It’s election season and we all know what that means! Endless race horse coverage by the main stream, corporately owned media; where every single speech, gaffe, dinner, event, lunch, sneeze, smirk, and strenuous bathroom experience is analyzed by overpaid and underwhelming news anchors. That’s right! It’s that magical time, where heavily biased polls are read to us like vague Mayan prophecies assuring us the end is near. News pundits with their heads empty and their wallets full will look directly into the camera and with a completely straight face scream about how the world is ending.
“Ragnorak is upon us!” they shout. “Repent! Repent! Vote for ::insert corporate sponsored politician here:: and Repent!”
Of course since major media news stations have to keep an appearance of being fair and balanced, their ideologue counterpart will come on the air afterward and provide us with an opposing view.
“Of course the world isn’t ending. Well not yet at least. It all depends on what happens on Election day! Repent! Repent! Vote for ::the other corporately owned politician::! Tribulation is almost upon us! Repent and save us!”
Disgusting. Repulsive. Nauseating. These are the best descriptions I can provide for the current status of electoral politics. Not just because of the terrible candidates, their destructive party platforms, or the cesspool that is known as election news coverage. No. I swallow a little bit of vomit every time I think about election season in America because of the American citizens who choose to participate in this absolute farce.
Wait! Before you stop reading let me explain myself! Please take no personal offense to any insult I may have inflicted with that previous statement. I am not attacking you as an individual, nor is this a manifesto advocating for the abandonment of our electoral process. I am not writing to you hoping to convince you to join some hippie anarchist commune in the backwoods of Central New York. No, I am insulting you (albeit in a friendly, almost funny, yet completely serious way), because there is a significantly high chance your political involvement begins and ends on the Tuesday after the first Monday in November, and will not return again for oh, approximately another four years.
Or perhaps I err again! Maybe you vote every two years! Or maybe you’re one of the few thousand in Oneida County who vote every year! Or better yet, the one of five people who vote in every single election ever!
Or perhaps you’re one of those people who voluntarily choose not to vote. “Voting means you’re buying into the system man. Means you’re giving consent to the authority maaan. I am not going to give this system any credibility maaaaaan.”
Oh, how I shake my fist at you. The “system” doesn’t need you to buy in “man”. The system doesn’t need your permission “maaan”. And most of all, the “system” does not need your consent to fuck you, “maaaaaan”.
Regardless of the consistency of your voting record, if your involvement with our political system begins and ends with a pen and ballot, you too, share the responsibility for the current sad state of affairs. And that applies twice as much for those who don’t vote. But let’s not forget here that voting, by itself, is for suckers.
Perhaps I should elaborate. As a kid, I was lied to. Constantly. About everything. Santa Claus. The tooth fairy. The Easter bunny. Chocolate milk comes from brown cows. You name it, I probably bought it wholesale. But as I grew older, I became much more adept at separating the bullshit from the bull shit. Being tricked into believing a fantasy as truth became increasingly difficult. My skepticism was running rampant.
But the closer I got to my eighteenth birthday, I started to hear a brand new lie, one I’ve never heard before as a kid. “Make sure to vote” they would say. “Election time is when you can make a difference! Make sure your voice is heard! Rock The Vote!” Oh I bought that one hook, line, and sinker. Then I took that lie, made it my own, and shouted it from the rooftops. “Vote or Die Mother Fucker!” (for history sake, I never actually said that)
Imagine my disgust when I discovered what a naive fool I had been. I never once challenged them on why they were “Get Out The Vote” campaigns and not “Get Yourself Involved Campaigns”. “Voting changes things!” Oh, what a profane mockery of youthful idealism. Lying, deceitful bastards. All of them. “If voting changed anything, they’d make it illegal.” You’re god damn right Emma Goldman.
Now I know what you are probably thinking, “So you’re saying that I…ugh…shouldn’t vote?” And I want you to banish that thought from your head, right now, get it out. Get a hammer and beat it out of your head if you have to. Just make sure that it stays out.
Let me be perfectly clear. Voting DOES have the power of changing things, you idiot. Why do you think they made it illegal for slaves, immigrants, women, and the poor to vote? What do you think the Poll Tax, and Grandfather Clause of the Jim Crow era were for, you dolt. Even right now, in this very day and age, they are trying to make it illegal for American citizens in Florida, Pennsylvania and Ohio to vote in this upcoming election! Whomever quotes Emma Goldman on voting is a dimwitted moron.
“But..but…you said..” Don’t listen to what I’ve said man (and ladies)! Listen to what I AM SAYING. The current state of electoral politics is horrid. It is awash in corruption, perpetrated by campaign donations from major corporations and the 1%. It is bought and paid for in cold hard cash. We currently have two presidential nominees whose main disagreement on economics comes from how to make Wall Street money. One wants to make them rich. The other wants to make them even richer. Either way we, the people, the poor, the middle class, and the working class have already lost. These are the facts.
My entire lifetime, when it came to voting, I’ve been told to vote for the “lesser of two evils”. Recently, thanks to the Occupy Movement, I’ve finally accepted the fact that a vote for the lesser of two evils, is still a vote for evil. That means I’ve accepted the fact that I have directly voted for evil. It’s something that I am still coming to terms with honestly, and I plan on making amends. Never again, will I vote for the “lesser of two evils” and I plead for you to do the same.
I know there are people out there screaming how we shouldn’t “waste our vote”, and to them I have nothing but contemptuous disbelief. How is any vote cast, a wasted vote? How is a vote against evil, a wasted effort? How is choosing a candidate who best suits my political ideals a waste? To me, a wasted vote is a vote for a candidate solely because you dislike his opponent. Now that is truly a waste.
Now please don’t misunderstand me here. I am not saying the solution to all of our worldly problems comes on the line labeled “other” on your election ballot. Voting in itself, is the absolute bare minimum of personal involvement. Voting, by itself, does NOT get your opinions heard. Voting does NOT end wars. Voting does NOT end poverty. Voting does NOT provide better jobs. Voting by itself, does NOT change a damn thing. Voting is NOT a form of activism. Again, voting is the absolute bare minimum of political involvement. It is the tiniest of the little things you can do to advocate for change.
However, if you were to combine voting with activism, now that is a force to be reckoned with. Be an electoral activist. Refuse to vote for anybody who answers first to their corporate campaign donators before they answer to the people. Then, and this is the really important part, back that vote up with words and action. When election day comes and goes, regardless of who wins and who loses, make sure that you are still there to raise hell and continue to demand real change. Don’t do what so many lazy, unmotivated, and disillusioned Americans are bound to do come that following Wednesday and say “good job everybody, see you in four years!”
No, it is time for us to stick around for once. This battle is not over! The war has not yet been won! The American people haven’t won a single election in my lifetime, and I am damn sure we aren’t going to win this year either. We must come together, to organize, educate, and agitate, not just during an election cycle, but every day, every week, every month, every year.
So please, I beg of you, let this election be the first step in a continuous resistance against those who seek to oppress your voice. Against those who seek to gain off of our shared misery. Become an activist at any level you are capable of; join whatever cause you feel is best, donate whatever time and money you can share . But most importantly, start demanding accountability from those you elected to represent you, and then fight them when they say “no”. The system is broken, and it won’t get fixed by choosing to ignore it. It is time for us to get to work.