Monday, July 25, 2016

My Loser Is Better Than Your Loser

I'm having a really hard time this election year. Now that we're down to the last two, I don't see anyone who represents me as a Christian, or who represents my mixed family, or who represents virtually any of the core character traits that I value. I've been voting for about twenty-four years now,  all the way back to my first presidential vote in 1992. Maybe some of my readers can remember that one, but in case you don't, it was nuts. That year it was incumbent George "Big Daddy" Bush versus Bill "Mack Daddy" Clinton, and it was already tight. Then out of nowhere came this little crazy businessman from Texas, who was confusing the heck out of everyone by actually winning votes and getting on ballots. He had said some racist things in the past, and was selling himself as an outsider, a successful businessman who could get the country's finances under control. Both the Republicans and the Democrats had to tighten up their campaigns and clearly state their platforms, because they couldn't just rely on name recognition this time. With a loud and unpredictable third party winning hearts, they had to differentiate themselves from him, as well as from each other.

I remember then feeling that I wasn't sure who to vote for. We had an incumbent president who had broken promises, and a Democratic challenger who seemed a little too like a rock star. That plus the crazy Texan guy. I remember really having to think about who I wanted to give my first presidential vote.

This time it's not like that. This time I know I can't vote for either one. I can't, in good conscience, endorse either candidate, and I'm not seeing any dark horse, any third party with any alternatives, coming to rescue me. Apparently, a no-vote is a vote for Trump, or maybe a vote for Clinton, depending on whose Facebook page you're on. But, really, for the first time in twenty-four voting years, I think I don't really care.

I have all the regular kooks on my Facebook page who think that their passionate beliefs give them some ownership over my vote giving me all kinds of reasons why I'm less of a Christian if I vote this way, or less of a thinker if I vote that way. I feel like I've become the official investigator, fact-checker, and watchdog of the Internet, because of all of the reposted lies I find myself exposing, even though it doesn't make any difference, because the propaganda, ignorance, and outright hatred just keeps on rolling, as if the truth is more of a stumbling block to these arguments, rather than a building block.

And while I'm on the subject, I'd like to remind my fellow Christians on the internet that the ninth commandment definitely applies to reposting things on Facebook. I can't even imagine a better example of "bearing false witness against your neighbor than reposting some doctored picture or fake quote that you didn't take the time to verify before spreading falsehoods. I've come to the conclusion that people don't research these things, not even because they don't care if the information is true or not, but more because it feeds their political ideas so well that they don't want to know if it's false.

I look at the huge mess that the Republican convention was, and the huge mess that the Democratic convention is shaping up to be, and I really do fear for the country. Again, I remember feeling uncertain about which candidate to choose, but I don't ever remember feeling so adamantly against both candidates, that I start to wonder how either of them got through their primaries. On the Republican side, there's a candidate who says awfully racist things, and sometimes even announces plans to make them policy, who makes foolish promises like building a wall between borders with our nearest neighbor. Or, to be more precise, our nearest neighbor of color. Canadians pass the bag test, so they can still come and go as they please, I guess. On the Democratic side, we have a candidate who has apparently either engineered, or simply accepted and profited from, a rigged primary system that shut out any other viable candidates. Already I've got serious moral and ethical problems with both candidates, and I haven't even analyzed their platforms or a single issue yet. In fact, with that level of inconsistency and deceit, what does it matter what they say about the issues, anyway?

What bothers me more about this election is that I'm still expected to choose one of these losers. I keep hearing about the lesser of two evils, and about Supreme Court vacancies, and about the moral issues attached to each party, and, again, I'm starting to feel like I just don't care anymore. Whenever I have one of these discussions with anyone from either side, I'm just too focused on the fact that the person seems to be so at peace with the corruption on both sides that they can still talk about appointing judges or comparing flaws, instead of throwing up their hands in despair and cursing the entire system. I hate talking to these people, frankly. It's like trying to convince someone that the house is burning down around them, and all they can do is shove color wheels in your face and force you to choose a shade for the living room.

I promise I'm not running to Canada or Sweden, though. I might run to Mexico, only because I can speak decent Spanish and I'm training for an obstacle run, so a wall climb should be easy for me in a couple of months. Also, tacos. Always also tacos. Instead of running, the plan is to keep reading what smart people are saying about the election, people like Thabiti Anyabwile, for one. I'm going to keep blocking people on FaceBook so that I don't immediately get angry every time I log in to see pictures of people's kids or cats or video game achievements. I'm also going to keep visiting those same people's profiles after I've blocked them, because I just know they posted another racist, propagandistic falsehood that I need to squash with my research skills and rhetoric. Why? Because I can. I'm like the Batman of FaceBook. I'm going to keep praying for this country and my people, all of them, that their eyes will be opened, and that they will do what they can about this corruption, rather than simply pretend it's not there and maneuver around it, like eating around the rotten part of the apple. Whether that means writing, voting, speaking, reading, emailing, calling, protesting, or just complaining, I pray that people will use whatever tools they have to work against this system, instead of working with it.

And, yes, I'm sure I'll vote, although it won't be for either one of the major party candidates. I'm still holding out hope that viable third party candidate will show up at the final hour, like a superhero, to save me. In fact, if it doesn't happen, I'll probably just write someone in, like maybe Steve Rogers. Where's Captain America at a time like this. Oh, right. He's Hydra now. Crap.

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