Not voting for or voting for Trump has entered into the righteous stance stage. And I get it. I am it. Politics can extrovert an introvert and impassion a stoic. It's potent stuff, these ideals. As it should be. So I don't apologize for my opinions (nor should you), nor am I offended by any that disagree.
And I usually disagree passionately. So don't be offended.
Thankfully, we live in a society where conflicting ideas are welcome. And legal. If, as Benjamin Franklin challenged, we can keep it.
Lately, in our passionate expression, I keep hearing a few repeated phrases from those unhappy with the Republican ticket. And, since that's my side of the aisle, I want to address them. This isn't about defending Trump. He can do that himself. Or educating anyone about him. Anyone can do that for themselves.
This is more of an observation of the current mindset. I would start this by saying I'm no expert, but what follows is actually my opinion about these phrases. So I am the only expert.
1. "I must stand up for my principles."Here, here! I'm always for standing up for your principles. So, that's awesome.
My confusion is how Christians/Conservatives are using this in relation to not voting for Trump. I get he's not your ideal candidate, nor mine. But is Hillary? So you're standing up for your principles against someone who doesn't represent your principles by electing someone who doesn't represent your principles.
Do I have that about right?
2. "It's time to send a message."This message sounds important. What is it? Who will be receiving it? How will they receive it? And, if you've already been trying to get this person to listen, what will make them listen now?
If we're going to gamble the future stability of western civilization on this message, let's make it clear. And, let's make sure it will reap the intended results. Otherwise, it sounds about as potent as a celebrity hashtag campaign.
It's vitally important to know who and what we are supporting. Absolutely. But don't stop there. Principles don't end at the ballot box. Who else shouldn't be receiving your support? Do you know about the players in your favorite team? The actors in your favorite movie? The principles that are being promoted in your favorite binge TV series?
3. "I could never support someone who (fill in the blank with whatever you dislike about Trump)."
Entertainers aren't politicians - true. They're worse.
They've been given national and international platforms with no vetting whatsoever. We support them because they entertain us. That's all. Yet they sway the culture. Then the culture sways the legislator. And we're paying them to do so.
If you can't support a person because of (fill in the blank), then make sure you aren't. Be consistent. Be principled. If you're willing to risk the future of a nation, make sure you're also willing to risk missing that playoff game.
4. "I shouldn't have to choose between the lesser of two evils."Ah, sure you should. You do it all the time.
- That hateful thought you didn't share? Well, you shouldn't have even thought it.
- That exaggeration your boss pitched during the client meeting? Let's call that what it is: a lie. And you let it stand.
- That bill you couldn't pay this month? That didn't mean you didn't owe it.
Life is filled with making the tough decisions. Some we get right. Some we get wrong. But we still have to make them. That's life. And it won't be changing the rules before November.
5. "My vote against Trump is not a vote for Hillary."Then who is the vote for?
Your "fill in the blank" candidate has no chance of winning because, ps, they aren't even on the ballot. And any third party candidate who is running has exactly the same chance as your fill in. Just like all modern day Presidential elections since forever, no third party candidate has ever won the Presidency. Even Theodore Roosevelt, although he came close, didn't pull that off.
So, like all other US Presidential elections since we've held them, this is between two candidates. If you want Trump to lose so you can "make a statement," stand on your principles and be honest. Vote for Hillary. Anything else is a denial of what you're really doing.
6. "This is only one election."This statement is often used with "we're better off losing the Presidency and focusing on our Congressional races." Because that tactic has worked beautifully for nearly eight long years now.
The fact this is one election is freaking scary. So much at stake. One election. Not good.
Somewhere a myth has been created that elections don't have consequences. That's a bold statement. Can someone, anyone, please give me an example of an election where there weren't consequences? One will do.
My head hurts.
7. "I don't see any difference between Trump and Hillary."
8. "Voting for Trump just to vote against Hillary isn't good enough."You're so right. It isn't. If you're a conservative, there are several areas where you can find common ground with Trump and Pence. If, that is, you want to find it.
Verbally contentious election years don't bother me. Because, at present, our political fight at home for liberty and freedom still only involves words.
So let's keep all of this discussion and disagreement in perspective. As civilians, our fight doesn't require us to leave our families, our homes, or start every work day wondering if we'll end it with both arms, legs, and eyes. And that's the survivors. For this nation, we still have the freedom, liberty, and blessing to fight our political wars with words.
But one day soon, if we treat elections as throwaways, the cost could get far, far greater.
Doing everything I can to stop that from happening? That's the principle I'm standing on.