Friday, October 28, 2016

Taking a Detour - My Perspective on the 2016 Election

After much consideration, I feel strongly that the time has come for me to put my thoughts about the coming election into words, so I'm hi-jacking my blog for this purpose. Many of you know that Norm and I are backing Evan McMullin's candidacy for President, and probably wonder why. There are many reasons, but here are just a few.

First, let me assure you that we are NOT supporting Hillary Clinton, which we have already been accused of. NO! A vote for Evan McMullin is a vote FOR Evan McMullin, and not for or against anyone else. Just because we don't support your candidate of choice, don't assume that we do support your opposition. One thing I learned in a writing class I took in college is about "slant". The use of various forms of words to denote a negative or positive viewpoint. It has left me somewhat jaded about much of the news, but here's one thing I can tell you about slant. It is unreasonable to accuse me of being "Anti-Trump", when you would only describe yourself as "Pro-Trump". If you describe yourself as "Pro-Trump", then in all fairness, you should describe me as "Pro-McMullin".

Another argument I have heard is that "third-party candidates never win." Let's talk about that. First, let me state that this comment is not true. You may have seen the meme on Facebook that says "A Vote for Lincoln is a Vote for Douglas". And, yes, I have seen the number of blogs that argue that Lincoln was not a third party candidate. But lets take a look at the historical record, and then you can decide for yourself. Note, first, that Lincoln was the 16th President of the United States, so by the time he ran for office the U.S. had already had 60 years of elected Presidents. In 1860, there were THREE other candidates in addition to Lincoln for President: Southern Democrat John C. Breckinridge, Constitutional Union candidate John Bell, and Northern Democrat Stephen Douglas. Prior to 1858 when Lincoln ran for senate as a Republican, he had served as a representative of the Whig Party, which had been the primary opposition party to the Democratic party up to that point. On July 6, 1854 the Republican party was formed, and eventually replaced the Whig party as the primary opposition to the Democratic party. Now, if my math is any good, that means the Republican party was ONLY 6 YEARS OLD when Abraham Lincoln ran as the Republican presidential candidate. In our day and age, we think only of the Democrats and Republicans as the primary opposition parties during an election, but at the time Lincoln was elected, that wasn't the case. In my view, the Republican Party WAS the third (or fourth) party at the time of the 1860 election. I will grant that a third party candidate has not been elected President since then, but that does NOT mean it can't happen. It is on us as voters to make that decision, and not to allow power-hungry egotists to make that decision for us.

Now, to move on to the next part of the question. Why would I (well, we - both Norm and I - we are together on this) choose a Libertarian or Independent candidate? The best answer I can give to that is that I feel disenfranchised by the Republican party. While I have never declared party membership, intending always to identify as an independent, I do espouse conservative (and what I hope would be considered christian) values, both morally and fiscally, and have felt that, until 12 years ago, the Republican Party best represented my interests and values. In the past 12 years, however, I feel like the Republican party has moved away from me, and no longer represents the conservative values that I hold dear. If the Republican Party won't represent my interests, then I will be on the look-out for a candidate/party that will. This year, that person is Evan McMullin. I also believe that by choosing a third-party candidate, I am pushing against the two-party system, and by doing so, requiring those who would run for elected positions to straighten up and fly right. I want the people I vote for to have sense of responsibility to the people, good character, integrity, to be able to control their anger, and not come across as power-hungry. I want better choices when I go to the poll to vote, and neither Clinton nor Trump represent any choice at all. Can anyone honestly tell me that they have any respect for these two? If you don't respect them, why, oh why, would you ever want them to be the leader of our country???

Thus ends this segment of my thoughts on this election. Since this is my blog, and I am already well aware of how contentious the discussions are about the election, comments are closed. I hope at the very least, I have provided some food for thought.