POV

The 2016 Election is Already a Farce

By that I mean you will eventually vote for Hillary Clinton or Jeb Bush.

Story by Thor Benson Collages by Muge Karamanci
 © Muge Karamanci

© Muge Karamanci

I keep telling myself I’m not going to devote my time to the frivolous racquetball tournament we call “election reporting”, but I have at least one more thing to say. The 2016 election is already a farce.

You, my dear friend, have about sixteen more months of political grandstanding ahead of you. You will be subjected to gratuitous investigations into the lives of people you already don’t care for. You will hear several candidates attempt to mimic Barack Obama’s speech patterns while they call him a fool. You will hear more about Iowa and New Hampshire than you ever wanted or needed to hear. You will not be able to escape it, and my only hope is that you come out alive.

 © Muge Karamanci

© Muge Karamanci

I would love to write you an article about the political and cultural benefits of voting for Bernie Sanders—but I’m not going to do that. I fear that might be akin to telling a psychopath not to kill. You may want to hear what I’m saying, and you may try to come to my side of the fence, but you will eventually pull a Robert Durst. By that I mean you will eventually vote for Hillary Clinton or Jeb Bush.

This is why 2016 is already a farce. I’m following you guys on Twitter and listening to you in public places (not like that). I hear what you’re saying. “I would love to vote for Sanders, but he could never win against the Republican candidate.” Since this is currently the collective attitude, you are indeed correct, and that’s exactly why you’ll get the election you deserve.

 © Muge Karamanci

© Muge Karamanci

Perhaps I am being too harsh on you. You certainly had no say in campaign finance laws, how the Electoral College is set up or the fact that politicians are gerrymandering your districts so they look like Picasso paintings. These things are only partially your fault if you’re not actively resisting them in some shape or form. Maybe you think the elections are rigged. I can’t blame you for not trusting the government. That being said, if they are rigged, it really doesn’t hurt to participate.

Participating doesn’t even have to be voting, if you really can’t get yourself to be part of that. Your state has a capitol building, and it’s even on Google Maps. Go tell them what you think. Email them. Give ’em a call. Get a group together.

 © Muge Karamanci

© Muge Karamanci

We’re constantly whining about the pitfalls of a two-party system, but very few of us are doing a damn thing about it. If everyone who said they want to vote for Bernie Sanders actually got off their asses and voted for him, the man might stand a chance. They probably won’t do it. He’s only running as a Democrat because after over twenty years as an Independent in Congress, he knows an Independent gets no play in the general election. Maybe you think he’s a lunatic and want another third option, but getting there is extremely unlikely if we keep playing into the hands of polished stooges. Sanders and others should be running serious campaigns outside of the two-tiered establishment, but that won’t happen without the enthusiastic intervention of the public. We have to demand greater options, not pass notes in class.

 © Muge Karamanci

© Muge Karamanci

Like I said, it’s not always entirely your fault. A large section of the country that is subjected to political propaganda on television and the radio, the product of millions or billions in campaign spending, will vote entirely based on what they hear in those advertisements or the simple fact that a candidate is from their favorite party. That being said, we live in the digital age, and there is a wealth of information concerning every candidate at your fingertips. If enough free thinkers get together and elect someone who actually represents their values, based on actual researched information, perhaps how much a candidate spends on elections will cease to be important.

 © Muge Karamanci

© Muge Karamanci

The major candidates have been manicured to play to your lesser instincts. We are pulled to the left or right side of a political chasm that is actually bordered by many sides. It doesn’t have to be that way. Filling out a predetermined and expected circle on a ballot box is not political engagement unless it is an act of defiance, but the ability to be defiant at the ballot box is increasingly being whittled down. The action citizens take during an election season should not be the trampling of an Internet commenter, but the decimation of a corporatocracy. We should all revel in the incremental transformations achieved by getting together and speaking out. The election season is a revenue machine for MSNBC, Fox News and all of the other broadcast news networks; it is not the sole period of time that Americans have to consider how their country is run.

 © Muge Karamanci

© Muge Karamanci

It’s not going to be easy. It’s much easier to complain and share memes that represent how you feel than it is to leave the house and make efforts toward fixing a sputtering engine. I’ve been known to bathe in apathy myself, at times, but it cannot become a comfortable state of mind. Let’s get out there and give ’em hell. Let’s stop complaining about being one of the few industrial nations that only gets two options for a leader and create a third and a fourth.

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