throwing it all away

I do not know the identity of your candidate of choice in the 2016 UnitedStatesian presidential election, but if you’re anything like about 85 percent of the rest of the electorate, I can guarantee that person is awful. Just awful. And a poor reflection on your judgment, by the way.

I know, I know… the fact that you willingly visited this blog to read incoherent claptrap written by me–a balding nobody who is so forgettable that even though my name and face are prominently plastered across the top of the screen, I am still essentially anonymous–is already a black mark on your record. But if during this electoral go-’round you’re casting a vote for one of the two major party candidates… well, frankly, it calls into question just what you hope to accomplish with that vote of yours.

Because if the polls are to be believed, you don’t even want to. You’re about to pull a lever (or fill in an oval, or punch a button, or hang a chad) for a candidate that you don’t even like. A candidate you may even despise. A candidate you neither trust nor believe, one you have probably publicly disparaged in front of anyone who would listen. You are on the cusp of expressing your desire to hand the reins of power to a person that you find personally revolting. Someone you wouldn’t even trust to hold your stuff while you go to the bathroom for fear they’d immediately turn around and sell it to buy black-market Ukrainian Aspercreme. You’re about to do something that every bone in your body says NO to, which is in and of itself pretty amazing, since it takes a lot of willpower to ignore TALKING SKELETONS trapped inside you. (Dear God, that is some nightmare fuel right there. Every second of every day filled with the just-barely-audible murmurs of the bones within you, robbing you of sleep and all coherent thought as you are tormented by their ceaseless cries.)

Sorry, I lost track of things for a second there. What was I talking about? Oh, that’s right… Trump and Clinton are the worst. Seriously, the worst. And yet you are probably about to vote for one of them because you think the other one is incrementally worse. I mean, I guess it’s possible that your vote is motivated by actual enthusiasm for your candidate’s platform and his or her brilliant ideas on how to carry our nation through the chaos of the 21st cent–

BWAH HA HA HA HA, sorry, I tried, but I can’t even say it with a straight face. Do you actually believe that Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump actually believe anything they have spewed from behind their rally podiums? (Podia?) Two craven charlatans who, on any single given issue, have 1) stated officially on the record at some point in the recent past that they are firmly on the other side of whichever view they most recently espoused, and 2) vehemently denied that they ever said the thing that we have actual footage of them saying. Two ancient frauds who have arguably failed at every worthwhile task they’ve ever put their hands to, and yet have somehow come out of every debacle richer and more successful. Not smelling like a rose, necessarily, because people still basically hate them, but neither of them is losing any sleep over it. As I put it way back at the beginning of the year:

I’m here to tell you, brothers and sisters… there is another way.

They will tell you there are only two choices in 2016. They are lying to you.

They will tell you that if you vote for anyone other than Clinton, you are voting for Trump. Or if you are voting for anyone other than Trump, you are voting for Clinton. Yeah, I can’t figure that logic out, either, but nobody said party hacks are paragons of logical thinking. Because that’s what those people are: hacks. They don’t have beliefs, they just have teams. They don’t care about the right person winning, or even a good person winning, or even a minimally decent human being winning… they just want someone from their team to win. It’s about victory for their tribe, and if you don’t want their tribe to emerge victorious, then you must–MUST–be supporting the enemy tribe.

Or, you could opt out of that game by choosing not to play. Because that war is not worth fighting. Oh, don’t get me wrong, I’m voting. I’m not a complete nihilist who would advocate not voting. But last I checked, there are other options on the ballot. Better options on the ballot. And most states have a blank where you can write in the name of someone you think is a better idea. I’m skipping over the Republican and completely ignoring the Democrat. Because I can. Because I don’t have to play the Lesser of Two Evils game when there are non-evil options on the board. And my vote will be a vote for that person, not a vote-by-proxy for the candidate you hate slightly more than your own. My non-major-party vote is not stealing a vote away from your favorite sociopathic senior citizen, because there are literally zero conceivable arguments that could convince me to cast a vote for either one of those vain, yell-happy fail-bags.

“Oh, you’re naïve,” you tell me. Well, here’s the thing: people have died to ensure that I can vote my conscience, that I can vote for the candidate of my choice and that it will count. “Yes, but the way the system works…” you say. The system works that way because you have accepted that it must work that way and that it can only work that way, but it doesn’t have to work that way. 

Maybe my single contrary vote won’t count much on its own, but in the aggregate, if enough people agree with me, our votes can be a kick in the pants to the flawed human beings we have entrusted with political power. The only reason you think we have only two choices is because the two choices keep telling you they’re the only two choices, and for some reason–despite their letting you down over and over again, and despite clear evidence to the contrary–you’re buying it.

And I’m the naïve one?

There is another way, and I’m taking it. Most people think I’m wasting my vote, but you know, it is possible for most people to be wrong. (Lincoln was elected with around around 40 percent of the vote, meaning that most people thought he was the wrong choice for America. That’s right, I’m invoking Lincoln, which means my arguments must be ROCK SOLID.)

There is another way, and I’m taking it. It may not be enough to sway those who are locked in the either/or mindset, but that doesn’t mean I’m wrong.

We’re in a bus. (Figuratively. Stay with me here. Trust me, I’m a bus expert.) And we find ourselves on a dead-end road that forks into one path that leads to a bridge that has collapsed over a river, and the other to the edge of a fairly deep canyon (it’s not grand, but it’s nothing to sneeze at). Half of the passengers fight passionately for the cliff option, as we might be able get up enough speed to jump it. Long shot, but who knows? And the other half insists that the bridge is the better option, as the water will cushion our fall and a handful of people might be able to swim to shore. Meanwhile, I’m pointing out that there’s a wide spot in the road right here, and we can turn this around right now, and y’know, guys, there was a turnoff back there that we drove right past, didn’t you guys see it? And one side insists that if I don’t choose the cliff it’s because I want everyone to drown, and the other side loudly proclaims that if I don’t choose the bridge I must want to be crushed on the jagged rocks at the bottom of the chasm. And the yelling gets louder and louder, and eventually no one will even acknowledge there’s a way out of this mess. So one side wins, and we all lose. And as we all plunge to our inevitable deaths, everyone points accusing fingers at me, and they scream, “This is on you.

And if you’re one of those arguing that my vote means what you say it means, then with all due respect (and I pray you take this in the spirit it’s intended):



Sorry, chumps, you don’t get to tell me what my vote means. You don’t get to make that call. You can’t tell me my vote is the reason he lost or she won or vicey-versey. Even if somehow it comes down to the electoral votes in one state! My state, say. Missouri. And Donald Trump literally loses Missouri by a single vote: my vote, because I voted for a third-party candidate. And so Hillary Clinton gets Missouri’s electoral votes, they put her over the top, and she is the President-Elect. Is her election my fault? NOPE. Because if I had voted for Trump, it would have been a tie, and where would that leave us? Possibly a cage match? (I’m unclear on the constitutional options.)

In any case, there is another way. And I’m taking it. Not gonna tell you which way you should take, but I’ll tell you this: that bus you’re on is going nowhere, and I got places to be. They’re not important places, because I’m not an important person. How important can I possibly be? I’m one of those third-party voters, and you know what they’re like. WEIRDOS. All fedoras and Renaissance Fairs and anime. All the time riding buses and telling people not to drive over cliffs and whatnot. WEIRDOS. Weirdos whose votes count just as much as yours. Weirdos who can count higher than two. Weirdos who can hear the Democrats and Republicans telling us it’s raining but who know for a fact that the warm moisture we’re feeling ain’t precipitation.

It’s not too late. Be one of us. Be a weirdo.