Staring down my ballot

I envision Americans all over the world--Americans living abroad that is--sitting and staring at this letter the way I am. Americans abroad get to vote quite a bit early.

I'm sitting at the kitchen table with the envelope in front of me. I am glad it made it given the funky postal system these days. I'm also grief stricken. And terrified. I hate the damn thing. And I'm grateful that this at least remains to us.

A ballot.

How many people fought for this? Women. People of various colors. People with disabilities. Immigrants. If you belittle it, you are either an ass or just plain ignorant of history.

We all know that.

It's a great thing to have a ballot. My neighbors and my husband don't get one. The issue of who will be the next American president will impact them nearly as much as it impacts me. But they don't get a vote. I do.

And I don't know what in Hades to do with it.

I do know it's one in a hundred million. My ballot does not mean squat. If I ball it up and throw it away in disgust no one will care. Clinton will win or Trump will win, whether I do it or not.

I don't get political, I mean actually election-political, on my blog very often and I swear I'm not even doing that now. I'm not going to tell you how to vote because I don't know how to vote this time around. 

"Knock me over with a feather!" I can hear some of you shouting. "Arie doesn't have a political opinion for once."

Oh, I've got opinions. I've got a gazillion of them. That isn't the problem. 

I'm going to hazard a guess here. I'll bet I don't have very many readers who are Trump supporters. (Except you, Andy. And we love you anyway.) He's sort of a family member and you know how that goes.

But the rest of you... well, who reads my blog? According to my Google stats some people actually do, for which I am immensely grateful.

And from comments I'm guessing some of you are general treehuggers, like me, and you know you're not voting for Trump. Then there are the non-Americans who read my blog, and you wouldn't be voting for Trump even if you could. There are quite a few people with disabilities who read my blog and Trump would just as soon see us dead. Same goes for my Romani and otherwise non-white readers.

A lot of readers are also variously Pagan and Goddess inclined. Now one could theoretically argue about whether or not Trump will make America "great" again, but we know for sure he'll make it Christian-or-else again, so that sort of settles who Pagans aren't voting for.  

Therefore, I'm not going to tell anyone not to vote for Trump because it's pretty safe to assume that no one reading this is planning on it, except possibly that guy Andy. And he's only reading this to humor my mother.

Instead I'm going to commiserate with you.

Because if you aren't voting for Trump, what are  you going to do?

Okay, there's the question. Vote for Clinton or don't vote for Clinton? Clinton is one of the least popular politicians in history even before the election and with good reason. You may be one of those desperate people demanding that every decent person vote for Clinton because "if you don't, you're signing the country over to Trump and thus signing your own death warrant!" 

I get it. I really do. When I look at Trump. I think of course there's no choice. That Green on the ballot might as well not even be there. No real choice.

And then I put my head in my hands and cry. Because... remember all those people I mentioned, the ones who fought for this ballot. And now the ballot is as good as useless. There's no real choice. 

Every single election in my adult life (that's since 1996) I've been told, "There's no choice. Just vote AGAINST that guy!" whichever guy it was. Who I was supposed to vote for did not matter.

So, we grit our teeth and do our duty. We vote for slime, for lies, for candidates who care as much about us as they do about the gum they stepped on when they got out of their LImo last night. 

It's only harder this time because we had hope for a little while. I knew it wouldn't last. Admit it. So did you.

If we were right about the way the political system works, if you actually believed what Sanders was saying (including Bernie Sanders himself), you had to know that he would never be allowed to compete for actual votes cast by people.

He said the system is broken and rigged. And it is. So Clinton participated in a blatantly rigged primary to deny us our right to vote. And now we'll vote for her because... we have no f---ing choice!

I try to comfort myself. Clinton mentioned climate change. She actually MENTIONED it. Bernie did that at least. He has forced her to at least say a few taboo words. We all know she won't do what needs to be done, that she doesn't care and that these are all just words to her, but maybe I should throw my vote her way as a sort of "thank you" for the mention of the single most important security crisis facing us (according to official US military analysis and everyone else worth their salt). At least she didn't completely ignore reality. 

And I do have a daughter. She's seven and she's into Lego Friends, who first rush home to change their clothes and put on make-up every time they are called out to rescue endangered animals. Think about what it would mean if the president is a woman--a woman who does not even make coquettish noises every two sentences. My daughter could grow to her teenage years with this woman's face as the supreme power in the world. That is worth something isn't it? No matter how much of a liar and conscienceless shell she may be.

That is something to vote FOR, isn't it?

My gut feels like a sack of rotten potatoes. If you've ever smelled rotten potatoes--really rotten--you know what I'm talking about this election.

So, good luck when you get your ballots, America. You've got my sympathy which ever way you toss your lack of choice. Just remember that NOT voting is still part of the game and there may be consequences.

I'm going to go out tonight and wish on a star. I wish just once in my life to vote FOR a president, rather than against. Even if my choice doesn't win. Please just once. I want to cast my vote for a candidate I trust and admire. 

And that wish is light in the darkness. We may have to fight for the right to vote, really vote, all over again. Don't forget. It's been done before.