When I tell people I'm not voting, there's this level of disgust that I can't really explain. Usually there's eye rolling, sometimes there's patronizing comments, but most of the time there's a mini lecture that includes key phrases like "people died for your right to vote" and "so many people in other countries don't have the right you have".
Thanks for the history and world civics lesson there, pal. I'm wholly aware of how my rights became my rights. But why is it that when I tell people in similar fashion that I'm agnostic, non-religious, basically against organized religion, I don't get the same reaction? People died for my right to believe whatever I want, right? Millions of people in other countries don't have that right. But my indifference to an arbitray invisible friend I don't believe in is met with total openness. My indifference to a vote for an arbitray politician I don't believe in is met with civic duty guilt and judgement.
When I tell people I am not voting, no one seems to care about the why. It doesn't matter that I do not believe any of the four front running candidates are either qualified to run or people I would respect and trust running a country. It doesn't matter than I am educated on all their platforms, on party platforms, on their accomplishments (and lack there of), on their downfalls, strengths and weaknesses. It doesn't matter than I can admit I agree with some of their ideas (except Ted Cruz, he's just fucking terrible), but not enough to genuinely like them or trust them with the country as a whole. All that matters is that I'm not picking a side. #FeelTheBern #ImWithHer #MakeAmericaGreatAgain #SayNoToDildos (Ted Cruz's new slogan). I should have a side, an opinion, I should be on a team, united for a cause or some shit.
But the reality is, I am picking a side. I am of the side that can't believe in a country of 319 million people, the four "most qualified" people we could muster up to run for president are the four we have. What, was Kylie Jenner too busy contouring her face to run? The Dragon from Game of Throwns was all booked up? Seriously, you give me four shitty choices and then get mad when I don't want to take a side? Come on. Maybe I see the stupidity in all of this. In putting blind and absolute faith in one person to change the whole of society when the reality is, that NEVER happens. In expecting me to ignore candidates increidbly terrifying downfalls because they have like, four good ideas I actually agree with. I sacrifice enough of my standards today with dating, I'd prefer not to have to do it when it comes to voting.
You have Bernie Sanders, who, in my opinion is the least sleezy politician of the bunch. But I believe his ideological thoughts on free tuition, healthcare, paid family leave $15 wages and other outlooks on corporations, Wall Street and finance in general are completely void of the reality -- which you can love or hate -- of the world at large, particularly in terms of small business, finances and Wall Street. It doesn't mean I don't necessarily agree with what he's saying, it just means I know there is so much more to untangle beyond just the easy idea of "it should be like this". I can't in good conscious vote for someone who I feel has no legitimate concept of how money works. Because I don't even know how money works, but I know there's more to it than "it should be like this so let's make it like this". And as someone who lived in NY during the financial recession, I know that the scope of Wall Street goes a lot farther than just the bankers. Yes, he caters to a lot of millennial ideals, but not many of those ideals are feasible, and as a millennial myself, I admit that. Also, I hate hipsters.
You have Hillary Clinton who to me, just rings as a typical poltician. Someone in it for her own shit, who panders to whatever crowd she's in front of, who caters to the raging voices regardless of whether or not they are reasoned and logical. Scandals and bullshit, she plays by her own rules and I just don't trust her. I do, however, believe that of the four, she is the most qualified in regards to the shit someone has to understand in order to actually run a country. But I think with the way she works and operates, her attitude and long history in politics, she has a Nixon-esque quality to her that I just can't stand.
You have Ted Cruz who, honestly, I can't find one good thing to say about. He looks like what would happen if Pee Wee Hermann's body was left in a river for 5 days then fished out by the county morgue, he apparently tried to outlaw dildos, he hates gay people, he said some nasty shit about New York, he's hypocritical, vile, sleazy, and I have zero doubt that he was on the client list for the DC Madam. He is a smarmy sack of melted Texas wax who doesn't know Jesus from his own asshole. Seriously, how does anyone, even his wife, like this guy?
Donald Trump. Sweet Jesus, I can't. Do I think he's a stupid man? Not in the Sarah Palin sense, no. But what he does is cater to the quiet but very real backlash that dumb liberal ideologies have created. Like the safe space college arguments, or the anti cop sentiments, or the not a legal citizen but in state tuition receiving college students, white guilt shit. He pumps up the indignation with the stupid cases and then tops it off with the "shit you should never say in public even if you think it" things that usually include racism or misogyny or the use of the word "loser". He knows nothing about foreign policy, nothing about the military, nothing about diplomatic discourse or civility and has an ego that makes Kim Kardashian look like Mother Theresa. The idea of a reality TV show star running the country? Terrifying at best.
So here we have four candidates that to me are entirely unappealing. I don't believe in any of their total platforms, I don't really believe in any of their qualifications, I don't even find any of them particularly charming or funny or witty. So why the fuck should I vote? Because I can? Because I "should"? I have freedom of speech, does that mean I should walk up to every person on the street and call them an asshole because I can, because it's my right? No. Voting is a choice, just like religion, just like speech. And when no religion fits you, you're allowed and encouraged to go for no religion. When no candidate fits you, you're encouraged to pick the lesser of four evils. And that's not how it should be. I am not going to vote so the person who is the most qualified of the least qualified group of candidates gets the ticket. Hillary Clinton won't magically make women's lives better, Bernie Sanders won't magically make your school loans go away, Ted Cruz won't bring the second coming of Jesus and Donald Trump won't build a wall. Everyone is so frenzied like the president will somehow change all this shit. Like your life, my life is going to drastically change because of whoever gets in. The truth is, I will not give my vote to anyone just because I "can". My right to vote encompasses my ability to make the informed choice NOT to vote. It doesn't make me a lesser American, it doesn't make me less concerned for my civic duties, it doesn't make me less involved. What it makes me is critically aware that a.) the country is in dire straigths if these four are the best we can come up with and b.) no one candidate is going to change my life so drastically, no matter how many times they say it to the crowd, that I need to get off my ass, stand in line and vote for them even if I don't agree with them.
So no, I'm not voting. And yes, I am pumped and grateful that a lot of people worked very hard and died for my right to not only vote with my ballot, but vote with my decision not to choose the best worst candidate to run the country just because it's the best we could do. Give me a candidate worth voting for and I'll rock the vote. But don't give me the presidential version of "if you HAD to sleep with Lindsay Lohan or a plastic bag filled with STDs or you'd die, who would it be" and expect me to be grateful for that.