Yesterday I posted that I thought I would not have the energy to vote in this year’s primary. I did wind up voting. I don’t want to bore anyone too much with “my personal voting narrative,” but perhaps like some other people out there, my brain was flipping back and forth all day. I found myself trying to dissect my own motives for voting/not voting as much as thinking about the candidates’ positions. Too little too late I suppose. I didn’t make up my mind on what to do until after I spent five minutes sitting in my car at the polling place wolfing down a hamburger. I found that my unanswered questions eventually settled around three issues (or meta-issues, maybe):
–Did I want to vote today because I wanted to jump on a bandwagon or be part of “history” and “belong”? Should I indulge that instinct for a candidate who abstractly represented a movement I wanted, even if I wasn’t really confident about the candidate himself?
–Would a vote for a candidate whose message more genuinely and specifically resonated with me, but who had dropped out, be a “wasted vote”? Wasn’t my vote about “sending a message” to the media about the more viable candidates, instead of “remaining true to myself”?
–Was I really above “identity politics”? Could I, as a woman, afford NOT to vote for an experienced and highly credible female candidate, even if I despised the ossification she was a product (and perhaps promise) of? This last question I had not at all expected to even consider, but surprisingly it started to loom large in my mind.
There just didn’t seem to be any right answer. Maybe I was just overwhelmed by choices that were easier for other voters to sort out quickly. Movement, message, identity: all so confusing. If there had been just two clear-cut choices between good and evil it would have been so invigorating and inspiring. But it was so complicated a choice that I spent most of the day psychoanalyzing myself instead of reading more about the candidates. And in the end, it didn’t just feel like a vote, it felt like a commitment.