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Friday, November 11, 2016

You Mean ANTI-Social Media?

A writing in which I reveal how I voted and why...

To be accurate, this is where I reveal how I didn't vote and why.

I didn't vote for either leading candidate, and the fallout from last Tuesday's election affirms my decision. Here in the state of California, I had the luxury of making my presidential vote a statement - if only to myself and those who know how I voted - because the outcome for the presidential race isn't altered one whit by my vote when the Electoral College votes are counted. No, this isn't a screed about abolishing the Electoral College. If anything, it's a screed about abolishing the uncivil discourse we now take for granted on Facebook and other social media. 

Friends? Stop. Just stop.

In your passionate response to the election results, you are defaming, demeaning, and labeling YOUR FRIENDS AND NEIGHBORS who exercised their right to disagree with you in their vote! You're doing, or supporting, the very things you accused the opposite side's supporters of having up their sleeve!

This is a hard truth to absorb for those who were and still are passionately committed to their candidate, but here's why some of your friends didn't vote for your guy or gal... and it's not because your friends are racist, sexist, knuckle-dragging, America-hating, bleeding-hearted, ignorant, uneducated, panty-waisted, misogynist, will-fall-for-anything, or any other derogatory adjective: Clinton and Trump are deeply flawed representatives of the parties for which they ran, and they don't represent what millions of your fellow Americans believe is best about our political process. Clinton not only came with a huge load of baggage, but she was identified early on as not capturing the spirit and enthusiasm of Millennials and plenty of other Democrats and progressives. A hugely wealthy, senior, white woman was the DNC's choice, despite all evidence that she wasn't the best choice. As for the other candidate, Donald Trump is no more a conservative Republican than I am a baboon. Millions of voters who are as American, as intelligent, as concerned about this country's future as anyone else, couldn't vote for him in good conscience because of his deep flaws and questionable dedication to conservative ideals. The Republican Party rejected him until he shockingly beat down all other Republican contenders, including those who have represented such values throughout their careers!

So... somehow we ended up with two of the most unpopular presidential candidates in U.S. history. 

Although I've watched many of my fellow voters be browbeaten for doing what I am about to tell you I did, here goes: I voted for a write-in candidate. As I said, California goes Democrat in the presidential election and there's the Electoral College to consider, so my single vote wasn't going to swing this thing one way or the other. My write-in didn't file to be considered as a write-in, so he wasn't going to win even if millions of others voted for him. (For all I know, thousands did.) 

What made up my mind to write in his name? When the ugliest phase of mudslinging began, back when there were still multiple candidates but the field was narrowing by the week, this candidate dipped one toe in the muck and mire and made a personal insult against one of his competitors. Within a day or so, he publicly apologized, noted that he needed to be an example to his children and wouldn't engage in that behavior again. And he didn't. He is lightyears more qualified to serve as president than Trump, but he got winnowed out in the silly season that was Election 2016. 

I'm sad about that. I'm sad that any number of strong candidates didn't hang in there and end up on the ballot. That doesn't mean, however, that I felt compelled to vote for one of the two leading contenders because of the little letter that followed their names on the ticket - and there's the problem with this particular election (and every other one), I believe: That little (D) or (R) isn't a magic charm. If you take that designation away, you quickly realize that your guy or gal this election didn't represent the highest tenets of the two top parties. Recognizing that fact made it easy for me to write in the name of someone who, IMHO, does. 

It also makes it easy to stay out of the slugfest that's happening now, still, days after the election. I'm as willing as anyone to throw blame at the media, who really do need to reexamine their function in our democratic republic. I'm willing to throw blame at DNC and RNC party leadership, who have been so terribly out of touch with the majority of the country. I'm not, however, willing to post articles on Facebook and other social media that snarkily call my family, friends, and neighbors all kinds of ugly names because they didn't agree with me in this vote. I didn't have a dog in this race, and it was liberating. 

The people around us are the same people they were last Tuesday morning before the tables were turned. There are some folks who are out there wreaking destructive havoc right now, but the vast majority of American voters truly voted their conscience and went with either Clinton or Trump. The rest of us voted our conscience and chose neither of two hugely unpopular candidates. 

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