Life As We Blow It: Electing Not to Elect

Asking an educated American to vote in 2010 is like dropping a bright sixth grader into Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf and demanding that he or she pick the better parent. It’s pointless and damaging; the kid still has to live with the both of them, along with their endless, petty, passive-aggressive stalemate, and eventually he or she learns to do the laundry and to make a few different meals and to assume that life is a joyless war of attrition during which a few uninterrupted moments of solitary quietude are the most one can hope for.

Again, fuck that. Life, and my temper when it comes to bullshit, drama, and bullshit drama, are much too short.

One of the immeasurable gifts given the culture by alternative news sources such as Creative Loafing is a perspective on politics not found elsewhere. There’s more passion, information and detail in the fringe media than you’re going to get from any multinational corporation that depends on a certain governmental atmosphere to keep its coffers full; that isn’t crazy-ass liberal speculation, it’s mere logic. And I’m thankful for the years I’ve spent directly or peripherally associated with fringe media, because it really has informed and shaped my view of not just American politics, but the idea and mechanizations of political process as a whole.

I used to loathe politics because I thought politics were boring. Now I loathe politics because I think politics are inherently detrimental to the individual’s quality of life. (Individual lobbyists nauseatingly excepted.)

I used to think there was something wrong with American government. Now I realize that there’s nothing wrong with American government; it does exactly what it’s supposed to do—perpetuate the appearance of its own quality. No government in the history of human civilization has existed for the purpose of making every citizen’s day feel like a satisfying orgasm of personal expression and fulfillment, and, given human nature and the corruption of power, well, such a thing isn’t likely to happen anytime soon.

And, yeah, OK, I know that. I can deal with that. I can drink myself to sleep and have my vaguely informed arguments with my friends about issues so personal it’s impossible to be objective (or, seriously, legislative) about them, and listen carefully in the quiet watches of the night to the slow atrophy and eventual death of my dreams.

But, Christ, if you’re not gonna field even a couple of candidates I can even sort of begin to get behind—if you can’t even pretend to consider the idealist-masquerading-as-cynic vote—then I’m not gonna pretend that my vote, or any individual’s vote, matters.

And if anybody else out there doesn’t feel like voting on Tuesday, not out of ignorance or apathy but out of disgust, of defiance, of refusal to reduce their voice to part of a muttered chorus of ambivalence toward a lesser evil, I’m certainly not going to give ‘em any shit about it.

Election Day approaches, and I am weary beyond description.

I’m tired of local-news segments. Tired of soundbites. Tired of wave after wave of attack ads that seem to ironically underscore the current focus on the problem of teenage bullying with a certain malevolent humor. Tired, even, of the sarcastic intellectual mockery of Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert.

But most of all, I’m tired of two decades of being told it’s my duty as an American to choose between the obvious criminal, the well-meaning incompetent, the charming human Eggo. Of being told it is socially, culturally and politically imperative that I exercise my right to pick, to settle on, several individuals from the wide array of people I would never want to tell me how to live, EVER, and throw my support behind them. Of feeling the pressure to choose between a punch in the face and a kick in the crotch.

Fuck that.

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