I apologize if this is a bit late, a lot of these emotions reflective of how I felt post the Democratic National Convention. Still, it seems to apply all the same…
A while back, I knew someone suffering from depression who had a dangerous accident with nearly fatal results. It was scary, something I wouldn’t wish on others to experience. I say “accident” because they claimed it was accidental, but I was never sure whether that was true. In my opinion, if something looks like a duck, acts like a duck, and exhibits other duck-like qualities… well, maybe it’s still not a duck, but you can’t blame people for treating it like one.
With that said, I want to talk about this election this one last time (ok, probably not the last time. This election cycle still has a few centuries of frustration ahead of it), and call a spade a spade.
Look, I am not here to tell people how to vote and what is right. That is your choice to make, and making a choice is the most important part of voting. Personally, I will be voting for Hillary Clinton. I don’t feel it necessary to defend my opinions to anyone who disagrees (though, if you are curious, my good friend Chas Andres articulates it far better than I can here), and if you truly feel that I am wrong, to quote Ted Cruz, vote your conscience. No judgements.
But not voting is also a choice. Complaining and holding up the process is a choice. And I’m sorry, but those choices are bad choices, because it does nothing to help.
I believe in working with the solutions at hand to bring about change, as glacially slow as it may be. I believe in the pursuit of a brighter tomorrow. Not everyone has the same definition of that tomorrow, and that’s fine. I reserve my judgement for the people holding up the conversation with hate, bile and a halting of solutions. The people holding out for a candidate who’s not even running (you know who I mean) or a party that doesn’t exist as they want it to anymore (you know what I mean). Should you get mad and do something about it? Hell yeah, you should. But if you go to Burger King, standing at the counter and screaming Big Mac or Bust won’t get you your way. That’s not productive and it’s not a plan – and also, at some point you’re going to have to order something or else pass out from hunger. Or even worse, you bring everything to a halt, and the person in line behind you dies of starvation as a result. Because this doesn’t just affect you. This affects everyone.
Just now, in the coffee shop I frequent, I had a long conversation with a self proclaimed fiscal republican and social democrat. Someone who was more positive about Trump, but open to discussion. It was a friendly talk. We both described what kind of country we thought each candidate could make the US into, without leaning on the crutches of “He’s a racist” or “She’s corrupt”. Honestly, we both were underwhelmed with our choices, and concerned with how this has created such animosity between the people both parties want to lead. But we chatted, we smiled, and we didn’t hate each other by the end. No one’s mind was changed, but at least we were communicating.
My point is that if you remove yourself from the conversation and wall yourself into an echo chamber of your own beliefs, you’re telling yourself that you are not a part of the larger community. But you are. And neglecting your community can significantly, and negatively, affect the lives of those around you. Inaction is a choice. One of the best things about the more radical candidates this year was that they amplified the conversation and got more people involved, voicing their opinions more than ever before. That’s a huge fucking deal, and not one to scoff at. But just chanting something’s name and clapping your hands doesn’t bring it back to life like it’s Tinkerbell. It’s just stopping the conversation. And if we stop conversing…
Well, that’s how we end up with those fatal results.