To vote or not to vote, that is the question this year
I’m having the hardest time getting behind a presidential candidate this year, so much that it seems pointless to go to the polls this Tuesday. I’ll just feel like an idiot standing there, gnawing my fingernails and scratching my head as I hold up the line for those who know what they’re doing.
Friends keep e-mailing me links to Websites that support their favorite candidates. I wish I could catch their enthusiasm as I have in elections past, but this year I find myself stubbornly immune to it.
Seeking clarity, I took a few online tests that promised to reveal my ideal candidate. That made things just about as clear as mud. One test asked me to agree or disagree with statements such as, “There is now a worrying fusion of information and entertainment.” Well, I keep hoping that this column might be a positive fusion of information and entertainment, so I disagreed with that statement — I think.
“When you are troubled, it’s better not to think about it, but to keep busy with more cheerful things.” Can someone please tell me what the heck that has to do with how I cast my vote? Most confusing of all, “The enemy of my enemy is my friend.” Maybe I needed more caffeine or a nap or something, but it took me a good five minutes to figure that one out.
Too many of the multiple-choice options on another test seemed perfectly reasonable, which might explain why it didn’t match me with the candidate I assumed it would.
So do I choose one big issue and vote Tuesday for whoever most closely matches my ideas on that topic? Because it is clearly impossible to find one person who matches my viewpoint across the board.
And I’m finding that my perspective can sway, depending upon the circumstances. I think I feel one way about an issue, but then I look at the individuals who would be impacted by changes in legislation, and my compassion for them changes my opinion.
So I find myself at a place where I can honestly say, for the first time ever, I don’t want to vote for anyone. Call me weary, but I’m losing my faith that any one person can truly make things significantly better, anyway.
I’ve held a couple of different jobs that required me to interact with politicians on a regular basis. I can count on one hand the people that I had good interactions with, that I felt were sincere in their desire to help make the world a better place. It’s the larger group of surprisingly unpleasant politicians whose behavior slowly jaded my opinion of government.
If I could speak to all candidates today, I would beg for sincerity. Make me believe that you honestly care about the issues you verbally support. Do something to prove that you have your constituents’ best interests at heart; that you don’t just see your election as something good on your curriculum vitae or an achievement to make your daddy proud. Make me want to go to the polls and get behind you. Be nice. Be real.
But is “being real” a plausible request in today’s political environment? It feels as fruitless as demanding that a fish climb a tree.
People used to want their children to grow up to become presi- dent. Some still do, I suppose. My folks have always said that my son Zach would make a great politician.
He’s good at bargaining and bartering to get what he wants, something he’s done since he learned how to talk. If you don’t agree with his viewpoint, he has a thousand arguments prepared and will work hard to sway you.
But I look at the politicians I’ve known, the backstabbing commercials, the immense pressure on candidates, and I don’t want that for my son. I don’t want it at all.
I feel a moral obligation to vote. This is the only system we have, and no matter how corrupt it may be, I believe that all citizens are responsible for doing their democratic duty. But this American needs to wait until the field of candidates has been weeded a bit before making a decision.