Yeah, I’m Voting For Joe Biden

Yeah, I’m Voting For Joe Biden

And I don’t really want to vote for Joe Biden

Contrary to the esteemed opinions of America’s educated coastal establishment—which includes the entire editorial board of the New York Times and a dozen or so self-appointed online public intellectuals — I am perfectly capable of voting for Joe Biden while also whispering to myself, “I don’t want to vote for Joe Biden.”

I don’t want to vote for Joe Biden, but I will. I am a brilliant person who can do two things simultaneously, like eat soup and scroll Instagram or shower and cry. Don’t tell the pollsters, but I’m voting for Joe Biden even though I’d prefer not to. That might blow their minds. I, a citizen of this great country, can fit multiple thoughts in my giant brain like a competitive eater cramming more than one hot dog into their giant mouth.

I didn’t want to vote for Joe Biden the last time, and I did, and I’ll do it again. It’s not that the stakes are higher; they’re always high. Every election of my life has been the most important election of my life.

The opposition party wants more for them and less for the rest of us. Just like the last time and the time before that. They really can’t stand the poor and immigrants and women, that’s no surprise. I’m voting against them. God, they’re assholes.

So I watched the debate last week, and I don’t even have to specify what I’m talking about because 51 million people saw what I saw with my own two eyes: a confused 81-year-old man stammering, grasping at thoughts and, honestly, suffering right there in front of the world, desperately, and, sure, courageously, debating a candidate who is like a Golem summoned by a Republican party terrified of it’s shrinking base, a 78-year-old wrecking meatball made from resentments and self-loathing, slathered in makeup that, at best, erases a few years, from his fatty face.

I watched the debate, and I thought, “I don’t want to vote for this guy.” Joe Biden is in decline. I’m sure he has moments of lucidity and vigor. He can rally, that’s for sure, so long as he does so between the hours of 10 AM and 4 PM. He’s not in free fall, but he is, quite literally, not getting younger. He is getting older by the minute. I saw him at the age of six months on that CNN stage.

I don’t want to seem ageist here. Plenty of eightysomethings are full of energy, but the idea of running this country makes me want to lay down and nap, and I’m thirty-two years younger than Joe Biden. Can you imagine me at a debate after reading this rant? Look, Biden has done great! But, also, he doesn’t look great.

I’m voting for Joe Biden, but he should resign. He’s already a hero, and I don’t enjoy writing that. I didn’t support any of his previous runs for the White House. I was not a fan. Biden never met a corporation he didn’t grope and smooch, and I was never really impressed with his foreign policy bona fides. If he bails now, though, history will smile upon him. Monuments will be built. Airports renamed. What a legacy.

I had hoped his tenure as Vice President was the last we’d ever hear from him, but nope. Here we are. Joe Biden should resign and be forever celebrated for this sacrifice, as well as his many accomplishments as commander-in-chief, blah blah blah. The pundits and the lobbyists and the political operatives are all collectively losing their minds, worrying out loud whether or not voters will suddenly abandon Joe Biden and embrace another four more years of clowns and chaos. They worry about the elusive ‘undecideds,’ which are the middle children of the American electoral family. I was a middle child and frequently refused to decide whether I wanted popcorn or Twizzlers until the movie started. I did this because I wanted attention.

But I am not an undecided voter. I am a practical one. I would vote for a pile of Filet-o-Fish sandwiches over the alternative. I know what’s going on. I am familiar with the situation. That debate was brutal, and I’m worried. Why was he debating anyway? He didn’t have to, and I’m doubly worried because I think the president’s inner circle is out of touch.

The Biden brain trust had a plan, and that plan went pear-shaped. Their big idea was to call an early debate and get it over with. Surely, they thought, America needed to be reminded that their previous president was a bitter, blabbering b******* artist who gave his rich friends tax cuts and then spent the next three years tweeting from the toilet. Everyone knows Whatshisname is a stroke in a suit.

But here’s what happened instead: Biden looked and sounded like an animatronic robot at Disney’s Hall of Presidents attraction slowly shutting down during a sudden park-wide power outage. It is obvious Biden’s cognitive and physical struggles are not conspiracy theories to be dismissed but matters of fact. Thou art mortal, Mr President, and age catches up to us all. Unfortunately, for all of us, he’s running against a trashy champion whose stupidity is profound and hoggish.

Yeah, I’m voting for Joe Biden, and you shouldn’t care who I vote for. One of the only charms of our democracy is our voluntary secret ballot voting system — you don’t have to vote if you don’t want to. Voting isn’t mandatory. Not voting is a choice you can make! I’ll go a little further: you don’t have to vote if you don’t want to, and you can complain about whoever gets elected anyway.

When people say, “This is a free country,’ this is what they’re talking about: you have the freedom to avoid the ballot box and heckle the outcome. And you have the right to some free speech and all the guns, and if you’re a woman, the state owns your body. You are free to participate in our Republic, and you are free to ignore your civic duties to eat Domino’s and stream episodes of West Wing on Max. It’s trendy to hate on West Wing, but I like to be entertained by positive fantasies.

While we’re on this topic, you don’t have to tell anyone who you’re voting for. You can lie if you want. Honestly, it’s no one’s business, and it is rude to ask. I’m happy you voted. I voted, too! Look at this sticker I’ve affixed to my shirt: I’m saving democracy. But don’t feel pressured. You don’t even have to think about who to vote for until, oh, election day morning, over a Starbucks macchiato and a slice of their delicious lemon loaf. The decision isn’t very hard.

I have one vote—it’s my little vote, a tiny pearl of power that is primarily ceremonial. Votes count, sure. Thousands and thousands of pebbles can dam a stream, and I will continue mine to that pile. But they’re also like wishes.

I can see a future where voting is like flying — there’s a first-class and a premium section and economy. There’s champagne in one of the voting booths, and you can also pull the lever twice. But until then, we all have one vote. I think that’s nice. One vote, and it’s yours to do with as you please. Throw it out. Make it count. You do you.

I suggest not caring what other people are doing with their vote. I fear the internet has allowed us to overestimate our powers of persuasion and intimidation online. You cannot roast a person into changing their mind about politics. Shouting at folks threatening not to vote is a coping mechanism. None of it matters. I’m voting for Biden and that’s me and I don’t care who you’re voting for, so don’t tell me.

There are many reasons the internet was a mistake. The early promise of the World Wide Web was romantic and simple: it would connect us, and the opposite has happened. Instead of fostering community, it’s turned every social platform into an octagon, a roiling melee between strangers arguing forever about hot-button political issues. It turns out that tech companies know that humans are most vulnerable when emotionally raw and exposed and are more susceptible to targeted advertising when flopping around in those states. That’s why they throw eyeballs at charged political content.

I miss the old days. There was less noise. Sure, the masses lived lives of quiet desperation, but have you been on Facebook recently? Oy, the screaming.

American democracy is not a team sport. There are no sides. Not really. You are on your own. American democracy is lonely. It’s supposed to be just you and your vote. You close two flimsy curtains, and there you are. It’s not a group activity. Politics is. Politics is gang warfare, Jets and Sharks, but democracy is a solo. And remember, you don’t have to vote. You can write in a candidate or stay home and stare at the wall.

But if you’re going to vote, consider choosing the guy who looks like he’s about to disintegrate at any minute instead of the guy who looks like he will sell out anyone who doesn’t belong to a country club or a megachurch.

Has Joe Biden passed progressive legislation? Absolutely — public money is flowing to all sorts of good causes. Infrastructure? Boy, did we need it. Solar power? Yes. Is he appointing judges who support reproductive freedom? Absolutely. Does he publicly and relentlessly threaten Americans because of their gender or sexuality or race? He does not. Republicans? They love terrorizing people they don’t know.

Does Joe Biden love bombing women and children in faraway countries? Well, yeah. What American president doesn’t? It’s a goddamn shame that American foreign policy in the Middle East is so, what’s the word? Myopic? Cynical? Evil? That’s right, all of those. Sometimes, when I look at this country and worry that it’s falling apart, I can’t help but think “Maybe we deserve it.” But why should I dwell on America’s war crimes when America never seems to worry about it?

Is Biden a good father? A good husband? Looks like it. Is he a frail but experienced executive propped up by egghead advisors and ambitious insiders he has no choice but to trust? Yes. The man is older than King Lear by one year and just as prideful. He should step down in a blaze of glory and have faith in the party that’s letting him decay in the spotlight.

Joe Biden saved America — no, seriously, he did — from an administration without backbone and a president without the courage to lead. A deadly public health crisis is arguably the easiest possible challenge for a sitting president — you get to declare war on bacteria! It’s easy, and they still screwed it up. He couldn’t rise to the occasion, and he never will. Donald Trump has been called so many mocking names that they all fail to describe him accurately, but the only word that truly fits that explains him is coward; he’s a coward, two-faced and bloated.

Cowards squeal. They preen and lie. He lies because he’s cornered constantly, he lies because he has no choice, he can’t take responsibility for his actions or words because that would be a nightmare—a living nightmare—for him to hold in his soft, meaty hands all the sharp and ragged promises and words he’s broken. He cannot be allowed to win, and if he does, friends, I hate to tell you this, but life will go on and life will suck.

Donald Trump and his cronies want an America that favors their friends and punishes everyone else. Their vision does not allow for equality or compassion or the rule of law — they are all mostly men born to wealth who do not want to share this country’s bounty with [racial slur] and [homophobic slur.] Those not favored by these petty dictators will endure and serve as footstools. If Biden loses, there will be suffering. But life will go on, and we, the people, will deserve it.

I’m voting for Biden, and I’m not even a Democrat. I am a registered independent. Who gives a f***? Exactly. But I will keep writing anyway; feel free to block me.

I was a Democrat for my entire life until 2016. I registered as an independent after Donald Trump defeated Hillary Clinton, a competent public servant, and insufferable Beltway celebrity whose campaign underestimated the raw and considerable political talents of the imperial buffoon they were running against. I gave up on the Democrats because their cigar-chomping party bosses failed to listen to the rank and file, the young and the hippies, the real ones who want to dismantle the U.S. military entirely. I was tired of being a member of a club that would have Joe Biden as their leader.

Both the Democrats and Republicans are two of the most sophisticated and powerful political machines in the history of the world, and I resent having to eat the slop they serve, but eat I must.

(Between you and me: The only way to change our crappy politics is campaign finance reform — like radical reform. These parties should be broken up and starved of the billions of dollars that flow into their coffers from tech barons and bible-thumpers. I think elections should be entirely funded by tax dollars. All candidates should be given one free campaign commercial and a gift card to Staples.)

I’m voting for Biden and I hate it. I don’t want to! But, as an adult, I accept that sometimes life is a choice between the lesser of two evils and I will pick less evil every time. If given the option between a small evil and a large evil, I would request the small. If this scenario were reversed, I would choose the greater of two goods. See? Simple. But those aren’t my current choices, and that’s that.

I am not the type to festoon himself with self-righteous fury. I would rather live in a kinder, more fair, and thoughtful reality, but I don’t, so I have to make decisions I don’t like. Some call that compromise as if that’s another word for weakness. Whatever. I compromise—all the time. I pause. I wait. I plot. Have you ever been punched in the face? I’m not a fan. Sometimes, you have to backpedal. Bide your time. Look for an opening and do what you can when you can. I want to win, but I also don’t want to lose, you know?

Do you know what else I want? For ol’ Joe to enjoy a few years of peace—eat ice cream cones on the beach, buddy! You beat a candidate who thinks he’s too good for rules, and you beat him fair and square. Quit. I’m supporting you anyway, Joe Biden, but think it over.

Vice President Harris’ tenure has been low-key, which is Bidenworld’s doing I think—she’s divisive, or that’s the narrative. A cop, but who isn’t in the government? But she could be rebooted. A unity ticket could be brokered with a candidate who appeals directly to swing voters. I don’t think the Democrats should underestimate the powers of surprise and drama. Trump has been employing both successfully for over eight years. But that’s just me pontificating over here, like some New York Times Editorial Board member. You know, talking out of my a**.

This post originally appeared on Medium and is edited and republished with author's permission. Read more of John DeVore's work on Medium. And order his book, Theater Kids: A True Tale of Off-Off Broadway here.