So, I’ve been thinking. Remembering, really.
During the time when I attended Georgetown, Eastern Europe was in especially active anarchy and turmoil. I remember being in the room while a bunch of foreign relations students argued hotly about whether or not Czechoslovakia would ‘fall’. After hours of analysis including impassioned economic/currency arguments, trade deals, dissecting leadership using psychological models, recounting histories and comparing and contrasting differences and similarities with other recent cases…everyone reached the conclusion that Czechoslovakia could never fall. Self satisfied, they turned to the only non-foreign policy student in the room and assured me that I must agree with them after seeing how they’d reached their conclusion.
I stood up, walked over to the big map they had drawn on the wall and pointed to one region/nation etc. after another that had fallen like dominoes or were certain to fall. “Czechoslovakia will fall, and soon,” I said. “All these hours have proven to me is that most people are mostly content to amuse each other with argument while the people with the most to lose fight alone.”
They laughed. What could I know — I was a plebeian there on scholarship who wasn’t part of their obviously superior world.
The next week, news of the dissolution of Czechoslovakia hit the mainstream media.
Fast forward to now.
Regarding the onslaught of media warnings…or in most cases, threatenings — against voting for a third party candidate for president…. I am tired of reading the so-called arguments and so I’m not going to anymore. Reminds me of that long, long night listening to that discussion about the future of Czechoslovakia.
It’s not that I’m not sharp enough to follow the arguments. I am. I have. I’m just not convinced by them. Because, ultimately, after every collection of minutes I spend reading why I must choose one of two wildly problematic choices, I always end up here:
Insanity — Doing what we’ve always done and expecting different results.
We are facing some very serious, catastrophic issues and threats. Are we content with more of the same? Am I? To me, right now, today, giving into fear and grasping at whomever I feel is the less awful choice for US president is a vote for insanity.
I will tell you that at this very moment, I have no idea what lever I will pull on November 8th. I have vacillated thousands of times, sometimes hundreds of times during a day, as I watch the spectacle and read and listen to all the noise surrounding the pathetic gladiatorial distraction going on in our modern-day Coliseum.
What I do know is that whoever I vote for, I will vote, and I will vote without fear that my vote is wasted, no matter who I choose.
This is a more nuanced exploration than I am willing or able to pursue at this moment, but I will offer this observation — using instinct and experience –just as I did that day at Georgetown:
Send a bunch of people who are deeply conflicted into a voting booth with the burden of guilt and fear that they are responsible for the death of the universe if they don’t vote for one of the Big 2 candidates, and 9 out of ten times, I guarantee you no matter what name they give the pollster — they’ll pull the trigger for the candidate that they really think will burn the world to the ground.
Because after all is said and done, human beings will choose utter chaos and unpredictability when they feel threatened because it is here where they instinctively know there is also the most advantage and opportunity for survivors…and in the face of catastrophe, we all imagine we will be among the survivors. You can read thousands of pounds of literature that will claim otherwise, that people act to preserve the status quo when they feel threatened, but I call bullshit on that.
Look around you. We know the consequences of turning our planet into a trash can and devouring our natural resources as if we are the last generation ever born. Yet, we continue to behave like suicidal wantons. We know the consequences of being self-centered to the point where even the pain and struggle of our closest neighbors is ‘not our problem’ — yet we continue to walk on looking neither left, nor right nor slowing down or stopping to lend a hand or even notice when someone needs help.
We see the despicable, truly evil consequences of using actual crises to promote the engorgement of already ridiculous economic interests, and yet we continue to treat climate change as if there is an easy answer that we can solve by driving fewer cars and using less hairspray. We are going to drown, and it’s not about oil vs. windmills — that’s economic titans manipulating us while they build flood-proof safety zones to wait out the inevitable. (We should drive fewer cars, use less hairspray, and develop renewable sources of energy, but I regret to say that will not save us from climate change. Winter is coming.)
I respect those who are afraid for the most vulnerable and have made some very impassioned arguments that those of us with more security owe it to those with less to vote for the one of the Big 2 that we feel can protect and assist the most vulnerable.
Neither of the Big 2 are going to protect or help anyone. You are. I am. And if we don’t, no one will.
So I will vote. I will vote for the person in whom I have the most faith — could, in a perfect world, do the most good. Because that’s what I’m fighting for — a perfect world.
Because living in the ‘real world’, accepting the status quo, has brought us into a room where almost everyone is convinced that Czechoslovakia cannot fall.