Dearly Beloved Voting Americans,
I am writing this as a voter who does not shy away from the “Christian” or “conservative” political labels. Pro life and pro family are positive titles to me I’m proud to wear as a committed pro human (pro human on most days). Given those personal predilections, it is rightly assumed I would never vote for Hillary Clinton in the upcoming presidential election. I empathize with both the #neverTrump and #neverHillary social media movements. But, since I’ve always been a registered Republican voter in my voting lifetime, I feel the need to speak to the deficiencies found in my own “home team” before I speak to the away side.
This will be the first year I will not be voting for the GOP nominee in the general election.
The first objection raised with this statement from Republican adherents is inevitably, “Don’t you know not voting for Donald Trump is a vote for Hillary Clinton?!” (Or “Killary, Billary, Or Hitlery” or some other witty* alt right modification on the name)
To which my knee jerk reply is,
“Don’t you know a vote for Donald Trump is indeed a vote for Donald Trump?”
It’s not just that he has a nasty public persona: Yes, his whole faux tough guy veneer, his jingoistic rhetoric, his misuse and abuse of Bible texts, his 7th grade girl Twitter tirades. All those are bad enough. But what’s worse is this: we don’t even know what he really believes about the Constitution or how executive powers are limited by it. He wants to fix the nation like he can buy and fix a dying hotel property with his brand of CEO style authoritarian leadership. But the office of president wasn’t designed to work that way.
It’s apparent he’s making up important public policy and platform decisions on the fly, like a contestant on “Whose Line is it Anyway?” Except this isn’t funny anymore and the points do matter this time around. Once you get past his talking points about a wall, China, and bombing oil fields you realize his chamber is spent. And we’ve gotten to the point where his unprepared incoherence is actually endearing to many voters. Oh, he’ll figure it out later, he’s smart. He’ll fix America.
Bush and Obama are examples of what it looks like when the left or right uses unconstitutional executive powers to “fix” things. Bush used executive decrees that gave way to Obama using executive decrees that will gave way to Trump/Clinton using executive decrees. And that magic scepter will forever continually be passed down the line until the peasant democracy rebels with their vote.The issue isn’t with the partisan team one identifies with, they both are to blame in this game of thrones.
We need a statesmen who will keep the government restrained from it’s natural impulse to fix everything. As the old Reagan adage goes: The nine most terrifying words in the English language are, “I’m from the government and I’m here to help.”
The government just wants to help you like a young Kylo Ren just wants a hug from his daddy, Han.
We don’t need those types of hugs. Nor do we need in the most powerful office in the land
or a celebrity obsessed with his own exploits.
The next objection in line will be, “So what, Hillary doesn’t care about the constitution either? We KNOW that from her decades of political experience.”
And I concede that. That is why I’m not voting for her.
To which one might respond, “We only have two dominant parties, so we only really have two choices.”
This is where I’d diverge:
We will always only have two choices for president for as long as we passively believe we will always only have two choices for president. For now, I’m leaning voting Libertarian but that can change. It may be true that a third party candidate has little chance to take on Democratic royalty and a billionaire Republican celebrity. But that is not the point. “Of two evils, choose neither,” Spurgeon advises us from the grave. You can choose the candidate that closest fits your principles and values. They just may not reside in the currently anointed two parties.
It is not so much about winning this election. Right now the choices between the two major parties are marginally different this election cycle. The line between Democrat and Republican has disappeared and the true line is between authoritarian and libertarian. And one thing, other than authoritarian political philosophy, the two parties also have in common: People’s disenchantment with these two presumptive candidates is historically high. The unfavorable ratings for both are astronomical. One would have to go back decades to find such a parallel hatred for both dominant candidates on the same election year.
A third party is primed to make a serious statement. Not necessarily win. Is the magic vote number 10, 15, or 20+% in the general election to begin a movement that lasts? I don’t know. But my hope is a enough noise will be made by a principled constitutionally coherent third party, that, maybe, down the road, a three party system can develop. When a Trump/Clinton term gets done crashing and burning in a brilliant display of attempted autocracy in 4-8 years then maybe a libertarian republic can rise from those ashes.
Maybe 8, 12, or 16 years from now the two party system will be broken for good. Dream with me here. Maybe when all three of my sons reach voting age they will have more than the two viable presidential choices their daddy did in 2016. Can I get a witness? Maybe those choices won’t violate their conscience and make them physically sick to their stomachs at the prospect of voting for only the “top” two candidates.
Protesting with our collective vote and waiting for that to happen will be difficult. It may be a long shot and I know it’s not the most expedient sexy revolution that can happen. Fox News and CNN will probably not even televise it. But maybe that’s when America will be great again.
At least that’s my hope for this 2016 election, beloved.