For months now I’ve been hinting at—or maybe threatening—a meditation on the election in this blog. It’s probably time to make good on my threat. We only have a few weeks left of this garbage fire. I know, I also am both excited that it’s almost over, and bewildered that the networks didn’t cancel this show over the summer.
Part of my hesitation to weigh in has been that this space has, largely, been an entertainment blog. While I often fail to see the difference between entertainment and politics, any strictly political entry seemed like a bummer when compared with a thousand words comparing what it would be like to have Michael Keaton play Batman just one more time. Also, this election in particular is more of a bummer than most elections.
Now, I make that above “bummer” conclusion not in an effort to echo the sentiment so many others have offered that this election is a choice between two evils, and that we’re far too interested in what’s happening on “The Walking Dead” to decide which evil is lesser.
Also, this election has been so strange, so obsessed with lurchingly moving from one weird fringe issue to another ghastly revelation, that it’s been hard to get a handle on one, unified thesis on the matter. I’m fairly certain I’m not going to find it in these few paragraphs, but it doesn’t mean I shouldn’t make the attempt.
There is a very clear choice in this election. If you, dear reader, are in favor of Donald Trump, I can respect that. If you like the things he says, and still like him when he denies ever saying the first thing you liked, then that is your choice. Each of us must make a decision* in this election, and you have made yours. But make no mistake: if you vote for Donald Trump even once, you’ll be a Donald Trump voter for life. You can’t take it back. Same thing goes for Hillary or the rest of the people on the ballot. If you can live with choosing the person you intend to vote for, then I think you should absolutely vote for them.
If you’re voting for Clinton, or Trump, or Johnson, or Stein, or McMullin** really think about whether you are supporting them, or are objecting to something one of the other candidates said. All of them have said stupid foolish things***; they are human beings competing in a realm that punishes anything resembling human behavior****. If we’re unhappy with the menu, we may only have ourselves to blame, but that doesn’t change the options available.
The impulse to go shopping for another option is strong. I’ll admit, as a mostly partisan Democrat*****, I thought about voting for Gary Johnson for a long stretch of time. Wait, wait, wait. Come back. I was only going to do it to help Hillary out in the long run. Hear me out. If Gary Johnson could post halfway-decent numbers in 2016, and the Libertarian Party received more public funding for 2020******, they would be in a better position to peel off disaffected voters from the Republican nominee, increasing Clinton’s chances at re-election. Then I realized that a) Johnson is less a sane alternative for President, and more a retired weed salesman in need of a hobby, and b) the Libertarian Party is peeling off disaffected Democrats almost as much as they are the Republicans. I went firmly back into the Hillary camp.
Look, fellow Democrats, I get the ennui. We’ve been spoiled as of late. After the heartache that was 2004*******, Election Night 2008 was a shot of pure endorphins. We’ve been chasing that high ever since. 2012 didn’t quite cut it, at least not in the same way. 2016 probably won’t either, although some of you might think if Bernie were the nominee and won the general, that would bring back that old familiar feeling********. I think we may need to, at least for this year, realize that the age of Barack Obama is coming to a close and take our medicine.
I might be wrong. As I read over the preceding paragraphs, it dawns on me that I might have done a yeoman’s job at pissing off every corner of the political world*********. Oh well. Let me leave you with a thought we can all agree on: Just go vote. If you vote, you get a sticker. If you get enough stickers, you’ll never grow old, and you’ll never die. It’s science. Look it up. No. Don’t look it up. Just trust me, I have all the best science knowledge. It’s election season. Why would I lie to you**********?
*Disabuse yourself of the notion that not voting at all is the decision that absolves you of any responsibility for what’s about to happen. You still made a choice. You still voted in your silence. No one gets out of this without some responsibility for the mess.
**I’m sad to report that he is not on the ballot in Oklahoma, my Republican friends. However, if you live in the far-flung untamed wilderness of Utah, you have a real opportunity to throw some fun chaos into the election.
***The first stupid and foolish thing that these people say is usually, “I declare my candidacy for President of the United States.”
****Before you start: If the current polling is any indication, presidential politics also has the thankful habit of punishing inhuman behavior as well. Just as it should be. Did I just betray my bias?
*****I’ve voted for a few local Republicans in elections. This would occur in races where there was no Democrat and the third party candidate was to the right of the Republican, or in races where I knew the Democrat was kind of a scuzzball. I’ve never been remotely close to voting for a Republican for President, but it is a possible scenario. It would have to be a matchup similar to a hypothetical one between walking-haircut John Edwards and legitimately decent, intelligent human being Colin Powell. In short, this isn’t that election.
******Which, in and of itself, would be pretty ironic.
*******Kids, ask your parents.
*********Jill Stein smells funny. There. Now I’ve pissed everybody off.
**********In the future, I think scholars will call this my footnote period. And before you make the comment — no, I do not admit that Hillary lies more than Trump. Stop asking. It’s a silly question.