This is a cautionary, and true, tale. Life is an experiment, and sometimes we learn something from the results. Case in point: the 2016 elections.
I, in my idealistic wisdom, assumed Hillary would win the vote. Because, well, God. And, the Universe. And so, because my vote for her wasn’t necessary, I decided to throw it toward a third party in order to boost the whole third-party thing. Because I believe that we—Americans—well and truly need many strong political parties to choose from, not just the two default parties handed to us by our uptight, antique forebears.
We know what happened. My pro-Hillary vote would have tipped the election in her favor. But my third-party vote actually ensured Trump’s triumph. And I live with that hard fact each and every day that I accidentally get a visual of the orange buffoon face that frequently graces the news media and the interwebs while even more frequently contributing to the ever-increasing deterioration of this cycle of time.
The other thing that happened during the last election was, I was visiting my beloved, sweet sister in Seattle and had the brilliant idea to turn her and her husband on to my favorite movie in the world, Mad Max: Fury Road. On election night.
Seeing as my darling sister and her gentle husband had never experienced the Mad Max phenomenon, this was set to be a groundbreaking evening for them, because we were going to a very rare big-screen showing of the “Black and Chrome Edition,” which was sure to intensify the post-apocalyptic carnage well beyond the color version.
As we walked into the theater while votes were still being counted, my sister’s election fears were palpable. Then we sat down and watched that wonderful, wonderful movie. Lord, was it good! The nuances brought out by the black and the chrome! The subtle complexities of faces and vehicles and explosions and flamethrower-puffs and shadow and light brought into such sharp focus by that lack of color!
And—surprise!—my sister and her husband were completely traumatized by the experience. The 80-odd vehicle-destruction sequences and 140-odd, high-speed death scenes within the span of two-odd hours scared them, rather than galvanized them into an unswerving, holy adoration of all things post-apocalyptic.
I should have known. But, I’m a guy. And I’m a big brother.
And then we walked out of the theater and my sister checked her phone, became very pale, and said quietly, “Trump won the election.” And burst into tears of genuine fright, right there in the lobby. Knowing, of course, that I, her favorite brother, and possibly her favorite person in the entire world, had not voted for Hillary, and had thus single handedly swung the vote in Trump’s favor because … I already told you why.
And I stood there for 20 minutes trying to ease her fears by explaining that I had just purchased 6 acres on a remote island and if the world collapsed she and her husband could surely come live with me and we could survive by homesteading and hunting the local overpopulated, wild pygmy deer.
Which—surprise!—brought her no relief whatsoever. In fact, the very next day she began to speak about moving to an idyllic, faraway country to which she possesses dual citizenship. (Which is also a bucolic, agrarian island populated by many huntable wild animals, I might add. But that’s beside the point.)
The years go by and I live with this dual stain on my soul. Because my sister is my favorite person in the world. And I did these things to her. They far exceed any run-of-the-mill, big-brother, chasing-her-around-the-house-with-pinky-outstretched-under-the-assumed- persona-of-Mister-Nose-Picker antics I ever pulled in all the prior years, and I didn’t even do them for kicks.
Chew on that while you decide what to do with the next election.
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