Today the president came to my home town, Charlottesville, VA to make a speech about how we shouldn’t give up hope. About how the other side wants us to loose faith in the system and stop trying to change the world. About how we could make a difference if we keep trying really hard and don’t let the pessimists crush our ambition. I couldn’t agree more. This is why, as I sat in the lovely theater downtown and watched hypocrisy in real time, I began to lose my mind. I left a room full of people applauding as Obama took credit for ending the war still being fought by mercenaries and soldiers who are now allowed to be gay but can still be imprisoned for questioning their role in an illegal war.
I remember how excited I was when I turned 18. I could vote! My opinions were now the opinions of an adult and could be backed up with action. As bitter and cynical as I already was at that point, I still thought just maybe my vote could accomplish SOMETHING. I was adorable really.
In the eight years since then I’ve lost hope, fallen on hard times, and recently regained a sense of optimism about the future and given up on voting in favor of going out into the world and trying to find other people who want to make things happen. At this point I can only see voting as validating a sham. As one of my friends brilliantly put it “I know the government has power over me, but voting feels like I’m agreeing to it. The state is giving you an option of being stabbed or shot. I’m saying I don’t give them permission to kill me.” This doesn’t mean I’m for tuning out or giving up, it just means I’m going to try other tactics.
When I expressed this in a short rant on Facebook, I was immediately called naive, accused of not participating, and told that not voting for Obama meant I was helping Romney get elected. This was at the same time easy to dismiss coming from people who admitted to not being involved on non election days, and angering because how are you going to criticize my lack of faith when your years of voting got us here? No, sorry. I refuse to be motivated by fear or peer pressure on this one.
Then… I had an idea.
I finally figured out how to make my vote count. I’m pretty excited about this election. 🙂