Vote Your Conscience

As we crawl our way towards November and the inevitable Election Day, there is no shortage of voices from both the left and the right screaming at voters to vote one way or the other. Republicans repeat the mantra of “Any vote not for Trump is a vote for Hillary” and Democrats parrot that sentiment in opposite terms saying that “Any vote not for Hillary is a vote for Trump.” I’ve heard politicians, pundits, and personalities on both radio and television all but screaming these tired lies at the top of their lungs. People are appealing to everything from gender identification to religious fervor to justify why you should swallow your disgust, distaste, and distrust and just vote for one of the two major candidates since one of them is the inevitable, inescapable winner anyway. And, if you can’t do that, then just pick which one you hate the most and vote for the other one.

This trend has become so strong that it’s not just public figures who are engaging in it anymore. I’ve seen posts on Facebook and Twitter from friends and family supporting one or the other of the major candidates and invariably the comments devolve into a series of nasty comments about the intelligence, or lack thereof, someone must have to support such degenerate a person. The insults and barbs are slung equally by those on both sides of the aisle, and the vehemence in some of the discussions is more than a little troubling.

Well, I’m not one of those voices.

I’m not going to tell you how to vote, who to vote for, or why. That’s really not my place and I have no business trying to influence others like that. The only piece of advice I would offer would be to encourage people to realize that the election is NOT limited to only two people. Consider the entire field of candidates, their platforms, principles, record, etc. and make an informed and principled PERSONAL choice as to who will win your vote.

Since I turned 18 years old and became eligible to vote I have made a point of voting according to my conscience. I try to look at each candidate in each election cycle and determine which of the potential officers will best uphold, defend, and abide by the Constitution and that’s who gets my vote. Over the course of the past decade and a half I’ve become so disillusioned with the 2-party system that I have been a registered Independent since 2004. After watching the GOP, the self-proclaimed defenders of the republic and of the Constitution, shred the Bill of Rights in the name of national security and counter terrorism I just couldn’t continue to support either party. And, truth be told, after dropping my party affiliation it became even easier to see and recognize hypocrisies and inconsistencies from both sides of the aisle.

Having spent so many years voting according to my conscience, it would be the height of hypocrisy for me to now rail against someone for doing the same simply because I disagree with their choice.

I want to be clear here, I don’t think either Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton is fit to even be a candidate for the office of President, much less elected to it. Both of these candidates have displayed a shocking disregard for the truth that borders on the pathological. Neither of them seems to have even glanced at the Constitution, which is a pretty big deal given the office they are seeking. And both Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton have completely redefined their position on just about every single major issue, policy, and position so many times that it’s hard to keep count of which way they’re leaning at any given moment. As far as I’m concerned both of the major candidates for President this year serve as the epitome of everything that is wrong, broken, and dysfunctional about our election system in this country.

But that is my opinion, and it’s probably very different from yours. And when it’s all said and done, and Election Day finally gets here it shouldn’t be my opinion or anyone else’s that steers your vote. So please, stop listening to the people screaming at you to vote this way or that, this party or that, this candidate or that. Take some time, consider the options (all of them, not just the big two), and make your own choice according to your own conscience.

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