It’s inevitable this time of year that news of the race for the presidency is ubiquitous. Almost independent of channel, be it traditional news outlets like CNN, Fox, or the BBC, or places like ESPN, an endless stream of blather that stretches the use of “breaking news” to its most extreme limits. Aside from those, my Facebook feed is awash in disturbingly bitter rancor from both sides of the political spectrum; if I were to believe the most ridiculous of it all, Hillary and Bill Clinton have killed people on numerous occasions and the Republican presidential candidate eats babies. I hadn’t actually heard that one until I randomly Googled it, but I didn’t feel like listing the litany of offenses that I have heard him accused of.
Now, I’m a ragingly liberal person. I identify as a Democrat because that’s really the only option I have because I live in the United States, and we just get the two. Yes, you can vote for whoever you want, but in the practical sense, you’re throwing your vote away. How very American of you. Anyway, I share my political view because what you’re about to read is my attempt to poison the idea of voting for the Republican presidential candidate. I’m not going to do so in a ploy to pile your support on Hillary; hate her all that you want. That may be a weird statement, so allow me to explain.
I actually don’t share the same fear that most people do if the Republican candidate were to be elected president. In fact, I think that in a lot of weird ways, it may actually unify the country. While he could certainly stir up an extreme amount of shit on a global level, I think that the majority of people, both domestically and abroad, would grin and bear it, knowing that he was an inevitable outcome of decades of garbage being shoveled into the system. We’ve all heard the saying; garbage in, garbage out. And after the four painful years, we’d realize that things like term limits are necessary. That money has no business in politics. That we shouldn’t want to have a beer with our leaders, because they should be thinkers operating on a macro level of public governance that we generally don’t comprehend, and that we’re okay with the fact that sometimes they say things that we don’t understand because they’re in charge of not fucking all of this up. We’d all also realize how truly brilliant our country’s founders were by parsing out power among the various branches of government, preventing a rogue windbag from dismantling what so much blood and toil created. Ultimately, we’d be fine, but this isn’t a free pass on voting for him.
By now you’ve probably noticed that I haven’t actually said the candidate’s name, nor am I going to at any point hereafter. Why, I rhetorically ask, setting myself up for the sermon that I want to give no matter what? Because in watching the bumbling oration of the feckless GOP front runner, I realized that his entire existence is based on ego and perception. He’s really not much more than the bully that we all hated in elementary school. He can’t bring any real harm to us, but he blathers on ceaselessly and threateningly to offset whatever deep-rooted insecurity drives the blowhard suit like the tiny alien from Men In Black. We forget sometimes that we’re just a unique type of animal, and most of us do animal things. When cats feel scared they arch their back and hiss to seem scary. When adult men feel internally bankrupt, they coat everything around them in 24 karat gold. But it’s all this illusion that only works if we buy into it. Much like the cat, it’s not actually any more dangerous when it’s hissing than it was when it was purring over its food bowl. It still has the same claws and teeth, and it still weighs nine pounds. Despite making its aggression more clear, you can still scoot it out of your way with your foot and it will likely run off terrified, because that’s all it ever was. You might get scratched, but you’ll be fine. The same goes for orange old men who are desperately grabbing at opportunistic power.
Blame for the Republican candidate has been cast everywhere. The GOP created him because of a subtle undercurrent of racism in their party that they never stamp out, the Dems created him because people are tired of getting taxed and forced into a sterile PC world without enough time to adapt, but the blame lies squarely with each and every one of us. He exists not only as a candidate, but as a name that we all know, because we let him. We’ve watched over the decades, slack-jawed, as this carnival barker has repeatedly told us how wonderful he is. And we bought it. Despite the seemingly infinite evidence to the contrary, many of us were awestruck at business savvy that wasn’t there, and intelligence that was really just stupidity at high auditory volume.Mostly because he told us to be impressed and we didn’t care enough to ignore him. But in doing so, we gave validity to his name, which he now values at somewhere north of $3 billion dollars. You can’t make that shit up. $3 billion dollars. And we’re still doing it, but the fun part is, we don’t have to.
I work with money every day, and you learn something the more you get exposed to financial matters. The value of money is arbitrary. A classic example of this is the old question “How much is a bottle of water worth?” Most of you are probably thinking $1, maybe $1.50 at a gas station. But what if you’re in the desert, stranded, for several days? Personally, I’d shell out every penny I had for that bottle of water. Pretending that I have maybe $50,000 in cash that I could come up with if I emptied retirement accounts and such, that bottle of water is now worth $50,000. But what if I were Bill Gates? The price just went up to a billion. It’s the same water, and the same dollars, but the circumstances radically changed the value. I mention this because if we all, tomorrow, decided that the Republican candidate’s last name was slang for genital warts, we would make that $3 billion evaporate. More, actually, since it’s stamped on the sides of planes, buildings, casinos, wines, steaks, magazines, and more. The value of all of those businesses would plummet, and the owners would be scrubbing the names off of items with the shirts off their backs. A seemingly rich man (I actually have doubts here, which is why I think he’s suddenly reluctant to release his tax returns) would be poor, almost overnight. And we have the ability to do that, and much more.
See, as I watched lie after lie being spouted by said windbag on television day in and day out, I became more and more enraged, like most people seemingly have. Until it clicked. This is a man with no internal substance. He’s a vapid human whose entire self-worth, and net worth, is dependent on what others think of him. Good or bad, he NEEDS people to talk about him. This gives us the power to just stop. No more rage about the ridiculous things he says, no more pointing out that none of his policy ideas will actually work, no more enduring a ceaseless stream of bigotry and vitriol, no more any of it. We can just tune out. And I have, and I encourage you to do the same. It’s quite liberating.
But if you’re a Republican, who do you vote for? For most of you, you just don’t this go round. Your party fucked you. More specifically, old people in your party fucked you. This is how American elections work. Most young people generally agree on a lot of stuff. There are still party divisions on whether private enterprise or government will solve a given problem better, but we share general senses that nobody should feel marginalized in our society and that we should all have a fair shot at the life that we want. But then we don’t go to the polls. Meanwhile, your grandparents, who have nothing left to live for and nobody left to impress, get to finally express their opinion on “furreners” at the ballot box. Plus they don’t have jobs, or literally anything else to do, so they go vote on everything. And they don’t vote thinking “Well, I’m on my way out so I should think of what my children and grandchildren may want for their future,” they think “I’ve always hated Mexicans and I hate the people who make me feel bad for hating them.” It sucks, but this is the first time in our lifetimes that you don’t really have an alternative. In the past, you could vote for your person simply because you didn’t like the other person, and you were safe in the idea that even if you didn’t like your candidate, they weren’t going to be that bad. This time, the Republican candidate for president is actually that bad. So, despite all of your distrust, disdain, etc, for Hillary Clinton, you can’t just jump on to the other side of the ballot to make sure that she doesn’t get elected.
And to address what some of you are thinking, she just isn’t as bad as the Republican candidate, and she certainly isn’t worse. She just isn’t. Feel free to bring up any of the talking points I’ve heard paraded around; Benghazi, emails, the Clinton Foundation, even the murders, and I can point you to valid, mitigating points or flat out proof that you are wrong. But addressing this thinking directly, this is incredibly dangerous. This is how people justify doing awful things. Even if you think Hillary is Satan, it doesn’t justify you casting your vote for Satan Plus. Your approach to voting should always be the same, even more so now; Do I support the majority of things that this candidate stands for, and do I believe that they will try to accomplish these things when in office? If yes, go vote for them. If no, stay away. And if you can honestly say that you believe that the Republican candidate will do any of the things that he has said he’d do, then you haven’t been listening to him.
I can conclude this diatribe pretty succinctly; When you head to the polls in around a month and stare at the main two little circles next to their names, remind yourself that you are a decent person, and tell yourself that you won’t let your life be governed by fear. Then vote. If you do that, we’ll all be fine.