Additionally, right now is a tough processing time, and there's a loooooooot more that I am still processing/thinking about on my own time. But here's my Batman thought.
I operate in a couple avenues of trying to get younger individuals civically engaged, while also internally struggling with current states of affairs. And something that has come to mind over and over as a sort of "option D" in a lot of areas (though definitely a difficult sell) is the idea of a protest vote, or a protest ballot. Now, not everywhere accepts/processes these, so it's a matter of checking local jurisdiction on the practice, but I really want to push up this notion. I know the arguments against it are going to be akin to voting for a minor party candidate, the ol' "that's giving a vote to the other side," but that's not quite what I'm arguing here. Everyone has a decision of their own for why they vote the way they do.
What I'm talking about is the the other. Nearly half of eligible voters who didn't vote in the 2016 Presidential election. Now, there are aplenty of reasons why, including the hoops after hoops that individuals have to jump through in order to submit their ballot, acting as their own form of deterrent even in situations of casting one's vote among the most reputable of candidates. And we know how 2016 turned out.
And again, we are in between a rock and a hard place, a situation where a vote for either of the two major candidates is a vote for an individual who has been accused of sexual assault. FML right?
"But Trump is going to win!"
I mean, with how this year is going, he's probably going to win anyway. Also, this is my thought piece, it doesn't necessarily state who I am voting for come November because 1. I have other thoughts, 2. VPs, and 3. we still got a few months to get worse!
With all that in mind, the idea of a protest vote may be an option for those who are close to apathy or morally opposed to what the current choices are. If individuals that are not already going to the polls make it a point to show up and check the box for other (or don't check any boxes, dependent on how that ballot is set up), it is a statement. It is a statement of displeasure. It is a statement of things are broken and I don't like your solution.
It's a statement of "nah, bro." Because what is out there is polished garbage.
I mean, it also may be a statement of "Bernie or bust," too because that's a valid reason.
But a protest vote might be the option for individuals that ARE interested in voting, but don't like any of the realistic options or don't even side with secondary candidates close enough to give them the vote. So as we are looking at the elections, I just am thinking it may be an option. Do a protest ballot because, in a sense, it pulls votes from both parties (including the vote that might overtake the inept man currently in office), but a protest ballot is a vote of it's own - one from individuals that may feel like their voice is not heard, or individuals that have lost faith in current operations. If you have enough protest ballots, it's a statement.
When I was in sixth grade we had a mock election (why?) in my class between John Kerry and George Bush. I was twelve. I didn't understand the intricacies of the election, and I knew from what we read in our Weekly Readers that both were family men (because Weekly Readers didn't go that deep). And I also grew up in a household where it was very apparent which side we were on. So I remember listening to all that and realizing that 'no, neither is the case and I don't like either, even if this isn't real." Actually, it was probably something a bit more basic of "I don't like this," but I did know who I did like at the time and who was an inspiration for my own creative heart. I was 12, and I was really into school, but I may very well have been unimpressed with the activity.
So I voted for someone that I did like, someone I wanted in charge to run this country because that'd be pretty dope.
I voted for Batman.
I remember writing his name on there, and being like "okay cool," and in hindsight how did I not have over anxiety to mess that up. I knew that "your vote will be anonymous" doesn't really matter when the teachers know your handwriting anyway. How did I decide that I'm going to go for someone who doesn't matter. Apparently the rebellious (or even 'Challenge the Status Quo' area of Transitional Leadership) has been this quiet flame in me to use at random. And I will.
Despite the risks involved, I still have that urge to push the status quo. I kind of want to vote for Batman again. It was a weird thing then, but honestly it's a hopeful thing for me now. Batman won't save the day, but 100 Million people showing up to the polls and with their pencils saying "nah, I'm voting for Batman?" That's a major statement.
If you are planning to avoid the polls, please get there. Register to vote and get to the polls and if you don't feel you can vote for the other candidates, vote for Batman.
For anyone who would die before voting for the other party, but you feel your party's candidate is also terrible (I know, there are other ramifications involved), vote for Batman.