Voting season is upon us. Impromptu conversations about health care, military funding, marriage laws, and the like have seen a notable increase in nearly every social stratum. Some of you may feel confused about the incredibly complex issues being discussed and have chosen to exit the conversation entirely.
Others of you, for various reasons, may not care about who gets voted into office this November. Still others may plan to vote for a particular candidate simply because they are “the lesser of two evils”. Although I wish to specifically address this last group, I would like all of you to consider the following fact, as it may influence your decision about voting: we have more than two choices for president.
After a rigorous inner struggle involving morality and my faith in Jesus, I finally made the decision to vote in November. Initially, I held the stance that I would be voting for Obama, who I see as the proverbial “lesser of two evils” when compared to his most serious competitor. However, I soon realized that I don’t agree with him on many issues important to me, not to mention the fact that his presidency has promised a lot more than it has delivered. I began to do some research, and realized that I agreed far more with Jill Stein, the candidate for the Green Party. Call me naïve, but I had never considered the possibility of voting for a third party, and perhaps you haven’t either.
While I am under no illusions that a single person elected as president can turn the U.S. into a utopia, I am convinced that the person that we put in office is important. I imagine that many, if not most of you, feel the same. I have also encountered many people of voting age who feel stuck between the two most popular candidates as I once did; they feel they cannot vote for either candidate in good conscience. I encourage any of you who feel this way to do a little investigation. Find out who addresses issues most important to you, and consider voting for them. If enough of the “in-between” voters followed this advice, it is possible that we wouldn’t have to deal with one of the “lesser evils” as president.
Some of you may ask, “Why should I vote for a third party? There’s no chance they’ll win.” This is a valid question, and one that I don’t have the space to address properly. However, I can say this: having the right to assert a vote in the upcoming election is a great privilege on a global scale. We often don’t recognize the opportunity we are allowed in having a say in our government. With recent revolutions such as the Arab Spring, we see the horrific price that many will pay just to have a fair say in who their elected officials are. To them, standing for what they believe in is more important than simply winning in the end.
In light of this lack of political freedom that much of the world experiences, I ask that each one of us examines our motives for voting or not voting, and recognizes that there are more than two options for the 2012 presidential election.
List of Third Party Candidates:
• Libertarian Candidate: Gary Johnson
• Major Issues: Limited government, anti-war, anti-corruption.
• Green Party Candidate: Jill Stein Major Issues: Political reform, social justice, ecological and economic sustainability.
• Constitution Party: Virgil Goode
Major Issues: Pro-life, strong military, limited government, domestic right to privacy.
• Justice Party: Rocky Anderson
Major Issues: Limited military, progressive tax codes, end of bush era tax cuts, environmental justice, opposition to coal power.
• Peace and Freedom Party: Roseanne Barr
Major Issues: Double minimum wage, cut work week to 30 hours, increase welfare programs, focus on making sure that everybody has gainful and fulfilling employment.
Bridgett Brunea,Contributing Writer