Third-party votes still matter

All my life, politics has been a highly interesting topic for me.

Both my parents keep up with the news, which means family dinners more often than not involved something politically charged.

I did high school speech and debate for five years, which means for five years I was up to my elbows in foreign and domestic policy argumentation. I would love to go into a career in political media and report on Capitol Hill.

This year will be the first year I am legally old enough to vote, and it’s something I’ve been looking forward to since I was old enough to know the three branches of the federal government.

I, however, like everyone else in my age group, am royally fed up with the two major party candidates voted into the primaries.

This isn’t something that just gradually happened over the past several months Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump have been campaigning. I was fed up from the very beginning.

I was not a Bernie Sanders fan, I am certainly not a fan of either Clinton or Trump, and I am angry this is the first year I will be able to have a say in the direction of our country, and those are my two choices.

My whole adult life, I have been a firm believer in being a part of the voting process. It is your civic duty as an American citizen to show up at the polling stations and show you care where your country is headed. If you don’t vote, you have no right to complain on Facebook about how much you hate the state of our union.

We have heard the rhetoric. “Every vote counts.” “You can make a change.” All things that have been fed to us to make us feel special, to make us want to go and vote.

I used to ridicule the people who would write in third-party options or people who wouldn’t vote for the lesser of two evils. I used to say, “You say you’re standing by your morals? Get off your high horse and accept that these are your only two options.”

In the past four years, I have lost my faith and my confidence in the two-party system we have in America.

I have completely lost my faith and my confidence in the words “Every vote counts.”

My entire outlook has changed.

Maybe voting third party isn’t such a bad thing after all. Maybe writing in someone you actually believe in isn’t the end of the world. After all, when our country begins to crumble, do you want to stand proud and admit you were a part of the problem?

I still believe it is your civic duty to vote, but if you want to climb up on your high horse, I will help you into the saddle because I will be right there with you.

I may not know quite yet for whom I am going to vote, but when people ask me, I know for sure that I know for whom I am not going to vote. I cannot in good conscience vote for either of the two political parties I believe are ruining my once-beautiful country.

Sure, maybe your vote may not count.

Maybe your vote will count and the Jill Stein and Gary Johnson supporters will rise up in full swing. I really don’t know.

But when it comes down to that voting poll on Election Day, don’t let anybody who resembles the old me shame you for going against the grain and voting third party.

About Bekka Wiedenmeyer

Editor-in-Chief

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