Crazy Candidates and Colorful Condoms
Nikita Khrushchev, Soviet premier and First Secretary of the Soviet Union, made his first and final trip to the United States in September of 1959. His star-studded itinerary however, was interrupted by a single, ten minute detour to a generic, local San Francisco supermarket: Quality Foods. Quality Foods was by no means spectacular or extraordinary; it, more than anything, was spectacular for its extra ordinariness.
Yet Khrushchev walked away more shaken from his experience at a grocery store than from any other encounter during his journey. Supposedly, and this may be apocryphal, he was amazed at the variety of choices available for consumers. In the Soviet Union, there was but one brand of condom, brown, not particularly thin, and poorly lubricated. One went to the store and asked for a condom. But in America, a panoply of condoms could be found. Condoms of every color of the rainbow, some flavored, some ribbed, some lubricated, some not, some small, and some large.
He recognized that by giving consumers the power to choose and thus vote with their wallets, corporations were forced to deliver the best products at all times, lest they lose their customers, their source of sustenance.
Reflecting upon the current lack of choices in politics today, the quality of the candidates comes into question. By limiting ourselves to two candidates from two major parties spitting out the same candidates election cycle after election cycle, we are forcing ourselves to accept mediocrity as the only choice. By refusing to make our own choice, having candidates that we can enthusiastically support and vote for and voting for what we perceive to be the lesser of two evils, we are not choosing at all. Taking the least terrible option instead of clamoring for and supporting a new, better option, is akin to sticking with Time Warner Cable when Google Fiber is charging a tenth the price for ten times faster internet; we, as consumers, would abandon Time Warner wholesale, but somehow we as voters remain steadfastly devoted to our parties.
Two weeks ago, before the first debate and when Trump and Clinton were neck and neck, the thought of giving one’s vote to a third party candidate, whether it be Gary Johnson or Jill Stein, was downright irresponsible. But with Trump’s dramatic collapse following the surfacing of his casual remarks regarding sexual assault and his ensuing debate performance, the likelihood of a Trump presidency has receded to near-zero. Thus, in a race all but guaranteed to be in favor of Hillary Clinton, what can you do with your vote to make a difference in the national conversation?
On November 8, I will be voting for Gary Johnson, and not because I believe in his competency or agree with his policies, but because a vote not for the Republican or Democratic parties is a vote for more, better choices in the future.