Saturday, November 05, 2016

VOTE Dammit!

I know that my own audience who can actually act upon this is small. The majority of people who read what I post do not have votes in the US election. But I suppose I know a lot of people who know people who can vote in the US election, so... I'll make this one final plea.

Barring any huge changes in the state of things, this is going to be the last thing of any substance I'm going to post beyond some possible snark and observation on Election Day. It's NaNoWroMo and I am 6000+ words in and don't have time to be writing this - except I couldn't live with myself if I didn't say it all one last time in as clear terms as I could muster.

I'm also aware that the majority of people I can reach with this already agree with me, so for the most part I'm shouting into the echo-chamber - but if there is any chance that my words influence anyone, I want to have put my words out there.

1) VOTE!  If you can vote on Tuesday, VOTE ON TUESDAY (or before, if you haven't already). Not voting is totally fucking childish. You have a vote. You have a stake in the result. Cynical "my vote doesn't count" is complete bullshit. I live in an area that ALWAYS votes the same way. ALWAYS. My vote counts. Because things change, and one day this area will vote a different way, and my vote now can support that change by showing it is possible - or it can reinforce the status quo if things are as contentious as they were in the last Canadian election (pretty much exactly a year ago) and safeguard against an unwanted result. So vote. Children below the age of majority don't have a vote. Don't be childish. Fucking vote. You don't get to live in a world where this goes the wrong way (however you define that) and you haven't voted and you get to righteously decry how it all went wrong - because YOU DIDN'T DO A GOD DAMNED THING ABOUT IT, even if you think it was just a token. In theory one electoral district could sway the whole thing and if it was yours and the difference was a (for example) just a few hundred votes (ahem, Florida, Nov, 2000) YOUR non-vote coupled with a bunch of lazy like-minded people just like you, made a difference, and there are ZERO bragging rights attached to inaction. VOTE!

2) DON'T VOTE THIRD PARTY.  I get it. The two party political duopoly is broken. You are absolutely right. And your moral high ground is noted. But your moral high ground is built upon a hill of wax and when the wrong side wins because you voted third party, and the whole country bursts into flames of ire, fear and hatred (assuming you don't believe that has already happened) your moral high-ground is going to melt into a sticky mess. Pick a real side, for Pete's sake! Only Hillary or Donald will be President on January 20th. Not Gary. Not Jill. Not Bernie by write in. Evan McMullin has a theoretical chance, but it's just theoretical. Non-zero. But really the possibility that he could win is just a gedanken-experiment that political analysts play for fun, ' cause "headlines."
I know you are disaffected and you think both the other candidates are as bad as one another. (They aren't - see #3 below.) I know you are tired of the status quo. I got it. I heard it. I am even with you for the most part... except one critical thing... NONE of the options other than the nominees of the two major parties are actually going to win, so don't waste your vote. Its practically as bad as not voting. No. I take that back. It's worse, 'cause you actually got to the polls and then wilfully did something asinine.
"But how will the third parties (the fact that that is plural is hilarious and just goes to show how ineffectual the alternate options are) ever get enough traction to compete, if we don't vote for them for realz in a Federal election?" Well for starters - this simply isn't the year. It's not. And not because this election is "soooo" historic - I'd have said that for each of the last four elections too, and at this point imagine I will in 2020. But because the foundation has not been set. The third parties need to work from the small up. You get traction locally. Then Statewide. THEN Federally. Here's the bad news - it takes a long time. I am pretty confident that I will never see a real third party in a US election. It took the NDP from before I was born until 2011 to get so far as being the official opposition in Canada. Our "fourth" party in Canada has been at it since I was 13 and has won ONE SEAT in the House of Commons in Ottawa. It grew from 11 independent candidates in Atlantic Canada with common ideals to the fledgling Federal actor it is today.  If you want a third party to bloom, it takes time, and it has to build up to relevance from small winnable contests before it can legitimately challenge for the title. Sorry. It would be great if reality was different. But this isn't the year. Go out and run locally under the third party banner of your choice in 2018 if you want to see that change. But vote Democrat (or Republican) on November 8th 2016, 'cause when you get right down to it, you DO care which of the real options prevail.

3) Vote for Clinton. You probably are voting for Clinton if you can vote and are reading this. SO, feel free to stop here. If you are voting for Trump... please work through the following... (but you won't because, I just might say something that clashes with your dearly held position and makes you uncomfortable.)

  1. Are you rich and have your ability to get richer at the top of your "must haves" list when picking a candidate? Well, go fucking vote Trump then. I still think you are making a mistake. I imagine that you are making a mistake if you game-out the long-haul, but who am I kidding, you aren't listening to me anyway.
  2. Are you any one or more of: homophobic, racist, misogynist, war-mongering, or sociopathic? No? Then you have no reason to vote for Trump. Just stop it.
  3. "Second amendment, YAR!" Your guns are safe... or rather... your guns aren't going to be taken away from you, no matter who you vote for. Really. REALLY. But let's talk about the second amendment in more detail next week, okay? Go vote for Hillary.
  4. You think Clinton is worse than Trump, no matter what he is. Okay... I know it is really late in the game to be working this angle, because none of us have much time, do we? And there is SO much to unpack here. But seriously. Take your pet argument and its reasonable counter argument and go and look at the facts. Don't take the word of either candidate as gospel. Identify any element of the argument where the two sides disagree and do some hard Googling. Google keywords about the argument. Add "pro" and "con" and "debunk" and "fact" and "explained" and "Republican" and "Democrat" to the key word searches (separately) and read more than one article on BOTH sides of the debate. If you see an article that opposes your view - definitely read that one. If articles don't provide specific references to verifiable facts, then give them less weight than those that do. (Way less, honestly.) Sleep on it all. If you still think Hillary is worse than Trump, I'm going to want to rescind point number one above about voting... but I have integrity. If you are thinking maybe there is something to the alternate viewpoint - take your second favourite argument and see how the facts stack up.
  5. You aren't racist. You aren't a misogynist. You aren't a homophobe. But the US is going to hell in a hand-basket and Donald is the first candidate who is really saying it like it is. Look. This is going to be hard to hear, but he is taking advantage of you. He is. He is saying exactly what you want to hear. He is playing upon your fears (and other emotions) without any regard for reality. He is inciting you to look at everything in your life that you aren't happy with and he is blaming it on other people and promising he can fix it without saying how. "He has plans. Big plans." But what are they? You can't tell me that. "He's going to deport all the illegal immigrants." Well, that is what he says... but how does he plan to do that? You don't have to go far along his intended course of action before things become vague and unformed and unactionable. He has no interest in you. He only has interest in his own empire and the next step in building it even bigger is to be President, so he can tweak the laws further in favor of him and his kind - who have been preying on you for generations. He is turning you against people who have been preyed upon even harder than you, making you think they are the problem, when they are being victimised by him and his sort just like you. He wants you to blame someone other than him, so he shouts that he can fix the problem and points at people not too different from yourself and claims they are at fault. AND then whenever he can get away with it, he tells them similar things. He has claimed that things will be better in the United States for various minorities under his Presidency and then told other groups of people how those minorities are the ones to blame for how shitty things are. For starters, things aren't half as shitty as you imagine they are - I know that's hard to believe, but just watch a few YouTube videos about life in Guatemala or Mogadishu or Mosul or Bangladesh or really, most of the places on the planet that aren't North America, Western Europe, Japan or a handful of highly functioning metropolises scattered elsewhere on the globe. America is totally great. Still and already. And yeah, it could be better, but not by making it worse for the people below you. That is only going to make America a contemptuous place inside and out.
Donald Trump, is probably the vilest human being who has ever been this close to being your President, and that bar is so low to the ground that its almost impossible to fit under it, yet he does. It's too easy to invoke the names of some of the objectively worst leaders in the history of mankind and go Godwin on Trump, but the reality is that it is hard to exaggerate how awful he is without doing so.


I assure you that if you do, we - the REST OF THE PLANET - are finished with America as the accepted beacon of hope and light and the global leader of what human civilization can aspire towards. Honestly, you may not easily be able to undo the damage you have done in that direction already. The world may well have passed "Peak 'Merica," it is certainly worth debate, but if Trump is in the White House, the debate is over, you will have, with irony, made a mockery of everything that was ever truly great about the United States.
So vote for imperfect, not-a-criminal, well-prepared-with-a-staggering-amount-of-relevant-experience, first-female-to-hold-the-position, Hillary. And if that is not "good-enough," then get to work on Bernie 2.0 or Paul Ryan back-to-the-GOP-log-house or Jill Stein for Massachusetts' 5th Congressional District 2020, or whatever your version "better future" is.