10/3/16: in defense of the undecided

I’ve seen the following David Sedaris quote about his contempt for Undecided voters cycling around for the last week or so, which I find hilarious, since it was originally written for Obama v. Romney (10/27/08):

To put them in perspective, I think of being on an airplane. The flight attendant comes down the aisle with her food cart and, eventually, parks it beside my seat. “Can I interest you in the chicken?” she asks. “Or would you prefer the platter of shit with bits of broken glass in it?” To be undecided in this election is to pause for a moment and then ask how the chicken is cooked.

I understand the joke, but I think it’s a dangerous oversimplification and not everything should be reduced to a bon mot, no matter how appetizingly it might jive with your personal opinion. Choosing who you vote for shouldn’t be an easy decision. If I have contempt for anyone, it’s for the so-called yellow dog Democrats who will always vote their party’s ticket without doing a single ounce of research or soul-searching. (I obviously feel the same for those on the right.) Yes, in this particular election, Trump’s prideful ignorance represents a clear and present danger, and an endorsement of him would be an endorsement of so many backward ideas (i.e., racism, sexism) that we almost *have* to vote for anyone who can defeat him.

But there’s another reason people might still be undecided.

To go with Sedaris’s example:

(1) Perhaps the chicken *also* has broken bits of glass in it, or there’s a very visible mold.
(2) Perhaps you are a vegetarian, or you have a severe allergy to the peanut sauce in which the chicken has been glazed. (Sadly, although you voted for it, and your party ostensibly stands for inclusiveness, your party fought tooth and nail to ensure that the peanut-free chicken would not be an option, and the entire political process ensures that other options, like the Green Party’s Vegetable Lasagne or the Libertarian’s Fish and Chips, would not really be on the menu.)
(3) Perhaps you are wondering if you might not be better off forgoing the meal entirely, or looking into how you might best, in the future, bring your own. (Maybe this is a form of going off the grid?)

Above all, remember that this article was written in 2008 and will inevitably be mentioned again in 2020. Perhaps that sameness, above all else, might suggest why some might choose to go on a desperate hunger strike, seeing no other clear path toward change. Why they might boycott the metaphorical airlines in this example. There is nothing wrong with being undecided; there is only a problem with choosing to be uneducated and stubborn about the campaigns–i.e., to bury your head ostrich-like in the sand and to pick a candidate at random, or, worse, by default.

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One thought on “10/3/16: in defense of the undecided

  1. Thank you from those of us who feel like there are no good choices in this,election and who are only struggling to vote between bad and worse or as my uncle puts it for Satan’s daughter or his best friend.

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