Sunday, April 3, 2016

Throwing Away My Vote

I've spent this election cycle  feeling far more bewildered than I have during any election in my entire life.  And for the most part I've avoided talking about it and have especially avoided blogging about it.

Don't worry, this blog isn't going to suddenly be all about politics. This Political Science Major was sick of the subect by the time she graduated, became sicker of it still working at a political organization that lobbied for nuclear disarmament, and wouldn't mind never thinking of it again after this particularly odious election season.

Or now... To be totally honest, what I'd really like is to stop thinking about it Right Now... But since that isn't going to happen... Onward...

For those who don't know me, my political leanings have swung from one end of the political spectrum to the other over the years (I'm not kidding at all.. I considered myself a Communist for at least a solid year), although those silly little tests that pop up from time to time on Facebook tell me that I've landed (at the moment) somewhere solidly in the middle.  

Although that's not really true at all.  I find myself on the far right on some issues, while leaning to the left on others. I agree with my very liberal friends on some issues and with my very conservative friends on others.  
I find that my beliefs in general line up with what the Church teaches and I try not to confuse my reluctant political affiliation with my religious beliefs.

And I find the idea of either Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump as president to be equally terrifying.  
You see, I do feel deep down that a vote for Hillary would be in violation of my conscience.  But I know that a vote for Trump would also involve dragging my conscience through the mud.

Yes, I've heard the arguments from my conservative friends, most of who are not particularly happy with the idea of Trump as a candidate, but who solidly believe that Hillary would be so much worse.  But I just can't talk myself into believing it.  

Not when his own words constantly expose his thoughts to the world.

I don't think that Hillary would be better.  I won't be voting for her either.  

I just know that this time I'm not going to hold my nose when I vote.  

I've been repeatedly told that I'm just listening to propaganda that's causing me to not join in the Trump fandom, but that simply isn't true.  The things that turn my stomach are his own word.  I could list all the ways that he's made it impossible for me to cast a vote for him, but Bonnie has already done a wonderful job of that here.     

And that brings me to the one phrase that I've heard bandied about all too frequently this primary season, that I really dislike.  It's the one thing I've heard repeated that makes me wince and shake my head:

"If you don't vote for one of the main candidates you're throwing away your vote."

I'm sorry.


Just no.  

I think that the vast majority of people who say this, say it because they've heard it over and over again and don't realize that they sort of sound like school yard bullies trying to force people to go against their consciences, to cast a vote for someone they actively dislike and disagree with.  

No.  I will not be throwing away my vote.  I'll be voting for the person who I believe will be the best candidate for president, even if the majority of Americans don't agree with me.  

In the meantime I'll be hoping that someone doesn't get enough delegates and that we end up with a brokered convention and a candidate that I can at least stomach casting a vote for.

I'll do it while harboring a small bit of hope that maybe large numbers of people will be so disenchanted with the choices that we're being given that they'll use their votes to cry out for a better candidate.  

And I'll use my vote to tell the Republican Party that they can't ride along on the merits of past decades as the "party of life" while putting forth candidates who have been vocally for abortion, who may attempt to hit a few prolife talking points, while flipping back and forth on the issue on any given day of the week (example: Abortion is evil!  Planned Parenthood is good!  There should be criminal charges for those who've had abortions!  I won't change any laws on abortion as President!).  

I'll cast my vote and be able to sleep soundly knowing that I have't compromised myself and my beliefs by voting for the lesser of two evils.  


During the Michigan primary Sadie and I spent the day talking about the political process in our country.  

"Who are you going to vote for?" she kept asking me.  I told her that I wasn't sure.  There was this guy, the guy that I actually agreed with, that I thought would be a better president.  And then there was another guy, who I don't think would be a great president, and who I disagree with quite a bit, but who I think would be way, way better than the guy that would be the worst option our party could pick.

I finally explained my predicament and she looked at me like I'd lost my mind.  How was I even thinking of voting for someone who I didn't think would do the best job?  Her little idealistic seven year old mind was obviously distressed.  She gave me a look that basically said "Mom, you know the answer to this question" and I realized that I did.  

And in that moment it became perfectly clear who I should vote for.  The person who I thought was best suited for the job.  I walked into the ballot box and checked off his name, knowing that he was a long shot, but hoping that maybe others would feel the same.  


I'm not going to vote for the candidate that might not be as bad as the other candidate because I'm afraid.  

I'm not going to vote for one evil in an attempt to stop another.  

I'm going to vote for the person that I believe is the best for the job.  And I'm going to pray that others do that same.  I'll pray that others don't vote out of fear or anger, but come from a place of love for our country and for the other people who live alongside us in it.  

Maybe, just maybe, if enough people do that, we'll be able to begin to move away from a system where so many people feel that voting for the lesser of two sub par candidates is the best that we can expect on any given election year.  


  1. i have no clue who i will end up voting for either and i really hate the frontrunners on both sides.

  2. I love this post. Honestly. As a Canadian, I obviously, have no say in your politics. When Trump first started his campaign, Republicans were condemning him, now that he has a chance it seems like all I see are posts justifying voting for him. It shocks me. And you're absolutely right, there is no such thing as a wasted vote. If enough people spoke out, the way you are, I believe you'd have a large enough population to make an actual change. And isn't that what voting is about? Go ON with your bad self, girl! Check that box!!

  3. Good post, Cammie! TB

  4. I am also hoping for a brokered convention, and am (for the first time ever) seriously considering writing in a candidate. I've never been so worried about a presidential election.


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