How to Not Be an Asshole This Election Season
There’s nothing like an election to bring the worst out in everybody. And this election is bringing out the worst of the worst from the deepest depths of seemingly everyone’s soul. If you haven’t lost at least one friend due to political differences this election season, well—you may want to check your contact list for people you haven’t heard from in a while. Chances are, they’re mad at you.
But it doesn’t have to be that way. You can make it through November with most of your relationships intact. All we have to do is try really hard to not be assholes. If you don’t consider yourself an asshole, you might be thinking, “Well, that’s not too hard for me—I’m not an asshole.” But the truth is, we’re allassholes under the right conditions.
You know how in Jurassic Park that Dennis Dude was just gonna cut the security system so he could steal the dinosaur embryos—but then there was a storm and all the other systems failed, and the backup didn’t work, and the dinosaurs all learned how to escape and started eating everybody? Well, the storm is this election, the candidates are all Dennis, and we are the dinosaurs clomping around biting each other’s heads off.
But I’m here to help with some simple tips to help you not be an asshole this election season. So, pause that angry Facebook comment, put down that simplistic Hillary meme, and read on!
1. Don’t Vote For Trump.
If you are planning on voting for Trump, thinking of voting for Trump, have ever had a weird dream about voting for Trump—then the #1 thing you have to do to not be an asshole this election is not vote for Trump. There is simply no way you can vote for a man who basks in his own hatred of women, immigrants, and Muslims without being branded an asshole for the rest of your days. And there is no amount of charity work in your lifetime that will make up for an act of assholery that big.
2. Don’t seek out supporters of your candidate’s opponent.
Love Hillary? Cool—keep loving her—loudly and proudly. You can shout that love from the rooftops. But don’t knock on a Bernie supporter’s door and yell “HILLARY RULES AND BERNIE DROOLS.” Don’t search pro-Bernie hashtags and challenge people to Twitter duels. Make your argument on your own page, or in your own blog post, or in debates you were actually invited to participate in. (Note: I used Hillary stans as an example here to shake things up a bit, but we all know I’m talking about you Bernie Bros the most right? Also, yes, you do exist—now leave me alone.)
3. Don’t mansplain politics to women.
Yes, our Congress is currently 80% male and yes, we’ve never had a female president, but that doesn’t mean that we don’t understand politics. We are very familiar with the system that has had its boot on our necks for centuries. I have a degree in political science, but I’ve lost count of the dudes with degrees in Internet opinions who try to explain to me—unasked—how the Electoral College works. Don’t be that dude. It’s embarrassing to everyone involved.
4. Recognize that none of these candidates will stop killing people overseas if elected.
I get it—I hold grudges too. I will never forgive Hillary for voting for the Iraq war. I don’t think we should ever leave drone strikes out of Obama’s biography. But last I checked, all our candidates are still running to be a part of our global system of shady, bloody, international shit. None of them, not even Bernie, will avoid drone strikes where suspected ISIS terrorists and more likely a few sleeping families reside. None of them will stop financing bloody dictators. Not one. There is no savior on the ballot, so stop accusing supporters of your opposing side of genocide, as if your candidate is going to bring about world peace.
5. Be aware of how your privilege informs your voting choices.
Not all that concerned about abortion? Hmm . . . wonder why. Black Lives Matter not at the top of your voting concerns? Must be nice. Not too worried about drone strikes overseas? You probably don’t have any relatives there. Immigrant rights not a big deal to you? Sounds like you and those close to you all have your papers. Know that there are reasons to support or not to support candidates beyond what’s most important to you. If you find yourself trying to “educate” someone with less privilege about why they should vote differently than they are planning to, stop and think, “Wait—I’M probably the one missing something here.”
6. Don’t demand that people participate in the process.
There are many valid reasons for not wanting to support this corrupt political process that upholds this corrupt government. So leave the snide comments, the sarcasm, the insults, and the disappointment in your unengaged friends at home. No, nobody actually has a moral obligation to vote. Abstaining from participating in our country’s political system can send a message, even if it’s one you don’t want to hear.
So there you have it. Six easy steps to not being an asshole this election. Be the brontosaurus of your Jurassic Park, not the T-rex (none of us are smart enough to be the velociraptor, don’t flatter yourself).