Check your privilege when voting
I get it. Neither candidate is the ideal choice to lead the nation through the next four trying years. Both party bases have found reasons to be upset with their own nominee, as well as the one they are competing against. The obvious flaws in both nominees at this critical time in American politics have made many regular party supporters lose faith and decline to vote. After all, why participate in a democracy that has managed to bring about the two least-popular candidates in modern polling history despite the immense changes that our country has undergone over the last eight years? It’s a very upsetting process to watch, but participating in this voting cycle does not equate to condoning the behaviour of party officials and lawmakers who have let us down.
For those who still may feel the Bern or remember the brief period of time back in the Spring when Marco Rubio seemed poised to step out as the young, strong face of the Republican party and become a possible bi-partisan candidate, voting third party might feel like the best way to stand by your beliefs while still casting a vote. Even those who feel apathy towards the election process might be swayed to contribute their voice if they can vote for a person or a party that actually aligns with their values. It’s an admirable notion to feel as if you’ve stayed true to your beliefs in such a time of discordance and ugliness, but in an election in which parts of democracy are at risk of crumbling under a want-to-be dictator, it seems the most important value to uphold is our duty to protect this process, our citizens and ourselves by sucking it up to vote for Hillary.
There has already been enough analysis on why voting third-party can be compared mathematically to not voting at all because of the slim likelihood that any third party candidate would win an election. That argument is weak against asking someone to change their moral values when the stakes seem, and are, this high. However, as we’ve all heard, this is not a normal election. Comparing apples and oranges as we do in most election years does not work this time around. When we look plainly, we see in reality we are comparing a mushy apple with a giant orange manatee, as late night host Stephen Colbert so aptly called him. Donald Trump is a different beast entirely, and based on his words and campaign promises, should be taken as a credible threat to the safety and happiness of many Americans.
To take it one step further, think of the Americans that you might know personally who would be affected personally by the economic, immigration, education, health care, and congressional action policies that Trump has proposed under his presidency. In this light, it can be equally as just and moral to simply make absolutely sure that Mr. Trump never gets closer to the White House than his hotel down the street.
In a school community that prides itself on humbly and unironically “checking our privilege,” one could urge us all to check our privilege that we can afford to stand by our principles and reject both major party candidates in order to vote our conscience because our personal well-being is not directly affected by Trump’s threats. That is not true for millions of Americans. In states like Oregon and Washington, going blue this election is a guarantee and one could make a last pressing point that our single vote simply doesn’t matter in this regard. However, there are many states where that is not the case, and considering the power of a vote in certain areas of the country is very important.
So, I get it that there’s too much at stake in this election to go against your principles. But keeping in mind what we as Americans are all now fighting for is an equally upstanding thing to do.