National Commentary

Johnny’s World: My Right to Vote

I learned at a young age that one should never bring politics into the bedroom or to the dinner table. It is a sure fire way to alienate people or boil some blood.

My family is not overly political, they vote every election but we never discussed the president or what he really did, and as a result I find that my knowledge of politics is limited and I have no real interest in it. Politics just seemed like something people got riled up about every four years, much like the Olympic Games, and as soon as the president was elected, the magic was over.

I have voted every election since becoming legal not because I wanted to, but because I was told it was my duty. The first time I registered to vote was when I received my driver’s license at eighteen and I registered as Republican because it’s what my parents are registered as. I can honestly say, when I registered I didn’t know the difference. Donkey versus Elephant? Red versus Blue? It sounds like a club kid convention of the worst kind.

After I voted the first time, not for W., I started to wonder about my affiliation, I started to wonder if my vote really mattered and I realized that the science of politics is so set, that it probably didn’t. I lived in a state that always voted the same way with few electoral votes. This realization disenchanted me further from becoming a fair-weathered political monster.

The elections that I have voted in were of the absent tee ballot sort. I was representing my country abroad in competitive figure skating and couldn’t and still haven’t been caught up in the voting day madness. Even for this election, I’ll be in Russia where I will most likely be arrested for being a married gay man who promotes gay acts which doesn’t detract from my love for the country or from following their elections every time they happen. Looking at Putin’s reign, is it possible that consistency is good? Should I add that to my muddled thought process?

I want to be excited about the election, but I just can’t when my own ignorance or hectic lifestyle keep me from enjoying the debates and watching two grown men fight with words when all they really want to do is drop an F-bomb or throw something at their opponent. I love pageantry and “lights, camera, action” as much as the next Kardashian, but when it all boils down, is it really necessary to debate when we are already supposed to know who we’re voting for? If America really is so cut and dry, black and white, Republican versus Democrat, and filled with collegiate political scientists, why are you interrupting the new episode of Glee?

There are things I believe in, like gay marriage, freedom of speech, a woman’s right to choose and even every man’s right to carry arms and protect themselves, but the majority of these rights shouldn’t be given by the man in the White House, they should be a fundamental part of society as human rights. There should be no debating these popular, hot button issues. If we took all the human rights out of the debates and made them exactly what they are, RIGHTS, the debates would be void.

Despite famous people, major TV networks and every person “like me” urging me to vote, I have decided not to this year. Working full time, taking care of my family and trying to get my body into Olympic shape again has left me with very little extra time or energy to study two rich dudes and who I want to stand behind. The somewhat obvious choice for my demographic would be Obama, but I’ve never been one to conform to a popular decision, just because. My life hasn’t drastically changed during his reign, so why is he the obvious choice? When someone really grabs my attention and makes me believe things will change for the better, I will vote for them.

May the best man win.