A Brief Existential Rumination On Election Day
Democracy is a good kind of frustrating
One core tragedy of democracy is that it means sharing power with people who are radically different than me. As I write this people are lining up to the polls and many of those people experience the world in ways that are baffling and incomprehensible to someone like me - they hate what I love and love what I hate, they see people like me and my way of life as threatening and disgusting and would write FUCK YOU right there on the ballot if they could, and maybe some of them do. Some of them had the true face of God revealed to them in a dream, and that face spoke with the voice of an innocent child and told them exactly who to vote for on the local school board. Some of them privately think politics is all bullshit and are just in line to make sure their friends and loved ones don’t get pissed off at them for not voting. Some spend hours a day sitting and staring silently at the tv, not even getting up during commercials, watching the Wrong Channel with the Wrong Talking Heads telling them what to think about the world and all the people in it. Some people will vote based entirely on the number of signs they saw outside the polling place. Some will vote for everyone on the ballot whose name suggests that they come from a disadvantaged minority group, regardless of stated policy preference or party affiliation or general human character. Someone is writing in DONALD TRUMP for Soil and Water Commissioner. One member of a 3-person Communist sect is risking excommunication from the Party for committing the sin of bourgeois electoralism. A bold progressive truth-teller who ran on a platform of FUCK YOU AMERICA!! VOTE FOR ME!! is in line to cast the one and only vote they’ll receive. Someone’s vote will be discarded because they tried to vote for every candidate, because they believe that everyone is a winner.
The core tragedy of it all is that, deep down, their humanity and their right to participate in our political process isn’t worth any less than mine - and that as such, to them, I am every bit as absurd and incomprehensible as they are to me. Election Day is where the fragility and finitude of human life are illuminated in a very distinct way, as we all go “Ok everyone, on 3 we’ll shout our core values and vision for the future, 1-2-3 ____” and what comes out is anyone’s guess. Maybe it all syncs up, maybe it’s a bunch of noise, maybe half of us cancel out the other half, maybe we have something in common.
I guess we’ll see. As much as it can be baffling and frustrating, I wouldn’t have it any other way.