Today is Election Day here in the US.
I am proud to say that I cast my vote for Dr. Jo Jorgensen and her running mate, my friend, Spike Cohen. They are the Libertarian candidates, and the best possible option for President and Vice President of this country.
I understand that I have friends on the left and the right who feel this was a wasted vote. They feel that I should’ve chosen their preferred “lesser of two evils”. Friends who feel that this is “the most important election ever”, as I remember it was in 2016, 2012, 2008, 2004… I was saying it alongside you in 2004, before I could even vote (I turned 18 in 2005). I remember feeling so sure that if the American people re-elected Bush after he started the Afghanistan and Iraq wars, America would crumble. Maybe it did back then, and we just started noticing it recently. I don’t know.
I know that I’m fucking tired of this system. I’ve been a third party activist for two decades, and was probably most strongly solidified as an anti-war Libertarian while watching Colin Powell make the fraudulent case for military action in Iraq in 2003. I’ve been involved in politics ever since.
I have worked on countless Libertarian campaigns from municipal to federal offices, and some Republican and Democrat ones too – sometimes the other parties have someone halfway decent, and I like to encourage them in a particular direction. “Halfway” is quite the literal term there.
And sometimes the Libertarian candidate isn’t perfect. I couldn’t even bring myself to vote for Barr/Root. Johnson had his missteps in both runs. Jorgensen had hers. There are things I wish she hadn’t said, or things I wish she did. This would have happened with any candidate the LP could have chosen, whether my preferred candidate (Vermin Supreme), our elected congressman (Amash) or anyone else.
There is no perfect candidate (with the possible exception of Spike Cohen, IMHO), because our candidates are humans, with flaws and missteps and weaknesses and even ideological failures.
But I know that of the available candidates who are actually on enough state ballots to theoretically be able to achieve an electoral college victory (however slim the chance), the Libertarian candidate is far and away the BEST possible option for what I want for this country. How I want to Overton window moved. What I believe in.
It makes me sad to know that this candidate will not win the Presidency this cycle (barring a miracle), not just because I dream of the day when Libertarian ideas are given their chance to shine, but also because the other two candidates (and their running mates) are so absolutely abysmal in every possible way.
Trump and Biden are not “the same”, but they’re both absolutely dreadful, sometimes in similar ways and sometimes in profoundly different ways. I couldn’t, in good conscience, vote for either, and I envision terrible things happening for this country no matter which one is elected (albeit, DIFFERENT terrible things depending on which wins).
As I look on this clusterfuck of an election, I really do empathize most with those who opt not to vote at all, because why legitimize it by participating in it? I get the argument, particularly from a moral anarchist perspective.
But so many people decide not to vote because they don’t care at all, and my issue is that I care too much. I don’t want my opinion lumped in with the people who genuinely don’t care at all. People don’t look at the numbers of non-voters and go “oh these people cared so much they refused to vote for the available options”, most assume “these people didn’t care at all so they didn’t bother to vote for any of the available options”.
I care about the ideals I believe in – liberty for all – and that’s economic AND social liberty. That’s the right to put whatever you want in your body (like drugs) or take whatever you want out of it (like a pregnancy). That’s the right to decide to marry someone of the same or different gender, decide how, when or if to start a family, to change your body to match who you feel inside, or to keep ALL of your paycheck, to try whatever medical procedures or medicines you and your doctor feel are necessary without government interfering, defend your family with a gun, educate your children, start a business, employ an immigrant, not get harassed by police officers, not have your property seized by government, and not pay to drone bomb hospitals and children overseas. All of these things matter to me (and that list is not exhaustive).
The Republicans and the Democrats haven’t earned my support because they don’t hit enough of any of these. They haven’t earned my vote, and I get bombarded with “a vote for a third party is a vote for whichever candidate I hate most!” and it’s such fucking nonsense because
1. A vote for my candidate is ONLY a vote for my candidate and does not increase the vote totals for any other candidate and
2. If you want my fucking vote you have to earn it by deserving it – none of the terrible candidates presented by the Democrats and Republicans, not Biden or Harris, nor Trump or Pence, have records or promises I could in good conscience vote for. If you genuinely want my vote, PICK BETTER CANDIDATES.
If I couldn’t vote for a third party candidate and was forced to pick one of these horrible people I literally just wouldn’t vote, because it feels so morally bankrupt to consider these as acceptable options. I refuse.
And I get that friends of mine who aren’t Libertarians feel differently. And some friends of mine who are Libertarian feel differently, and I get that a little bit less, but I accept it, and we’re still friends even though I think you’re making a crappy decision. I understand that some of you in swing states think it matters, and I’m not going to waste my time trying to convince you otherwise – it’s your vote, your choice, your conscience. The same as it’s my vote, my choice, my conscience. I can’t give it to the duopoly. I just can’t.
I don’t suffer under the delusion that my candidate will win today, but I do believe that one of the others will win, and the American people will lose either way, as they do every election cycle. And we’ll move on. We’ll survive. Hopefully more and more citizens will hold ANY politician’s feet to the fire, hold them accountable and keep demanding things be better than they are.
I hope that my friends on the left, if they get Biden/Harris, that they keep a critical eye and hold them accountable for necessary changes. I hope that my friends on the right, if they get Trump/Pence, stop carrying water for the abuses of this administration and when Trump fails to do what he’s promised to do when paying lip service to Libertarians, you stop being so goddamn gullible and naive.
I’m exhausted by this election cycle, which to be fair, never really ended during the 2016 election. It’s the same monster, bringing out the worst in everybody.
I want something so much better than this for all of us.
So I made my choice. A vote for hope. A vote for actual changes. A vote I can make and not feel dirty about afterwards. I voted Libertarian, as I do – the party I’ve been a lifelong member of. The party I’m a Lifetime Member of. And slowly, each cycle, we get more votes. And I feel good, knowing how many people voted like I did. Who stood up and said “I’m paying attention, and I don’t like the other options. THIS is my choice.”
My biggest hope comes from watching the campaign videos made by Daniel Smoldt for Jorgensen and Cohen. Even more so watching the videos he made for Vermin Supreme. Watching the videos my partner Judd Weiss made for the McAfee campaign in 2016.
No matter how exhausting this political environment is, or current events are in general, I’d still rather live in this time than ANY other time in human history. There’s so much possibility on the horizon. There’s so much that can be done, and so much has been won on this journey already.
I believe the future is bright, and that politicians are generally the ones dampening the sun. So I try not to invest too much of my hope or dreams in them or their actions, and I try to avoid them generally as much as possible. I’ll wake up tomorrow, regardless of who wins, and I’ll keep making my life as good as I can, and I’ll keep fighting for a better future for all of us, through my volunteerism, activism, work, philanthropy, writing and more.
I’m not naive enough to assume the results of this election don’t matter, because they do, and truly either Biden or Trump’s success will have terrible consequences for at least some people – people here at home and people abroad.
But I can’t live in fear of those things, I have to keep trying to make something better. I have to keep fighting for better options, for better opportunities, for better policy, and for better methods to make it so that the results matter LESS.
My vote matters, in that it’s one more voice saying “I’m paying attention, and I want something different. I want liberty.”If you’re still undecided at this point, and you’re looking to make your vote matter, I can tell you that a vote for Jorgensen/Cohen matters to me, and they’re on the ballot in your state. If you’re so inclined, I would be grateful if you would join me in supporting them.
I want so much better for you, for me, for us. For US.
(Top pictured, Jo & Spike, photo by me.)