Stop Being Friends With Protest Voters


This isn’t funny anymore. None of this is a joke, none of this is a game, and we have gone past the point where memes about Trump being a little-fingered sentient Cheeto or whatever other sick burn we’re administering have ceased to be funny. Calling him #Drumpf is stupid. Spending hours nitpicking about all the times he lies in a debate, in a day, in an hour, is futile. Pretending like we stand even a tiny chance of convincing anyone who likes him that he isn’t fit to be President is a waste of breath and our dignity. Our jobs are twofold now: registering as many voters as we can to vote for HRC (the only sane and productive way of voting), and socially-shaming the hell out of people who think this is time to stay home, or vote third party.

When you hear someone talking about how “they’re both terrible” as if one person didn’t stand in front of 100 million people last night and encourage China to start a nuclear war with North Korea, or promise to implement stop and frisk nationwide, or lie about thinking global warming is a conspiracy theory, you need to shame them. You need to stop having superficial brunches with them, stop laughing over John Oliver videos with them, stop pretending like this is a civil conversation. You need to be the person who makes it weird when they try to get away with staying that they “can’t vote for either one in good conscience,” the one who won’t just drop it and have a beer. You need to be the one who reminds them that they don’t have a “good conscience” if they somehow think that not doing everything in their power to prevent Trump from being our President is an ethical or moral choice. They are high off their own false sense of superiority and fake-deep understanding of politics.

And there is a 90% chance all of that pomp and circumstance about viable third parties stops the second the Presidential election is over, because the hell if their lazy, condescending asses are getting out there and canvassing for some district representative. (I have canvassed for local politicians, and we don’t even go to people’s houses if they’re under 50 because it’s a waste of time — none of our craft beer-drinking, 20-and-30-something friends who suddenly give such a shit about Jill Stein vote in those elections.)

Gary Johnson isn’t going to be President. Jill Stein’s delusional ass certainly isn’t going to be President. (And frankly, between the two of them, despite being a Berniebro who considers herself a football field left of Hillary Clinton, I would vote for Gary Johnson, because he seems at least moderately more tethered to reality and I agree with a lot of his foreign policy and social views. Also, he was a Governor and so was his running mate, so he certainly has a lot more claim to legitimacy than your mom’s linen pant-wearing chiropractor friend who thinks every negative thing in the world is a direct result of Monsanto.)

All of this to say, not voting and voting for either of them is the same thing, because not only are neither of them going to be President, neither of them are close to viable enough to justify making the race closer between a fascist who brags about tagging and rounding up immigrants and Muslims, and a career politician who is not a great liberal by any measure but also isn’t going to start a nuclear war or set civil rights back an entire generation. Your friends who casually talk about how they’re going to protest vote or “sit this one out” are directly slapping in the face every single person who stands to be really, directly impacted by someone like Trump ascending to office. And that is fucking most of us. No one wants to go back to this EPCOT version of the John Wayne Old West except crusty old white men who can’t stand the fact that they have to fight with women and minorities over good jobs.

So don’t be the chill one who laughs it off: press the question, make it a big deal, get into fights on Facebook, make it so that someone who thinks it’s okay to vote that way suffers serious social blowback. Register voters, yes, but also become an agent of social change through shaming. Make protest voting as disgust-inducing as chainsmoking next to a stroller, or bringing a bike onto a metro car during rush hour. Demand more from the people in your social life, because this shit is not a joke anymore. Not to Latinos, not to Muslims, not to women, not to fucking anyone.

We do not need to waste time addressing Trump voters anymore, because they are voting to spite America, and any appeal to reality or truth or reason is a complete waste of time. Let those people do what they’re going to do and stew in their own hate juices. We can build bridges after the election, because we’re sure as shit not changing any minds now. Right now we have to register voters, and lose our shit on the people in our social circles who have the audacity to post about Jill Stein when Trump is telling the country in no uncertain terms that he wants to destroy it.

I am sad that my guy didn’t win, I don’t love Hillary, I have plenty of qualms. None of this matters, because I am not an idiot, and I don’t think Bernie Sanders or Robert Reich are some kind of corrupt establishment tools because they endorsed her. I think they are sane, decent human beings who want the best possible outcome for America, and in the case of the 2016 Presidential election, that is ensuring the most possible votes for HRC because the race is terrifyingly close, and this isn’t a fucking joke.

I think Debbie Wasserman Schultz is an evil lizard of slimy ambition, and that much of the DNC did everything in its power to ensure Bernie had the hardest possible time. I think we need to take the groundswell of leftist enthusiasm and push it forward to make it harder for corruption like that to go unchecked, on every level of government. But I also think shit that we saw in those leaks happens every day on every side, and that winning a Presidency is nearly impossible without doing some seriously shady shit on a career-spanning basis. I want to change that, and it’s sad that Hillary is going to have to win through an establishment that everyone can agree needs to change. With some luck, she can be the last of her kind to win that way, if we realize that we have to accept some lost battles to win the greater war of how elections and campaigns are run. I agree with all of the most ardent “the system is fucked” analysis, and yet none of this changes how much I’m going to vote for her in November, because I don’t want to spite my country, or myself.

Stop being friends with people who think it’s okay to say “corruption,” throw their hands up, and let Trump get one step closer to the Oval Office. Stop letting that shit slide. Stop being okay with it, and stop pretending it isn’t more insulting than straight-up bigots voting Trump, because it comes couched under a thick, greasy layer of “I understand the system better than you do.” No one protest voting understands the system outside of shitty Facebook political memes. Start treating them with the same civility they’re treating the rest of the country by throwing up a middle finger to this election: absolutely none.

Image via Pexels

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