Well, this is it. I’ve enjoyed writing this column for Maclean’s magazine over these past three years but the time has come to pursue my real passion in life. That’s why I’m moving south and becoming a full-time undecided American voter.
I want to be loved, and everybody loves undecided American voters. They get the attention. They get the affection. They get to twirl those little dials that show their instant opinion of politicians and words and stuff. Best of all, they get to fulfill the American dream of going on live television—but without the hassle of being pursued in a high-speed chase.
Once I’m a full-time undecided American voter, politicians will try desperately to win me over, spending tens of millions on provocative advertising and, in Sarah Palin’s case, skirts. Cable news anchors will try intrepidly to probe my psyche, nodding gravely as I lament that neither candidate seems to be speaking to me. To strangers and friends alike, I will suddenly seem exotic and fascinating, finally acquiring the air of mystery I strived to achieve years ago with the eye patch and ascot. (FYI, turns out that combo gives off more of an air of “gay pirate.”)
We undecideds—we are the modern-day Hamlets, our soliloquies of vacillation punctuated by blank stares and exaggerated shrugs. Our first priority is second thoughts. Our chins are red and raw from having been stroked so thoughtfully. And our motto? It is comprised of the four most powerful words in the lexicon of the unsure: On the Other Hand . . .
Being undecided is more than an attention-getter: it’s a huge time saver. It relieves the voter of many of the burdens of citizenship, such as trying to not seem stupid. If you’re undecided, your ignorance suddenly seems almost noble, tragic even. It is the fault of politicians, after all, that you can’t make a decision, that you don’t know the first thing about policy differences, that you smell like damp and you’re covered in cat hair.
The best thing about being an undecided voter in America is that you can make a career of it. Manufacturing jobs can get outsourced, banks can go under, but the supply of elections never dries up. Two days after the 44th president of the United States takes the oath of office, Rudy Giuliani will pull into New Hampshire on a dogsled carrying a banner that reads, “I Still Reacted Heroically on 9/11.” Democracy is the last growth industry in the United States, other than the military, and impregnating Angelina Jolie.
But I go into my new career with eyes open. I know that Undecided Voter is an increasingly popular career choice in the U.S., especially in Rust Belt states where unemployment is rising and the polls are always tight. (Granted, being an undecided voter pays less well than a factory job, but you have to remember that Americans can actually live on fame. It nourishes them.)
I will need to stand out from the crowd. That’s why I’ve developed this four-point strategy for becoming the most famous undecided voter in America by the 2012 election:
1. Be more undecided than any other voter. It’s one thing to be so intellectually barren that you cannot formulate a preference between two very different choices. All undecided voters are that dumb. But I will be even more dumber. I will embody the rare form of chronic indecision that is wholly impervious to logic and common sense. I will tell the cable news reporter that I want to hear specific ideas on how to solve the economic crisis. When a politician reveals his specific ideas on how to solve the economic crisis, I will respond by saying, “I did not hear any specific ideas on how to solve the economic crisis.” Perversely, this will make the cable news networks more interested in talking to me. It will also make James Carville’s head explode.
2. Be undecided not only in terms of elections but also every other aspect of life. My indecision will transcend petty politics. Am I ready to be interviewed? Beats me! Would I like to have superpowers? I’ll give it some thought. Do I want a sandwich? [Stroke chin thoughtfully.] My goal is a mind that is entirely unmakeupable.
3. Hem and haw. Doing just one of the two is not enough.
4. Get a catchy nickname. If there’s one thing we’ve all learned about the whole Joe the Plumber thing, it’s that we’re all sick of Joe the Plumber. What we’re not sick of is actually saying the words “Joe the Plumber.” Because that’s fun. Look for me under the name Dave the Ambivalent Welder.
If all else fails, I will fall back on my secret advantage: as a Canadian citizen, I am not legally permitted to cast a ballot in any American election. Unlike other undecided voters, therefore, I am free to retain my undecidedness up to and beyond election day. I will be The Last Undecided Voter in the United States. And believe me: that makes me feel . . . [strokes chin thoughtfully].