My Vote of No Confidence

Pax Ahimsa Gethen
3 min readNov 1, 2020
Side-by-side official portraits of Donald Trump and Joe Biden, desaturated and with the word NO in red text superimposed. Both original images are official works of the U.S. federal government and in the public domain.

This week I cast my ballot, as I have in every U.S. general election and nearly every mid-term since I first became eligible to vote in 1988. But for the first time, I did not vote for a presidential candidate. This was not a decision I took lightly.

I’d long since abandoned the Democratic Party, and more recently left the Green Party as well to become an independent voter. I still looked to the San Francisco Green Party voter guide for advice on local and state ballot measures, which I feel are important to me to weigh in on, though I don’t always agree with the Greens’ recommendations or endorsements.

But I was not happy with the Greens’ presidential candidate selection process this year. (Former Green candidate Ian Schlakman has posted some insights on this issue.) I considered voting for my preferred candidate (Dario Hunter) when he went on to run with a new party, but he was not qualified for write-in access in California by the time I was ready to mail in my ballot.

Regardless, I’d been losing confidence in the U.S. government for a long time, and have grown increasingly convinced that no third party or independent candidate has a realistic chance under our current system. True, lasting reform will not take place at the ballot box; it will take a genuine revolution.

I’ve heard all of the reasons liberals give when they insist that voting for the Democratic candidate is the “only” choice. I’ve heard the same talking points in every presidential election, no matter who the opposition is. It’s frankly patronizing and insulting to be told that my decision to vote for anyone but Biden, or to not vote at all, is an act of privilege, considering that I’m a 50 year old queer Black trans person.

Regardless of who wins the popular and electoral votes — which will likely not be fully tallied until several weeks after the election — Donald Trump will never concede voluntarily, and the people who put him in office in 2016 and still want him there will not go away quietly. Businesses in San Francisco are already boarding up

Pax Ahimsa Gethen

Queer agender trans male. Black vegan atheist, pacifist. Pronouns: they/them/their.,