Most people around election time don’t reveal who they voted for, I know plenty of people who don’t. “To each his own,” I always say. I have never been shy in discussing and or explaining what I believe in or stand for, and that is why I am revealing my choice. I’ll begin by saying, against the beliefs of some, voting for Hillary Clinton does not show a diminished education level, knowledge level, or response to current and past events. I know what both Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump stand for, or at least I have tried to, and I spent the last two weeks really researching each candidate in depth using unbiased sources before choosing the person worthy of my vote. I learned long ago that there is no such thing as a perfect candidate, nor will there ever be a perfect candidate. When choosing between two things you’re putting your faith in which one gives you the best chance to succeed, and I thought Hillary did that for me. Regardless of the outcome of this election (still undecided as I write this) I stand by my vote 100%.
I registered to vote immediately after graduating high school in 2007 and I registered as an Independent. I did this for two main reasons: 1. I didn’t want to be solicited by Republicans or Democrats who come to your door or cold call your house looking for donations or votes. I wanted to be left alone to make the decision on my own without outside influence or pressure. 2. I don’t like labels, to some degree. Too often people who register as Democrat or Republican only vote that way because that’s what they are. When you tell someone you’re one or the other, they assume and make their own opinion based on stereotypical views of each party, and I can do without that. I like having the free-will to always start in the middle, as I always say. I think to view any election or decision you face in life, you have to start in the middle and weigh out all of the options. Not all candidates are good or bad, you have to decide based on a neutral observation, which is what I do.
When Donald Trump burst on to the political scene last year my first reaction was “Man, this guy has some balls, that’s what our country needs.” As time went on and I delved deeper into who Trump was, what he stood for, and listened to what came out of his mouth I learned that I could not vote for Donald Trump. Anyone who reads headlines or casually follows along knows the details. Trump often talks without thinking, as if he doesn’t know he’s on the largest of national stages. From labeling all Mexicans “rapists and killers” to denying that global warming exists to making claims that have no backbone, to me it was all rubbish. I watched the debates and in each one yelled at the television screen. Trump doesn’t answer questions with straight answers. Asked what he will do in certain situations he responds by bashing Obama, bashing Hillary, and going way off topic. You’re going to take away health insurance from millions of people and then what? Trump claims he will “abolish Obamacare” but has never once discussed what he plans to replace it with. He claims he will build this massive wall to keep immigrants out and Mexico will pay for it but exactly how? Will he use military force to threaten them? He plans to offer all of these great tax breaks but if you actually read into what he is proposing, all of the breaks benefit affluent families and rich business owners, not the “common folk.” On top if it all the guy disrespects pretty much everyone but white males, which is not alright with this white male.
In 5th grade my teacher had a two day debate, and it was boys against girls. I don’t remember the topic but it was something along the lines of who is better, who is more important, etc. For the entire first day I spoke for the guys and made some valid points, but the entire time I felt bad. The second day I switched to the girls team and when arguing, felt much more comfortable with the words I was saying. I’ve always been for women’s rights, equal pay for women, and above all else, respect for women. I listen to each candidate speak and I also see the way Trump acts and speaks about women and it disgusts me. As a father to a daughter, I don’t want to ever tell her when she grows up that I voted for a sexist pig who spoke openly about doing whatever he wanted to women without recourse. On the contrary, Hillary stands for much that I believe in, including looking for ways to use renewable energy sources such as wind and solar power, equal rights for all, altering Obamacare to expand it to more individuals and families, and the continued work of Planned Parenthood. Trump either doesn’t believe those issues exist or flatly doesn’t care about them. Hillary will also continue many of Obama’s policies, many that I believe in and with a little tweaking can be improved. Lastly, in disagreeing with Trump, he’s not going to “Make America Great Again” for one simple reason: it’s been great. I once had a college professor ask my class: “Do you know why countries around the world hate the United States? Because we’re the greatest country in the world and they know it.” I couldn’t agree more and what’s really great about America is you can strive to be or do whatever you want to. So if you don’t like America as it is, you’re always free to go somewhere else and seek what it is you desire.
In parting I know I’ll be asked why I didn’t take a third road and vote for another candidate, and I think it’s a valid question, especially this year. Gary Johnson’s name makes its way through the headlines as he is this years Libertarian candidate and it seems that he has caught some steam in this election. That being said, I have very specific reasons why I didn’t vote for him and it starts with his economic ideas are wildly radical and quite honestly, irresponsible. Abolishing federal income taxes, cutting Medicare and Medicaid by 40%, banning federal bailouts of states, and a few others would not only trigger a recession, but also remove hundreds of billions of dollars from the economy. Government would be unable to stabilize business and millions of people would lose healthcare. I agree with his idea to cut spending, but you have to choose wisely where you are cutting it, you can’t just cut spending for the sake of cutting spending. Also, Johnson’s best work is done domestically. When it comes to foreign issues, he has stumbled many times even admitting he had no idea what important issues were. When you aren’t prepared to be president and you show up and have to discuss issues there’s nothing to hide behind, and it showed for Johnson. Like I said, I like some of his work, but as a whole, I don’t think he is presidential material. Additionally, until other parties are weighted equally in these elections, voting for them is pointless. I hear the argument of “Voting for Gary is voting for you” as if somehow Gary Johnson is this perfect candidate that everyone somehow missed on except millennials. He’s become the choice that allows you to get away with not saying you supported Trump or Clinton. I knew my vote was between Trump and Clinton because I was voting for the person I wanted to become president of the United States. I knew Gary Johnson wasn’t going to become president, you knew Gary Johnson wasn’t going to become president, and Gary Johnson knew he wasn’t going to become president. In a year that seemed prime for a third party candidate to do some real damage, the same old outcome will happen. As I said above, until it’s a true three party race, I can’t consider any other candidates.
I conclude in admitting that I have no idea how this election will end. The previous two elections I just felt that Obama would win, and this time I honestly wouldn’t be surprised with either result. Above all else, regardless of outcome I’m an American and I support our country, and I’ll hope that our new leader takes us in a direction of prosperity. I also stand by my decision to vote for Hillary Clinton and I would do so again if given the chance. I look all over social media and see Trump supporters out in droves, but very few Hillary supporters and often wonder why that is, because I know they exist. I’m also not affected by the opinions of those who voted in other directions. Anyone reading the headline of this piece knew my stance before they read one word of it and they knew how I voted. I’m sure some will disagree but that’s what makes this country so great isn’t it?