If it's Clinton vs. McCain or Romney, I might just have to skip the presidential election for the first time ever: I refuse to support any of the above with a vote. If Obama's the nominee, I guess I can stomach that -- I worry about Jimmy Carter syndrome with him, and his ability to actually get anything done. As my co-worker says, he makes people feel all "hopey," but we need more than that. He's a great speaker, but he's also tremendously inexperienced. I desperately want to see the divisive partisan politics of the last administrations reduced, but I question whether he has the alliances in place to do it. Still, I strongly believe that it is time for the pendulum to swing back, and if he's the nominee, I'll use him to vote against McCain or Romney. It's not just that I disagree with John McCain's politics: I do not trust him. I also don't trust Mitt Romney's hair. :) Besides, not only do I oppose his stances on certain key issues, it's just plain silly to have a president named after an article of clothing. I'd be embarrassed (although at least we don't have to worry about Newt). :)
You know, I'm 37 years old, and I have yet to see a political candidate that I felt I could support ever make it to the nomination. Ever since I was of age to vote, I have always done so, but February 5th might become the first primary I've missed since college, as I'm having the follow-up laser treatment for my rosacea the day before, and if I'm as tired after it as I was last time, I may well sleep most of the day. Besides, right now, I feel that I have no one to really vote for, only people to vote against. I'm very tired of feeling that way -- it has become my usual state at election time, and it's an unpleasant norm -- but I don't know if my Mema would forgive me if I opted simply not to vote at all come November.
I'd always voted Libertarian until it was Kerry vs. Bush. I was so desperate to get Bush out of office that I held my nose and voted for a major party candidate for the first time ever. I tried to "grow up" and stop casting "protest votes," (I don't feel it's a protest vote if you are voting for the option closest to your beliefs, and I am a strong supporter of civil liberties). Guess what? It didn't do a bit of good. I just really feel like my vote makes no difference at all. It's not that I'm apathetic -- I do care very much, but I just never feel like I have a place in our political system. Just once, I'd like to feel represented, rather than disenfranchised. Just once, I'd like to feel like I have a horse in the race.
I begin to comprehend why so many people don't vote. They should, but if their candidate literally never wins, I can understand why they feel it is a waste of time. I haven't reached that point -- I guess I still feel it matters that the leaders know that that viewpoint exists ... but then again, if the numbers are too small for them to bother modifying their platform accordingly, why should a tiny voting bloc make the effort?
I guess my idealism still wins out, but with each passing year, I'm finding it harder to connect with it. I won't sell out by voting for something I don't agree with, but it does get harder to fight what you believe to be the good fight when you never, ever succeed. I don't understand how being a hardcore moderate somehow automatically makes one a fringe voter, but that's become the case. It's hard to muster energy when you feel depressed and defeated from the get-go. Still, quotes like the following help a little:
"Our integrity sells for so little, but it's all that we really have. It is the very last inch of us, but within that inch, we are free...An inch. It's small and it's fragile and it's the only thing in the world worth having. We must never lose it, or sell it, or give it away. We must never let them take it from us."
-- Valerie, V for Vendetta