Election day is just a few days away. Much ado has been made about remembering to register, and this is aimed especially at people like me: those who are young and not yet used to exercising their democratic privilege, and who are more likely to have moved from one voting district to another and need to get their info updated. I fit in on both counts. Being 27, this is the 3rd presidential election I’ve been allowed to participate in, and being an irresponsible slob, I’ve had to move multiple times in the past 4 years due to my inability to consistently generate income and make rent. Everywhere I turned, someone was reminding me to flex those voting muscles. Canvassers were storming the streets. Activist groups were tabling shows at which I was present. A friend in Maryland looked up the DC registration deadline and sent me reminder texts.
I felt enveloped in hype, and before long, that hype started to feel suffocating and confining. I felt like I used to feel at school growing up, like I feel every day that I have to participate in every other aspect of our society that I was born into without a say. I felt like I was being taken prisoner.
What’s an irrationally stubborn, passive-aggressively inclined punk rocker to do when faced with such pressure? At times like these, it’s not what I do, it’s what I don’t do.
I forgot to register. The deadline came and went. I didn’t notice. I didn’t care.
In the past, this sort of behavior in others used to piss me off; I couldn’t believe someone would take the right to vote for granted, a right that many people would kill for, a right that, in fact, many people have risked and lost their lives for elsewhere in the world.
But in retrospect, that was just brainwashing from my middle-class liberal upbringing, my ex-hippie parents who gave up real activism to go work for The Man but soothed their guilty consciences by pretending that voting was still “making a difference.” Let’s face it: for as long as I’ve been alive, voting has never been anything other than choosing between two Machiavellian assholes with nothing to offer but a Reagan-inspired economic model and a Vietnam War-inspired desire to decimate third-world countries at our expense in the name of “DEMOCRACY.” You just pick the guy who you would rather invite over for dinner and call that “freedom of choice.”
I’m past the point of being able to even pretend to give a rat’s ass about this election or any other. I haven’t been keeping track. I haven’t been reading the articles. I didn’t watch any of the debates. As far as current events go, the only things that have penetrated my ADD at all have been (a) the story of that rhesus monkey in Tampa, Florida who evaded the authorities for 3 years before getting tranquilized, and (b) The Replacements getting back together to record a benefit EP(!). A monkey who outsmarted humans, plus one of the greatest bands of all time = much more important than this election. Maybe I’ll start petitions to put that monkey and Paul Westerberg on the ballot.
Hey, check this out: My voting district, the District of Corruption, is overwhelmingly Democratic. Over 90%, according to a recent Washington City Paper poll. So guess what that means? My vote really, truly doesn’t make a difference anyway.