Bernie Sanders was in my city tonight. His speech, his energy, and the excitement of the people that crammed themselves into the too-small space so they could support him in our incredibly-conservative city was… amazing. Empowering. And it got me thinking about politics. And the fear that comes with that.
Mostly, every political speech I hear these days gets me thinking about how much our current system scares me. In fact, I’m sure a lot of people on both sides of the political spectrum have that solid pit of uncertainty in their gut these days. Because it seems that, no matter what side we’re on, the people we want to vote for are possibly not going to have their names printed on the ballots we’ll see in November. No matter what you believe, it’s going to come down to two printed names. If you’re a die-hard Republican who absolutely won’t vote Democrat, that name is going to be Trump. End of story. You vote for him, or you throw your vote away. It’s another game of “lesser of two evils” even if you think there’s someone out there who isn’t evil at all.
Now, I can hear some of you screaming “WRITE-IN!” over and over. And you’re right. On paper, the printed names on those ballots shouldn’t be our only choices. The freedom of our Democratic system is very clear on that front: we always have the ability to write in whatever name we feel is most suitable for the role. If the majority of the people want to fight against Big Money and Bought Delegates, we have that power. On paper, we can make that change.
But in actuality– would you risk it? Putting down a write-in name means that you’re putting your faith in EVERY OTHER person that agrees with you, trusting that they, too, will write in the name that is best for the job. Putting trust in thousands of people you don’t know is… almost impossible. The past has shown us that at best, your fellow-thinkers will vote for the Primary candidate in your Party and win the election for your side despite your “throw away vote.” At worst, just enough people will choose to fight back and split your party in half– thus giving it away to the other side completely. Can you bring yourself to fight for what you truly think is right even if it means risking everything?
I want to say yes. But I also know that I’m a single-issue voter this election. And that issue is “I don’t know how to make the tire-rubber-armor that would be probably be necessary in what I can only assume will be Trump’s post-apocalyptic America.” So, that means voting for the Democratic candidate out of fear. Fear of Trump winning, fear of my vote being wasted. It doesn’t matter what part scares me more, it just comes down to me putting a check-mark next to someone I don’t agree with because I’m afraid of what will happen if I don’t. That is the tyranny of the Two Part System: Putting someone in office because you are afraid to do otherwise. Which is something I swore a long time ago that I would never do.
That is the tyranny of the Two Party System: Putting someone in office because you are afraid to do otherwise.
So, in the event that Bernie doesn’t make it to the Primaries, can I really risk letting Trump win by splitting the Democratic party? Can any Republicans out there risk letting Hillary or Bernie win by banding together for anyone other than Trump?
God, I hope so. If it comes down to it, I want this to be the election where we put the power of our presidency back in the hands of the people. If our ballots are paid for by faceless corporations throwing money at people we hate, I want to tear it from their hands. If we have to have a revolution, I want to see it happen through the legal means of our Democratic rights. And if I have to write Bernie Sanders’ name down in my own shaky handwriting, I want to do it knowing that I trust the other people who are just as scared as I am.
I want to have faith in people again. I want to believe that people, humans, no matter our social status or our income–can still tear down the corruption that tries to box us in. That we still have choices, and that our opinions can still make a difference. I want to know that, when we stand together, we’re bigger than the things that can take us down as individuals. Because that’s what made America great when we first stood up against the tyranny that led to our Revolution.
We have to still have that in us.