By: Jeremiah Van Auken ~Guest Writer~
It only seems natural that the same year the Cubs are going to the World Series is the same year a third party candidate has a viable path to the White House. I never would have guessed that the first presidential election I vote in, I’d be voting for a Libertarian, and I most definitely would have never guessed I’d be proud to do it. Governor Gary Johnson has firmly secured my vote, and this is why.
Throughout this election, Johnson has been the only presidential candidate willing to talk about the issues, willing to stand up to the corrupt and polarized system and the only candidate representing the American qualities so many presidential nominees before him have held. How many days can we go without Donald Trump saying something appalling? How many emails will be leaked revealing the conspiratorial nature of the DNC and Hillary Clinton campaign? Oh, but God forbid a candidate fails to answer a “gotcha” question about Aleppo.
I would like this op-ed to focus on the content of the candidates’ policies rather than focusing on the atrocious and morally questionable behavior of the other two major party candidates.
Johnson is the only candidate who proposes policies that I agree with, whether they concern military intervention, reducing the national debt or even immigration. Johnson supports having a strong national defense and ending the wars in the Middle East. When he says that these wars have resulted in a less safe world, I believe he is correct. In order to combat the ever growing $20 trillion national debt, Johnson wants to cut spending across the board by 20 percent in all areas and combine specific government agencies (specifically the FBI, CIA and Homeland Security), as well as getting rid of the Federal Department of Education in favor of state government regulated schooling.
Johnson believes the United States is a nation of immigrants and thus supports administering background checks, work visas, and Social Security cards to ensure fair tax payment. In order to preserve Social Security, Johnson proposes raising the retirement age.
Many of Johnson’s proposals are contrary to the proposals of Trump and Clinton, who both believe that we must stay in the Middle East to defeat ISIS, want increased border control policies including the construction of a wall, or in Clinton’s case a fence, with neither candidate providing policies that will address national spending and the increasing debt. Johnson is also the only candidate that supports an end to the war on drugs. According to the Federal Bureau of Prisons, nearly 50 percent of all criminal offenses are drug related. An end to the drug war would promote vast criminal justice reform.
As it comes closer to Election Day, one thing I have found very concerning about both Clinton and Trump are their views regarding Russia and Vladimir Putin. This became strikingly prevalent during the third presidential debate. While on the topic, Clinton constantly blamed the Russians for the DNC hacks and email leaks, while also proposing a “no-fly zone” in Syria, which according to recent reports by the Joint Chiefs of Staff would lead to military conflict with Syria and Russia.
Trump continuously talks about how “if the United States got along with Russia [it] wouldn’t be so bad,” without talking about how we would “get along with Russia.” However, it is hard for me to have faith in Trump’s foreign policy thoughts when he has reportedly asked why we can’t nuke people.
Johnson wants to open up further diplomatic relations with Putin in order to end the conflict in Syria, rather than engage in direct military conflict with groups in the region. To me, the thought of entering into a direct or indirect military conflict with Russia is absolutely terrifying. Having already survived one Cold War with the Soviets, should we really risk a fully-fledged conflict with Russia?
I am proud to say I am voting for Johnson for President of the United States. He provides a voice for the unheard this election. As Election Day approaches please remember this: your voice matters. If someone tells you a third party vote is a wasted vote, respond with this: your voice is just as important as theirs and the mere suggestion that you should silence your voice so theirs can be louder is insulting to the founding principles of this nation. When you step into that voting booth, I urge you to vote your conscience, not someone else’s politics. Do not let your voice go unheard this election or at any time in the future. We live in a nation that grants us the right to stand behind our beliefs, so use it. Whether you stand with her or, whether you want to make America great again, stand behind your beliefs. I know I will.