“It’s wasting your vote”
“We can’t afford your protest this time–it’s too important.”
How many times have we heard the admonitions that voting for a third party is either futile or downright dangerous. Well, I’m voting third party this time around, and I encourage anyone who isn’t totally for Clinton or Trump to do so as well.
Joe Heschmeyer at Shameless Popery has described it succinctly: The two candidates are “awful”:
“As for Clinton, while she has been evasive about certain late-term abortions, her overall support for the legalized killing of unborn children is unambiguous. Indeed, she’s only gotten worse with age: she went from arguing that abortions should be “safe, legal, and rare” (adding, “and I mean rare“) to arguing that they should simply be “safe and legal” (the “rare” language is also conspicuously absent from prepared campaign materials, so this wasn’t an innocent oversight). Indeed, it’s not enough for there to be a constitutional right to abortion: she’s pointed to the need to change religious beliefs to favor abortion, and the Democratic Party is in the process of including new language in its platform to encourage federal funding for abortion (breaking the Hyde Amendment truce).”
“Trump has called for torture as a tool for winning the war on terror, as well as “taking out” the families of terrorists (he later denied that this necessarily meant murdering the families). As for waterboarding, he’s said:
‘They asked me, what do you think about waterboarding, Mr. Trump. I said I love it. I love it. And I said the only thing is, we should make it much tougher than waterboarding, and if you don’t think it works, folks, you’re wrong.’ “
Now add to his support for torture and general disregard for religious and ethnic minorities, his disgusting comments from 2005 about how he (as a married man) chases married women, “when you’re a star, they let you do it.”
These are simple facts about the candidates; those who are motivated by concern about one or the other candidate cajole me to vote for the opponent.
Still, I hear reassurances that the wrongs of the candidates aren’t that bad, and I simply must support the “lesser of two evils.”
We’ve all been voting the lesser of two evils for too long. It has led to this–the two most disliked candidates since voter opinions have been measured.
So it’s time to do something different–vote your conscience.
Abstaining from voting is not the same. Voting is the only scrap that connects most Americans to the political process from an input standpoint. Few write letters to Congressmen; few donate to campaigns; fewer still have the money to actually influence political processes. But all of us can vote. (Maybe voting is a sham like some people allege, but the form, even if it’s empty, is all we have left.)
Voting matters, and your conscience matters.
If you actually like Clinton or Trump, by all means, vote for one of them. But if you don’t, then don’t. If all of us who don’t much care for either one voted for someone else, the election could turn out differently–all elections could turn out differently.
If there is a third party woman or man who you respect, go for it! If there isn’t, write in someone you do respect.
For all those who compare Trump to Hitler as a reason we must vote for Clinton (or vice versa), I ask you, if everyone who opposed Hitler even at all, had spoken up about it instead of just going along to get along, the course of Nazi Germany could have been different. In this scenario, voting for the other one isn’t a courageous act–it’s going along to get along. It’s what led us here. I know that’s harsh; I know that’s bound to offend some people. But I believe personal integrity is the only meaningful response to unsupportable candidates.
A Lutheran pastor who lived through Nazi Germany, Martin Niemoeller, famously summarized his remorse for contributing to Hitler’s rise, and it easily parallels some of the candidates’ positions today:
“First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Socialist.
Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Trade Unionist.
Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Jew.
Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.”
This warning about letting the oppression of others go unchecked because it isn’t us should stare us in the face regarding both candidates.
But whatever our persuasion, if we believe in opposing dictators, the most important thing we can do is to have integrity. Having integrity means following your conscience even when it goes against the party line.
If we sacrifice our consciences for the “greater good,” there will always be some cause that overrules truth for the sake of some apparent, present good that actually leads us deeper into a mess. Leading up to World War II, British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain’s appeasement of Hitler sacrificed countries like Poland for “peace,” a weak peace, for the sake of avoiding taking a stand. That’s where the lesser of two evils leads. Often it is hard to know when to draw a line and when to let things go. A line here is long overdue.
That’s why a candidate being repulsive is not necessarily a call to vote for the other one. Integrity calls us to vote as we actually believe–even if that’s a third party–even if it’s a write in. Integrity requires that we know where we stand and are willing to hold onto to convictions even when challenged.
If we all acted with integrity, voted for someone we believed in, lived or attempted to live according to our sincerely held, sincerely examined beliefs, then the world would be different. It doesn’t mean we would agree on everything.
It does mean candidates would have to become accountable to our sincerity, not just our fears and the money of the wealthy.
When I imagine the harm I see both Trump and Clinton doing in office, I cannot morally justify giving either my vote.
So I will be voting third party for Evan McMullin. He seems to be a man of actual convictions, who truly believes in the sanctity of life and isn’t just a recent flip-flop to the position. He has years of experience in the CIA–his foreign policy recommendations seek to make Muslims allies instead of opponents; I believe he understands what we’re up against in Syria in a way that Trump, who has openly expressed admiration for Putin, does not and that Hilary, who bungled Libya, does not. I believe he supports religious freedom for everyone.
I’m not saying he’s perfect, but I think he’s the most likely to make America less of a bully aboard and at home. His interview here says it all: Clinton does not believe she is accountable to the American public and she favors big, top-down government. Trump is a fraud and a narcissist who admires authoritarian leaders.
To those who say that conscience is a luxury we can’t afford, I disagree. It is an imperative we have ignored for too long.
[Notes: I took aim at both Clinton and Trump here. I realize that Evan McMullin is likely to appeal more to convservatives.]