Jaded about the constant politics of politics? Yeah, well me too. I want to like Barack Obama and the Democratic party because I’m a college student, and that’s what we’re supposed to do right? Support the Democratic initiative, raise taxes on the wealthy, yada yada yada. And you can’t not swing left here in New England, the liberal’s stomping grounds.
But my political history is one filled with lots of gray, and not a whole lot of black and white. Now, I’m a middle-class, Caucasian, Catholic guy who was raised in what people might define as a suburban household. The first time I was asked if I was a Democrat or a Republican was in my Catholic elementary school during the 2000 Presidential Election. Funnily enough it was a nun who asked a few of my friends and me. I never before thought what I was, only what I was raised as: a Republican. So I answered the nun, and wasn’t received the way I had thought. She said she was a Democrat and I remember feeling slightly shocked and confused.
Growing up the way I did, through no fault of anyone in particular, I just assumed that the only people who were Democrats were gay, proponents of abortion, or really poor. Anyone who goes around making that assumption as an educated adult gets chastised for their ignorance, but hey…I was 8. It never struck me as odd that the Catholic Church was a vocal supporter of the poor, but not of homosexuals or abortions. Maybe my tiny mind just couldn’t process that much. But when the nun asked me why I was Republican, I thought of those three issues.
“Because of abortion,” I said innocently like a child who answers a question and doesn’t know if what he said is right. I almost expected her to say, “That’s correct, Gregory John. I was testing you,” because of everything I had learned in religion class and our Fully Alive books. But she didn’t. She processed my response and said, very un-Catholic nun-like, that abortion was just one of the issues to consider when choosing a political party. I actually remember thinking, “Is this a rebel nun or something?” It was, and sadly still is, the most moving political discussion I’ve ever been a part of.
Today, the 2012 Presidential Election is nipping at our heels, and although it may not be as close as the 2000 Election, it’s still going to be a doozy for those who really care about its outcome. Unfortunately for my Republican parents and Democratic classmates, I don’t.
I’m not going to vote in this election, not because I don’t think my vote will matter, but because I don’t feel strongly for either one of these candidates to lead the country. It’s often said that 25% of the country will vote Democrat regardless of who’s running and another 25% will vote Republican regardless of who’s running, leaving a 50% population who would sway one way or the other depending on a bevy of reasons that have little or nothing to do with the intrinsic values of the respective parties. Some of this 50%, for example, will vote solely on the color of the President’s skin during this election (white supremacists and black supremacists alike). Some others will wait for the debates and chose based on who “wins” in their mind or the media’s mind. Some still will simply go with their gut and vote for the man they believe will better this country during the next four years.
And although I won’t be voting in this election, I think I know who will win. We live in a country that prefers stability over variability and assurance over risk. I don’t think as a country that we have the balls to pick a newcomer over an incumbent president anymore. Therefore, pending any royal fuck-ups, President Obama will be reelected for a second term.