In all honestly, I almost decided not to vote at all until his campaign kicked up more momentum after July 4th. I turned my attention to Gary Johnson. As an article from The Washington Post pointed out, what makes Gary Johnson unique is that he a) is very popular for a Libertarian, and b) is more willing to compromise on size of government than most Libertarians. In other words, he is a realistic and viable candidate from America’s big third party.
Why not Trump?
The very fact that he wants to build a giant wall between Mexico and the U.S. alone prevents me from taking the man seriously. A simple analysis of the costliness and absurdity of such an idea topples it. No person with a high school diploma should be able to fall for such a stupid idea. Trump’s popularity reflects more on the poor state of American public schools.
Not to mention his bigotry, his demeaning attitude toward women, his wish to kill the families of terrorists, his mocking of the disabled, his endorsement of torture, his shaming of veteran POWs for getting captured, his horrible tax plan, or his lies.
Trump has been praised by his followers for “telling it like it is.” Even when he’s telling the truth or calling out the facts, he displays no pattern whatsoever of speaking with grace, seasoning his words with salt (Col. 4:8), or turning away wrath with a soft answer (Prov. 15:1). He appeals to fear and displays little to no compassion. He’s been swallowed up in his own ego for years, and doesn’t believe he has to ask God for forgiveness. Such a man is not fit to speak on behalf of an entire nation.
Why not Clinton?
The very fact that she was so “extremely careless” with countless American secrets should, to any responsible and reasonable citizen of any country, completely disqualify her from bidding for the position of head of state. When someone is guilty of a pattern of gross negligence, one job you don’t grant them is leader of one of the most powerful countries in the world. In addition, further leaked emails from her campaign demonstrate her admission that she is two-sided in many of her views.
Not to mention her lies, her terrible tax plan, her complacency with election fraud, her lack of transparency, her reputation for isolating those who do not support her, her questionable ties to Wall Street, her plans to vastly increase govt. spending, her condemnation of Edward Snowden, her misguided support of increasing involvement in the Middle-East, turning her back on the Sioux, or her insistence that unborn children have no Constitutional rights whatsoever.
Hillary Clinton’s leadership pattern has demonstrably made her an advocate for war-mongers and corporations more than any common citizen. Her continued demonstration of putting her own ambition before the good of the nation, with a long history of chameleon-esque flip-flopping to win populist favoritism, make her far from the most trustworthy candidate.
So this is what we’re left with: Republicans keep getting angry at the man they chose. Democrats have a hard time trusting the woman they chose. So what’s there to do?
Any values that I have that resonate in any way with Republicans and Democrats are irrelevant considering the complete and utter irresponsibility of their candidates this year. My conscience has given me the option of abstaining from voting, choosing a third candidate, or doing a write-in. I have no problem with not showing up at the polls, but I’ve decided to choose the embarrassing Libertarian candidate this year.
Why Gary Johnson?
Gary Johnson, unlike Clinton or Trump, has actual experience in the executive branch of government as a Governor (and won re-election).
Johnson has serious and simple plans to lower our debt, protect our freedoms, decrease our intervention in other countries, speak on behalf of the nation without hatred or deceit, and put the will of the country before his own ambition. Some of his ideas are controversial, but in the sense that if he were to be surrounded by a full cabinet and Congress in office, he would bend to more moderate measures, as he has demonstrated frequently a willingness to compromise on some of his small government positions. Johnson is a “magic wand Libertarian,” meaning he knows some of his ideals won’t realistically carry out, but wants the nation to be directed in a more Libertarian direction. So if you’re not a fan of hardcore Libertarians, even Ron Paul has expressed that Johnson is not Libertarian enough.
But what he lacks compared with the other two candidates is what makes him truly stand out: Gary Johnson is not synonymous with corruption, deceit, sexism, racism, manipulation, bullying, or ties to Wall Street. In previous elections, this guy would have been “meh.” But this year, he’s starting to look pretty good. He has no scandals, no reputation of untrustworthiness. His handful of embarrassing interviews pale in comparison to the swamp of untrustworthiness and bad character his two major opponents are treading in.
If it’s lesser-evilism you’re looking for, Gary Johnson would be, no doubt, in my mind, the “least of three evils.” I don’t agree with him on everything, but his qualities and qualifications far surpass those of the RNC and DNC options. I don’t believe so much that he is a great option so much that I believe it to be a sign of our times that he is a better option than the frontrunners gathering all the media attention. One could almost say I am voting for Gary Johnson in part as a protest vote, in part as a serious call for better of options, and in part a call for the nation to take third parties more seriously. If Hillary and Donald truly are the only possible outcomes this year, I want the record to show how many people spoke for that third option, for America to see how close it came to avoiding either terrible outcome. If we gave Gary Johnson debate time, and more equal media coverage, as goofy as he is, many of us would find him the most trustworthy and respectable of the three most popular options.
You almost get a sense that he knows that, judging from the interview in which he sticks his tongue out and claims he could get up and act like a clown in a debate and still win. If I didn’t know any better, I’d say he’s acting a fool on purpose, just to speak to an embarrassing America that has lowered the bar for what it takes to be a decent head of state.
But what are his positions on issues? You can see his basic stance on all the various issues here, but I’ll go over the highlights:
Immigration—Johnson believes that undocumented immigrants should be given a grace period to temporary working status or citizenship. However, he supports a “1 strike you’re out” policy for undocumented immigrants who violate any terms of their status. He has voted against laws that open us to racial profiling.
Abortion—Johnson is personally pro-life, but believes that the federal government is not the place for the abortion fight to take place. He has voted against federal funding for embryonic stem cell research, and against insurers being required to provide birth control. He has voted for the right of women to choose abortion on Constitutional grounds, but that battle can also be fought in the states.
Incarceration—Johnson knows that mandatory minimum sentences take power away from judges and fail to make punishment fair or effective. He is critical of a justice system that too often has executed the innocent.
Drugs—Johnson believes it is only fair and just to legalize marijuana (which has demonstrated to be less dangerous than alcohol), that other illegal drugs should be reclassified, and that the penal system needs to be revised because it has failed to handle the problem of drug abuse.
Homeland Security—Spying on U.S. citizens is unConstitutional. Decrease troops in Europe. The Patriot Act was wrong. Torture is wrong, ineffective, and counter-productive.
Taxes & Budget—Johnson will never raise taxes if elected. That is one of his major guarantees. He also has a strict plan for the government not to borrow any more money.
Environment—Though a Libertarian, Johnson does not want to abolish the EPA.
Education—States have their own Dept. of Ed. The Federal Government doesn’t need one.
Foreign Policy—Decrease foreign aid. Encourage trade as a route to peace, not aggressive action and economic sanctions. We need to withdraw from Afghanistan and drastically cut our military budget.
Gun Ownership—No additional government decreasing private gun ownership.
Healthcare—Both Obama’s and Bush’s healthcare bills were unConstitutional and flawed.
Do I agree with Gary Johnson on everything? I do not. But I do know that he has a great respect for the U.S. Constitution and is ideologically predictable enough not to be a flip flopper.
What about the “Aleppo moment”?
Johnson has had at least two embarrassing moments in which he seemed to forget what was happening in the world. It’s interesting that these are the only two moments in the media that have made him an embarrassment. But notice his response to each of these moments. He humbly acknowledged that he drew a blank in the moment of the question being asked. Oddly enough, these two moments constitute some of the only serious media attention he has received. I’m not for corporate media/political conspiracy theories, but it does say something about the values of the media, both left and right. I don’t care so much that he’s had 2 “brain fart” moments in the past year while being interviewed. I’d rather have a President that asks “what is Aleppo?” rather than ask (indirectly) “what is the Constitution?” or “what is integrity?” Johnson’s apparent and momentary unawareness of overseas politics is embarrassing, but it totally beats Trump and Clinton’s stances and attitudes toward relations overseas nations.
Everything I see tells me Gary Johnson has more integrity, humility, and respect for the Constitution than either of the primary Republican or Democratic candidates. The biggest strikes against him seem to be the only two media embarrassments he’s had: Forgetting what Aleppo is, and not being able to name a world leader he admires in an interview.
I’ve heard Trump being praised for shaking things up as an outsider, and Clinton praised for her experience as an insider. I think you can be too much of either. Too far outside, and you’re just not qualified. Too far inside, and you have your hands in the wrong pockets. A politician seeks his own glory and posturing himself according to the tastes of the interest groups, media groups, and voters in order to gain votes. A statesmen means to serve the community, the Constitution, and the people of the state. I don’t believe Gary Johnson is pandering to anybody just to gain popularity. He is relying on the popularity of his values and policies, even if it costs him votes. This election, he has my vote. But if he’s not elected, I’m not losing sleep over it. I’m helping a nation choose a leader. But seeing as I’m a sojourner, I don’t expect that nation to listen to me.
Oh, my Republican and Democrat friends may see mine as a “spoiler” for their opponent, but that is the point. If my vote truly has power, maybe you’ll listen to folks like me this election. When the polls close, I want the nation to see how many people refused to vote for either of the candidates who “had a chance.” This is how fed up we are with seeing this garbage air on television and clog our ballot booths. If we don’t start considering third parties now, when will we? If it’s too late in this election to avoid someone like Hillary or Trump, then as an investment in the next election 4 years from now I want the nation to see what alternatives are possible. Otherwise the nation might repeat the same foolishness as it is now, or worse.
So if we all agree that we don’t like Trump or Clinton, and we’re fated this year to get behind someone we’re not thrilled about, let’s get together and agree to get behind Gary. And while I’m not thrilled to show him much support, he certainly has my “protest vote.”