To Vote or Not to Vote: The Ramblings of a Disillusioned Anarchist



It’s the Sunday before election day, and for some reason my internal
clock has had me up, having coffee in front of the TV earlier than
normal. Like most Americans over the last two days, I have been
assaulted with a barrage of political campaign ads. As a “Philosophical
Anarchist” who sprung out of a libertarian mindset, my view on voting
(the last few years) has been that it is a huge waste of time. One
cannot argue that the two-party system in this country has proven to be
a tragically flawed endeavor—not to mention the fact that the said two
parties always seem to find a way to agree on the things that I am most
strongly opposed to: war, putting money over people, and endless empire
building, just to name a few.  These are huge issues not only for me,
but for a lot of my friends who, like me, have become disenchanted with
the process. We would just as soon burn the entire thing down than fall
for the delusion that it can be fixed from within.

It does not help that the vast majority of Americans have fallen for the
fear mongering tactics that some of those running for office have been
using. Let’s face it, most people are not even educated enough to
delineate between socialism, communism, and anarchism. They are however,
very quick to tell you that those beliefs are “bad.” To many, anarchy means burning shit down, kicking puppies, and tackling old ladies, all while listening to “Never Mind the Bollocks;” communism can be summed
up by standing on line for hours on end for one loaf of bread; and, by
their definition, under socialism, your neighbor would be able to come to
your house at any time and take your shit.

“Advocates that the means of production, distribution, and exchange
should be owned or regulated by the community as a whole.”

“A society in which all property is publicly owned and each person works
and is paid according to their abilities and needs.”

“The organization of society on a voluntary, cooperative basis without
recourse to force or compulsion.”

These philosophies are not nearly as scary as some would have you
believe. In fact, many of history’s most brilliant minds have been drawn
to them. Albert Einstein, Helen Keller, Mahatma Gandhi, Angela Davis,
Mark Twain … even the author of the “Pledge of Allegiance,” Francis
Bellamy, was a socialist who believed the teachings of Jesus were
consistent with its principles.

I am not going to lie—there was a time I didn’t understand them either;  
but in the age of the internet, there is absolutely no excuse to stay
ignorant. I love that I have made it a point to learn about “different”
ideas, and I am proud that I have such a diverse group of friends. When
you expose yourself to different people and ideas your world becomes
larger, and borders insignificant. However, Trump and people like
him fear the things they do not understand. They are happy to keep
their minds small, and their worlds even smaller.

“Fear is the only true enemy, born of ignorance and the parent of anger
and hate” – Edward Albert

Like me, so many people I know are struggling with the Trump supporters
in their lives. While out to dinner the other night, my husband summed
up what a lot of us are feeling: “I don’t even want to have a
conversation with them, because I will only end up hating them.” I know
this sounds extreme, but for a lot of us, support of Trump goes beyond
politics. It goes to who you are as a person, what you stand for as a
human being. There was a time where we could be civil to each other, a
time when I could disagree with you without wanting to drive a knife
directly into your eyeball. Those times are gone. With Trump, for me,
all hope of ever finding even the smallest piece of common ground is gone.
So, like my husband, with certain people, these are conversations I will
not attempt to broach.

Some may say this is a flawed strategy. How are people ever going to
change their views if we can’t have a civil discussion? Here is my
answer to that: I am completely past the point of wanting to change
anybody’s mind about our president. After all the things that he has
said and done (on camera), the violence he has incited at his rallies,
the blatantly racist policies he has tried to pass, the language he has
used against women, Mexicans, Muslims, and just about every other
marginalized group that has come up in his crosshairs, and his overall lack
of compassion for humanity in general, I just don’t think there is
anything I could possibly say (after everything he has already said),
that could ever change someone’s mind. As far as I can see, we could not
be any further apart on the issues than we already are. As far as I am
concerned, as the prolific Joe Rogan said, “I don’t want you on the
team, you’re an asshole.”

All of that leads me to my latest conundrum—to vote or not to vote?
This last election, as a New Yorker, I knew that my vote had already
been cast. I was able to smugly write in my all-time favorite (very
dead) journalist, “Hunter S Thompson.” I know it’s been said a million
times before, but in these midterms, there is just too much at stake for me
to “sit it out.” As a friend of a friend most eloquently stated,
“sometimes the lesser of two evils is way less evil.”

Lee Zeldin, a local candidate running for re-election, has
supported Israel’s endless assault on Palestine, and would have no issue
if they decided to wipe them off the map altogether. Liuba Grechen
Shirley, a single mother and newcomer to politics, is running
against Peter King, a 25-year incumbent Congressman who is an
Islamophobic pig. Will the system chew her up and spit her out? Probably. But I applaud her efforts, and if me taking ten minutes out of my day to
support her makes any difference at all, I can spare the time.

I am a white woman in America, post-childbearing age, and the deck is
already unfairly stacked in my favor. My life will probably continue to be the same, no matter the outcome. While I respect my friends who have chosen not to participate in the process, for me, if I can do anything to help alleviate someone else’s suffering (if only by a very small fraction), then I must do that—even if it means voting.

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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 2100hours@optonline.net

Twitter: @BookingGoddess

Read Cynthia’s Articles/Essays Here

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