Finally, after a grinding, seemingly endless couple of years, the 2016 election is at last upon us. The end. Billions of dollars and hundreds of millions of man-hours expended, and it comes down to this. For one side exultant triumph awaits; for the other, bitter defeat. For all of us, winners and losers alike, there is utter exhaustion with a contentious, ugly contest that dragged on way too long.
As Election Day has neared, there has been a rising chorus of voices importuning us to vote, vote, vote, FOR GODSAKES VOTE! Perform your sacred civic duty! Whether you favor the wildly inappropriate, thin-skinned, has-no-filters, Tasmanian Devil with confusing hair or the bitter, secretive, robotic harridan with an infallibility complex, just get out there and vote damn you!
Heeding this call to action, millions have done exactly that. By all accounts Americans voted early (and in some locales, perhaps, often) in record numbers, thus exciting to the point of hysterics the professional entrail-reading class, who suspect that this Means Something Big, though exactly what is unclear. Personally I think it is just a convenience thing. Stand in line for three hours on a workday when you didn’t have to, even once, and you are loath to repeat the experience.
Many of our fellow citizens, surveying the available choices, have reacted approximately thus:
And in keeping with this general distaste, they wonder, quite sensibly, why they should even consider gracing either of these two profoundly unappealing characters with their precious vote. And so they choose option C. They opt to sit this one out. Which, we are told, is the one the one thing you should never do. Citizenship demands participation.
But don’t let them guilt you. If there was ever a time to recuse yourself, this is it. Shame on this horrid system for foisting such unpalatable choices upon us. The right to do something also implies the right not to. You very much have the right not to participate in the democratic process if you so choose. And if you are a certain type of person, I strongly encourage you to exercise that right.
If, for example, you are the type of person who believes that your side unfailingly stands for pureness and light, while those other guys are, well, simply deplorable, then please don’t vote. If you are the type of person who frequently uses the N-word or the C-word, or sneeringly refers to white people as “crackers,” please don’t vote. If you have lived in these United States for fifteen or twenty years or maybe all your life but have never bothered to learn the English language, then please don’t vote. If you get all of your information from one or two slanted media outlets and don’t even care what the other side has to say, then please don’t vote.
If you believe that society owes you a living, please don’t vote. If your idea of hardship is when the barista at Starbucks messes up your Triple Venti Soy No Foam Latte, then please don’t vote. If you are the kind of person whose first instinct, when confronted with an opposing viewpoint, is to shout down the other party, insult their intelligence, or diminish their humanity, then please don’t vote. If you are the sort of person who thinks that this or that group deserves special treatment in perpetuity because, well, just because, then please don’t vote. If you have ever, without intentional irony, referred to the “flyover states,” please don’t vote.
If “I know I’m right, don’t confuse me with facts” summarizes your approach to life, if you could never, ever change your mind about an important issue, regardless of the evidence, or if you cannot imagine ever voting for a person of the other political party, even if they are clearly the better candidate, then please don’t vote.
If “feelings” not policy, facts, or logic, determine how you vote, if you think it’s OK to let others tell you how to vote, or if you habitually vote the straight party ticket, please don’t. If you don’t believe in fair play and equality before the law, please don’t vote. If your ideological opponents are all “morons,” if you frequently use terms like “rethuglican” or “sheeple” or “libtard,” or if your inclination is to label anyone who disagrees with you a “hater,” then please don’t vote.
If you believe that civility is overrated, reject the idea of a social contract, or believe that might always makes right, then please don’t vote. If you think that kindness is a form of weakness, or think that ethics are for losers, please don’t vote.
If you are the sort of person who thinks in sound bites, or who sees a binary world in which everything is either midnight-black or iceberg-white, please don’t vote. If you are the sort of person who thinks that you are right and everybody else is just plain wrong, please don’t vote. And, finally, if you just don’t give a damn, put your money where your mouth is and sit this one out.
Happy Election Day!
Now get out there and vote.