I consider myself informed if not well read by way of current events. I have some understanding of our economic situation, the ongoing wars in the Middle East, and a general idea of how human rights are being treated both domestically and abroad. I also have a conscience and the idea of not voting in an election raises a feeling in me I’m not entirely comfortable with. So why would I consider not voting? My parents taught me right from wrong and I’ve developed the sense to know better.
I unapologetically voted for Obama in 2004. He seemed like a breath of fresh air compared to the spiraling war debt and utter depression that was the former administration. Inside I knew there was no real “change” coming; there are only so many hours in a day and one that has to answer to a country as large as ours cannot swoop in and make everything better. Naively I felt his election would usher in a change in the people. That his election would speak to our better qualities as citizens. Not hip or cool, just open to consideration and thought. But leave it to a minority of extremists to repeat ad nauseum a series of lies so insignificant that now (according to CNN) 6 in 10 people question his birth certificate. I’d ask if anyone thought to enquire about the DNC’s vetting process, but they’re playing the exact same game as the GOP. That is an insult.
That is also the crux; these teams have begun answering to one side or the other. No one represents the omnibus, which is America. Obama speaks solely social issues, when politically necessary, because that’s what Democrats do; the Reactionaries speak only to brutal economics, war, and the more Evangelical aspects of God because that’s what they do. Because that’s what you, member of the voting populous, have asked for. What you’ve demanded. We don’t have, nor will we ever have, a three party system because no American sport requires three teams on the field. There’s no appeal in that. It’s confusing.
So, I’m quitting. Who would I side with anyway? The Ineffectuals or the Machine? Is there no one on the national level who can resolve these not so different issues that affect everyone? What’s the point of fighting tyranny if we don’t defend the social institutions that make us exceptional? The economy is as important as ensuring children have access to first world medical care, in the first world. I feel like Stan Marsh being asked to choose between an outdated personal hygiene tool and a sandwich made from dog excrement. Maybe I’ll turn my sights to more local institutions.
My editor, Miles Keenlyside, keeps me up to date on local politics. That’s always an adventure in sketchy and depressing behavior. We have lawmakers slipping “don’t retreat” laws onto the floor in the immediate wake of the Trayvon Martin killing; stricter “right to life” laws; and Rep. Crawford switching party affiliation to the Jesus camp, and using that as a selling point! It’s like the state of Georgia is in open competition with Florida to be the craziest pants of all the clown costumes. Why? Because if you don’t live in the city, that’s what you think you want. But the other side is just the same; each group redraws their districts for the sake of votes. For the sake of winning.
We’ve arrived at a point where chunks of the city are coming apart at the seams; the roads are full of holes and storefronts show only barren space beyond. Edgewood is nothing but potholes and infrastructure for a streetcar that’s never coming. Compare that to fifteen miles East, West, or North. Those folks can’t go a year without trying to start their own cities instead of putting their tax dollars to work. And the people who live in these distinct neighborhoods and districts will just keep supporting their team. So I quit.
I’m tired of being treated like I’m stupid and tired of being told stupid is ok. I didn’t grow up in a barn and feel any candidate who did isn’t fit to lead. I feel anyone who appeals to our worst qualities; our most selfish, ugly qualities are not fit to lead. Still we have the ineffectual panderers to the left and the lying liars to the right. Show me a candidate who gives a damn about anything of consequence when there isn’t an election three weeks away and I’ll register.