I already knew I’d never vote for Trump. Growing up in the greater DC Metropolitan Area, I’m intuitively aware this is no place for an outsider. Trump has experience in a lot of stuff, but DC is a league of its own; the House always wins.
Clinton is a professional. Even as First Lady, her relationship to President Clinton was more of Dick Cheney’s to George W. than a Laura Bush. She is THE professional; John Kerry (may his name be praised) is a model civil servant, Hillary Clinton is a model politician.
Which is why, inevitably, going into this election cycle there were already enormous obstacles to a smooth victory. But for myself, once Trump secured the Republican nomination, I never really thought about it. #NeverTrump. Until the Second Debate.
Where do we begin? Why bother. It was very telling that the opening question about the implicit message to children by virtue of the mature content of the presidential race was never answered by either candidate. Parent’s who give a shit about what their children are exposed to clearly aren’t a critical demographic. Maybe the candidates believe these people won’t vote on Election Day because they’ll be preoccupied wasting their lives on the impossible challenge of good parenting.
For all intents and purposes, the Second Debate centered around two topics, neither of which had any pertinence to domestic or foreign policy:
Firstly, which team had committed more egregious sexual offenses (Donald Trumps damn-near confession of sexual assault vs. Bill’s lengthy-albeit-alleged rapsheet). Secondly, which team had more sinisterly defrauded the federal government (Trump’s opaque financing shenanigans vs. Clinton’s completely inexcusable ignorance of mandatory federal communication guidelines, possibly of a felonious nature.)
As a citizen of the United States of America, it is my civic duty to take these debates seriously, take these candidates seriously, and think carefully about this decision. As a citizen of the United States of America, I am a permanent member of the jury of peers upon which the task has been bestowed to decide the leader of the free world.
But as a person, as John Brewster, I don’t fucking care. Just being human, I have greater responsibilities in and to society than just those of an American. Granted, as John Brewster, I’m unconcerned about a lot of things with which most people have very legitimate interest; savings, employment, having a roof over my head every night, stuff which many may consider ‘basic’.
I am concerned, however, with the issues at the forefront of the collective consciousness of my generation. Social issues: opportunity inequality in education and employment, racial bias in the judicial system, and sexual violence. These have surfaced again, predictably coinciding with the discrepancy in economic recovery rates per demographic following the Great Recession.
These aren’t the most critical issues to the success of a nation. National defense and economic growth each have a multitude of niche policy issues where the right and left deftly battle to find the perfect balance between cronyism and the strength required to maintain Pax Americana. These are the critical issues of our nation, politically speaking. But social issues are critical to the health and wellness of the people. And sitting at home, in the basement, watching these two bicker about who sexually assaulted who and lied about what to which federal agencies, its clear that whatever special interest groups were fighting for has already been decided. And neither of these two give a shit about respecting human decency in a common sense way. So I’m sitting this one out.
I’m not making a statement by not voting. This isn’t a strike. I don’t have a list of demands are a minority group I’m desperate to defend. There’s nothing in the conversation that even resembles a change in cultural and social institutions at the level needed to empower peoples to engage their communities personally and improve the social health of themselves. That’s an obvious answer to a lot of us. Peoples are different, they need to understand themselves. Diversity makes America stronger, and we should play to it.
What message does the mature content of the current presidential race send to our children? It say that the children are an afterthought. It says that this isn’t about them. It says that they’re minds and they’re futures aren’t important. And I feel like I got that message too. I’ll be around longer than the current windbags twerking for ballots. I’ve already lost this hand, and I’m looking to the next one.