It’s January 2016, which means the election season is in full swing, and I could not be more sick of it. The Iowa Caucus is less than a month away, and I live in the richly political state that’s on everyone’s radar right now (side note: how are you all still so surprised that there are actually cities here?). But I will not be partaking in the event that many are traveling from afar to attend.
In fact, since the summer when I first saw the beginnings of the onslaught of political advertising, I’ve been steering as clear as I can of politics. So far, when people ask me who I’m voting for, my answer is:
Don’t get me wrong—I’ve got political opinions aplenty, and I care deeply about many social issues and inequalities that our country faces currently. I was on the debate team for six years, surrounded by enough political opinions to last me a lifetime, and learned the researching abilities to figure out anything I could possibly want about any given candidate. I know how to weed through the bullshit populated by the media, and how to follow a trail to get to what a candidate actually said, or find the policies they are proposing. I don’t need you to reiterate your opinion of their beliefs to me. In fact, I’d strongly prefer you didn’t.
I don’t want to be convinced by my peers of who I should vote for. I know that that’s what campaigning is all about, but I’d rather draw those conclusions for myself, without the pressure of everyone and their mother on my Facebook feed to decide one way or another. Every time someone tries, my desire to care dwindles a little bit more, because I’m already so sick of political ads, political conversations, and politics in general that I’m ready to tune out completely. And there are still nine more months of this shit to go.
I’m especially sick of looking at Donald Trump’s face every time I get in my car to drive anywhere, thanks to whatever asshole has this lighted sign on their fence (I still think they’re an asshole, whether it’s ironic or serious, and the fact that I’m forced to see his face on any given day pisses me right off).
When I saw his “theme song” at a recent rally, I had to double check that I hadn’t stumbled into one of the dystopian fiction novels I read in my spare time. The very real possibility that he could become our president is my literal nightmare, and this song is now foreshadowing it in the background. His presence in this election at this point exhausts me. Every time he says a racist, islamophobic, or just generally offensive thing, I cringe a little at all the people who will continue to think that having the same opinion is OK because that Trump guy agrees.
At the end of the day, I think voting is very important. I will absolutely vote in this election, and you should too. I just find it very hard to care when my opinion towards every candidate is “meh.” No one particularly excites me. No one ever does. I’ve taken that quiz that says who I side mostly with, and in general, I’m OK with that, though that candidate has some opinions I’m not so on board with, too.
I find myself constantly grappling with the fact that it’s hard to get excited about a president that has really great ideas for change that they’re passionate about implementing, when I know our useless Congress will prevent them from doing half the things they wish to. Especially now that the vast majority of politics feels like a giant popularity contest, and it seems like far too many politicians care more about advancing their own agendas than creating actual change. I believe that some have their hearts in the right place. But everything in our absurdly partisan political climate is an uphill battle, and I just don’t have the energy to deal with it anymore.
I’ve already started my research on the candidates that are still in the running for my party of choice, and will continue to do so until the primaries and Election Day. I refuse to make an uninformed decision about something this large. But it will take all of my willpower to muster the energy to still care when those days arrive. I’m already exhausted, and I’m impressed that you aren’t, too.