Dividing Polls and Minds

“Why am I even here.” was all I could think while standing in that cramped voting booth, with only a curtain to keep people from looking over my shoulder. I don’t like either of these choices, and I don’t even know half of these other names on the ballot.

I thought about not voting at all, but as soon as I told my friends and family about my plan, I was imminently met with criticism. Many of my friends told me I was throwing away my right people died to give me, while others seemed to imply that it would be my fault if their candidate didn’t win. I did my best to tell them the truth that I didn’t feel educated enough to make a proper decision, and what I did know about both the candidates I certainly didn’t like.

No one would listen to me, and I soon found myself the black sheep of my friends and family. Every family gathering or get together with friends I would always find judgmental eyes of both democrats and republicans fixated on me when the inevitable political discussion came up. In the past, I had always known who to vote for, and I would stand by my decision defending it with all the skills I learned in the one debate class I took in college.

This election, however, caught me off guard, as when the debates started, I thought I knew who my choice would be. As the debates snowballed into hate and aggression more than politics, I began to notice something I hadn’t in the past.

People are jerks when it comes to politics. Maybe I hadn’t seen before since I had the support of whatever side I was voting for to back me up. Perhaps in past elections, I had been too wrapped up in what I believed that I didn’t take the time to think of other people’s point of view. I’d like to say I still defended my beliefs of not voting as feverishly as I would defend a candidate I was voting for, but I didn’t, I couldn’t.

When people would ask me why I couldn’t just pick one to agree with despite their flaws I really had no good answer for the, so many times I would just fall silent and take the abuse from those more politically aggressive than me. My confidence in my political opinions shattered, I caved and told everyone I would vote, but in all honesty, I still didn’t know who to actually vote for.

While I thought breaking down and voting would stop the harassment, it simply gave way to a different kind. Instead of both sides teaming up against me as they were doing before, they were now both aggressively selling me on their candidates like a used car salesman hoping to sway my vote in their favor. I would just nod and act like their pitch was working on me while I tried desperately to change the subject. Finally, voting day came, and I drove to my old middle school to cast my vote and get some relief from this whole thing for at least the next four years. My heart sank as I closed the curtain because I had just realized the full weight of a decision I had thought nothing about. Faced with that impossible decision I decided to let fate decide, I flipped a coin.

– Matthew Brosche

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