Beto and Abbott


Noah Davila, Editor-in-chief

Last week was the deadline to register for the 2022 election season. Before I turned eighteen I was online, filling out my registration to send off. I asked everyone I knew if they’d registered yet, and was met often with the most apathetic, lowercase ‘no’ I’d ever heard. I was so confused by this because I was ecstatic. Time went on, and as the political heat grew, it seemed people cared even less. They still thought that Greg Abbott was an ignorant old man or that Beto was a sleazy gritter. They just didn’t care, because all politicians are. And after watching the debate, how was I to argue? When the deadline came, I hadn’t turned in my registration because I didn’t care either. 

Let me digress, I do care. There are a lot of people who will be deeply affected by this coming election, specifically our immigration and homeless population. My one apathy is a product of the privilege I have, but I can’t pretend that I’m not becoming complacent. What will change in my life from all this? Let’s look at the candidates because they seem unsure as well. 

Abbott’s tactics at the debate centered mainly on character assassination– Beto is a wimp, a liberal loser who’s too weak-willed to control his own proposed policies, much less the whole state. He’ll let in every illegal, and hand over your guns to them. Obviously, I’m paraphrasing, but the kind of low-effort conspiracies Abbott has become fond of throwing out are usually pretty silly. I imagine Greg likes to make little doodles of Beto on hands and knees, giving horsey rides to Nancy Pelosi through the streets of Austin. 

Abbott’s mental image of Beto is at the very least interesting, something the real Beto is not. Beto used the tactic that most liberals love: fact sheets. Statistic, solution, statistic, solution. And while his grievances are usually pretty sound to any policy nerd, the solutions are either too idealistic or too boring to stir up anyone who isn’t already firmly on the Beto Bus. Better than one of Greg’s at least. 

Does a snotty liberal or a crazy conservative, sound familiar? It’s like every political event of the last 6 years has been distilled into its most boring, bitter shot. And what is a privileged political nerd to do? While I might support one over the other, I know that it truly doesn’t matter. It feels like things will just be gradually getting worse forever and there is not much I can do to stop that. Trapped at the peak of a sinking Titanic. Maybe this is just how the internet age is destined to go. Everything becomes a meme of itself, a bland franchise to be rehashed over and over with a thick layer of irony and apathy applied each go around.

Ok, enough gloom and doom. What can be done? There is no satisfying answer. All I know is that people don’t care, and the few who do are usually crazy. Myself included. Maybe it’s time we start thinking outside of the ballot box and look at what is fundamentally wrong with our country before politics– and before election results have a post-credit scene. The only things that feel good or satisfying anymore are love and solidarity, so let’s start there.