We live in tempestuous times, or so I’m told. I deleted my Facebook, so it’s sometimes hard to tell. But I’ve heard from my social-media-stalwart friends that there’s quite a loony election going on this year. And everyone — except the person I’m discussing politics with at that moment — is completely out of touch with “the issues.” And boy, there are a lot of issues.
“Must be nice,” I thought.
So I unplugged myself from this year’s presidential election machine. As stated above, I deleted my Facebook account, which has done wonders to keep me in a state of blissful ignorance: My face is clearing up, my rash is going away and I’m no longer getting memes of debatable dankness peddled on my newsfeed on a daily basis.
I also chose not to watch the presidential debate in any of its forms — the initial televised debate, the commentary on social media, Buzzfeed’s aggregation of the commentary on social media and especially the tepid political satire from Saturday Night Live, South Park and the like. If I were in your position, I’d probably avoid reading this column, too — because the only thing worse to me than someone’s earnest thoughts on this year’s election is some asshole who thinks he’s above it.
But before you accuse me of being a Bernie Bro who’s just too stubborn to vote for Hillary Clinton, let me just say that you’re correct. Mostly.
For a while, I followed the common white, suburban, middle-class ideological trajectory. I was raised by conservative parents only to go off to college and vote for a Democrat. Then, after taking several cultural studies courses, I wound up supporting a socialist. But now in this election, I find myself prematurely disillusioned with a political system from which I’ve only ever benefitted.
Perhaps living a comfortably white, middle-class life for the past 22 years has given me an unrealistic perception of just how many things can go to shit with the wrong person in charge. I don’t want to discount all the work my family did to give me this life, but I’ve been cognizant of two very different presidencies and the worst recession since the Great Depression. All in all, my privileged existence has remained largely the same.
People with a similar background to me will likely benefit regardless of the outcome this November or their lives will continue largely unchanged. If there are some setbacks, they’ll more likely be slight inconveniences than legitimate grievances, such as settling for a slightly lesser cut at Outback Steakhouse. But my ability to look at this election with indifference is not just luxury, it’s also selfish and irresponsible.
I stand by saying it’s all right to occasionally unplug from the lunacy of this year’s 24/7 election coverage, but it’s not okay choosing to be uninformed. Educate yourself. Go out and volunteer in your community, talk with your family and friends and vote for the candidate you feel best serves your needs.