How rare, I thought.
I was impressed by how simple, how nice, this man was. Before I realised it, we'd spent nearly an hour talking while the sun set and the dull darkness fell on our dull American street, a street made momentarily more habitable by the genuine kindness of a stranger.
And then, the inevitable occurred. The dreaded question: "So, who are you going to vote for?" I looked away for a moment. "You do vote, don't you?" he pressed.
Being respectful toward a person who had just offered me the simple pleasure of conversation, I gave as real an answer as I thought was suitable. "Nope. I'm pretty burnt out by the whole thing." And surprisingly, he actually acknowledged my answer before, well, you know, 'the lecture'.
He had his political awakening when Obama first took office, and raising four kids and seeing the world fall apart made him sit up and take notice, if only for the sake of his children. "Romney's a liar and a murderer," he said, with more than a few obscenities to accentuate his hatred of that conscienceless corporate automaton. I couldn't have agreed more, and I truly empathized with his position, even if he was clearly missing the point that Obama is cut from precisely the same cloth as Romney. Then came the tried and tested self-justification for continuing to believe: "Even if it's the lesser of two evils," he said, "I'll choose the lesser."
The conversation died a quick and painless death. This is how humanity dies, I thought. By the brutal and yet plausible lie twisting its way into our hearts while we go our separate ways, forgetting again and again that we've done this before, and that this conversation will be repeated again, and again, and again, in a torturous labyrinth of ignorance. Who hasn't heard it all before? Who hasn't run into this exact same logic, whether it's from a blue collar guy, or a supposedly 'politically conscious' individual who believes that, if we can just buy ourselves some more time, we can fix the system, or at least wake a few more people up. How many decades have we been saying this?
It doesn't even need to be said, but I'll say it since it's the truth. It's a lie. Voting for the lesser of two evils is consciously choosing evil. It's such an insidious way to twist the desire of human beings to make some sort of impact in the world, to channel that energy, through good intentions, into the very system that will inevitably grow darker, stronger, and hungrier through their participation.
How does choosing "evil" protect our children? How does choosing "evil" make the future a better place? And for those folks who refuse to see the cold hard truth of our situation, don't you see how selfish it is to want to postpone the collapse of a system that perpetuates the suffering of millions, if not billions, of people across the globe just so that you can play your game of make-believe where you're some sort of freedom fighter working to change the system, when in reality you are participating in and propping up a system that is corrupt beyond repair?
Will Romney or Obama stop this:
One Fifth of US Children are Living in PovertyHow about this:
"And as the poor continue to suffer, America's elite are in better standing than ever. ...
According to the latest figures, the youth of the US are hit hardest. While adults make up a significant proportion of the population living below the poverty line, 21.9 percent of all children in the country - more than one in five - are poor. By comparison, only 8.7 percent of adults over the age of 65 live in similar standing."
Cheerleader must compensate school that told her to clap rapistOr this:
"A teenage girl who was dropped from her high school's cheerleading squad after refusing to chant the name of a basketball player who had sexually assaulted her must pay compensation of $45,000 (£27,300) after losing a legal challenge against the decision."
Yemen's Food Crisis - Ten Million StarvingOf course not. Honestly, it's all about comfort. It's so much more comfortable to have the illusion of a "less evil" president, because it just feels a little bit less nasty. And the more time we spend protecting our illusions of change and false hope the less of a chance we have of actually working towards seeing reality and surviving the real, disastrous collapse of our collective illusion we call democracy.
"With the world's media attention focused on Yemen's fight against Al-Qaeda, you would probably be forgiven for not knowing that Yemenis are facing the worst hunger crisis since records began. The term 'food insecurity' is increasingly being associated with the once self-sufficient but improvised [sic] Yemen. In fact over 44% of Yemen's population will face a lack of food to eat this year alone and the UN says that 5m Yemenis are considered "extremely food insecure". The causes of this crisis range from a lack of political stability caused the 2011 revolution, failure to control and plan on behalf of the Yemeni government and the inability of donors states such as the US to view Yemen beyond the 'terrorism goggles'."
"At some point, all ambition has its price. When the price paid exceeds the merits of the prize, then ambition becomes hubris, and the seeker becomes lost."We Americans have sacrificed everything in the name of prosperity and power, and we do not realize that what we have sacrificed - namely Truth and the bravery to defend it - has led us to the pit of shame and disgrace where we will continue to rot among the debris of previous fallen empires. Do I care who wins the election? No, I don't. Will I vote? No, I won't. And why? Because I will not consciously choose evil for the sake of my own vanity and ambition, nor for the false hope of a better future that never, ever comes.