In these, the weeks leading up to the election of the American President Most Likely To Be In Office When Justin Bieber Goes To Rehab For The First Time, there will be yelling and screaming and cartoons and jokes and Tweets and posts on the opinions people hold about their favorite candidates or political parties.
Most of these “updates,” “foods for thought” and “I’m just sayins” will be supported by half-truths and non-facts, so much so that you will be tempted to take a Facebook hiatus and/or cut out your eyes.
And then, just when it seems that you can take no more, just when you’re prepared to swear off the American political process entirely, just when you’re ready to make good on your threat to move to Canada if [Candidate X] wins, something like the following will appear on your Wall, your phone, or your news feed:
“No matter what your opinions or beliefs, whether I agree with you or not, the important thing is that you make your vote count. DON’T FORGET TO VOTE!”
In theory, these are the words of a Great Person – a person prepared to rise above the petty squabbles of the rabble. A person unconcerned with polls, spin, and political consultants. A person whose home is papered with Rock The Vote bumper stickers, Rage Against The Machine posters, and buttons from McGovern AND Nixon.
It is possible that this Great Person actually exists – that the author of such a platitude is prepared to accept the outcome of the 2012 election, even if that outcome is determined by an electorate that is versed in the issues like a gorilla is versed in piloting helicopters.
I, however, am not this person.
I am, though, willing to be honest.
With that in mind, a plea, in the form of an if-then statement:
You’re planning to vote the same way your parents vote but only because that’s what you’ve always done; if it’s been more than five years since you opened a newspaper, read a book, or cracked a magazine that doesn’t have Lindsay, Kim, or Jennifer on the cover;
If you didn’t know that President Obama promised to close Guantanamo Bay; if you don’t know where Guantanamo Bay is; if you can’t pronounce Guantanamo Bay;
If it’s news that “Obamacare” is very similar to the health insurance program Mitt Romney built while governor of Massachusetts; if it’s news that Mitt Romney was the governor of Massachusetts; if you can’t pronounce Massachusetts;
If you only watch Fox News; if you only watch MSNBC; if you only watch American Idol;
If you aren’t aware that 70% of the U.S. budget is divided almost evenly among Social Security, Health Care, and Defense spending; if you didn’t know that welfare takes up only 12%; if the difference between a trillion, a billion, and a million is befuddling to you;
If you’re white and planning to vote for one man because he’s white; if you’re black and planning to vote for one man because he’s black; if you’re Hispanic…wait, I think they made it so you can’t vote, sorry;
If you think the Fiscal Cliff is someone’s nickname; if you couldn’t make the link between the Supreme Court’s decision to treat corporations like people and an inevitable uptick in the influence of big business on politics;
If you’re basing your vote on one social issue just because that social issue applies to you; if you can’t understand that politicians trick you into voting for them by trumpeting social issues while undermining your economic circumstances;
If you don’t know the difference between Ron Paul and Paul Ryan; if you can’t find Afghanistan on a labeled map; if Ben Bernanke and Benjamin Netanyahu might as well be the same person to you; if you think Haley Barbour is a woman; if you think Nikki Haley was in Motley Crue; if you think the Bill of Rights is the one with all the “Thou Shalt Nots”;
If Mormons scare you any more than Muslims; if Muslims scare you any more than Mormons; if you think someone’s birthplace influences his ability to lead;
If you’re smart and uninformed, dumb and uninformed, black and uninformed, white and uninformed, gay and uninformed, straight and uninformed, from the East Coast and uninformed, from the West Coast and uninformed, from Missouri and uninformed; from Montana and uninformed;
Do us all a favor.
Come Election Day,
Don’t Get Out The Vote.
Don’t Rock The Vote.
Don’t Make Your Vote Count.
Instead, stay home, stay out of the way.
And keep talking about fantasy football.
For more from Paul…