Considering my degree in Political Science and the fact that I’ve been fighting about politics since I was able to tie my shoes, many people, incorrectly assume, that Presidential election years are my two favorite events of the decade. They are not. I hate it. Presidential election years are the absolute worst time for anyone with more than a passing understanding of the United States government. Ignoring the obvious influx of political novice and populism that hits the airwaves during this type of thing, Presidential elections are beholden to another phenomenon of the United States government: the partisan militant.
The partisan militant is the sworn enemy to the reasonable voter. While you’re trying to take an objective stance on an issue, the Parisian militants march into your Facebook comments to accuse you of being the straw man argument of the month. You see them hanging around subreddits and facebook groups to plan the next attack on some media member’s Twitter mentions, and you head the other way. It’s frustrating and ugly, but would, generally, be tolerable if it wasn’t for the hypocrisy.
Look at your Facebook timeline right now. You’ll probably see a collection of statuses exclaiming “we need change now”, followed by *insert generic partisan meme*. In two days, while having a beer with the same person, they’ll tell you that they don’t really like Candidate A, “but we need to beat [Candidate B], so I’ll vote for him”. Let’s not forget the classic “I don’t like what [Candidate B] says or what he does, but he sure does tell it like it is”. The political consensus across the nation is that the two options are terrible, but there is clearly one that’s better than the other.
We’re selling out as a nation. The “brightest beacon for freedom” in the world is settling on the most important office in the land. We’ve decided that the political win is more important than the moral right, and have put ourselves in a situation of choosing between a geriatric patient and a lunatic. These aren’t the only options. At this very moment, there are likely more than 100 people running for the office. Some of them are small businessmen, doctors, academics, and soldiers, but we turn a blind eye. Two alternative parties, the Libertarians and the Green parties, have enough ballot access to get 270 electoral votes, and still no one cares.
Why? Why do Americans feel the need to choose between one nightmare or the other? The answer is simple. The partisan militant, while mostly good natured, are doing the work of the devil. Mention to one of these people that you’re looking into third party candidates, and watch their faces peel back in horror. “How could you waste your vote in the most important election in HISTORY”!
They turn the narrative to extremes to make you feel guilty about exploring your options, while providing no support for the actual candidate. The only fact that you need to know is that this election is the most important election in history. It’s strange how every election for the past 12 years has been the “most important election in history”, yet nothing has changed. If it was so important back then, why didn’t the guy we put in office change anything to make the consequences less dire? The fact is the narrative of utter urgency is very convenient to the two party system. Essentially, they’re telling you that things are too important now to worry about luxuries like fair and free elections. We should let things calm down, then we can think about reform and real change. It’s almost as if fear is the most efficient driving force for the status quo. Who would have thought?
The moral of the story is that you shouldn’t let people tell you how to vote. It doesn’t matter what Your mom, your uncle, or Chris Evans has to say. In your gut and in your soul you know the decisions you want to make, so make it.
Michael A. Romano