No, actually, I DON’T want to talk about it…

…but I’m gonna.

I will say this once, Americans: I don’t care who you vote for. But this coming Tuesday you MUST. GO. VOTE. If you don’t vote, you forfeit your right to bitch about politics. It’s a shitty, fucked up system, but it’s all we have so use it to your advantage, yeah?

Here’s the thing: I feel like this election has come down to a few issues that, at the end of the day, have very little to do with the way that the President does his job. While they are very important issues for us citizens, frankly the President has all of those things and bigger, more dire things to worry about. You know, like three wars and a tanking economy. Furthermore, those hot-button issues and our passionate feelings about them are being used against us, the voters, as a smokescreen, right? “Look over here at the shiny thing, monkey, so you don’t see what my other hand is doing. Because believe me, it’s something evil and you don’t want to see it. Good monkey.” Talking about “legitimate rape” or de-funding PBS (while I totally agree that those things are important) doesn’t change the fact that somebody in some little brown country just got the shit bombed out of them, does it? But what are we hearing more about? What is the media machine spoonfeeding us? What are they telling us to care about? And why are they talking down to us? The whole thing is a freak show built specifically to distract. It’s juvenile, shit-slinging nonsense and it’s beneath us.

And I don’t think I’m being radical when I say that. Because really, Joe Blow White Christian Middle-Class American Guy probably doesn’t want to sit through a whole debate about foreign policy. Or any debate that’s conducted in Legalese, which is how these bureaucratic fucks speak and think at the office. If we had them actually speaking on TV in the language of their peers, in the language that they use to govern, most people would tune right out. That’s the real gap between “normal” Americans and those who are in elected offices. Which may be me selling my fellow Americans short, but I don’t think I’m necessarily wrong. It seems like all most people hear (or what we’re led to believe that most people hear, anyway, given the way these things are scripted) is: blah blah blah, abortion, blah blah blah, gay marriage, blah blah blah, welfare, blah blah blah, Jesus, blah blah blah, taxes. And that’s fucked up. I think if elections weren’t run like a goddamn reality show, we could maybe hear some real ideas about some real issues. But, alas, they continue to pander to the lowest common denominator. Because the lowest common denominator watches a lot of TV and gets to vote.

The whole thing makes me super agro. I’m glad it’s almost over. It’s so stressful trying to explain to people why I feel the way I feel about things. Dispassionate political discourse seems to be a dying art. Just because I disagree with your politics does not mean that when we talk about it I’m attacking you personally. I may think you’re wrong, but I’m smart enough and kind enough to sit down with you and have a conversation about why you think what you do. Maybe you’ll change my mind. Maybe I’ll change yours. Maybe not. That’s the point, isn’t it? To hear new ideas? To incorporate them into your existing philosophy? Isn’t that why we’re all here? To learn from each other and grow? To understand each other better? When and why did we forget that, as a culture?

Just because you’re right doesn’t mean that I’m wrong.

Just because we disagree doesn’t mean that we can’t love each other.

Just because we’re having a discussion, that doesn’t mean we’re fighting.

Sometimes I wish people would just grow up and learn how to have a debate. Furthermore, I wish people weren’t so nearsighted about politics. That whole smokescreen thing fucking works, man, and it’s pitiful. It should be pretty simple, shouldn’t it? Don’t take away my right to do what makes me happy as long as it doesn’t hurt anyone else. Something about life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness? Right? Let me marry the person I love and be able to hold their hand as they lay dying. Let me make the important decisions about my health and my (hypothetical, maybe future someday) children’s health. Let me have decent food and water that won’t give me some hideous disease or disorder. I will agree to try to not shoot humans if you agree to let me keep my guns, safely and responsibly, so I can shoot bears and deer and robbers and rapists and the occasional bluejay (because those bastards fuck up my orchard every year – it’s legitimate bluejay hate). Let me get a decent, useful education. Let me speak my mind, even if you disagree with me, and I will extend you the same courtesy. Let me believe in my God or gods or lack of gods or science or spaceships or whatever, and don’t base legislation on yours and yours alone. Give me relevant information so I can exercise my right to vote for what I think is important. Make sure that I’m safe and that the country I love is safe. Treat us all equally. Maybe don’t nuke anybody. Is that too much to ask from one’s government? Isn’t that what government is for?

Anyway. I’m done. I don’t want to talk about it anymore. Just do me a favor: Stand up straight, stand on your principles, be a proud American, and go fucking vote.

4 thoughts on “No, actually, I DON’T want to talk about it…

  1. I mostly agree with you, especially with the title. I don’t vote though, and I hate talking about it because people get SO ANGRY. I guess I’m either close-minded or unconfrontational, because I just never really want to have that conversation where I defend my beliefs/actions. Then I feel guilty, because if I don’t feel comfortable or able to defend myself, does that mean I’m not putting enough effort into my beliefs and actions? Stop making me feel guilty!

    1. No guilt trip intended, friend. Just because you don’t want to talk about it or defend it, doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t vote. You have no obligation to explain your beliefs or your principles to anyone, but you should definitely use the one little glimmer of hope of exercising them that they let us keep. It’s like how you don’t HAVE to answer the phone just because it rings. Sort of. You can always say “Yes, I voted. No, I don’t want to discuss how or why,” and walk away.

      1. My mother never talked about her voting to me when I was younger. She and my dad always made it a point to tell us that they voted, but if I asked after her choices, she ignored me. I thought this was how everyone treated voting: a highly guarded personal secret. I also thought she’d loosen up as I got older. Nope–and now my sister does it too. Sometimes that frustrates me, but in a world of voices screaming the political, it’s suddenly refreshing.

        Not to imply that you’re screaming politics. I appreciate your firm but gentle reminder to do one’s civic duty–both in terms of voting and extending a little decency towards those who disagree with one’s personal politics.

        1. I don’t remember my folks ever talking about their voting habits when I was young, either. My mom and I talk about it a little bit now, but we never use the “You should vote for…” Never ever. As an adult, I’m curious as to how my dad voted or would vote now, were he still here. He was a Vietnam vet who worked for Halliburton, so I’m sure those conversations would’ve been interesting. I just think that it’s one of those things that’s important to do but not to talk about, necessarily. Especially if one is always trying to prove themselves right. It’s similar to prayer or pooping, you know? There’s no “right” way, but you’ve got to do it.

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