Me: Jennie, this is weird. Why are you interviewing yourself?
Other me: I know, I know, but hasn’t this election cycle been weird already? Honestly, this is nothing compared to what’s been going on in the primaries.
Me: True. Good point. Sometimes I feel like I’m watching a side show.
Other me: Me too. That’s why The Circus is so good.
Me: So, we’re all curious here. Who are you voting for in November? Are you in the Clinton Camp? Eight for Bill, Eight for Hill?
Other me: No.
Me: How about, “Let’s Make America Great Again!”
Other me: No.
Me: Are you feeling the Bern?
Other me: I only feel the burn on a long run.
Me: This makes me feel like you’re not going to vote.
Other me: Well, this is a real dilemma. I don’t buy the argument that “If you don’t vote, then you can’t complain.” Paying taxes allows me to complain as much as I want to. It’s an American privilege to complain. Free speech is a beautiful and painful thing. However, if I want to formally register my opinion, which is what voting is at its core, then I can go into the booth with a clear, confident mind and pull the lever for a candidate who won’t win. I’ve done this for years.
Me: Sounds depressing.
Other me: Pretty much.
Me: What about the argument to vote strategically? You know, vote for the person you hate the least. Or, vote against the person you don’t want to win.
Other me: I’m not sure I can do that and feel good about myself.
Me: That sounds snobby and elitist.
Other me: It’s not meant to sound that way. I’ve done the “vote for the one you hate the least” thing before and I didn’t like how it felt afterward. Voting that way tells the government that it’s okay to have only two sides, not multiple sides, like we aren’t diverse enough of a country to have more than two political parties. It’s the silliest thing ever. Playing along only gives them more power.
Me: I’m not sure the government cares about your opinion regarding political parties.
Other me: Oh I’m sure it doesn’t. I’m not a worthwhile demographic.
Me: Are you worried?
Other me: Yes and no. Depends on who’s elected.
Me: What if it’s Trump?
Other me: Then we will be the laughingstock of the world.
Me: What if it’s Hillary?
Other me: Then we will have gotten the leader we deserve.
Me: Isn’t that a Frank Underwood quote?
Other me: wink, wink
Me: So what if it’s Bernie?
Other me: Eh, at least he’s likable. I like it when he gets feisty. I admire his honesty.
Me: What?!? His ideology goes against everything you believe about the role of government!
Other me: Oh totally. We’re polar opposites. But the thing you have to remember is that the people calling themselves socialist democrats or democratic socialists (or whatever the term) aren’t connecting the dots from socialism to communism. They aren’t thinking about the Cold War. They just want stuff paid for. They don’t equate money with control.
Me: You mean they don’t see us going the route of becoming a communist country?
Other me: No way. They want to be Sweden!
Me: That sounds delightful. I hear they are happy people.
Other me: IKEA is great.
Me: So if Bernie gets elected…
Other me: I think Congress will prevent him from doing the super outlandish stuff, and the stuff that he gets passed will probably be the natural course of things for us anyway.
Me: You sound so resigned.
Other me: I think we’ve crossed a point of no return.
Me: You sound defeated.
Other me: I feel defeated.
Me: Where is your American spirit? Where is your fight? There are plenty of others who feel just like you do!
Other me: I know, but many of them don’t feel bold enough to speak up, or they also feel defeated. Some of them feel strongly about voting strategically, which has a legitimate argument. Some are stockpiling guns and ammo. Some have gone off the grid.
Me: Which one are you?
Other me: I may be in a camp all by myself.
Me: What does that even mean?
Other me: Well, I’m an Army brat, right? You also know what Chuck does for a living. I’ve got a keen point of view about national security. I’m very pro-military. National security and common-sense diplomacy are big deals to me. I do not like feeling vulnerable.
Me: That’s very conservative of you.
Other me: Sure, but I couldn’t give two craps about who gets married. Seriously, it’s 2016. We cannot treat people like second-class citizens. That marriage equality thing took way too long.
Me: How very liberal of you.
Other me: Shall I go on?
Me: Hey, it’s your blog.
Other me: We shouldn’t give children trophies just for participating.
Me: Now hang on…
Other me: And having free speech means everyone gets a voice, even the assholes.
Me: Please, your language.
Other me: If business owners refuse to bake a wedding cake for a gay couple, they should have the right to expose their homophobia publicly. May their successes and failures reflect their principles, or lack thereof.
Me: You’re losing readers now.
Other me: We should abolish the IRS.
Other me: Also, health care isn’t a right.
Me: Now you’re completely alone. It’s just us. Everyone has clicked off your blog.
Other me: Then I was right. I’m in a camp by myself.
Me: You think we’re a mixed-up country right now?
Other me: We most definitely are. Our priorities are out of whack. Case in point:
Me: That’s my favorite political cartoon.
Other me: Mine too.
Me: We need a strong cocktail of common sense mixed with compassion in this country.
Other me: I’m a fan of cocktails!
Me: So what’s your answer, other than alcohol?
Other me: Our federal government should protect us, work positively with other countries on our behalf, and do everything to respect the personal liberties of its people. The federal government should not be our bank, our hospital, our church, or our parents.
Me: Then how are we supposed to help people in need?
Other me: Safety nets are one thing, but unending support is an untamed beast. We should be the hands and feet of Jesus without the government’s force or direction. The church, individuals, nonprofits, private groups, all of us. We need to do the actual work. When Jesus told us to care for the widows and orphans, he did not say, “Elect people who will take part of your paycheck, break it down a dozen ways, and create big departments and policies with lots of overhead that will eventually help widows and orphans while you do other things.” I reject the idea that Jesus would align with any political party.
Me: You’re on a roll now.
Other me: No, I’m stopping. I could go on, but I won’t.
Me: You really do love animals more than people.
Other me: I really do.
Me: I have no idea who I’m going to vote for.
Other me: Dude, me neither.
Me: Let’s end on something positive.
Other me: How about another Frank Underwood quote?
Me: That’s your idea of something positive?
Other me: Eh, it’s my idea of good television. How about this?
Me: Whew. That’s better. Thank you.
Other me: No, thank you.