People are confused about my political views. They’re not the only ones. I’ve been in the middle of a political identity crisis for a few years now.
I was a teenage anarchist, looking for a revolution.
I had the style, I had the ambition.
I read all the authors, I knew the right slogans.
There was no war but the class war.
I was ready to set the world on fire.
I was a teenage anarchist, looking for a revolution.
Do you remember when you were young and you wanted to set the world on fire?
Thank you, Laura Jane Grace,for providing lyrical narration to my very first political identity. That’s who I was. In my early twenties I went through this weird part of life I cringe thinking about. I became a Mama in my teen years (unrelated to anarchy but I can see why one might try to connect it). I was frustrated by “you don’t look old enough to be a mother” and all the criticism that gets heaped on teen moms without foundation so I did this awful thing and conformed to what a grown ass mother is supposed to be like. Ugh, yeah. I conformed. I wanted my motherhood to be respected and honored like mainstream women. I thought that if I looked like I had my shit together and acted like what was expected by socially accepted models, I’d get it. I know now that I totally had my shit together ,was kickass at the parenting gig, and didn’t need to look a certain way to prove it. I know that now. Thank the gods I got that figured out. Doctor, please get in the TARDIS and travel back to 21 year old me and explain that to her.Make her burn that Ms Suzy Creamcheese dress with the sunflowers on it that she wore all the time while you’re at it.
Part of conforming was registering to vote. My resistance to voting feels alien to me now and I’m glad that I’ve found people on the web who also feel anarchism and voting can be paired. I do still in part cling to Emma Goldman’s idea that “If voting changed anything, they’d make it illegal” but I’m also a autodidactic student of history and I know better than that. Which is not to say I’m not aware of the flaws and think voting should do more than it actually does. I am too aware. That’s a huge part of my struggle at the moment.
I do still love Emma Goldman. If I had the money right now I’d go get Emma Goldman’s face tattooed on my arm. Sadly I can’t find a tat parlor that accepts my EBT card as payment. If any fox news folks have any leads, hook me up. I would be extra delighted to pay for it with government money. I love irony (and sarcasm).
As I’m creeping into age, I’m feeling my anarchist roots more and more. I’m trying to come to terms with this while also recognizing that there’s this system in place that I hate and instead of fighting it, I need to find ways to work within it. I don’t know what that looks like for me right now.
I was raised in part by a patriarchal figure who was a Reaganite and passionate about politics. We did not agree on anything politically but I cried the other day thinking about how I wish he were still on earth to argue with about this election. Maybe we wouldn’t argue. Maybe we’d discuss things instead of yelling a lot like we used to.
I think he would be horrified by Trump being an actual candidate. He would never vote for Hillary either. Not in a million years. I imagine most of our fights would be because he said something sexist about Hillary and I’d have to jump on that. We’d agree on not wanting to vote for her though. In my ghostly imaginings, I’m glad he and I find common ground on this.
Hillary Clinton is not my candidate. I can leave that statement there without clarifying. I’m an educated and informed voter. I do not feel that Hillary Clinton is a candidate that represents me. These statements are not a request for one of her supporters to enlighten me. I understand what I’m saying. I’m not smarter or more moral than her supporters, nor are they smarter and have higher morality than I do. They have their reasons for wanted to declare they’re with her, I have my reasons for not. You do you, I do me.
There are plenty of people who aren’t really with her but they’re going to vote for her anyway. This is one part of voting that I just can’t even with right now. Because it really isn’t supposed to be this way.
That Reaganite who raised me? My grandfather. The first presidential election I voted in, it was no secret he and I were voting differently. That Election Day, we drove to our polling place together. Before we got out of the car he said, “Well, I guess here we go to cancel each other’s vote. It’s ok. You have to vote your conscience. That’s what you’re supposed to do.”
I know. I know. Here in America, most people aren’t afforded the luxury of actually voting their conscience. You have to vote for the person who is against the person you hate the most. I get it.I really do. In this election, it’s especially scary to think of Trump getting into The Oval Office. The other day I imagined a Trump presidency and felt ok for a minute realizing that he would screw up badly in the infancy of his term and be effortlessly impeached . Then I realized that Trump being impeached would mean Pence would take office and that is terrifying . Unlike Trump, Pence has actual experience legislating discrimination and public policy that harms people.
Some recent polls of Millennials reveal that more than half are interested in being third party voters. The commentary on this is that it proves that Millennials are selfish little pricks who don’t give a shit. I’m the mother of three Millennials (wait,no….FIVE if I include my step kids) and I disagree. They are interested in third party candidates because they do give a shit. They see two candidates who aren’t ideal . They’re looking for an alternative.They want actual change.
The rest of registered voters are listening to the chant of the Democrats explaining that a vote for a third party is a vote for Voldemort. (Sorry. I hate typing that orange guy’s name. It makes me nauseous.) Some of these voters will definitely fall in line and become “Girl, guess I’m with her” voters. A lot of those voters are not going to vote at all. They will stay home because they’ve been made to believe that voting any way other than Democrat or Republican is a wasted vote.
And I know. I know. This is a scary election. The uncertainty makes us unwilling to take the risk. It doesn’t help that the main third party candidates might not seem qualified to most or that thanks to media, we just don’t know enough about them. So, I get it. I’m not saying this is the election to shake things up by putting a third party candidate in office but let’s not rule it out for the future,ok? It has happened before. Lincoln was technically a third party candidate when he was elected.
I am currently an undecided voter. Maybe I’ll vote for Hillary. Maybe it’ll be a third party candidate. Maybe I’ll write in Emma Goldman. I have no idea.I don’t think I’m alone. I do know that no matter what the outcome, we’re all in this together and there will still be work that needs done.Maybe there’s an advantage in accepting the idea that no matter who is elected, it won’t be someone I want to be President. It keep me ready to fight , ready to stand up for things that need standing up for. People stay on their toes and become active pugilists in the heat of an election year only to fade into complacency once the election cycle comes to an end. Participation in democracy can’t be cyclical. It has to be a never ending commitment with eyes wide open.
“I Want A Dyke For President” (1992) by Zoe Leonard, artist, activist, member of Fierce Pussy