The Damnable Choice
[Ed. Note: Here at Donnybook we rarely busy ourselves with the matters of ordinary people, but recently one of our contributors received an article written by just such an ordinary person. Seeing as all of our elite friends are running for office at the moment, we thought it would be an absolute gas to post the submission for its comedic value. So here you go; this is the view from the bottom of society. Give it a read and enjoy a few laughs at the little people!]
When you step into the voting booth in November, before you push the little button and wonder fondly at the days of the hanging chad, consider the gravity of the decision that you’re about to make. And it’s not the choice for which candidate you’re selecting—hell, that’s an afterthought at this point. Finances and unpredictable closet skeletons determined that practically without your consent months ago. No, what you’re actually doing when you give that machine the finger is casting a vote for which type of freedom you’d like to have as an American.
Yes, I said “which”.
In spite of what the posters told you, it turns out we aren’t the land of infinitely flowing liberty. It’s much more like we serve freedom from the world’s (mentally) heaviest soda fountain, with two flavors and no suicide option. Choose one tap and you’ll get a nice tall glass of Democrats, where you’re allowed to marry who you like, do with your body what you want, and possibly even smoke a little weed on the side. Pull from the other and you get a tasty mug of Republicans where it’s guns for everyone and a government that does its best to GTFO of your goddamn way. Neither sounds so bad, right? Well those are just the freedoms.
There’s also the part where with democrats, you get a bloated government that may or may not choke out economic prosperity with regulation, and is fundamentally seeking to make the rich pay more for being successful. Bastards!
Then again the other side is no better. With Republicans you suddenly lose your right to marry who you want, can only get the healthcare services the strange men in charge find acceptable (and from whom they find acceptable—sorry poor people!), and the entire workings of our secular country take on a backwards version of Judeo-Christian spin. Double Bastards!
So what it seems like the real choice is then, is how you want to be free in America. Do you want a government that’s smaller and offers more freedom with your finances, or one that’s bigger but (ironically) offers more social freedom—not to mention the all-American attribute that is living your life however the fuck you please.
I imagine this split is fine for people who have resigned themselves to be brainless supporters of whatever their chosen party’s line is. But for independents like myself, it makes 2012 a strange face-off between the socially righteous and the financially bodacious, at a time when our country is at a critical juncture in both areas. In the last four years we’ve seen the economy tank and then struggle to recover, but we’ve also seen the repeal of “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell”. We’ve watched the poor get poorer while the rich got richer, but women finally being really heard about their opinions on their own bodies. Not to mention celebrated for talking about it. And we’ve seen unemployment numbers that suck, but simultaneously the first steps towards making some real change to a broken healthcare system.
What it leaves us with is a flat-out damnable choice; no matter which way you turn, there’s something to lose. And as the parties become more polarized (or the right at least becomes righter—and wronger), it leaves very little ground to make any true decision. You vote for guy A because he’s not guy B, and visa versa. And that’s not really a choice at all, is it?
The truth is, there is no viable candidate in this country who supports the true definition of liberty: minimal governmental meddling, period. Free enterprise and social freedoms too. Sure, Ron Paul can get on stage and make everyone laugh with his crazy beady-eyed antics, but we’ve become so set in our monolithic Jackass and Peanut Brain parties that the true middle has no chance. And with no middle, everyone who falls to the wrong side of an extreme is going to have to celebrate their most basic American right by settling for the lesser of two evils.
So in November I’ll probably go into that booth and cast my ballot the only way that makes sense to me in this situation; I’ll vote for the guy who is not going to marginalize my gay friends, who is not going to stand by while desperate women get tetanus from coat hangers in back alleys, and who doesn’t shove a set of morals down the throats of a populous who doesn’t want it. Because to me that’s worth more than the cash I’d save on my taxes, and feeling the opposite would essentially make me a whore. In spite of that, there will always be the feeling that I’ve been somehow bought in 2012. And with that hanging around, nothing is going to stop me from feeling cheap.