I know I have said this before, but I’ll just go ahead and say it again: nothing decisively good (or decisive, period) can ever come out of the entrenched two-party system the American political process has settled into, seemingly immovably. The best that can ever be hoped for as it currently operates is this endless, impotent game of pendulum-swinging.
I didn’t vote this year, for the first time since I obtained suffrage in 1996. With the international exile, and no real permanent address back home, and no time or energy to permit me to feel engaged or informed in the process, I didn’t even give it a second thought. The bottom line for me: if I am unable to vote meaningfully, then it is my duty not to vote irresponsibly, a duty which I gracefully fulfilled yesterday.
But that should not be taken as any indication of any particular disregard for the process itself. I have at various points in my life felt quite strongly that the American experiment was either misguided from the very outset, or even if meritorious as a utopian endeavor had clearly run its course and been proven untenable. My alternatives, such as my adolescent plans for a militant theocracy and my resultant admiration of the Italian Futurist and Fascist movements, now seem, in retrospect, precisely the puerile posturings of an attention-starved youth with too much time on his hands. (This is, coincidentally, exactly how I read most of the populist current-day political discourse of supposed-adults: I believe this statement goes far in explaining my distaste for engaging in that quagmire at present.)
So here’s my grown-up ten-cents’ worth: the system is terminally broken. That doesn’t mean we should give up on the whole thing, throw up our hands, and build self-sufficient rural compounds where we can await the inevitable social collapse (which was pretty much the milieu I grew up in, so don’t laugh). Rather, it means we need to change the system: not fix it, because it is really not worth fixing in the current form, but to change it thoroughly into something that does work, and that we can all feel good about being a part of. Maybe even proud.