For the first time since I registered to vote in 1996, I’m sitting out an election day. It’s not that I don’t think primaries are important or I want to opt out of the system. One of the fun facts of life of being, as Maryland puts it, “nonaligned”, is the fact that there is basically nothing for an independent to vote for or against on primary election day. Annoying as it is, I can understand the thought process behind only allowing registered members of a political party vote in that party’s primary. It would basically be like letting me vote for mayor of Denver while living here in wild, wonderful Ceciltucky. Sure, I might have an opinion, but since I live outside that particular jurisdiction, it would mostly be an academic exercise.
The fact is, I don’t want to be associated with the right wing tea partiers any more than I want to be associated with the left wing socialists. There isn’t a national political party that speaks to my special blend of beliefs and opinions… and I’d rather sit this one out than get myself painted by the broad brush of either party. With neither side able to show the leadership qualities of the common groundhog, I’d hate for a moment to even give even a vague impression that I support one side or the other when the reality is I loathe them both, just for different reasons.
So here I sit, on primary election day of my 36th year, counting myself among the ranks of the people who just stayed home. Not because I wanted to. Not as a silent protest. But because primarily speaking, this just isn’t the kind of place where the “nonaligned” have a voice. Maybe that’s just what it means to be an independently minded American in 2014.