I was passionate about the Bernie Sanders campaign. I donated. I sported three of his campaign magnets on the back of my car. I was vocal on social media and IRL about my strong feelings for Bernie. I switched my voter registration from Independent to Democrat just so I could vote for him in the primary. I felt the Bern.
I realllllly wanted Bernie to win. And I was heart-broken when he didn’t. My heart, I imagine, felt a lot like how the hearts of Hilary Clinton supporters must feel right now.
On Tuesday, though, I didn’t vote.
There was zero chance I was going to vote for either Clinton or Donald Trump. “You have to pick the lesser of two evils,” people say. No. I don’t.
“Well… you can’t complain if you don’t vote,” people say. Sure I can. Don’t tell me what I can and can’t do. Go f-bomb yourself. My right to not vote is every bit as strong as your right to vote. And my thought process for not voting is every bit as substantiated as your thought process for voting.
Joke’s on you though, bound-stepper-overers, because I have no plans to complain. Am I thrilled that Trump is the president-elect? If you’ve ever read a post on this blog then you probably know the answer to that. But am I going to bitch and moan about it? No. (Instead, I will bitch and moan about how I’m not going to bitch and moan, because that’s way more productive.)
“There is literally no excuse for not voting,” people say. Umm. First of all, can we collectively agree to stop using “literally” when we don’t mean “literally”? It’s really annoying.
Secondly, even for someone like myself who admittedly did not have a crazy extenuating circumstance, there are still plenty of reasons to not vote.
How much was your vote worth and how much did it cost you? This is different for each person.
A vote, by itself and without emotions, is not meaningless. I will freely admit that. But it’s so extraordinarily close to meaningless that it might as well be. Even more so if you’re in a non-swing state with only three electoral votes.
But a vote is never by itself and without emotions. When you add in the good feels that come with that vote, it holds a ton of potential value. For people who get those good feels, that is.
I appreciate that voting makes most people feel good about themselves. It gives people a sense of pride, duty, significance and an assortment of other feelings.
I just don’t get that same feeling of gratification that most people seem to. Not for casting a vote for someone I don’t like. Voting for the lesser of two evils doesn’t make me feel patriotic or happy. If anything, it bums me out.
So, I didn’t vote.
If I had it would have been for Gary Johnson, the only third-party candidate I know anything about. But even then, I don’t know enough about him to be thrilled to vote for him.
My costs and benefits? Voting on Tuesday would have meant either cutting my disc golf outing 20 minutes short or delaying my dinner with friends by 20 minutes. An admittedly tiny cost. But not one that was worth it to me. That small amount of value from voting wasn’t there for me.
What about local officials?
I don’t consume the news, and haven’t for many years. Simply from being alive I have a general idea of what is going on in the world. I have friends and family and coworkers. I use Twitter and reddit. The unintentional amount of world news I get from all of that is more than enough for me.
There are certain areas of interest about which I pursue further information. Politics is not one of those areas.
I know nothing about any local politician who was running for any office. Had I voted it would have been either “Republican” down the board or “Democrat” down the board. And maybe a sprinkle of third-party when available. Because I wouldn’t have had any other reasoning to go with.
Could I have educated myself? Yes. Would that have been worth it to me? Obviously not, or I would have done it.
It’s all my fault.
Talking with people yesterday, it seemed as if they were mad at me that Trump won. That, as a liberal non-voter, I was responsible not only for Trump winning, but also for the imminent shitty futures of these people. That could only be true if all of the following are true.
- Trump won Delaware by a single vote. Or Delaware was tied. He didn’t. It wasn’t.
- Trump finished with 270-272 electoral votes. He didn’t. He finished with 279 electoral votes. And if he had won Delaware he would have finished with 282. So even if #1 was true, I’m still not your scapegoat.
- A Clinton presidency would have been better for your future than a Trump presidency. I’m a straight, white, (upper?) middle-class male and this presidency scares me. I can’t imagine what any person in any minority group is feeling right now. But still, none of us can possibly know this for a fact just yet. Even if Trump is the worst president in history, which is not guaranteed, let’s not forget about four years from now. The (hopefully non-nuclear) fallout has the potential to be great for this country.
The odds of all three of those things ever being true at the same time? 1-in-laughable.
It’s about the collective whole.
I know that this post isn’t going to be popular.
I respect that you think I should vote. Seriously. And I even respect when you vocalize that thought. Within reason.
You might argue that sometimes things are greater than ourselves. Sometimes, even if our individual voices are close to meaningless, we still must yell so that our collective voices can be heard. Sometimes we must accept our insignificance and play our part anyway.
And I don’t disagree with any of that.
If Bernie was on the ballot on Tuesday, you bet your ass I would have been the first in line.