Voting: a right not explicitly stated in the US constitution (read here); why you know you have a town hall; a process whose pre-election byproducts provide SNL with a fantastic platform for impressions; how you get your sticker for quatrannual National Sticker Day; and, of course, the process that determines the outcomes of our elections
O fellow critizens, middle-of-the-pack millennials, over-informed analysts, lonely cynics, lonelier sheeple, and Reality-TV, over-under-stimulated burnouts, all with no political party to love or lead you, if you can hear me in your parents’ basements over the crackling of the fire the student loan bills you are burning for warmth as winter approaches are stoking, I am talking to you.
I saw the best minds of my generation destroyed by madness,
starving hysterical naked,
dragging themselves to the ballet boxes at dawn looking
for an angry fix
The American river is flooding once again, and it’s time to dam it, not damn it. We must drag ourselves to the ballot boxes, and not for a quick fix or the high of voting for someone we love and admire wholeheartedly, but to answer the simple question: do you want A or B to be our next president. Sorry, C, you just haven’t made the ground we thought you would as it seems you got lost in Aleppo. Nevertheless, we’d love to have you, another you, that is, next time. A and B (more like L and Z) are clearly Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. I would rather have Patrick be president (seriously I’d put him in the game if I could), but alas.
But, seriously, we have to vote in this election. I’m telling you this because it’s polite, because I’ve been well trained to headline an argument, and because, if you are voting for Trump, you have already stopped reading by now and are tested enough to evaluate the following coherent argument. Just kidding again. Clinton fanatics, take a seat, that was just a not inaccurate tricolon for a cheap laugh and not an endorsement of the Galatica empress whom you worship.
What prompts me to write isn’t an opportunity to rant or flex my unforgiving, oblique, and overly-classicized sense of humor, but the recent realization that many people, on account of either disgust, cynicism, confusion, principle, or protest are not planning to vote in our upcoming election. As acerbic, frustrating, and outright disappointing as our modern political climate is (hey, at least one climate made the news this presidential election), we must vote.
In 2004, as the presidential election between George W. Bush and John Kerry approached, Professor Alasdair MacIntyre (a very interesting, bright, and I imagine not evil man) argued that, because our system is failing Americans, Americans needed to vote against the system. MacIntyre concluded that the only way to do that was not to vote. (You can read his short open letter here.) MacIntyre’s argument was wrong then, and it is wrong now.
Nota bene: the following scenarios assume the election is not ‘rigged’. If you who are factoring such a ludicrous idea (and for those of you who are, ludicrous means crazy) into possibility have somehow made it this far in the article, then I guess keep reading and see if you confuse yourself into thinking.
Voting against the system cannot change the system for the better. There is no R.O.N. (re-open nominations) option in a presidential election. There are no do-overs. Let’s pretend in a perfect scenario for MacIntyre that everyone listens to his letter and no one votes. The count comes in at 0-0. Now what do we do? Well, to be honest, I have no idea. My guess is neither does MacIntyre, or anyone in the U.S. Government. The chances are almost impossible, but let’s consider it for a moment. Who wants to be in this position? Perhaps an anarchist? I certainly don’t think that either MacIntyre or the average person who finds his letter convincing is an anarchist.
So when everyone takes MacIntyre’s suggestion, we find ourselves in a precarious situation (that means dangerous place… and, you know what, Trumpingtons, I change my mind. Stop reading. My fence is for my yard, so, no, you can’t ‘borrow’ it). Since this could never actually occur, what does MacIntyre’s plan of not voting look like when adopted by a smaller number of voters? This would inevitably skew the results of the election toward whatever candidate’s base has the least amount of convinced readers of MacIntyre’s article. Whether or not this would work in the favor of the candidate you support more or not does not change the fact that in this scenario the elected president would not be as representative of what the American people want. Everyone in this example that has taken MacIntyre’s suggestion and not voted could still objectively have chosen a preference between the two candidates. The short of it is this: we can all choose between A and B, even if it isn’t fun. Furthermore, people will choose A or B in the election, so put aside your hipster pride and make a choice.
Then, join me and the aardvarks. We are the new political revolution and shall give you free Netflix, cancel your student loans, and invent a machine that transforms firearms into free iPhone 10s and unreleased Ikea furniture to give our country a beautiful makeover the likes of which Scandinavia will envy. Just kidding, obviously. We are few dudes on a blog who stopped taking math after high school. But, seriously, go out there and vote. Not because a celebrity, or even I, told you to, but because if you’ve read this post I hope you will agree it is the best course of action. Do bigger changes need to come? Yes, of course. Must there be a better presidential candidate out there besides these two individuals? Yes. I already told you Patrick is one. But is rebelling against the system like a country of teenagers rebelling against their parents for no concrete reason other than that ‘this sucks’ in order to make a point the best immediate course of action with the election coming right up? No. A president will be decided on November 8th. Be a part of that decision.