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My First Election As A Cynic

Jun

18

by

Or How I Learned To Stop Worrying And Admit That It’s All Bullshit

The 2012 election will be the sixth presidential election of my lifetime, and the third one I’ve actually given a shit about. In 1992, I was barely sentient, having absolutely no idea that Bush had just lost, or that his son would eventually bring the world just shy of complete destruction. In 1996, I wanted Clinton to win, but only because my mom said he was better than the other guy. It’s kind of like how she roots for the Memphis Grizzlies even though she doesn’t give a rat’s ass about basketball. She knows I like them, and that’s that. 2000 was pretty much the same. I knew that the monkey-faced Republican who stole the election was a bad dude, but I had no clue why. Those years, I was just too young.

Then, in 2004, I started paying attention. Less out of a desire to understand where my country was headed, and more out of a desire to understand what Jon Stewart was talking about. I knew that Bush was evil, and the more time passed, the more I desperately wanted to see any Democrat take him down, no matter shitty they were in their own right. It’s hilarious to think of how naïve I was back then. Not only did I think John “Least Charismatic Human being In the History of Mankind” Kerry could be elected in a country that values whether you would enjoy getting shitfaced with a presidential hopeful above all else, I actually thought it would’ve mattered if he had gotten in. Admittedly, Katrina would’ve probably been less shitty under a theoretical Kerry administration, and maybe we get out of Iraq sooner, but other than that it would have been the same old shit. I didn’t understand that at age 14, however, and I was actually pretty bummed out when Bush won. I remember moping around for days, listening to my Replacements albums endlessly. Ironic, since I’m guessing Paul Westerberg is probably smart enough to know how fruitless American politics are.

Anyway, let’s move ahead to 2008. Now, I was probably one of very few people who thought Kerry would make a huge difference, but in 2008, everyone was wildly optimistic about Obama. The notion that he was different from anyone else was common among young people, and probably somewhat prevalent among older folks as well. Sure, it seems dumb in retrospect, but can you really blame us? We were pretty fatigued from Bush. He had fucked shit up so much that we started to wonder if we really did hate America, as the right so often claimed. We wanted someone who would quickly wash away the foul stench of the second Bush, and we figured Obama was perfect for the job. When he won, I distinctly remember getting absolutely shitfaced, and thinking it was the greatest thing I had ever witnessed.

Flash forward three and a half years. Obama has been just as underwhelming as The Beast predicted he would be, and now liberals have to ponder the question that Ian Murphy posed last week, of whether there’s a substantive difference between The Obama and The Romney. I guess the most logical reason to vote for Obama is that we don’t want to find out the hard way. At least we know what Obama does. He bends over for the Republicans over and over, and he uses drones just about everywhere possible. He also does the occasional good thing, like repealing Don’t Ask Don’t Tell. He’s been a bummer, but who the fuck knows what Romney can do?

And that’s where I find myself four and a half months before the election. Desperately trying to talk myself into what I hope is the lesser of two evils. I’ll probably be mildly happy if he wins, if only because I really can’t fucking stand Mitt Romney, but I’ll also know exactly what I’m getting; a lukewarm president who is capable of doing the right thing, but chooses not too, because just like everyone else, he goes where the money goes. Of course, some Democrats hold onto the notion that Obama might suddenly start doing revolutionary shit in his second term just because he doesn’t have to worry about being reelected, but come on, does that really seem likely to anyone with a functioning brain? Like Obama’s just gonna get in there and say, “Hey! Guess what everybody, I just legalized weed and gay marriage in all 50 states AND you all have health care!” It’s not 2008 anymore, folks. Let’s stop pretending that’s a realistic possibility.

So, after being an unrelenting optimist in the ’04 and ’08 elections, I’ve officially grown sour on everything. When I started college in 2008, I took a political science class with two dudes who were in their late 20s. One was liberal, one was conservative, and they both agreed that McCain and Obama were both dreadful. At that time, I loathed their cynicism. Now I’ve completely embraced it. My youthful optimism about the political process is completely out the door. Maybe someone can come along and get me excited again in 2016, but I’m not holding my breath.

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  • E. Scott Frogelman

    i haven’t even read this article yet, so it’s not about the content. it’s about the form of the new site. i know you guys are a bunch of wacky radicals, but can you just put a byline at the top of the article? i don’t know whether i’m gonna have to read about how Dave Matthews Band is not complete horseshit a good band, or read for the millionth tenth time about
    that one time Murphy impersonated Koch and goofed Scott Walker.
    Love, a person who’s been reading this publication since it was still a physical publication.

  • paul

    Political science? That’s even less of a science than psychology, or economics!
    Seriously though, why bother voting?
    What if they held an election and no-one turned up?

  • Brian McKeever

    Don’t do it, dude. Don’t fall for “the evil of two lessers.”

  • DisquisFuckingSucks

    The worse are the insufferable pricks that get pissy at you for not towing the bullshit. The claims that if their guy loses…its the fault of the cynics. Right…doesn’t have anything to do with the business as usual exploitation…no its the cynics causing the problems.

  • ScoobyScoobyScooby

    Voting for the main parties is support of a broken system. You can vote for coke or Pepsi but no orange juice.

    Unless you vote for a third party or independent it’s a wasted vote, period end of story.

    How much power could one president waste? If ever there was a perfect case for not supporting either party it was this past presidency. To be fair no candidate on either r or d would have done anything fundamentally different than Obama though.

    The two parties will have you fight over side issues like abortion prayer in school etc. while they go ahead and mortgage everyone’s future. Fear always bring people back into the fold.

    Fear they’re going to take away your guns, your abortions, your prayer, your freedom, your right to free speech…. That fear always has you coming back to pull th lover of one of the two main parties come November. Don’t. Don’t bother.
    Vote for yourself if you must.

  • ScoobyScoobyScooby

    Uh pull the lever…..

  • johndeconquer

    All I ask is for a President that follows the law and does not decide that he knows best.
    Our system is far from perfect but it is OUR system. Like the author I have no idea what Romney will do but Obama has already demonstrated that he considers himself above the law. For this reason I will vote Republican for the first time in my life but only because I am now actually voting against Obama. It is hard for me to do this because I am pro-choice, an atheist, anti-gun and pro-environment. But this guy Obama is dangerous.

    • HjkHjk

      Why not vote 3rd party like the rest of us?

  • Mudsharkcentral

    “You either vote for the mumps or the measles/Whether you vote for the lesser of two evils, you vote for evil.” –KRS-One “Higher Level

  • http://www.facebook.com/mike.thebunny Mike Thebunny

    Mittrak Obamney ™ The McCandidate of choice for the People*.

    *People (n.) Any entity that has filed as a C corp, S corp, LLC, Delaware S C or LLC.

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