Hello. I am the undecided voter. I don’t feel either positively or negatively about talking to you today.
I live in a small house in the direct center of the United States of America, approximately two miles west of Lebanon, Kansas. The inside of my home is perfectly white and black, with simple, opaque furnishings that are satisfactory to my minimal, yet unrelenting needs. I own a modest television, a bed, a chair, an American flag to represent my residency in this nation, and a single wilting rose in a glass terrarium to represent the fact that my interests are impossible to capture.
I am everybody, and I am nobody.
Once, when I was a child, my mother said to me, “You are alive and sentient, in the land known as America.” These are words I have carried with me throughout my entire life that have defined my morals and principles.
My house is located equidistant from a coal mine, the world’s largest bank, an Amazon fulfillment center, and a Planned Parenthood. I am equally concerned and unconcerned with every possible facet of the U.S. economy. What helps one neighbor destroys another. There is no net good or net bad. There is only cold, obdurate neutrality.
When I was a child, I had a dog. And there’s nothing more to acknowledge about that experience.
I am neither pro-life nor pro-choice. I emote quiet whimpers of sadness for the women begging for their rights. I feel deep grief for the men in $10,000 suits who are somehow also affected by the issue, even if I can’t understand how. And when seeing both sides of an issue becomes too overwhelming, I simply stop considering it.
I was not born, and I will not die. One day I appeared, as plain and simple as I appear before you now. I just am.
Healthcare, education, taxes: these are complicated concepts with undeniable merits and overwhelming downsides. Half of my brain believes the country would benefit from a healthier, smarter population assisted by federally funded programs. The other half of my brain believes my civil liberties would be violated if I were provided health insurance. Unlike others, I can hold these two opposing forces simultaneously, like water and fire resting on the palm of my uncreased hand.
Fracking, climate change, embargoes: these words don’t evoke any sort of emotional response in me. They roll over me like a wave, pouring through my consciousness like sand in an hourglass.
I’ve always known my being is both universal and completely confounding, but it’s never been more obvious than during this election season. Why, just the other day, I found a door-to-door political canvasser standing at my stoop.
“Good afternoon,” she said. “Do you have a few minutes to discuss the upcoming presidential election?”
“I am a single-issue voter,” I replied, “and the issue that is most important to me is electing a president.”
“Great! And why will you be voting?”
“There is a cosmic tug-of-war between power and oblivion,” I said. “There is joy. There is fear. There is the taste of cold, crude oil on the hot, wet tongue.”
She was silent.
“Can I count on you to vote for progressive values this November?” she asked.
“I haven’t formed a coherent opinion in thirty-seven years,” I replied.
Many others have made attempts to sway my opinion one way or the other. It is a time, every four years, that I perversely cherish, as well as admonish in absolute disgust. I am the most important person in America right now.
And that is why I am proud to announce that, this November, I have decided to abstain from voting.