Trash Politics

The state of political discourse in America has, at this point, reached a place that can only be described as nightmarish. It feels like we’re caught between two bulls, their horns locked together, snouts puffing, mouths dribbling, hooves scrabbling at the bloody sand. We are hardly noticed, we are ground to nothing.

Everybody is looking for a way out. How do we fix this? How do we make it better?

And the world burns.

I never registered to vote. Some people have criticized me for that, perhaps rightly so. If you refuse to participate in the system than you have no right to complain when it fucks you over, they say. Pick a side. Which pro-war pro-corporation power-hungry bastard do you want stomping on you? By which bull would you rather be gored? I just can’t stomach the idea of casting my lot with the lesser of two evils. It stops me every time. This year, though, I think I will register. I think I’m going to vote third party. I think I’m going to vote for the green party.

They don’t take money from corporations. They support gender and racial equality. They’re environmentalist, pacifist, etc. They sound too good to be true.

These are things I care about. Things which make moral sense. I want a system of far-sighted anti-partisan community-focused policies. I wonder sometimes what would happen if the green party ever actually came into power. Would they collapse? Nothing but dreamers? Would they be swayed by the same lure of power which has wrecked all those idealists before them? Would it mean a new golden age? Would be the ruin of the nation? Who knows. It’s a chance I’m willing to take, however. More than that, it’s a chance I want to take. I’m desperate to take it.

I tell people that I’m going to vote green. They’re angry with me. Disgusted. They look at me like I’m stupid. Not because of the issues. They’re with me on the issues, for the most part. They just can’t conceive of a person being dumb enough to step outside the system. A third party candidate will ruin the real candidate’s chances! Do you want to end up with one of them in power?

Honestly, I don’t care if they win. I can hardly tell the difference anymore.

The phrase I hear most often is that I am throwing away my vote. Throwing it away. A waste. If they can’t win – and they won’t win, I’ve no illusions of that – than why bother? What is a vote? Do I have an obligation to vote for a lesser candidate just because they have a better chance of winning and aren’t quite as bad as their opponent?

But what about my voice? What if all the people who want to vote third party – but won’t because they’ve chosen instead to support the less awful candidate – actually voted their hearts? What if we all just forgot about being practical and measured and actually spoke up for what we really believe in?

Isn’t there some chance they might listen? Maybe we can’t win this election, but if we speak loud enough, might we win in some distant future? Do we really have to be trapped in this cycle? Can’t we break free of it all? Can’t we save this place?

I nurse a pallid dread, a sickly hope that we are better than fear.

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