When it comes to politics, as I've mentioned before, I've long been a preach to the choir kind of girl--avoiding the topic completely unless I am fairly certain I'm among people who share my views or who are contractually obligated by law or genetics to tolerate me. It is a policy I've adhered to almost religiously for most of my adult life and it's one that has served me well.
It's been a lot harder, though, during this Presidential election cycle, when everyone around me--online and in the real world--seems determined to offer their opinions and to (sometimes aggressively) solicit mine.
One of the more popular opinions I've heard is that none of the options for President are at all appealing. I've been hearing this since the first candidates began declaring their campaigns--hearing it as the field of potential candidates narrowed from 25 or 30 down to the five or so that are (more or less) in the race today.
This meme* was making the rounds of Facebook a month or so ago, appearing on the Timelines of many of my FB friends:
It seemed to capture not only a lack of enthusiasm among the electorate, but an actual distaste for most (or all) of the Presidential options. I know that the distaste--disdain even--is very real for many of the people I actually talk to on a daily basis.
One friend, a registered Democrat, who is politically active and can usually be counted on to vote, sat out the NY primary last week because she doesn't like either Bernie or Hillary. She has threatened on several occasions to sit out the general election as well--or to use her vote to write-in another candidate, perhaps her husband.
A couple other friends--and some more well-known folks--have hinted that if their chosen candidate is not the nominee, they too will sit out rather than vote for their party's alternative candidate.
I understand this stance, I really do. There is no such thing as a perfect candidate and many--maybe most--Presidential elections seem to come down to a choice not of whom we like but of whom we dislike the least.
The problem, though, with disengagement, with sitting out in protest, with writing in a candidate is that this time around is that it is wasting your vote. And in this election, perhaps more so than in any election in my memory, voting seems a vital way to avoid a potentially dire outcome. Because, let's face it, as in the potato chip meme above, some of the choices are much, much more palatable than others.
Choosing not to make a choice is actually a way of making a choice--and, in this case, the choice you make by not choosing could actually tip the scales in favor of something that could well be disastrous.
This Presidential campaign season has taught me that not all "bad" choices are created equal. I'm hoping there's time between now and November for others to realize that as well.
V is for Voting
*I'm usually very diligent about crediting artists, writers, etc. when I use their work, but I was unable to track this meme to its origins. Apologies to whoever created it--and if you are the creator & happen to find it here, please comment or email me and I will be sure to update this post.