For as long as I can remember, I have been taught that it is our civic duty as citizens of the United States of America to vote. More recently, however, my view has changed to believe that it is our civic duty to educate ourselves on politics and candidates, formulate our own opinions and then go vote.Yet, physically going to the polls and casting a ballot remained a must-do part of our duty. The oh, so lovely presidential election cycle in theGREAT year of 2016 has led me to question that must-do. Personally, I get physically sick to my stomach when I think about myself voting for EITHER of the two major candidates (The Bern and Gary Johnson are a topic for another discussion).
I've always felt very strongly that if people refuse to vote in elections, they have no right to complain about or critique what the elected candidate is doing in time coming. However, I think that belief stems from the lack of effort those people placed in understanding the election. Avoiding voter apathy (which is another topic for another time) is what I have come to believe is our civic duty.
I give you that explanation in the paragraph prior in hopes that you will understand that many people's unwillingness to vote in this election is not voter apathy, but a larger desire to hold true to their values at heart. Regardless of who you like or plan to vote for in this election, you must admit that both candidates have had some pretty royal blunders.
But, alas, we cannot expect our candidates to be perfect; no one is. However, the role of the presidential campaigns is to weed out the candidates less liked by the people. In a sense, that was done, but this year, it was more of a "we need to elect someone who can beat Hillary/The Donald" from each party. This election is not about a party attempting to get elected so that they could attempt to implement their own policies. NO! This election is about trying to keep the opposite party from gaining power. This is no longer a "popularity contest," like so many people compare the campaign to. This is a hatred contest. The goal of the candidates is to get voters to hate the other candidate more.
To me, the role of the Democratic and Republican parties has been completely altered, and therefore, so has mine. If they believe that their role is to get voters to HATE the opposing candidates, I don't want to support that. And I know you can say "oh, well, what about an independent or a write-in?" To rebuke that, third party candidates all but unsure the election of the more-unlike-party's candidate. For example, if Democrats split their votes 50/50 between Hillary and the lovable granddad, Bernie Sanders, they would each have about 25% of the total vote, leaving Trump at 50% and subsequently, Trump taking the White House. So, with this simple logic, a vote for Bernie is almost a vote for Trump.
Now, I have not taken a side, I have not battered a side. I have not used facts to deter you from voting for a candidate you like, or a candidate at all. Simply put, I am relaying to you some assurance of why it's okay that you may not want to cast your vote. If you look like the cover photo to this article when thinking about voting this Fall, you are not alone. Whether it's due to "the racist bigot, Tronald Dump," or "the conniving, sly Lying Hillary," your unwillingness to cast a vote this November is more common than you think. It's not voter apathy, and you are not required to vote. And that's okay.