I Voted

I.

The first time that I voted,

back in 2004

I was twenty  years old

and I was in the military

so I submitted an absentee ballot

and I voted for the incumbent…

because he had given us a pay raise

the previous couple years

and was set to do the same, once again.

That was literally the only reason I voted for him

that, and his opponent seemed like a fake,

aristocratic piece of shit

and the incumbent struck

my non-thinking twenty year old self

as genuine

sure, he might seem like an idiot

but he kind of reminds me of my friends dad

he seems like someone I might know…

but little did I know

the incumbent was also an aristocratic piece of shit

amping up a fake drawl,

tossing a few more crumbs to the pawns

to keep them lining up on the chess board…

 

II.

The next time I voted was 2008

I was a little over 6 months home from Iraq

freshly discharged,

and after a summer spent roofing,

I was a first time college student…

I was a first generation college student

struggling to get by on the old GI Bill…

(the new one was a year away)

but, still…

it felt good to be in school

for the first time in my life

because I wanted to be

I felt good to take it one day at a time

and not care about a degree

and it felt good to vote

for the senator from Illinois

who I was confident wasn’t an aristocratic piece of shit

who I was confident had to be different than the last guy…

he wanted to end the war,

he wanted to help the poor,

he wanted to open doors for everyone

no matter where they’re from…

he was going to bring change

that we could believe in

and I wanted to believe

and I was still relatively young, and naive,

so I believed

not that there would be change,

but that there was at least hope now for change

that this man wanted to do the right thing

so why not vote for him and give him the opportunity?

So I voted for him

and he was awarded a Nobel Peace Prize

and he said all the right things

but it was mostly lies

still, some kept arguing, ‘but he tries’

but the wars didn’t end

and Guantanamo didn’t close

and, like historian Tariq Ali said,

“If you wear Caesar’s clothes,

you have to behave like Caesar”

and, yeah, he was certainly more of a crowd pleaser

than this current guy

but none of that matters

if the drones fly over your village

or the bombs level your city…

it wasn’t pretty under 43

it wasn’t pretty under 44

and isn’t pretty under 45

these men have left millions dead

and millions more, barely alive

so, as you drive your car

and as you listen to NPR

and you rant and rave

about what the last election gave us

remember,

for billions of people around the world

and millions in America

it doesn’t matter who is wearing Caesar’s clothes.

Sure, I’ll concede that Hillary wouldn’t be telling rape jokes

and wouldn’t be empowering neo-nazis and other bigots

but there would still be rape

and there would still be neo-nazis and other bigots

and there would still be ICE

and cops still wouldn’t be thinking twice

before shooting unarmed black kids

and there would still be wars

and there would still be oil drilling off our shores

since this Pandora’s box has no lid…

since America is sick

since the sickness is in our DNA

and there is no hero coming to save the day

and we need more than a blood transfusion

and it won’t happen today

and it won’t happen tomorrow

and we can beg, steal, and borrow

“good” politicians

from city,

hamlet,

or town

but, at the end of the day

they have to wear the crown.

 

III.

The last time I voted was in 2012

and I voted for Jill Stein

because she had recently gotten arrested

protesting the Keystone XL pipeline

and she had been arrested

quite a few other times

for civil disobedience

and I respect that…

though I knew that she didn’t even have a fat chance

and that if, by some miracle she won,

nothing would change

and that if she tried to change anything,

she’d be assassinated

and the only way to get more than 1 percent of the vote

is to be nominated by one of the two war parties,

one of the two Wall Street parties,

one of the two sides

of the same coin…

so, in 2016

I couldn’t bring myself to join

in propping up the illusion

of democracy…

and yes, Hillary’s rhetoric is certainly better

than the sick billionaire that won

but, at their core they’re the same

the puppet masters are just having a little fun with Trump

the reality TV star, skilled at the art of distraction

they’re seeing how much they can get away with

how far they can push the envelope…

how much they can get us to hope

for literally anyone

who would seem more humane than this asshole…

the goal should be democracy,

not some “noble statesman” like Joe Biden

and not even a people-first band-aid like Bernie,

not apartheid-supporters like Kamala, or Cory, or Elizabeth…

not one of them can get elected

and keep any promises they make during the campaign

(besides more aid to Israel)

anymore than the last president did

but when one of them gets elected,

and they will,

the people will rejoice

“democracy works” they’ll say

Trump will be gone,

America will appear saved from fascism

cooler heads will have prevailed…

but our taxes will still be funding private, for-profit prisons and jails

and our taxes will still be funding war after war after war after war

and, once the next ‘progressive’ president is elected,

the people will cheer “4 more years…”

and those alligator tears will have long dried

and we will have forgotten

all those who were locked in cages

or died

under that evil Caesar Trump

just as we’ve forgotten all those who died under that good Caesar Obama

just as we’ve forgotten all those who died under that bad Caesar Bush

and our brains will again turn to a clay-like mush

that the newscasters can shape anyway they’d like

and the people will vote,

and having voted,

they will proudly wear a sticker

proclaiming to the world

“I Voted”

and the people will be proud

that we again have a progressive

as commander-in-chief

overseeing the worlds highest-funded,

most technologically advanced military,

(by far)

with nearly 1,000 bases

in over 130 countries

and boots-on-the-ground in too many to count…

and overseeing the worlds largest prison population

(by far)

with over 2 million people locked up

and millions more on probation or parole…

as long as the empire has no soul,

it matters not who our Caesar is.

About soitgoes1984

I was born and raised on land stolen from the Pocumtuc. I now live on a small island in the middle of the Pacific ocean, on land that was stolen more recently, from the Hawaiians. I am addict, struggling to kick the habit of fossil fuel. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.
This entry was posted in america, ignorance, poem, Poetry, Uncategorized, voting and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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