16 September 2008


I'll preface this by saying the following as bluntly as possible: I hate election years. I hate the bipartisal system. I am not a supporter of John McCain or Sarah Palin; I am not a supporter of Barack Obama or Joe Biden. I do not support some left-field party hoping to "break ground" and be the first real threat from a new ticket. I'm not Green, Libertarian, or Prohobitionist. I'm an American, and nothing more.

I really hate election years. They bring out the worst in absolutely everyone; suddenly, mudslinging is the new black, and everyone's a Paris-bound fashion mogul. I'm bombarded from all sides with tales of how Candidate X wants to tax the poor but Candidate Y wants to give them handouts and dive national debt. Debates fling across networks, campaign advertisements plague every channel, every lawn, every news article. Everything -- even new scientific research -- comes with a left- or right-wing pundit heralding the advancement of the human race or the degradation of its morals. There's not a single American news report, nor news report about America, that doesn't include a political sideline, footnote, or other jab; anything left untouched by the writers and editors is quickly picked up as a banner by one camp of commentors or another, and soon, it's as if any given website is the central hub for pre-election coverage of the rampant hatred seething under the skin of every principled American.

The real kicker, I think, is that everyone thinks they have an obligation to vote. An obligation to support one of the major tickets. An obligation to empower a half-formed opinion bolstered by party lines, colorful speeches, and media-frenzies based on half-truths (Palin book banning) or association (Rev. Wright) -- things with no real relevance to the task at hand. I challenge this obligation by choosing not to vote; this isn't a refusal or decision to not voice an opinion by any means. Voting is a process by which any given individual pledges their support for another individual based on their personal feelings about any of a number of various factors -- some people vote "party line", some vote because they believe in one candidate or the other, some vote along the "lesser of two evils" line, and some for reasons that I don't know or don't care to list here. Those are all well and good for those people, but I feel that it's just as valid an option to refuse to vote if there are no candidates on the ballot that I can support in good faith. It's like the conscientious objector for the new age, and damned if it doesn't carry a similar stigma.

The real thing that gets me irked, though, is just the increased level of aggravation, of spite, of spitting venom at one another. Everyone gets caught up in their own digs, in their own pseudoreligious fervor for their Chosen One to Whom All Truth Shall Bow, and we spark intense, raging arguments and fights with one another on things that are entirely unrelated! There's just such an overflow of sheer irritation with the Other Side that people are testy about any subject, and are willing to preach their platform on it, going so far as to sever ties that have outlasted several similar elections before. We forego the notion that we are all Americans, and we become only Liberals or Conservatives, drawing battle lines as clear as we did in 1861 with the onset of our nation's civil war. It's as if we forget that after the election, we're going to be forced to continue living with the folks that we've so strongly opposed in the weeks and months leading up to that magical date.

As for me? I'm not voting in this election, nor do I plan to in any election hence. Call me when one of the parties finally admits their facist regime and is ready to make it happen.


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