Earlier this week, I made the mistake of publicly admitting that I didn’t want to vote for Joe Biden.
Now, this isn’t going to be an essay about why I’m not a Joe Biden fan. And it doesn’t need to be, because if you’ve been paying even the slightest bit of attention, then you know damn well why I’m not.
No, this is an essay about why I’m seriously considering becoming an expatriate as soon as international travel becomes a viable option.
So as I said, earlier this week I made the mistake of publicly admitting that I didn’t want to vote for Joe Biden. Overwhelmingly, the response that this generated was an assertion that by not voting for Joe Biden, I’m instead voting for Donald Trump.
Which, first of all, fuck off. Pithiness has its place in political discourse, but not when it’s so reductionist that any attempt to clarify totally derails the conversation. But I digress.
The vast majority of my friends seem to believe that if I don’t throw my whole-hearted support behind Joe Biden, warts and all, then I’m actually tacitly (or directly, depending on who you ask) supporting Donald Trump by splitting the vote. And I completely understand that argument, and can even go so far as to admit that it’s more or less true.
Here’s the thing, though: it shouldn’t be.
Democracy, in my humble opinion, shouldn’t be about voting against a candidate that you hate. It should be about voting for a candidate that you truly believe is going to do the best thing for your country. My vote should be my chance to advocate for what I want in my government, not currency in a nationwide prisoner’s dilemma.
Unfortunately, that’s not really the way American democracy works anymore.
At this point, we’re not much more than two bitterly opposed political factions that will do just about anything, even abandon our personal principles, to ensure that our party comes out on top.
And yes, one party are objectively the good guys and the other party are fascist sacks of shit, but even so- we’re at war with one another more than either side is really advocating for the good of the American people.
And that doesn’t look very likely to change. I can’t imagine the left and the right learning to play nice with one another after everything that’s happened between 2015 and now. I just don’t see a future in this country where the divide is somehow magically mended and we start caring about politics for the correct reasons again.
And I can accept that, but it doesn’t mean that I need to sit here and watch it happen. Especially when the admission price of sitting here and watching it happen is compromising my own integrity.
I shouldn’t have to feel like a bad person because I don’t like the idea of voting for someone that I don’t want to be the president in order to stop someone else who I also don’t want to be the president.
But, again unfortunately, in present-day America that’s just how things are. And as much as I wish it were different, and as much as I hope that it can be changed, I can’t help but think that sometimes it’s best to know when to walk away.