As hard as it still is for me to believe, I am writer for a news website, and yet I have not written anything about the most pressing political issue in our nation today: the upcoming presidential election. That’s because I have NO INTEREST in it. Up until this morning, I’d barely even read about it aside from a few clips on my Yahoo news feed, which is about as informative as a celebrity gossip tabloid, and even that was more out of a kind of sardonic “hahaha look at these fuggin’ idiots” need for a quick laugh than any desire for information. Try as I might (granted, I haven’t really tried at all), I can’t make myself even pretend to care about it even though it’s supposedly of make-or-break importance, even though I might have a responsibility to say something about it.
Well, heck, I guess there’s no time like the present to start shooting my mouth off just like everyone at the major media outlets, just like all the two-faced jerks they devote coverage to who aren’t even worth the paper their quotes are printed on. The fact that I’m violently sick and going through withdrawals as I attempt to put my near-debilitating caffeine addiction into remission only seems appropriate for this task.
In a half-hearted effort to get caught up, I perused HuffPo, NPR, and other placators of the intellectually arrogant well-heeled left wing who are no less out of touch than their arrogantly anti-intellectual well-heeled right wing counterparts. Biased as hell? Hell yes. But biased in a way that conveniently makes me (and, I’m assuming, you too) feel less threatened.
That’s how this game works: whether you’re running for office or you have a stake in seeing a certain person get elected to office, the best way to manipulate the votes in your favor is to bypass the brain and strike directly at peoples’ most base and senseless emotions. How else do you explain Bush 2 getting 2 terms, Marion Barry getting elected to DC city council after his FBI bust (“bitch set me up!”), or all those morons on the political talk shows who claim to be there for an intelligent debate but do nothing but yell at each other incoherently? We’re no different from animals in the wild with their uncontrollable fight-or-flight reactions when confronted with a food chain rival. I’d rather read about this crap in National Geographic than in some high-falutin “news” publication. I’m tired of the pretense. Why not settle elections with a bare-knuckle boxing match or a dick-measuring contest or something? That would be much, much more to-the-point.
A few elections ago, my older brother announced to the family that he was refusing to vote. He cited some dense philosophical reasoning that seemed so out-there to me that I couldn’t bother putting up an argument. But as foolish as I found it at the time, I’m now starting to sympathize with him. The privilege of a democratic election process feels like an empty gesture when none of our options makes us feel truly represented. Would it even make a difference if every one of us went on voters’ strike? I hate to cop out, but I hate having my time wasted even more. What do I do?
Photo credit: MonkeyBrandz