As excited as I am about voting in my first presidential election, I am increasingly jaded with both the Republican and Democratic candidates for President. As a woman, LGBTQ ally and someone who managed to pass a high school economics class, backing the Mitt Romney-Paul Ryan ticket is not a sensible option. However I cannot, in good conscience, vote to re-elect President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden.
President Obama’s administration has done things I wholeheartedly support. He increased access to birth control, promoted equality by repealing Don’t Ask Don’t Tell, and proposed legislation to further better the economy, had it not been blocked by Republicans in the House of Representatives. Despite this record, I am deeply disturbed at the Obama Administration’s attack on civil liberties and violations of human rights across the globe.
In the past four years, President Obama has signed the National Defense Authorization Act, allowing him to indefinitely detain any U.S. citizen without trial or charge. He has also killed thousands of innocent men, women and children in drone strikes across Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia.
He has also increased internet censorship, seizing over 750 domains in the past two years alone. In addition, President Obama has granted immunity to all government officials involved in torturing detainees. I cannot bring myself to vote for a candidate that blatantly disregards the welfare, dignity and basic rights of my fellow human beings.
For these reasons, I’ve decided to venture outside of the two-party system and cast my vote for Green Party presidential candidate Dr. Jill Stein and vice presidential nominee Cheri Honkala.
My views about domestic and foreign policy, the economy, and the environment are closely aligned with their platforms and I am voting for them despite the fact that their chances of winning the presidency is someplace between zero and nil. I want to have my voice heard through my vote. If that means choosing outside of the “feasible” options, I will take full advantage of my liberty to do so.
Some would argue my vote is wasted by not choosing a Democratic or Republican candidate. However, it’s evident that the two-party system has ultimately harmed the United States. Partisan loyalty and acting as though the two parties’ aims are mutually exclusive has caused deep divides among the American people and inhibited progress on all fronts.
No matter how you look at it, the bottom line is that the education system is in shambles, the environment is rotting around us, we’re hurting a lot of innocent people around the globe and the prospect of finding a job, especially as a young graduate, remains grim at best.
The point of electing leaders and having a government is to benefit the people rather than harm them and, for me, advocating for a candidate who fits neither Republican or Democratic narrative is a way to realize that goal and pressure complacent elected officials to seek solutions outside their partisan circle.