I hate voting. Well, wait – I should rephrase. It's not the act of voting that I dislike – quite the opposite. Voting is important – critical, even. If you don't vote, you're not participating – you're not even trying, and then you have no right to dislike it when you don't like the way things go. There are people out there who cannot vote, and it genuinely sucks to be them. There were people before us who could not vote, who fought for the vote so that now we are the voters. Voting truly is one's duty, and I believe in it. I always feel great afterward, too, like I just helped someone.
But it's what comes before voting that kills me. I hate presidential election years. Loathe. Despise. Abhor. All of the above. See, I stress out way too much over picking a candidate. I overthink it and place too much importance on my decision. Really though, mine is only one out of a few hundred million, so what the hell does it matter if I write in Scooby Doo, right?
No. Not right. I must choose a worthy successor. The world depends on it. When I choose the loser, I am a poor example of a voting adult. I chose wrong; I lost. I didn't see the proper presidential quality in one that everyone else saw. I chose soup when I really meant salad. Dammit!
I was in college the first time I was able to vote in a presidential election. I was a few hours away from home, so I did one of those absentee mail-in ballots. It was pretty neat – I sent it in a week before it was due, and had plenty of time to weigh my choices and do any last minute googling.
But in the last election, as I waited for my husband to come pick me up so we could head over to the high school together, I sat at my computer furiously typing up a list of pros and cons for the candidates and then weighed them against each other one final time. Yeah, I was that person. Voting is something that we should take seriously, but perhaps not that seriously. It does not come down to one vote and it is not dependent on one vote. And those are good things.
I think my voting angst comes from my childhood, believe it or not. I came from a family of strict Republicans. I mean my dad and Bill O'Reilly should hang out. Really. They'd be BFFs in five minutes or fewer. So growing up, there was no disagreement, no option to question anything. Just as Mr. O'Reilly can slam any argument he's presented with, so can my dad. I learned to stop playing that losing game a very long time ago. I don't tell him for whom I'm voting because whatever I say will somehow be wrong, and he'll have forty seven different reasons in the holster and ready to go.
This time, I tell myself, is going to be different. And in a way it already is. I came across a quote the other day that has really stuck with me: “Always choosing the lesser of two evils is still choosing evil.” The bickering and the finger pointing and the mudslinging and the gridlock between the two major parties is just too much – I'm done and I don't want to play that game anymore either. But – this cannot settle into voter's apathy; I still must vote, and I don't want to waste it on Write-In Candidate Scooby either. I have to admit it; I'm tempted by third party weirdo Ron Paul. Sure, he's got some kooky ideas, but hey, at least he's trying. I like that.
Come November though, I'll probably just do the Obama thing. Maybe. Unless I change my mind again...