Here’s the thing. I was young and ignorant once. We all were. But at some point you grow up enough to realize that the world is complex, and that the issues aren’t binary – they aren’t white and black, yin and yang, good and bad. There is nuance. And there are hard choices to make that might go against our childish, fantasy-based ideologies. When I was young, I didn’t think there was much difference between Republicans and Democrats. And honestly, in those days there wasn’t as many differences as there are now (since the GOP has completely ran off the rails into systemic delusion). At some point you grow up, whether you want to or not, and you start asking hard questions, and realizing that you might not always like the answers, and that there are hard choices to make which might not let you scritch that childish need for self-aggrandizement.
You see, today I’m weary of all these young people saying the same kinds of stupid shite I said when I was their age. No, I don’t expect them to listen to me, anymore than I listened to those who tried to lead me into the light when I was their age. But with an election coming up, and the dangers we face as a nation never being more clearly blocked out, I just want to shake those young people who keep talking about voting for Gary Johnson or Jill Stein, but being unable to elucidate why they feel either is a better choice (beyond simplistic statements about disliking Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump, or whining that “there’s no difference between the two”).
Here’s the one thing young people will come to understand as they get older. Idealism and ideology often fall short when applied to real-world scenarios. Reality doesn’t often cooperate with our in-born need to pat ourselves on the back and congratulate ourselves for being more principled than “those other people”. Young people like to think that they would die for their principles. Older people understand that dead is just dead, and that any struggle is a summation of many little defeats, as well as victories, and that it’s better to stay alive long enough for the victories to outweigh the defeats, to continue the struggle until the war is won, rather than stage one melodramatic end that won’t be remembered beyond the echoes of the last clash.
Here’s the thing; if young people don’t show up to vote in 2016, Donald Trump will be our next president. If young people DO show up to vote, but overwhelmingly cast absurd “protest votes” for Johnson or Stein, Donald Trump will be our next president.
Hillary Clinton doesn’t inspire me, but life will teach you one thing, punkin’… you won’t always get everything you want. To me voting for Hillary Clinton feels a bit like defeat (I wanted Bernie Sanders), but I’m a grown up. The reality is that whether I like her or not, Hillary Clinton is the only viable choice we have this year, and she will be a decent president (even if she’s not everything we want).
The reality is that a Donald Trump presidency will be an unprecedented disaster for this country.
The reality is that neither Gary Johnson nor Jill Stein has a snowball’s chance in Hell of getting anywhere near the Oval Office (and that’s not a bad thing when you move beyond tweet-length talking points and actually study up on what both candidates are all about).
In the end, when the dam is breached, the people who show up and do what needs to be done are the real movers and shakers. Those who sit cozy by the fire in their cottages, patting themselves on the back because they never voted for the dam in the first, are still going to be washed away by flood if the dam breaks. Stand up and be counted, or stop kidding yourself that you care about this country. This isn’t about you or your delicate sensibilities, sunshine. This is about our country.
If Donald Trump becomes president, I can assure that in some future time when you and I are scavenging through an apocalyptic wasteland looking for those last few existing cases of canned tuna, when you inevitably look at me and say “Well, I didn’t vote for Trump. I voted for Gary Johnson,” I can assure I’ll leave your cold body out there in the ruins for the dogs. Why would I do such a thing? Because you, and people like you, will be the reason we wound up out there in the first place. In a shattered world where stupidity brought us the disaster of a Trump presidency in the first place and the ruination of the civilized world, I will root out stupidity whenever and wherever I find it. 😉
In the end, what will destroy human civilization is human stupidity. At some point we have to stop letting stupid people have equal time. Look at the position it’s put us in already.