Tag: 2016 election

Part 2: No Country for Me

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Voting Cancellation Theory is based on a faulty premise. It suggests that your one vote is only valuable as a cancellation of one opposition vote. It supposes that the purpose of voting is to vote against a candidate rather than to vote for a candidate.

Maybe you’re okay with this. Most people tell me that this is just how it is, that this is reality and to demand anything different is to be naive and ignorant.

Voting Cancellation Theory suggests that to not vote for anyone in an election means you’re voting for the opposition. At least, that’s what a bunch of people told me this week. That if I don’t vote for Hilary then I’m voting for Trump. This is impossible, of course. If I don’t cast a vote then my vote can’t be counted for (or against) any candidate. If I don’t vote for anyone in this coming election then I’m not in the voting pool. If I’m not in the voting pool then I can’t be counted for one side or another.

Because, if not voting can be counted for one candidate or the other, then what about all the dead people who don’t vote? Are they also voting for Trump? Are they voting for Hilary? They aren’t casting any votes either, what with being dead and all, so will you blame them for the outcome of this election?

I know, you refuse to follow me through this analogy because dead people can’t vote anyway, but I’m a middle aged fat living American with a viable vote to cast which is obviously way different.

But I want to smash your face deeper in this analogy because if I say, as a disenfranchised ex-American, that I refuse to participate in a stupid system that’s clearly corrupt, then what I’m saying is that my vote is not available to anyone. If I withdraw my consent to participate in a system I think is ultimately responsible for the rise of Trump in the first place, then you don’t get to count my vote as being wasted or given to opposition because if I withdraw myself from the voting pool voluntarily, you must view me as a dead American whose vote is no longer in the political pool to be romanced one way or another. My vote withdrawn is a vote no longer countable or accountable.

People in both of our only two nationally recognized political parties are talking to those of us trying to leave the whole system like we’ll be responsible for all the evil in the world if we refuse to remain in this abusive political relationship. It’s exactly like threatening an abused wife that if she has the temerity and selfishness to leave her abusive husband her kids will suffer more and it will be all her fault. It’s like telling her that her only value in life is as an emotional and/or physical punching buffer between her abusive spouse and their kids. Like her body, mind, and spirit only matter when she can be a buffer between her country and the next dictator.

Guilt is an ugly ugly kind of blackmail.

I do not accept that I am responsible for evil taking root in this country. I do not accept that my political vote will change anything one way or another. Except that I do believe that if my vote carries any weight at all in this country then it’s just as powerful a statement to withhold it when I don’t feel there’s any candidate I can vote for in good conscience as it is to cast it when I wholeheartedly endorse a candidate.

I have been a fully engaged participant in this political relationship since I was I was 10 years old. I have taken my civic “duty” seriously since I was too young to visit the Peace House on my own and long before I could legally vote. I have been voting in both local, state, and national elections for 28 years, completely buying into the idea that somehow I can make a difference working with the broke-ass system in place here since long before I was born. In 28 years of never missing a single election I have seen democracy be bought inch by inch and I’ve witnessed zero positive change brought about by me participating on a thin wisp of hope that my precious vote makes a tiny fucking difference.

28 years is a long time to give a system the chance to prove its worth, to prove its value, to prove anything good at all. What I’m mostly feeling right now is foolish for having hoped for so long, for having stayed in a broken abusive political relationship for most of my life. All these years I’ve wasted feeling responsible for all the Bushes and Reagan’s fucking up life for the poor, working class, and middle class quality of life. All these years I felt I should have been able to do more to fix it, that I should have been able to heal the division, the anger, the bigotry, the racism, the sexism and feeling inadequate because I have done everything I could possibly do (peace marches, petition signing, senator and representative calling, political marriage counseling, etc) and still, here we are, with Trump running for office.

I’m leaving this dysfunctional relationship because it isn’t healthy for our children for us to stay married.

I’ve been a registered Democrat for – I think – my whole voting life. As a Democrat you other Democrats may consider my vote yours and that if I don’t vote for Hilary my vote will go to Trump. (I think you don’t understand how anything works, but you’ve swallowed the rhetoric that serves you best, it’s only human). But as I unregister myself as a Democrat and decline to state a party, you can’t assume that me not voting means I’ve cast a vote for Trump. I might just as easily (by your reasoning of default voting) be casting my vote for Hilary to the chagrin of Trump supporters.

What I’m saying is that my vote withdrawn isn’t in this game at all. I’m no longer a Democrat so you can’t say (without revealing a terrible want of critical thinking skills) that me not voting is automatically a vote for the worst human the United States has ever produced.

I withhold my vote. That means no one gets it. Neither side can cancel each other out with it, neither side can claim it, neither side can abuse it, neither side can blackmail me with it.

There are a lot of ways to change the world. There are a lot of ways to be a positive force pushing back evil. There are many ways to serve one’s community, many ways to serve humanity without claiming allegiance to any nation or party or club or cult.

What you all need to understand is that for a person who’s participated faithfully in a broken political system for 28 fucking years to withdraw participation isn’t a decision that comes lightly or wantonly. If you think I make this decision without thought to the consequences of my actions (or non-action, as the case is) – then you don’t know me at all and you can fuck your ignorant self for supposing you do.

Those of you who can’t come up with any better reason for us political outliers to vote for Hilary than that “she isn’t Trump” seem to think I’m a simple dog who just needs to be obedient to the party line. NEWSFLASH: I don’t belong to a party. Fuck you. Treat me like an intelligent human and we can talk about this.

I don’t bow to fear tactics. Supposedly it’s the American standard to refuse to negotiate with terrorists but as far as I can tell that ideal is only upheld when it’s easy to refuse negotiating against abject fear.

I will not bow to the fear of Trump being President.

I will not become your chained bitch.

I am a conscientious objector to the current American political system.

I will not participate in an abusive political relationship.

I take shelter from this madness as is my RIGHT as a human being.

I refuse to continue to be bruised by a corrupt system that punishes those of us who won’t tow the party line.

To be an individual, to act according to your conscience, and to go against the stream is American PORN – until it matters.

The only thing you have control of in this world is your conscience. You’d think you have control over your own body, but you don’t. There are a thousand laws governing what you may or may not legally do with your corporeal self. Your conscience is all you have. You get to live your life according to it if you choose. You can trash it if you like. But it’s all yours. At the end of every single day the only person you need to square yourself with is YOU.

I have endeavored to live my whole life according to my conscience. It’s all I really ask of myself or anyone else.

But here’s the important deal: What my conscience demands is NOT the rule by which anyone else must measure themselves. If, in this election, you feel the most important thing you can do is vote for Hilary, that’s what matters. That’s honestly all I’m asking of anyone – vote your conscience, live your conscience – not mine. If you love Hilary and are really excited about her – you don’t ever have to apologize or excuse your choice to me.

This isn’t some better-than-thou bullshit. I’m going to say something shocking and if you can’t forgive me for it then I can live with that – even if what your conscience is directing you to do is to vote for Trump – if you’re doing it because that’s somehow weirdly the thing most true to you – I would rather you honor yourself than to bow under the weight of popular thought.

This world would be incredibly different if people weren’t prone to falling for mob rule.

I have to act and live according to my conscience and if you think that’s not my right, then you have a lot of evolving to do yet. You have a lot of accepting of yourself to do before you try to shape me.

I’m not better than you. I don’t make decisions about anything based on how I can feel superior to any other human being. I’m pretty fucked up, truth be told. But I trust myself, more than many people can say about themselves. I’m not better than you. But I know myself better than you’ll ever know me. FACT.

Peace.