Congratulations to our (almost) President-elect. My mother apparently called me last night at 10pm, wanting to know why I was still in the voter register in our county back home and wondering if I had indeed voted. She said, and I quote: "because if you haven't, I'll kick your ass." I'm sure she wants to, and I'm sure a lot of other people want to do so as well.
Well mom, you better get driving, and Rick will put you in my appointment book when you get here, because I'm a little bit busy figuring out how to survive through the next few shitty paychecks to get my ass kicked at the moment and you're not helping my stress levels. I'm glad you've come over to the American Way of taking out your annoyance on people through violence. Take a ticket, have a seat, wait in line. I DID NOT VOTE. I ABSTAINED.
And guess what? I DON'T CARE.
I was sick of this election four months ago and stressed then, too, and trying to figure out how I was going to be eating in another month, so you'll excuse me if I didn't get around to trying to re-register until October when I was told it was too late. And it wasn't too late for an absentee ballot, but New York wouldn't have given me one, because I'm technically a permanent PA resident now and have no plausible excuse to write on the application. So I couldn't register down here and I sure as hell wasn't driving back to New York after 6 hours of work, even if the polls had been open late enough to allow that kind of nonsense. Sorry, voter registration wasn't exactly the first thing on my mind this year.
But the reason I really don't care is because this election was not really that important, despite all the bullshit about Americans electing our first black president (you'll notice he's still half white, and you'll also notice if you check the exit polls that Americans didn't elect him - BLACK Americans did), about "Change" (Same shit, different color), and about how much was going to happen when we finally got Bush out of office. I'll say it again; that was BULLSHIT. Half the country knew who was going to win two months ago, because Americans follow very distinct voting patterns just like all other "democratic" nations, and it was pretty obvious the pendulum would be swinging Democrat this year. So in that respect, even if I had voted, my vote would not have counted against the near-guarantee of a Democratic win. I'm almost sure that even if Hillary, Miss Divisive herself, had run for office against McCain, we'd have taken her rather than let the Republicans have the presidency for another 4 years.
Now, I wasn't even planning on voting for either candidate. Let's say that one again. I was not going to vote Democrat and I was not going to vote Republican. I still was not sure, as of last night, WHO I would have voted for because even the third party candidates I looked up online, some of whom weren't even eligible to be put on the official PA ballot, didn't support what I think this country needs. If anything, I would have written in some kind of joke like Charles Darwin, it would have been the only vote for that person in the entirety of the nation, and my vote would have been lost in the other hundreds of thousands of stupid write-ins and mistakes - essentially I would have thrown my vote away in an effort to tell people how much I hated my choices this year. But at least I would've voted and that's what counts, right? (/sarcasm)
It's not that I think my vote doesn't "count" in the most abstract sense of the word. I think that even if I vote for the least likely candidate for office, if I am voting true to my own beliefs I have made myself heard, so my vote counts. Of course I'll never see my chosen candidates get elected, but I think there is a great deal of weight sitting on the shoulders of a minority who actually do vote third-party - they are the ones who tell the people running this great shithole of a country that there are people out there who are still unsatisfied and don't buy into the war hype and the tax cuts (or in this case, increases, unless you're living below the poverty level with me), and who want to see more change than a hopeful slogan and a new skin color in office. BUT I do think that while my vote counts on some great abstract level, in this year's election, no one lost by a single vote, so in terms of statistics and logic my vote counted about as much as a pea in a mountain of soybeans.
I think that I could probably feel horribly guilty about not voting, too. But I don't. I'm not going to let everyone else tell me that I should feel guilty for not voting, because my vote was one of millions to be silent this election and silence is just as good an option sometimes. I'm abstaining from "running the nation" because NO ONE this year stood for sustainable development, overhauling the education system, paring down unnecessary government, reducing our goddamn budget deficit instead of cutting chunks out of school funding so we can keep spending on the war, and improving the chances of single young adults in getting health care. They were all worried about poor Joe the Plumber, Mr. Everyman. I'll vote when a candidate steps up who is more scholar than warrior and who knows the value of a real-life education instead of standardized testing, of letting kids be kids (I swear if I hear any more paranoia about poisoned Halloween candy or pedophiles lurking in suburban bushes I'm going to start throwing bricks at mothers' heads), and of giving this nation some flexibility and forethought instead of knee-jerk reactions and predictability. THEN my vote would really count toward what I want. In the meantime, the line for my ass-kicking starts over there. Enjoy your wait.