Today is Election Day in the United States. I can speak with nearly 100% certainty that the candidate I voted for will not be elected president of the United States.
And that's OK.
I voted. I made my voice heard. However, as my picture shows, this was not easy at all.
This has been a difficult election year for me. The candidate that inspired me, motivated me, and gave me hope for the future, Bernie Sanders, lost the nomination of the Democratic Party. He conceded graciously. However, he was and is an Independent Senator from the state of Vermont.
When presented with the two choices of the two major parties in the United States, I was hesitant to support either. The first, Donald Trump, proved to me to be a misogynistic, fear-mongering person, who blamed another people group (Hispanics and Muslims) for the ills of the United States. Having lived in Germany and understanding so much of the German culture, this sounded too much like Hitler pointing out the social ills of Germany (of which there were many when he rose to power) and using the Jews as the scapegoat for their problems.
Yes, for those keeping track, I invoked Godwin's Law. So be it.
Unfortunately, just like Germany of 1933, Republicans for the most part bought his fear-mongering, hook, line and sinker and nominated him as their candidate of choice. As the nomination seemed to be more and more likely, I predicted that Evangelical Christians would find some illogical reason to support Donald Trump based solely on their one main voting issue: abortion. They were willing to sacrifice their character and their soul to find a conclusion based on sophistry about why it was important to vote for Trump. As horrible as I think abortion is and as sad as I think it is for women to have to resort to it, I do not believe that Republicans will ever make it illegal. They are simply using it to gain votes from Evangelicals Christians to maintain their power.
(Just a side note on the abortion issue: address the reason why women have abortions and you will see the abortion rate sink, but that's for another blog.)
If ever there were a reason to no longer identify myself as an Evangelical, the Evangelical community gave it to me with their overwhelming support of Donald Trump.
For most people, they would then assume that I am voting for Hillary Clinton. That would be a false assumption.
We humans tend to like to categorize things into polar opposites: Good vs. Evil. Republican vs. Democrat. Gay vs. Straight. Black vs. White.
In reality, none of this is an easy choice and we fall more on a spectrum than we do to an either/or. This is evidenced by the soul-searching Evangelicals had to do to convince themselves to vote for Trump.
I am neither gay nor straight. I am bisexual.
I am neither a Republican nor a Democrat. I am a Green.
And with that, I have cast my ballot for the candidate I know with almost 100% certainty will not be the next president: Jill Stein. For me, her policies most closely resembled those of Bernie Sanders while Hillary Clinton's does not.
Does this mean that I "gave away" my vote to the other candidates? No, not at all. I voted and expressed my opinion on who I think should run this country. Is it in the minority? Absolutely. Does it count? Yes, it does.
For my Democratic friends who believe that I contribute to the possibility of Hillary Clinton not being elected: well, maybe I did. However, I would be more concerned with the millions of registered voters in the United States who gave up their right to vote and instead refused to vote today. There is an apathy in the United States with our government. Instead of voting, most people give up. In so doing, they make the situation worse.
I have often heard many voters say in this election that they feel they are choosing between the lesser of two evils. My only response to that is then: If that is what you believe, you are still choosing evil. If you are choosing the Republican candidate simply because he is a Republican, but doesn't represent your views, then you are simply concerned with maintaining power, not with making a difference in society. The same goes for my Democratic friends.
Finally, we have so often forgotten the power of the opposition voice. If we remain silent, then we forfeit the tremendous strength we have in giving our opinions. Even though Jill Stein will not win the election today, she has reminded me of the importance of speaking out against injustice; to maintain the care of this fragile Earth, and to advocate peace over war.
This video from Jill Stein exemplifies why I voted for her: