history, their voting record, their controversies, and the status of their romantic life. I do the same with the UK general election and the French presidential election. This may be normal if I had a say in any of the above-mentioned elections, but I do not. I have resultantly self-diagnosed my condition as being a case of “Democracy Deprivation Syndrome.”

Democracy Deprivation Syndrome, or DDS, is the condition of having a deep deficiency in democratic civic worthiness owing to one’s inability to partake in any meaningful political contribution. DDS usually only affects members of an undemocratic electorate. Those afflicted with DDS have a deep yearning to cast an official vote that truly counts towards the election of a representative or an important policy but cannot because they belong to an electorate that does not practice any meaningful democracy.

The DDS pandemic, though not contagious, is widespread amongst inhabitants of the Middle East and the Middle Eastern genome, my people. Even if they have a second passport, Middle Easterners still exhibit DDS symptoms due to foreign racial belongings. The syndrome represents a large spectrum of symptoms whose severity can vary dramatically from one individual to another. Mild cases can go undiagnosed, e.g. victim does not post anything on social media, even though s/he follows the news with angst, while other cases can potentially lead to severe, debilitating complications, e.g. victim frantically posts long opinions on social media telling people what to do, and stops talking to friends who disagree with his/her political choices, even though those friends also have no say in said elections either.

Regardless of the severity of the syndrome, all those affected with DDS harbor feelings of deep frustration because not only can’t they determine their own fate in their own country, but they are also victims of foreign political decisions taken by those who can. Indeed, people with DDS are particularly vulnerable to what people in “other democratic nations” decide to do in their own elections because it affects their own livelihood as well. For example, man with DDS sitting in Baghdad helplessly watching the U.S. elections will unfortunately die of a U.S. sponsored explosion with his whole family two years later because man in Florida was too lazy to vote. That’s just a classic example. Man in Florida, however, will not die of DDS, but will probably die of a self-inflicted gunshot wound that he will mistakenly shoot into his femoral artery while cleaning his rifle, but that’s another topic.

Another example is, lady with DDS sitting in Beirut helplessly watching the U.S. elections will die of fresh water shortage caused by climate change because lady in Pennsylvania did not think it was alarming enough to vote out the man who is making it essentially impossible to avert the climate catastrophe on a global scale as he continues to dismantle protections, continues to outsource environmental and energy policy to polluters, continues to suspend environmental enforcement, and continues to prevent the world’s biggest economy and world’s biggest cumulative emissions contributor from making the dramatic reduction needed to literally save humanity. Lady in Pennsylvania, however, will not die of DDS, but will probably keep accumulating QAnon memorabilia until she dies of an unrelated case of diabetes and accumulated unpaid healthcare bills, but that’s another topic.

Resultantly, people with DDS are often linked to another dangerous and intractable syndrome called PPDSTUFU, the acronym stands for “Please, Please, Don’t Screw This Up For Us”, which is a widespread genetic metabolic disorder characterized by a deep, deep fear of what people in first world countries will decide in their own elections. Both DDS and PPDSTUFU have no cure today. Even though lots of funding has been poured by foreign countries into helping democratize needy nations through research labs looking to find a cure to DDS, those same foreign countries seem to bomb those labs, which leaves all those afflicted with DDS super confused.

On behalf of humanity’s future, may the Americans vote wisely today. Democracy is both a privilege and a responsibility. The people with DDS and PPDSTUFU know it.

My name is Sara El-Yafi, and I have DDS.

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