This is the most important election ever! I’m sure you’ve heard that before. Hell, you might even have said that before. But that’s what they said the last time and the time before that. That’s what they always say. This election is no different than any other–and that’s the problem. Once again the election has come down to the two last demagogues standing, duking it out for the enrichment of themselves and their constituents. One of them is a racist and the other helped send millions of black people to private prisons for often nonviolent offenses. One has rowdy and sometimes violent rallies; while the other voted for a war that cost thousands of American lives, a million Iraqi lives, costed trillions of dollars, and destabilized the middle east–then did it again. One is a rich asshole and the other just works for them.
Oh, you’re still reading? Still not enough reasons why many millennials are not motivated to get to the poles this year? Okay.
Well, millennials are sick of this shit. We’re not just being told to vote, but told who to vote for. We can’t vote for Donald Trump for obvious reasons, but we can’t vote for Gary Johnson because he doesn’t know where Aleppo is (as if any of us is basing our vote one what is going on in Syria). We can’t vote for Jill Stein because she doesn’t exist. So, in other words, go out and Vote for Hillary Clinton or else. No one gives a shit whether or not you agree with anything that she stands for. If you vote for Trump the world will explode. If you go third party it will split the vote, resulting in a Trump victory thereby destroying the world, it’ll be all your fault. So fuck you, vote Hillary. You have no choice.
We’re onto the game and we’re deciding not to play.
The older generations don’t seem to understand why we feel no civic duty to uphold a system that has long been corrupted. They’re so used to not rocking the boat and going along and hoping for the best. They compromised and compromised until they had nothing left to bargain with and now find themselves feebly begging to hold on to what they’ve got left. Unable to imagine a better world, they’ve simply given up fighting for one, instead they’ve tied their fate too tightly to the maintenance of a corrupt system that continues to sell them out. They’ve learned to eat their shit sandwich and not talk with their mouths full, all the while closing their eyes and telling themselves it’ll all work out. And now they’re surprised and even outraged that we refuse to do the same.
It was the indifference of the previous generations that allowed wages to stagnate, benefits to disappear, prison to overflow, the ecosystem to be raped, and the wealth gap to increase. They passively participated in the electoral process without ever stopping to think about what exactly they were voting for; or what the agenda of these people they were voting fr actually was; or ever really demanding anything from those that were supposed to be serving them. That was the political climate that allowed for candidates like Trump and Clinton to thrive.
It’s easy for liberals to point out that it was the policies and campaign strategies of the right over the past five decades that paved the way for such a despicable candidate as Donald Trump. Their blatant racism, anti-intellectualism, bible thumping, and worship of the wealthy could only have culminated in a candidate of this ilk. However, liberals have trouble admitting that it was their constant compromising, backroom dealing and all around rightward movement that paved the way for Bernie Sanders. Bernie showed that things didn’t have to be this way. Candidates didn’t have to accept big donations from large corporations and that we could talk openly about alternatives to the traditional way of doing things. He showed millions of millennials that they weren’t alone and did have a voice.
That’s why he had to be destroyed.
And now his supporters are being asked to switch gears and vote for Hillary lest risk the reign of Donald Trump. These are the same fear tactics that the right has been using for decades. Millennials aren’t falling for it. We’re refusing to be bullied or coerced into voting for someone with whom we fundamentally disagree on just about everything. I didn’t support Bernie Sanders the man, I supported his policy positions and that didn’t change once he dropped out. I didn’t suddenly become for fracking or TTP, two things Hillary is in favor of. Rather than voting for the lesser of two evils like good little team players, a lot of millennials are opting out and refusing to play the game. It’s a form of silent protest against politics as usual.
The image of the “millennial” as a twentysomething keyboard warrior, still living in his mother’s basement ignores the fact that a lot of us are well into our thirties. We’re battle-hardened veterans (some of us literally) who’ve seen some shit and done our homework. Sure, we don’t like Trump because of the things he does on television, but we don’t like Hillary for things she’s done behind closed doors; far away from any video camera, where she and her constituents, in the most undemocratic way possible, make decisions that affect the world. Voting for the lesser of two evils is no way to promote change. It’s actually proven to be a step in the opposite direction of progress. The first step in doing what works is to stop doing what doesn’t. That could mean voting third party or sitting it out altogether until we’ve repaired our broken democracy.
There was an episode of The Simpsons where aliens took over the bodies of Bill Clinton and Bob Dole, planning to get elected president in order to enslave humanity. At the end of the episode they are discovered by the horrified citizens. Now standing on stage, without disguises and with everyone aware of their evil agenda, one of the aliens arrogantly says “It’s a two-party system, you have to vote for one of us.”
No we don’t.