Orange Rhymes With: How not to be a jerk on Election Day

Illustration by Casey Kleeb

“It’s almost election day,” I think to myself with a growing sense of dread. I quickly search my room for a possible escape route.

“Maybe if I hide under here,” I whisper hopefully as I check the space under my bed.

Nope, I already filled that particular hiding place with a snowboard and giant wooden pineapple.

I frantically check my calendar, trying to find a way to bump my Thanksgiving vacation up a week or two. That might work, apart from the classes and work I would have to skip.

Damn.

It’s not that I hate voting. I’m actually thrilled to participate in my first presidential election. I view voting as the pinnacle of democracy, and I wouldn’t miss it for anything. No, the reason I despise Election Day isn’t the politics, the crowds or even the fun buttons and stickers.

It’s you people.

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You people with your Facebook posts and your bumper stickers and your politician smiles. Those who spew political opinions like a ruptured sewage tank. It’s awful, and I hate it.

So here is a small guide on how not to end up on the “List of Things That Evan Hates.”

(Much like the government’s No Fly List, you can still end up on it for arbitrary reasons that will never be explained to you, so you’re not out of the woods yet.)

First of all, Facebook is a beautiful communication tool. Your opinions are valuable and probably worth listening to.

Now, you see those two statements? At no point did anyone ever claim that they should be linked. Ever.

If your response to every political scenario is to take to the net and claim that Candidate X is Hitler, then you’ve already lost my attention. Hitler was Hitler, and everything else is a hyperbole.

Additionally, I highly doubt the majority of people are so easily influenced that they can have their political ideologies completely reversed because of an aggressive, grammatically incorrect Facebook post.

And even if those people do exist, I sure as hell don’t want them supporting the things I support. They make me look bad.

Next, I enjoy debating politics. I really do. I have a couple friends that I routinely argue the fate of our nation with, and it’s all in good fun. But we aren’t really trying to convince each other — we’re just comparing ideas. That’s the nature of a good debate.

Unfortunately, no one told that to the zealous girl in the Commons who spent twenty minutes violently explaining why voting for Candidate Y meant that I was anti-American. That’s not a debate; that’s verbal assault. Never once in the history of spoken language has it convinced anyone to change his or her views.

Don’t scream at me that this is the most important election of our lives and that it will change the entire world we live in. Being screamed at only increases the likelihood that I beat you over the head with a pineapple, not change my political views.

This brings me to my final point. Statistically speaking, one of the many elections you participate in during your life will have to be more important than the rest. I get that. But you cannot claim that for every single election you vote in. It’s literally impossible to have “the single greatest threat our nation has ever faced” every four years. It’s nonsensical.

So here is the new deal. You can say it once. (Get it? FDR’s New Deal, reference in a political article? Really? Nothing guys and gals?)

From here on out, you must pick one presidential election that you feel defines your generation, your “most important election ever,” and stick with it. That means that if you waste your one shot complaining about whatever it is you think Romney or Obama is going to do, then that’s it. You’re done.

So if the aliens invade in 2016 or the 2020 presidential race is between Nicholas Cage and the lead singer of Nickelback, too bad. You already decided that that this year was more important. You probably wish you’d stopped talking don’t you? Well now you know how we feel.

All of that aside, you do have the fate of the country in your hands. Even though we only get a whopping three electoral votes, it’s still just as important as every other state. So you had better get your ass to the polling booth on Tuesday. Vote your hearts out, support you candidate and help decide the course of the country.

And then, for the love of all that is holy, kindly shut up about it.