Elections might be a symbol of freedom and all (and arguably our last real leftover patriotic custom), but they sure do bring out the worst in people. They pit friend against friend and sister against sister (except in my case, where my sister and I tend to agree on almost everything in this realm, much to the chagrin of our Fox-addicted parents). I know for a fact several people have hidden my Facebook posts from their news feed, and I’m fairly certain several people have unfriended me due to my political views.
Unlike most of my friends and family, I’m not all up-in-arms over this election. I’m not excited about either mainstream candidate; although Romney appears to the the lesser of two evils, that doesn’t change the fact that he is indeed evil.
As a coping mechanism, I’ve drawn upon a little game the Child-free community plays in our minds when dealing with the onslaught of judgmental-as-hell comments from the sheep of society who deem it a crime against nature if you don’t want kids. Child-free people tend to play a mental game of Bingo. When someone asks one of the common stereotypical, unoriginal, rude, and predictable questions about the atrocities they claim will rain down upon you and make you regret your “selfish” decision, we simply chuckle and check off a space on said mental Bingo card. “Who will take care of you when you’re old?” Check. “What if you regret not having children?” Check. And my favorite: “It’s different when it’s your own!” Check, check.
What does this have to do with an election? Everything. That little game can be adapted into any scenario which produces similar feelings of exasperation when even though what you’re doing flies in the face of the mainstream, you’re positive it’s right for you. It just feels good.
Take, for instance, my decision to cast a “principled” vote (not sure I like that term as it is as insulting to everyone else as it is to myself) for a third party, rather than going with Dumb or Dumber. It’s certainly not the first time I’ve cast such a non-mainstream vote (and I’m sure it won’t be the last), but it is the first time that I’ve been so vocal about it (thanks Facebook) and this is also the greatest “threat” my third-party has seemingly posed to the usual Coke and Pepsi.
This time around, I have fielded a great deal of emotional, irrational, borderline-hostile, and almost-always desperate protests from various Facebook commenters. The most unfortunate aspect is that these are normally right-leaning, to-each-their-own, stay-logical, intelligent friends and family. I guess that underneath the adult exterior, everyone has a panic button.
Bingo #1: “A vote for a third party is a vote for Obama!”
Wow, really? I thought for sure I was looking straight at Gary Johnson’s name when I checked the Libertarian box. In Texas, that’s the third box from the top. I’m positive as pie that it didn’t actually say Obama. It’s not like he can be listed twice.
Newsflash, people: A vote for Candidate C is a vote for Candidate C, no ifs ands or buts. It’s not a vote for Candidate A or Candidate B. Just because I didn’t vote for the guy you want, that doesn’t mean I voted for the guy you hate. And it certainly doesn’t make me the enemy.
Bingo #2: “A vote for a third party is a wasted vote!”
To vote is to formally express a preference for a candidate for office. The key here is preference. In order to waste my one and only vote, I would have to cast my ballot for someone I do not prefer. If I were going to do that, there’d be no point in voting. I do not prefer Obama, nor do I prefer Romney.
On the other hand, if there is someone on the ballot that I would prefer to be in office, wouldn’t it make sense to check his or her name? I do prefer Gary Johnson.
I’m turning the tables on the naysayers. If you don’t particularly like Romney, or you do like a third party candidate but you’re afraid s/he won’t win, and it is for that reason that you vote for Romney anyway, then you have wasted your vote. You’re being held captive, forcing yourself to vote for a lesser candidate because of your own fear. Don’t you dare project your own weakness onto me. I don’t know about you, I felt good leaving my polling place.
Bingo #3: “So you’d put up with four more years of Obama instead of just gritting your teeth and voting for Romney?”
What I’m about to say pains me like sand-grit in my eyeballs, because I was once a faithful, registered Republican. Incidentally, they proceeded to slowly and irrevocably fuck up my exalted impression of them during the next ten years but hey–it’s not like I didn’t give them a few too many chances.
But the answer to the question is yes, I would. (Yes, I feel like I’m selling my soul by saying that, but ultimately, it would do the most good.) In the short-term, it would hurt badly, no doubt about that. The economy, held up on the fumes of various market booms finally gave out under one catalyst: the threat of an Obummer victory. No doubt this would happen all over again, only worse as more financial sector bubbles burst and the empty truth behind them emerges.
But that doesn’t change the fact that the Republicans had so many chances to prove their professed small-government, pro-liberty lip service and they egregiously failed to deliver. For several years of Republican-dominated everything, I waited for the budget cuts to be proposed, the national debt to shrink, my taxes to come down, the illegals to be deported, the war on crime to be toughened up, and more. I’m glad I didn’t hold my breath, though.
If you’re smart, you’ll forget the short-term and focus on the long run. The long run effect of not voting for Romney would be much more optimistic. For once, the Republican party would quit picking who are quite possibly the worst possible candidates to run in the Big Race. They would quit assuming that they had various votes locked in. They would work harder for those votes. They would realize they’d actually have to pay attention to the wishes of their constituents (and indeed their bosses) and stop giving us the proverbial finger.
In short, the Republicans just might learn the hard way that they cannot just choose an asinine candidate who supports liberty-restricting measures and expect me to roll over, nod with my tongue hanging out, and mumble, “OK. Yay Romney.”
And Republicans (I’m speaking now to the bigwigs heading up the actual party), if it takes four more years of licking your wounds over yet another Obama victory (add salt to said wound by considering his track record and dis-approval ratings!), then so be it. Maybe one of these elections, you’ll learn.
Until then, fuck you.
Bingo #4: “But we CAN’T have any more of Obama! He is so evil!”
Yes, he is. But let’s take a step back and indulge in a nice cup of Reality Check, shall we? Is Romney really that much better? Sure, he promises to repeal Obamacare. But hell, the Republican Congressional Takeover of 2010 couldn’t accomplish that, so what makes you think a single presidential puppet can? And with a big health insurance lobby, who thinks that even if he could, he would? Not I, says the Kitty.
Let’s talk about NDAA, SOPA, the Patriot Act, gun control measures, FEMA camps, the FDA, the TSA, GMO food, increasing national debt, the money pit that is our military occupation of the Middle East, and God(dess) knows what else. Do you realize that these (not abortion or gay marriage, if you’re straight) are the issues that actually affect your every day quality of life and thus deserve closer attention? They’ve got you thoroughly distracted, engrossed in up-to-the-minute ticker stories about Al Quaeda, the Occupy movements, and how soon after conception life begins.
Meanwhile, they’re fucking with your food, your meds, your currency, and indeed, your very Constitutional rights. And make no mistake, neither candidate is particularly interested in preserving yours.
Do you really think much will change in the grand scheme of things if Romney gets in? I’m sure the news media will recommence with their previous endless anti-war coverage.
But besides that, I dare say Inauguration Day won’t be much different than the day before. In the end, your organs will slowly destroy themselves as happens with eating genetically-modified foods. Your internet browsing and social media posts will be gathered and cataloged at a fusion center near you. Your neighbors still won’t be able to write, write, or think coherently, opting for pathetic text-speak instead. Drones and nanotechnology will still be developed, effective natural therapies withheld and condemned. We’ll still spend money we don’t have on wars we won’t win while good men and women die or get injured in places the average citizen can barely locate on a world map by the time they hold a high school diploma. We’ll still have the NDAA, the lobby-bought FDA, and the 3200 FEMA detention centers. The internet will still have a kill-switch and the cure for cancer will still be shoved under the rug. Your taxes will still support millions of waste-oid baby-factories on welfare and your sports teams will still duke it out on Sundays while you pour all your hard-earned energy into insulting the referee on your flat TV screen. Does anything ever change?
Bingo #5: “Yes I’d love to vote for [third party candidate here]! Just not THIS time around. Voting Obama out is too important this time! I can always vote third party next time.”
First of all, have you really read and taken to heart the above and you still don’t get it? And here’s where you may be wrong again…
See, in an election, a candidate’s party must receive a certain amount of votes in order to get on the ballot in the following election. Ergo, if the Libertarians don’t get a certain amount of the vote, they don’t get to be a choice on the ballot next time around and you have to have the foresight to write them in manually, which exponentially decreases that party’s candidate’s chances of winning.
People who make the above statement are assuming that enough people are brave and principled enough to act on their conviction, swim against the tide, and check the box for that third party.
In fact, while those people chicken out in favor of the “lesser of two evils”, they’re actually leaning on us to do their dirty work for them. The gutless majority leaning on the convicted minority, while lamenting your mainstream voting choices. Classy.
Meanwhile, people like me who actually have gut matter are going hard against the grain to ensure that next time, you have better candidates to choose from. You know, those of us “wasting” our votes. You’re welcome.
Bingo #6: “If Obama gets in again, it’s your fault!!”
This is my favorite because it shows the absolute epitome of stupidity. Although you’re awesome for thinking I was that powerful all by myself.
Fallacy Numero Uno: the actual votes are cast via the electoral college (which, incidentally, has zero to do with the supposed aristocratic insecurities of forefathers and everything to do with their desire to even the playing field for the less-populated areas, lest the nation be led around by the whims of the big cities like a bull with a ring through his nose). Unless I’m a member of this electoral college (alas, I am not), you cannot blame me one iota.
And besides, there’s that reading comprehension skill that most assuredly tells anyone reading my ballot that the name Gary Johnson doesn’t look anything like Barack Obama in print.
In fact, I may turn the tables on you again: if BO gets in, it’s actually more your fault for entrenching yourselves in a pattern of voting for the “lesser of two evils” and taking that “anybody but Obama” slogan so literally. It’s your fault for not speaking up about the anemic quality of recent candidates and demanding something better. It’s your fault for not getting involved. It’s your fault for wasting your vote by voting out of fear instead of conscience.
Either way, I’m sure Gary Johnson won’t get in. Too many pussies wussed out and voted for what they think is the “lesser of two evils”. Too many sheep failed to do real research before going out to cast their vote. And I’m sure either way, no matter which gut-rotting mainstream soda pop takes the Oval Office next, we’re screwed.
But I also know that I can sleep easily and with a clear conscience because I did my part to at least ensure that the third parties got the support they deserve and enough votes to make it onto next election’s ballot in my state.
[Funny Shit: my browser underlines Barack and Obama in red as if it’s a misspelling and yet it recognizes Romney. Stop–it still doesn’t make Romney cool.]