In nearly every previous presidential election cycle, I have all too often heard people declaring their voting choice as a strategy to prevent a particular candidate from getting elected. This election is no different.
“Whatever it takes to keep [Candidate X] from getting into the White House!” is the declaration I hear every leap year. The pony getting backed is often not even a person that the voter is all that enthusiastic about. They vote with resignation for the person or even the party who they believe will do “the least amount of damage”.
After bearing witness to this voting strategy enough times, I began to wonder: How seriously do we take the position of The Leader of the Free World, The President of the United States of America?
Let me go ahead and provide the rebuttal: we take it seriously enough to not allow [insert candidate or candidate’s party here] to become president. That would destroy our country.
To begin, are we really buying into such hyperbole as to believe the president could single-handedly rend the fabric of our nation so irreparably? Do we not have faith in the checks and balances of the three branches of government?
Despite the degree of concern over a president stacking the judicial bench, at the end of the day they still follow the framework of the Constitution, albeit with wide interpretation at times. The Congress is still the body that creates laws and has the power to overturn vetoes with a large enough consensus. Nothing will cross the divide of the legislative butt crack than a Commander-In-Chief that makes completely egregious decisions, which will invariably lead to impeachment.
How seriously do we take the position of President when we shrug and say he or she will do to keep their opponent out of office? That’s like choosing to go out with someone we’re rather ambivalent about just so we don’t have to date someone we can’t stand. How can we say we take the presidency so seriously we’re willing to block the candidate who disgusts us, but it isn’t so serious of a position that we’re willing to just toss someone in there to lead our country that makes us say meh…? Yeah, meh should lead our country and make the big decisions.
If we take this position seriously, we need to vote for the candidate that most closely aligns with our values. If we vote for a candidate based on their popularity, or their odds according to the media, then the presidency is really the Homecoming dance. Who are you voting for for Homecoming King/Queen? Me too. That’s who’s going to win, so that’s who I’m voting for. That’s the tail wagging the dog, isn’t it? Let’s put a dog in the White House.
Let’s stop letting boogeymen, bullies, and thugs scare us into choosing our vote. If we cast a vote based on what we fear as opposed to what we want, we’re sending the message that we are super easy to control. If you scare us, we’ll do whatever you want so we don’t have to face the monster. Let’s take a stand. Let’s spit in the face of the complacency of pragmatism that wants to tell us the outside odds of our dark horse winning.
We’ll only settle for what we feel we deserve (which is clearly not much) if we go with that tired talk track. We will get what we truly want if we insist on having what we want. If we vote based on what we don’t want, then anyone else will do and that’s what we’ll get. If we vote based on what we do want, we will get what we want and conveniently not get what we don’t want at the same time.