To vote or not to vote…that is the question.
I think this November may just be the first time I’ll sit out an election. Or I’ll just fill in “YOUR MOM.”
I registered to vote as soon as I was 18. I grew up in a very nonconformist house. No groups of any kind were ever joined, no teams watched or sided with, no flags ever waved. My parents never voted, not once. It wasn’t because they were disinterested in politics; in fact, both my parents paid laser like attention to all local, national and world events. Three newspapers were delivered to our house, five if you include the adorable Norway Times and The Bar Harbor Times.
I foolishly thought that chipping my one lousy vote into the pot had some collective effect, that it was an honor to be a part of a political system.
Growing up in a house where rule-breaking was encouraged – but never in a cheesy or common smoke-pot-with-your-mom-and-get-a-tattoo-and-ride-a-motorcycle kind of way – made following rules my way of rebelling against my parents. So I registered to vote, maybe to spite them a little, although it wasn’t as if they told me not to vote. The first time I voted, it was for something local. I remember walking past my dad and telling him that I had just voted. He asked who for, I replied and he exclaimed “Marone!”, rolling the R. (Marone is a slang word often used by southern Italian-Americans to express disgust.) I felt very rebellious.
The sad thing is that, no matter for who I’ve voted, it has been a colossal let down. Half my life has passed since I came of voting age. It was always a letdown. Two words: Al Gore. That hurt. He’s so cute, so betalicious AND an environmentalist! OMG, he and I are both single now . . . I need to tap that. (Just kidding, I think it’s hysterical when people vote based on how attracted they are to the candidate.) Anyway, talk about pulling the rug out from under your Floridian feet.
Even with all the Bush/ Cheney hatred out there, I’m not a democrat nor a republican. I’m a registered non-affiliate. I have a hard enough time being called female. I’m not siding with either of these two camps. They both stink. And their shit is starting smell quite alike.
I thought Obama was cool. A lot of it was his smooth, doesn’t-get-his-feathers-ruffled demeanor. He fascinated me, much like a Quaker does. But then he dropped his pastor of 20 years, the guy who married him and baptized his two girls. This was too much for me. What sort of person publicly drops his pastor of 20 years? A dick, that’s who! So I decided he couldn’t be trusted and I set my half hearted sights on McCain. Then Sarah Palin and her creepy lipstick showed up! So I went back to Obama, with his slick, disgusting, billion dollar campaign and his zero loyalty to a man from whom he’d taken the title of his damn book. And his stickers. All of my hipster peers had their shallow eyes glued to them, never making a critical judgment about the guy; they’d just see those cool stickers. I knew he was a total liar, but Sarah Palin literally frightened me back into Obama’s camp. What a terrible way to vote.
I’m sick of being sickened by campaigns. Remember the trendy John Kerry tees on idiots like Paris Hilton? Tees that read “Anybody’s better than Bush!” And Kerry’s privileged kids dressed half-naked on red carpets? I HATED seeing moveon.org people on every corner of Philadelphia (most of them so sure, so condescending) and the endless celebrity endorsements for Kerry. As if I was going to be encouraged to vote on my fucking president by Limp Bizkit and P. Diddy on MTV! Kerry was just another rich asshole. I found that whole campaign to be the grossest display of branding. Until Obama…
So here’s the thing that I always liked about republicans (breathe, liberal reader, breathe! You will make it through the next sentence. It’s not very liberal to be just as closed-minded as the republicans you despise): they may be bonkers, fanatical Christians or plain nuts but at least, in some ways, it’s all out there. They aren’t trying to soothe you with some wannabe-humanitarian (I’m one of those), democrat, phony bullshit. Dick Cheney is SO ok with being an asshole; he even shoots his friends… in the face…with fucking birdshot! I feel a little more respect for a person who is a straight up asshole, and blatant about it, than one who is sneaky about it. The republicans have been taking it too far. I get that. But Obama is a corporation-loving war-lover too.
So, maybe I can add not voting to the paradigm shift I’m going through. Maybe it’s just me getting one step closer to calling it quits, packing up my thinking chair and heading for the woods; shutting down all modernity, growing my own tobacco and sitting in a canoe naked, reading the books my kids mail me; and laughing myself silly about the time I voted for YOUR MOM.
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