It’s Election Day today, although given early voting and all of that, one could be excused for thinking that the big day has already come and gone.
But this is not a political blog. I am not in the habit of telling people what to do, and I am not in the habit of telling people how to vote.
I am also not in the habit of singing the “Both Sides Do It/They’re All The Same” Kumbaya so popular among people afraid to have an opinion. It is undeniable that one side behaves worse than the other. You’re smart enough that, regardless of your own politics, you know what I’m talking about.
When I do write about politics, I try to focus on the big picture, the key concepts that influence events and ourselves without getting bogged down into the wonky policy minutiae, the personality conflicts, and the he said/she said pettiness that everybody claims to hate but secretly can’t look away from.
I know this, because I can’t look away from the train wreck either.
I do not want to have to pay attention to politics. I wish I didn’t have to care. I wish government was like a machine we could wind up and walk away from, “set it and forget it” and know that the best possible outcomes will occur because those in power really care about us.
But you’d have to be in kindergarten, or have a kindergarten mindset, to believe that.
So I’m not going to get into the details and tell you beautiful people what to do. I’ve seen this happen on some of my favorite, decidedly non-political blogs, where the writer comes out with a huge dissertation about why one should vote for Hillary or for Trump, and how one is the Second Coming of Christ Him or Herself and the other is literally Satan and Hitler wrapped up into one neat bow, with a little Cthulhu and maybe some of Chuckie from Child’s Play. And they have the right to do this. It’s just not what I want to do with this blog.
But I’m not shy about sharing my political proclivities. It doesn’t take a genius to read between the lines on this blog and see my conservative/libertarian leanings. And if you check out my Twitter and Gab feeds, there’s no doubt as to who I am voting for this election. I’m voting for Donald Trump.
There. I said it on this blog. And you know what? Some of you might want to stop following me or reading what I have to say. That’s fine. I suspect you won’t, though, because you’re all civilized people and you can probably tell from my writing that I am not as horrible as many out there portray the man’s supporters.
This is the same way I know that Hillary voters are not all as horrible as many out there portray them.
I don’t write for the candidates themselves or their supporters. I write, honestly, for myself and for other people who want to come along for the ride. I’ve written about my mission before, so read that and understand that you are a part of it, no matter who you’re pulling that metaphorical lever for.
If you want me to “talk politics,” check out my social media. But though I talk and debate and discuss and joke, you will notice that I (a) don’t tell people what to do, (b) don’t insult people who disagree with me (unless they start it, or they’re celebrities), (c) attack and criticize ideas and not people, and (d) try to maintain a level of self-awareness.
I’m also aware of history, ancient and current, to know that there will be rioting no matter who wins. Using my preferred method of pulling numbers out of thin air, and with a little help from my man Korla Pandit, here is my BOLD PREDICTION:
“There will be a 1 to 2 percent chance of rioting and violence if Hillary Clinton wins the 2016 United States Presidential election, and a 99.9 percent chance of rioting and violence if Donald Trump wins.”
Isn’t this nuts that we have to think like this? U.S. Presidential elections are now like big sporting events in college: No matter who wins or loses, stuff’s gonan burn.
I’m trying to imagine my grandparents at my age during the 1960 election, John F. Kennedy versus Richard M. Nixon. At what point did my grandfather think, as he cast his vote, “Geez, the country is literally going to burn if one of these guys wins”?
Not that things were perfect in a mythical past–U.S. elections have long been fraud-filled violence fests–but there was a time, I would say starting in those much-derided Fifties and lasting up until arguably the end of the Eighties where you didn’t have to worry about things like this in America during elections.
The bar for American’s behavior when it comes to politics is now so low that I will consider Election Day 2016 a success if nobody dies as a result of it.
Voting is a really good habit to get into;
Voting is one of the few really powerful rights that we still do have;
If you vote and the election is rigged, you have a powerfully legitimate grievance that needs to be addressed; and
Screw the man.
Screw the man indeed. Just try to be civilized about it.
So here are my recommendations for Election Day and its aftermath, derived through nothing more than my own experiences and observations:
- You’re probably not going to change peoples minds at this point. Remember, everybody must be right. Logic and reason to you is crazy talk to other people. Some people just have opposite world-views, and that’s fine (as long as that world-view doesn’t impinge on your life, of course). One of my best friends is from Europe, and I feel like we are the same species until we start talking politics. And then it’s like talking to an alien (an extraterrestrial alien, that is, not a non-citizen, though he just became a citizen recently). We’re still friends.
- Don’t be shy, but don’t start nuclear. If people want to talk politics, gauge your comfort level with them before discussing who you vote for. And if they give you grief about it, it never hurts to kindly point out their hypocrisy: “It’s interesting; when you told me who you voted for, I didn’t start casting aspersions on you and your entire family.” If they calm down, you might have an interesting conversation. And if they’re immune to shame, you know whom not to talk politics with ever again.
- Stay indoors. Especially if you live in a city. Depending on the outcome, there will be riots. I highly suggest, as your unappointed and officiously intermeddling legal counsel, not getting involved with riots, even if you agree with their aim. But then again, violence and the mob mentality are the domain of the unintelligent, and you’re all smart people, so I really don’t have to worry about this. I just don’t want you to get caught in the crossfire.
- When you go to the polls, don’t advertise who you vote for. It is not worth the hassle. There has been actual violence, the overwhelming majority of it one-way. It’s just not worth it. We have secret balloting in the United States for a reason (unless you’re in a union; in that case, well, how much do you value your kneecaps?).
- Realize that there is more to life than politics. The world and the country, as an abstract concept, do not care about you. Don’t give them any more attention than needed or they will consume you. There are people in your life who you love and who love you back. Remember them and devote your energy there.
And whatever happens, just be civilized. Unless you literally are a barbarian. And in that case, Rome is that way.
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