Election 2016, where do I start? It seems that I’ve gone through all of the prescribed stages of grief.
First came denial: This could not possibly be happening!
Then there was rage: How on Earth is this fucking happening?!
Finally came acceptance: Holy shit, I guess this is really happening. I’m resigned to the fact (albeit grudgingly) that in less than four weeks, we will find out which one of these assholes claims the coveted prize, finally putting an end to our election-season misery. America will continue on its last trips ‘round the proverbial drain (the same drain the great George Carlin warned us about) while one side licks its wounds, and the other thinks it won.
For the vast majority of my friends, we’ve seen this coming. We’re politically engaged (in fact, most of us are activists), but this year, even my friends who are not actively involved are paying very close attention to the political climate. I mean, how can you not? I must admit, I’ve yet to watch one debate; but I have watched SNL, and I think that counts for something. Even the best writers in television can’t make the reality of the circus unfolding in front of us any more ridiculous than it already is. The two most unpopular candidates that have ever existed, facing off in an epic battle of Idiocracy at it’s finest.
On one side, we have the Elitist Warhawk, Wall-Street-loving, “bring em to heel,” Hillary Clinton, touting her love for hot sauce and all things middle class. And just so I am clear, my problem with Hillary is not on a personal level. I don’t care who her husband had sex with, or what her fashion sense is—those are not fair critiques to make. My problem is with her policies and her political relationships:
•Her foreign policy (Israel, the Middle East)
•Her support of the 1994 crime bill
•Her cozy relationship with Wall Street
•Her (previous) views on gay marriage
•Her ties with big oil and stance on important issues like fracking
•Her support of NSA mass surveillance
•Her lack of support for, and outright hostility towards, whistleblowers
On the other side, we have the blue-collar-loving, five-time-deferment yet staunch supporter of the military, Billion Dollar Don, telling the angry masses he understands that “the struggle is real.” A guy who was born into wealth, has an Ivy League education, and started his business with a mere one-million-dollar loan from Daddy, has managed to become the champion of the workingman. Are we living in Bizarro World? Every day, I have to fight off the urge to punch myself in the face just to confirm that this fraud won the nomination. If you need me to bullet point reasons why you should not be voting for Trump, it’s too late. I cannot help you.
I won’t bore you with all of the lies, fearmongering, and general horseshit that’s been thrown around over the last several months, but what I can’t gloss over is the outright corruption of the DNC, and the complete unravelling of the Republican party. I have only been on this planet 44 years, but in my lifetime, I cannot recall a more tumultuous, contentious race for the White House. I was in Philly this past July for the DNC, and while the powers that be would like you to believe the Democrats hold the high ground, when it comes to party politics, I think it’s fairly obvious that they are as equally divided as the Republicans—and dare I say it, even more corrupt. At least the Republicans ran the guy that the people chose (even though an argument can be made that those people are imbeciles). The DNC, however, had to pull out every dirty trick in the book to get their candidate on the ticket, and now they are expecting people to “fall in line,” after everything that was said about them behind the scenes. Fuck that, and fuck your party, too.
Although the argument that Hillary does horrible things while Trump only talks about them may seem valid to some, I don’t want to vote for someone whose policies have killed innocent people, OR for someone else who claims they will introduce policy that will kill innocent people. As far as I am concerned, it’s not a very compelling argument.
For those who cannot be swayed to vote for the “lesser of two evils,” there are other options out there. In fact, I think this is the closest we have ever come to Americans recognizing that there is a third-party option. I know a lot of my friends who would consider themselves apolitical are planning to vote third party in this election. It may not be the critical mass some of us were hoping for, but I do believe we are getting there.
As for me, I will not be voting in November. This was not an easy decision to come to; in fact, I have spent years defending myself against a handful of anarchist friends who saw the futility much earlier than I did. Being a convicted felon, I had to jump through many hoops to get my voting rights restored, and as a recovering gullible person by nature, I put my faith in the belief that there was someone out there who was worthy of my vote. Never in a million years would I have thought I’d be voluntarily giving up my right to vote, but never in a million more will I believe that a politician is more equipped to make decisions for me than I am to make decisions for myself. Call it a utopian view if you’d like, but at this point, I will happily take Utopia over the reality that we are facing, any day.
As much as my fatalism tends to get the best of me at times, it’s not all doom and gloom. Most great flushes end with a feeling of “life anew,” a rebirth of sorts. That rebirth is in its infancy right now. You cannot deny that the smell of change is in the air, and this time it’s not a politician selling it—it’s the people demanding it. We may be a nation divided, and there may be some of us who are on the wrong side of history, but the optimist in me believes that good will prevail. In the words of the great Sam Cooke, “a change is gonna come.”
Self-expression is one of the last bastions of freedom we have as Americans, and whether you choose to vote in this election or not, I think it’s very important to send a message. With the First Amendment on the chopping block, the Second constantly being scrutinized, and many others under fire, the politicians have been emboldened—by us—to believe they hold the power. They do not. We do. Until we all realize that it’s the people who have the power, buckle up. It’s going to be a bumpy ride.
Author: Cynthia Tarana is a heavily tattooed Ex-Con with no college education and very bad punctuation. She currently lives on Long Island, NY where she pays extremely high taxes, likes to drink, rage against the machine and shop at the GAP.
Contact Cynthia at firstname.lastname@example.org
“When you are critical towards one candidate the argument seems to be that you are somehow supporting the other. Newsflash – I can actually dislike multiple people at once – it’s like a special super power I have. Just because I don’t want herpes doesn’t mean I am looking for some gonorrhea.
~ Cynthia Tarana”