Ironic isn’t it? Since I have not completed my citizenship application, I really shouldn’t be involved in the election process, since compared to almost all of you (except those overseas who read this) I can’t vote. That is my procrastinating, penny-pinching (it costs to apply to become a citizen), green-card carrying choice; I know. But that doesn’t stop me from helping you come to a decision that may make a difference in this election.
First, my credentials for counseling you in your constitutional rights. Though I rarely bring up politics in my approaches to speaking and writing, I hold very deep and well-thought out political views. I come by it honestly. Three generations of males in my family have run for political office, and though my brother and I will most likely break that trend, it has left its indicia on our hearts. It also seems that the political pendulum swings back and forth from one generation to the next, so I may be qualified to see both sides of what may not be an easy choice for President. My great-grandfather was a Fabian Socialist (look it up here), his son was a strong Right-wing Progressive Conservative, and my own father waffled back and forth between socialism and conservatism. Political debates among my aunts, uncles, cousins and parents were legendary, more for their wit and verbosity but sometimes for their implied violence. Yes, I come from a line of serious polits.
My dad helped me know who to vote for, and took me with him to vote. Others are doing that fairly regularly now, and it is a good way to teach children the importance of their vote. So I learned from him these simple rules about choosing a candidate.
1. Be Loyal to Your Party: If you have joined a political party, and over the years you have been satisfied that they represent your viewpoint and stance in life, do not abandon them because your candidate may not completely embody everything you would want him to be. Everyone has their flaws and, remember, your party selected him as their candidate. If you absolutely cannot support your Presidential candidate, you should also leave the party for it has departed from you (or you from it).
2. Be Loyal to All Your Values: If you have not joined a political party, then use a much broader brush to paint your vote than you are accustomed. Too many people choose a candidate who stands for one of the issues they stand for. The most obvious one would be abortion, but other issues like the War, gun-control, taxes and spending, Civil rights, personal integrity, etc. also need to be factored in. If you support a candidate for one issue alone, you may find that you lock your vote into someone who will oppose your viewpoint on many other issues.
3. Ignore Societal Pressures: My dad used to deride my mother for voting opposite of him. He would even yell, “you’re canceling out my vote.” After that, she decided not to tell him who she voted for. In this election, many people are going to call upon your loyalty to them to sway your vote. Churches may do this. So may neighborhood organizations, social organizations, work organizations, friends and relatives. Each of these groups sees the election in terms of themselves and wants you to see it in that light as well. Resist the admonitions of well-meaning ‘others’ as you decide. This is a democracy: You can choose for yourself.
4. Vote for the person not the future: You have no idea what the future might bring. You have no idea who may attack us, what natural disasters may befall, what crises of global proportion may meet the man who would be president. You have to look at the character of those running and say, “Would they have the principles and courage to face anything that comes”. Personally, I think both candidates have shown serious flaws of character over the last few years. But if I were voting, my question would be this: Which one will stand the test in the greatest variety of problems? That would determine my vote.
Who would I vote for? Since I am not a member of a political party (my green card disallows me) that would not sway me. Since my values at various points would disqualify both candidates on some issue or another, that would leave me in a quandary. Since I rarely do what others tell me, I don’t think that would be the issue.
As to the future, I have my suspicions. I would probably vote for the candidate with the most courage. I think I know which one that is. You have to decide for yourself which one also. But please vote.