04 November, 2008

So what is this thing called voting?

I am an American citizen, today is Election Day and I have no idea what to do.

I took the late voting shift at work so I could have some time to try and figure it out.

I am an unusual undecided voter…

…I don’t know if I want to vote.

Now before you start yelling about suffrage and the right and civic duty, hear me out.

I don’t want to vote because I don’t support either candidate. I hate that our electoral process in the U.S. has become about “picking the lesser of two evils.” If we don’t support either side shouldn’t there be a process for that voice?

I am not crazy about either candidate. There are BIG issues I disagree with on both sides. On one side you have someone who won’t give you a straight answer, has no real ideas, and has built a campaign on a good marketing team. On the other you have someone who would probably not do anything for the country one way or another, who will tell you like it is, but doesn’t offer plans to get us out of anything. I vehemently disagree with both vice presidents on oh so many levels… I don’t want either of them. I have had two years to figure it out, today is decision time and I’m blank.

But I have to pick. I have to choose between someone I cannot stomach and someone who is just ok. So for me the option is not which side, but rather – can I muster enough affection for candidate 2 to vote for him?

My father told me to vote defensively. I wanted to ask what I was defending exactly but choose to keep quiet.

Someone told me if I didn’t vote I couldn’t complain about anything. That’s BS. I can complain because if there had been a “no” vote or a “no confidence” vote I would have done that. Someone said write in “no” for president – sorry, I will not stand in line for three hours to write “no” on a ballot.

I have the right to vote, which means I have the right not to vote.

I didn’t vote in the primaries – I didn’t know how to. None of the candidates at that time really got me going either. Is it really that hard to find a good candidate for President? Someone who is more than just tag lines for their party but will actually stand on their principals whether or not they’re popular? Who will say that certain things are wrong and certain things will be uncomfortable but need to change? CAN WE NOT HAVE HONESTY IN POLITICS INSTEAD OF BLOATED RHETORIC? Have we as the American people really become that stupid?

I hate what politics in the U.S. has become. And living in DC I get to see it more than most. I get to see the ineffectual Congress that is only going to get bigger. I know how powerless our President really is to lower taxes or decrease spending or change social security or protect “Main Street.” But he can determine where we intervene internationally, our support of the UN, how we treat other nations.

I need more than an image!

So now I vote out of obligation or peer pressure verses actually thinking the candidate is right for the White House. And it's because I take the process so seriously that I am struggling with this...

So many voted defensively or for the candidate that was more “just ok” to them… It’s one of the most powerful positions out there – shouldn’t we be able to do better than “the lesser of two evils?”

I realize every vote matters, and it’s my civic duty to make my voice heard, and 100 years ago I couldn’t have voted, and women around the world still can’t vote. So I should vote because I can! And I want to vote – but I want to vote for a candidate I actually stand behind. And I don’t stand behind either of these men.


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© Amanda Lunday