I have loved debating since the day I formed my first sentence. I was raised by two politically-indifferent parents. Having always been given the freedom to pursue knowledge in whatever subject intrigued me, I naturally gravitated towards the one I knew they'd hate. Politics was my reason to argue about nothing and my rebellious breath of air.
Now I would more accurately describe politics as my shock collar. I'm curious so I venture towards the seemingly interesting, seemingly exhilarating newspaper articles and televised interviews, only to be immediately deterred by the shock I receive from reading the absolute absurdity that public figures present themselves with. I find myself a little more leery of the fence separating the way the way the world works in my mind and the way policy is actually established and carried out (they do still actually make policy, right? Or has the nonstop gridlock halted that altogether?).
In the process of trying to pick a candidate in this election, friendships have been severed, family events quickly turned into awkward political face-offs, and human attributes - race, gender, religion, economic standing, etc. - have become mere descriptions for whom someone ought to be voting for by the standards of ridiculous generalizations. With my usual desire to understand both sides before making a decision accompanied with my constant habit of arguing with others only for the sake of making them think, this election process has had a particularly outstanding bearing on my relations with others.
Prior to the primaries, I heard endless mudslinging from members of each party directed at candidates within their political party. Bernie vs. Hillary was basically a war and let's not even get into the details of the slandering done within the Republican party. Because of this, I was reasonably put-off by the people who were now posting pro-Hillary or pro-Trump propaganda on all their social media after having witnessed the derogatory terms they were previously using to describe these very candidates.
There were many occasions upon which someone asked who I was voting for and I had no answer. They would try to sway me towards Hillary and I would think "didn't you post a status a few days ago about how she's a liar who condones sexual assault? And now you are telling me all the wonderful things she has done for the world." Likewise, I would be confronted by a dedicated Republican with Donald Trump as their only option and I just couldn't take them seriously. "That's hilarious; you still have numerous ignorant memes about his hair and orange complexion on your Facebook, yet you expect me to believe you when you tell me you believe he is well-qualified?" I realized I would have to do my own research and, rightfully so, block out the extraordinarily biased "facts" being flung at me from every direction. Being undeclared in who I wanted to vote for felt similar to being a piece of steak placed in a room full of starved dogs.
After months of thought, I came to the conclusion that I would simply vote third party. After all, our generation has been predicted to change the two party system for years. I wasn't sure which third party I would be voting for yet, as none of these candidates were particularly appealing either. However, I was unnerved to hear the distress that my third party preference caused people. "A third party vote is a wasted vote!" "Voting for a third party is supporting the _______ party!" These irrational slogans were thrown in my face time and time again as if in some attempt to brainwash me. I was reminded of the sleep-teaching methods used on infants in Aldous Huxley's "Brave New World." I only found it comical that both Republicans and Democrats were telling me that my vote was essentially a vote for their opposing party. What I deduced from the situation was that, by not voting for Trump or Hillary, I would actually be voting for Trump and Hillary.
I never found a third party candidate that I could bring myself to openly support, so I came to the conclusion that I would not be voting. It is my right to abstain just as it is my right to vote. I naively believed that this would be a respectable answer to the dreaded question, but I was yet again disappointed to see how many negative reactions I received for this decision. Yet again, by not voting, I was apparently voting for whichever candidate the person I was discussing with opposed.
It seems to be a difficult concept to grasp, but not voting was my educated vote. There was no candidate deserving of my support. My agreement of their said policies is about 50/50 on either side. I had the option to vote in either Alabama or New York; Alabama has been Republican for thirty-six years and New York has been electing Democrats for twenty-eight. Even if I had supported one specific candidate, my vote making an impact on the outcome is relatively impossible.
It is my best wishes for this country that the next election will be more pleasant and the candidates more approachable. Until then, this is my official resignation letter from discussion of American politics.