5 Reasons Why Voting Third Party Is Not A Wasted Vote

5 Reasons Why Voting Third Party Is Not A Wasted Vote

Vote with pride, fellow Americans.

This November will be my first election that I can vote in, and I’ve already got my candidate picked out.

I’m not a Trump supporter, I’m not vying for Hillary, and I’m definitely not “feeling the Bern” (which, by the way, is a tagline that really just makes me think of a bad UTI). I’m supporting a third party candidate.

Ultimately, the response that I get when I tell others I’m voting third party is that I’m “wasting” my vote. To all my third party friends who are getting the same backlash: don’t listen to them. You’re vote isn’t wasted, and I’m about to tell you why.

To all my political bullies: you’re wrong, and I’m about to tell you why.

1. “A vote for a lesser evil is still a vote for evil.”

A good friend of mine once told me this, and it’s my go-to response for anyone trying to tell me my vote is a waste. If you want to vote for Trump because you truly believe he’s good for this country, you go right on ahead. Vote with confidence and vigor, as all Americans should. But don’t vote for Trump just because you “don’t really like him but he’s better than Hillary.” Think of it this way: Voldemort and Dolores Umbridge are running for president. Voting for Trump because you don’t like Hillary is essentially voting for Voldemort because you don’t like Umbridge. Congratulations, you just voted to become a Death Eater and watch the world burn. You really don’t have to do that though, because conveniently Dumbledore is running as a third party candidate, and would voting for Dumbledore be a wasted vote?

2. A vote for a candidate you believe in is never wasted.

Back up to point number one, when I said if you’re voting for Trump because you believe in him then it’s okay. A little anecdote: when I was fourteen and learning about government (shoutout to the lovely Ms. Mion of Northside High School) I promised my future self I would always vote. Lots of people around the world would kill for my right to vote (and do) and I promised 18-year-old me that no matter what I believed I would still vote. And I don’t do anything half-assed. The point is this: even if the government is horrendously corrupted, and the Electoral College will probably screw you over in the end, take advantage of your right to vote and do it with some class. Do your research, find a candidate that, if they won, you think would change the country for the better. Vote for them. At the end of the day you can sleep soundly knowing you took advantage of the right that our forefathers fought so bravely for. You go to church because you believe it’s good for you, you eat your vegetables because you believe they’re good for you-- why not vote for a candidate because you believe they’re good for everyone?

3. You may have more in common with a third party candidate than you think.

My candidate of choice (and I promise I’ll reveal him later, for those of you who haven’t read my articles before) once said he started running to get people talking. The more we talk about the third party candidates, the more we find out that we stand together on many of the same issues. Libertarians, for example, are fiscal conservatives, social liberals, and non-interventionists. The Georgia Libertarian party tagline is “Smaller government. Less taxes. More freedom.” Who can’t get behind that?

4. Vote third party and bring down the power Democrats and Republicans hold over everyone.

Let’s face it: the candidates for both parties this election are, in a word, dreadful. Sure there’s Bernie and Trump, who can do no wrong among their staunch supporters, but the fact is that they’re both extremists. And the Electoral College doesn’t like voting for extremists. Then there’s Hillary, Cruz, Carson, and Kasich—the more watered-down counterparts of Trump and Bernie. The beauty of voting third party is that when more people do it, the party will win more and more of the popular vote. In the future, third-party candidates could be allowed to debate alongside partisan politicians, and get just as much recognition as the democrats and republicans. And for the voters that means more choices. Say goodbye to the annoying “I hate all of the candidates” posts. Say goodbye to having your vote dictated for you. *happy dance*

5. How dare you tell me I’m wasting my vote?

This last point is frankly just about human decency. Let’s just reflect for a moment on how you’d feel if I told you that your vote was a waste. Let’s think about how ugly it sounds to tell someone that they shouldn’t vote for a candidate they support because “they’re never going to win anyway.” Those who truly believe a third party candidate will never get elected are the reason for two horribly corrupted parties. And anyway, who are you to say if my vote “counts” or not? I don’t see you in the Electoral College.

So folks, go on and vote for whomever you want, because if you truly support them then no vote is wasted. And please remember be kind to your fellow voters, they’re exercising their rights just like you—and it totally counts.

Oh yeah, the guy I’m supporting? Gary Johnson. Stay tuned for an article next week on Gary’s stance on “the issues.” In the mean time, here’s one to tide you over.

Cover Image Credit: http://www.korsgaardscommentary.com/2012/10/is-a-vote-for-a-third-party-really-a-wasted-vote.html

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8 Books That Should Be 'Accidentally' Shipped To Donald Trump

As comical as it is to see Trump in distress from this harmless delivery mistake, It made me think of some other books that should be mistakenly shipped to the White House.

Earlier this week, I was sent an interesting article about the latest White House drama. It seemed that Amazon had accidentally shipped 10,000, yes you read that correctly, 10,000 copies of James Comey’s new book to the White House.

For those of you who do not know, James Comey is the former director of the FBI. He was fired while working with the Trump administration and it is fair to say that Trump and Comey definitely don’t have the best relationship. So when 10,000 copies of James Comey’s book showed up on Trumps’ doorstep, he was far from thrilled.

As comical as it is to see Trump in distress from this harmless delivery mistake, it made me think of some other books that should be mistakenly shipped to the White House.

1. "10% Happier" by Dan Harris

This book teaches mindfulness. A beginner's favorite, it gives great insight into the physical benefits of mindfulness. In today's non-stop culture, we are constantly surrounded by stresses and are often unable to relax. Maybe Trump could benefit from taking a few minutes off twitter to enjoy meditation.

2. "How To Win Friends and Influence People" by Dale Carnegie

This classic novel gives insight into forming and improving the relationships in life. It gives the reader the tools to be successful and happy in all types of situations. Maybe Trump could boost his approval rating from its all-time low if he knew how to get people to like him!

3. "You Are a Badass" by Jen Sincero

“By the end of You Are a Badass, you'll understand why you are how you are, how to love what you can't change, how to change what you don't love, and how to use The Force to kick some serious ass” (Good Reads).

This book is filled with humor to lighten the serious issues the reader may be dealing with. The inspiration to be your best self is a reoccurring theme throughout the novel. Maybe Trump will find his best self, maybe not, but we can only hope!

4. "The Secret" by Rhonda Byrne

Another iconic self-help book focusing on the law of attraction. The law of attraction is the idea of putting positive ideas and vibes into the universe in order to change the world and achieve what you want. Let’s hope and pray the Trump administration starts putting out some positive vibes and in the meantime, let’s put out good vibes on their behalf.

5. "The Power of Now: A Guide to Spiritual Enlightenment" by Eckhart Tolle

This relatively short read aims to provide the reader with a spiritual enlightenment. It stresses living in the present and not the past or future. I think Trump could greatly benefit from this novel. Maybe he would be able to own up to the acts of his past and move forward to focus on real issues!

6. "Be Vigilant But Not Afraid: The Farewell Speeches of Barack Obama and Michelle Obama" by Former President Barack Obama and Former First Lady Michelle Obama

I think the title speaks for itself on this one! If you purchase this book on Amazon for $9.00, the proceeds will be donated to the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), donorschoose.org, and the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP). Three organizations I’m sure the Trump administration has yet to fund!

7. "Conflict Free Living: How To Build Healthy Relationships For Life" by Joyce Meyer

Besides Trump's questionable foreign relationships, his personal relationships don’t exactly seem to be all that well. There have been multiple speculations of his wife, Melania Trump, not sleeping in the same room as her husband as well as many other questions on the state of their marriage. This read might just be able to fix that!

8. "Milk and Honey" by Rupi Kaur

The most infamous VSCO posts of all time: any poem by Rupi Kaur. The book contains four chapters that bring the reader through four hard ships in life and finds the happiness in them. Besides appealing to women ages 15 to 25, Trump would really be forced into the emotional journey that is this book of poems.

Each of these books are filled with self-help, inspiration, and positivity. I truly believe that Donald Trump could learn a lot from a quick read but I also know these books have the ability to influence and help anyone and everyone! So next time your sad about the latest politcial drama, curl up, grab a book and stay positive!

Cover Image Credit: Emily Sullivan

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To Live On $5 A Day

You couldn't be poor if you tried

Each day, I wake up in a bed that costs me $3,470 to sleep in. I swipe into a dining hall to eat breakfast, later to eat lunch, finally to eat dinner, each swipe deducting $18 from not my own but my parents' wallet. Each day, I attend two or three classes, valued at another approximately $250 per class, per day. I also have a cellphone, a laptop, a television, a microwave, and a refrigerator. Three days a week, I head to work, where I pay $5 to use public transportation to commute to and from the South End. I wear a $300 winter coat, $150 boots, and a $75 backpack carrying no burden of uncertainty or stress on my shoulders, as I will likely never be able to imagine, let alone live, a day that truly costs less than $5. A day that, in other terms, costs less than the price of the mere transportation I take in order to earn a wage; an entire day that must cost a person less money than it takes for me to make money.

In my Globalization and International Affairs class, we were tasked with the challenge to live on less than $5 a day for two days. Approximately 3 billion people in our world live on less than $2 a day, a notable third of whom live on less than $1 a day. Admittedly, I did not even attempt to complete the challenge to emulate this lifestyle of billions, for it was immediately evident that even my best attempt would only mean the elimination of my comparative luxuries and would in no way actually emulate the reality of a true $5-a-day existence. For example, if I were to attempt this lifestyle to the best of my ability, it would start with the elimination of everything listed above that constitutes what I would deem to be even my most minimal and requisite daily routine. In addition to the obvious riddance of anything remotely lavish that has become normalized in my life (Sunday brunches, piano lessons, trips to the MFA, shopping on Newbury), I would also bid farewell to the luxuries that have developed into perceived necessities, like my phone, my laptop, my shoes, or my bed. Further, I would not attend any classes and would have to leave thirty minutes earlier than normal in order to walk to work; I would walk without my warm winter clothes and hungry from the lack of my dining hall dinner, and would later come home to nothing other than maybe a vacant alley or a grassy patch in the Fens instead of my only relatively appealing triple economy dorm room.

Though, even if I successfully did all of those things and proceeded to live two entire days without spending a penny (which would be another challenge in and of itself), I still would be living a daily lifestyle valued extraordinarily higher than $5. For, even if all bells and whistles were to be stripped away, I would remain societally integrated and knowledgeable of the world around me, capable of writing and speaking coherently, healthy and with access to clean water, the daughter to two economically stable parents of whom I am dependent, as well as a citizen of the United States of America, ultimately making me immeasurably more rich than nearly half of the world’s population based on these inherent privileges alone.

This rationale alludes to the more deeply-rooted problems that cause one to live in poverty, as true poverty is so much more than just a given individual’s lack of luxuries, expenditures, or even a place to sleep. I would argue that the worst of the problems of poverty are not the consequences endured in individual circumstances, but rather the larger, structural deficiencies that those individual experiences indicate. We tend to readily envision experiences of poverty in familiar terms as the lives of “the urban poor”− the experience of the homeless man pacing the T car and probing us for spare change, for instance. However, this assumption paints a limited picture, offering a wildly limited understanding of global poverty as, of the 1.1 billion people who live on less than $1 per day worldwide, 70% are small-scale rural farmers and people suffering in areas sufficiently less developed or integrated than that of the urban poor.

In this way, “the urban poor” face a type of poverty that is much different, arguably richer, than that of the rural poor. Though the lives of poor city-dwellers indeed indicate a lack of financial security unimaginable to the likes of me (yet, likely still a type of poverty that I would be able to emulate had I attempted to), the lives of the poorest of the poor represent a stagnating lack of any existing opportunity to even earn such income − a reality I could never emulate as a citizen of such an impressively developed nation. For, the true problem faced by the poorest countries of the world is not evidenced in a given person’s poverty or even unemployment, but rather in the overarching lack of industry, international relations, and stable economy in the country that houses such persons.

Largely concentrated in Africa and Central Asia, these countries that are struggling to develop are such that "coexist with the twenty-first century, yet their reality is the fourteenth century: civil war, plague, ignorance." This means that while a good number of countries are prosperous or have become so, countries that remain in the “bottom billion” in terms of development have been trapped by impoverishing consequences of bad governance, a lack of resources, and conflict. And, although it is not impossible for a country to eventually escape from these traps, it is incredibly difficult. Further, it becomes crucial to consider that, just like it should not be expected for these bottom billion countries to readily escape their complexly debilitating traps, we should not find ourselves expecting that of the individual people who are caught suffering the traps’ consequences.

To understand poverty as an upshot of these larger constructs may sound like an obvious or even natural exercise of awareness, yet the impression that the poor choose their fate maintains − in politics, public policy, and even our own subconscious. As stated by Kofi Annan, secretary general of the United Nations, "most poor people know that they are quite capable of earning their living by their own efforts, and are eager to do so. But they must be given a fair chance to compete." This chance to compete, to develop, to support oneself, however, is all but imagined for the impoverished in countries like Mozambique, Niger, Guinea, or Liberia (to name a few), where the severe lack of a developed let alone stable economy on a national level hinders opportunities to foster any form of self-sufficiency on an individual level. Not only are the rural poor hindered economically but also communicatively, as the rural farmer’s primary contact with the outside world comes when he or she happens upon a newspaper, exemplifying limited access to markets or information − riches of knowledge that the wealthy, even the urban poor, may take for granted.

I would argue that we can learn the most from a challenge like this, to live on $5 a day for two days, through the choice not to complete it. Though eliminating extraneous luxuries would rightfully force me to be aware of the often unrecognized or unappreciated opulence of my lifestyle, this practice only works to compare myself with the urban poor, arguably the richest of the world’s poor. In no way do I intend to belittle the immense hardships that the urban poor face in our own communities, right at our feet as we make our morning commutes; however, it is important to also recognize the complex poverties of knowledge, access, integration, stability, safety, leadership, opportunity, and economy that so many of the world’s poorest, the “bottom billion,” face − poverties that far exceed the amount of money in one’s pocket.

What does it mean to live on less than $5 a day? I have no idea; it is a colossally inconceivable feat, as the value and structure of the country I live within already sets my standard of living at an exceedingly higher worth than the life of someone who truly lives on less than $5. To those people, “those people” being none other than constituents of half of the world’s population, to live on less than $5 does not just mean the absence of an iPhone or laptop, it means absolutely no communication with or conception of the outside world. It does not mean being forced to take a longer commute to work each day, it means walking for miles along a dirt road in search of work opportunities that do not exist. Most importantly, to those who live on $5 a day, this lifestyle is not a challenge they can accept or decline, like I have; rather it is their life, and the task to live life is their inevitable challenge.

Cover Image Credit: Karthikeyan K

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