Tuesday, January 23, 2018

To Vote Or Not To Vote

Let me just start off by making it clear that I believe in democracy and that every citizen of these United States owes a debt of respect to the men and women who have given their lives for the sake of our freedom. And a vital part of exercising that freedom is voting. But the choice we had in 2016 goes way beyond anything we’ve been through in our recent electoral history. We were stuck with a maniac who’d bullied his way to the front of the line and became our de facto nominee. Yes, you know whom I’m talking about: That Guy. It was a major moral and political dilemma. How could any member of the GOP vote for this Bozo? Many Republicans had their backs up against the wall. (My saving grace was that I had no career to protect.) Consider how prominent members of the GOP, like Governor Rick Perry, called Our Eventual Nominee “a cancer on conservatism” and a “barking carnival act”. Senator Marco Rubio called him a “con artist” and even tried to take him down a few pegs by accusing him of having a tiny wee-wee. (Sorry. I had to laugh at that one.) Governor Mitt Romney made that infamous speech calling the self-proclaimed billionaire a “fraud”. He actually came to my defense after That Guy came after me personally and called me a liar in one presidential debate. Mitt really tried hard to give him the smackdown. Then guess what happened? Perry got appointed Secretary of Energy. Romney went trolling for an appointment as a possible Secretary of State. And Rubio? Rubio decided, reluctantly, that he had no choice but to vouch for the con man. “Yes, I believe Mister Madoff would be a great president.” On the news, you could clearly see the downtrodden look in his eyes as he heard his own words come out if his mouth. The whole scene made it seem like his doctor just diagnosed him for rampant and perpetual ED. I have to admit, even though I didn’t publicly criticize my fellow GOPers for supporting this nominee, I was pretty miffed. This was a party that was slowly slipping into something I didn’t recognize anymore. We still have some good people, but most are too chicken **** to stand up to That Guy. (Excuse my French again. Chase installed a de-cussifier on my MacBook Pro, so hopefully you won’t see any swear words once this thing goes live.) So I had a dilemma. With the election coming up, I had a choice between Hillary and Rugtop. Kinda like choosing between cat vomit and toenail-cheese from an in-flight menu on a plane bound for Bosnia (the bad part). I turned to Laura one day while we were sipping some pink lemonade she’d whipped up after I’d begged her to make some. (It was only about 55 degrees outside, hardly lemonade weather, but Daddy’s gotta have his fix.) I asked her what she was going to do when it came time to vote. She just sighed. “There’s really only one thing I can do: skip the top part and vote down-ballot.” I nodded with a creased look on my face, full of sympathy. “I mean, I just can’t vote for Hillary. For so many reasons. But vote for [name expunged]?” Laura shook her head as she tilted the glass to her lips. She gazed at the hills on the horizon. “Not in a million years.” I took a long sip of that sweet, sweet pink nectar and let out a loud “Aaaaaaaaah.” “I was thinking the same thing,” I said before taking another swig. Actually, I wasn’t thinking the same thing. To be honest, I hadn’t made up my mind till that moment. But when you’re married, you really ought to try to make things look like they’re totally sympatico with the missus if you want her to stick around. It was decided. For the first time in my adult civic life, I would leave the box next to the Republican presidential nominee’s name blank. It was very odd. It didn’t feel right. But this was an extraordinary circumstance. I just hoped that this would never have to be repeated. I called my brother Jeb that election night. Poor Jeb. I think a lot of people thought he was a shoo-in for the nomination. Heck, I was convinced we’d have a third president in the family. Jeb’s a bright guy, more like my dad than I ever was. But the way he was treated by Mister Privates-Grabber during the debates and in his ******* tweets, I’d have loved watching him physically take down DJT (Dye-Job Turdface) on live TV. But Jeb’s a softie. I did give him a lot of grief when we were growing up, kinda bullying him like brothers often do. But I’ve always envied his patience, something I’m still learning to practice in my own life. “I didn’t vote the top of the ballot either,” Jeb said, his voice smooth and calm on the other end of the line. “Columba too.” I didn’t blame Jeb’s wife for not supporting the Orange Freak. She’s pretty protective of him. “Did you hear about Poppy?” he asked. I did. “I heard he wasn’t going to back down from his threat.” My dad voted Hillary. I’d confirm it with him later that evening. “He told me he felt it was the moral thing to do, not to stand on the sidelines but to do everything possible to keep SeƱor Ano Naranja from winning.” I heard Columba’s voice in the distance, chiding my brother. “Sorry, W. She hates it when I cuss.” I let out a knowing chuckle. “Tell me about it.” W