In the end, I guess I was that one undecided voter.

Don’t get me wrong, I am super happy that it looks just about certain that Barack Obama has been re-elected. I could absolutely never support a candidate, or really any person for that matter, who sort of, kind of, even in the slightest of ways considers girls and gays to be second class. However, I wasn’t really thrilled with what either candidate was offering in the way of real change.

This is the third election in which I have been eligible to vote. In the time since I was first nearly disenfranchised by being told I wasn’t able to register NPA at my school’s voter registration drive, I’ve gone to college, taken out and defaulted on loans, got married and divorced, graduated, gotten hired and laid off, had health insurance sometimes and sometimes not, changed careers, been screwed over by banks and creditors, bought an American car, and another, and a non-American car, moved back in with my parents, moved back out, moved back in, put off having children, and UNTIL TODAY always just bubbled in “Democrat” because I viewed it to be the practical, progressive option.

You live in a swing state! Every vote counts! Don’t waste yours! I have been delicately avoiding political conversations on social media, but quietly nodding when Michelle interrupted my Pandora stream to make sure I’d be voting for her husband today. I woke up around 6:30 this morning after my mom called from our polling place to tell me that some hundred people were already in line and to get my butt out of bed. I drove over to the modest country club down the street and got in line. I marveled at some men complaining inside the pro shop about how much worse things are going to get if Obama wins. Really, dudes? You’re golfing at 8 am on a Tuesday. Is your life really that bad? Have you really lost SO much? I don’t assume, like many of my fellow Americans, what the financial situation is really like for people on either side of where I happen to be, but seriously… it can’t be so bad if you still have time to golf. Definitely not bad enough to want to take rights away from anyone else.

I guess it’s standing in the middle of the road for so long – what’s that they say about getting knocked down from both sides? – or just standing in the middle of that line of people saying stupid shit that made me really start questioning the whole process. I had taken a Facebook quiz – yes, I’m about to say what you think I’m going to say – on who I should *really* vote for, and although there wasn’t a HUGE gap, it turned out that my views were more in line with a third party than either of the big-budget candidates. Surprise, surprise. As far as the Pepsi Challenge goes, I will almost always pick Dr. Pepper. I’ve paid so little heed to the mainstream in so many areas of my life, it was time to put my vote where my mouth is.

Whether its allowing third party candidates to debate (instead of arresting them) next time around, or just being the person to stand up and be the weirdo holding a light up for others who believe that there’s more to life than black and white, I do believe that my vote counted – even taped that shit down to my shirt. I even got the free appetizer from Tijuana Flats to prove it! What I’m saying here is, we don’t have to choose sides, continue to be divided, and engage in the farce of “lesser of two evils.” Let’s not vote for or berate people on the basis of their race, their religion, their class, lack thereof, or how much money they can raise from corporate sponsors. I want a real change, I want to actually believe in our democracy, and – at the risk of sounding like a something or other – I want to believe in the America everyone pretends about.

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About Kristyn Michele Bat

Teacher, tattooer, artist.

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