I didn’t vote today and I’m not proud of it. I do have some excuses. I’ve been on the road for over a month now and I would’ve had to plan ahead and get an absentee ballot way in advance. I recently had a baby and I was a lot busier and more distracted this year than I’ve ever been. When it comes down to it though, it was really cynicism that kept me from doing what I needed to do to vote. I’ve watched more than a few campaigns over the years and I’ve seen the same things happen over and over. There’s the extremist rhetoric, the empty promises, the sensationalized media coverage. The country divides into two sides who blindly and ferociously support their team no matter what. This year I just had enough of it and it made me feel sick and disheartened.
Now that election day is here the simple reality of what’s going to happen has hit me. At the end of today one of these guys is actually going to be president of our country. For real. One of these guys will be our president and the winner will run our country in drastically different ways than the loser. Despite all the absence of substance that comes with the campaign season it’s all lead to something extremely substantial. That very basic reality made me embarrassed about how cynical and disinterested I became. I’ve just been sitting here focusing on everything that’s wrong with the process and these candidates instead of focusing on what I agree with and believe in. I accomplished nothing. Contributed absolutely zero. It was stupid. Being cynical is easy. Believing in something is hard.
Last week I returned home from a European tour with Taking Back Sunday. I’ve been touring for about ten years now and for the first time in a long while I got to go to some cities that I’ve never been to. Seeing some new places brought back the feeling of touring in the early days. The days when I wasn’t sure what to expect and the excitement of traveling made me feel free. Most afternoons I would wander around for hours between soundcheck and the start of the show. I usually had no idea where to go, but would always end up finding something interesting. I took a lot of pictures during those walks and I’ve posted a lot of them online. I was looking back through them today though and thought there were a few more that might be worth sharing…
I moved to Lawrence, KS from Long Island about 3 years ago. One of the things I’ve loved about living here is that even though Lawrence is a big town it’s only about a fifteen minute drive until you’re out in serene, wide open country. As I got deeper and deeper into exploring the surrounding areas I found out that the Midwest is full of towns that were started in the late nineteenth century and flourished for awhile before being gradually abandoned. I’ve been fascinated by these places and I’ve explored and photographed a lot of them over the years. These are some of my favorite photos from those expeditions.