Stop pointing fingers, third party voters are not to blame

By: Jeremiah Van Auken ~Guest Writer~

“if [sic] u voted third party bc u thought u figure[d] out something everyone else didn’t, imma need u to sit down and think about what you’ve done.”

This tweet was the first thing I read after Donald Trump was elected President of the United States.I had no idea that this was the first of many statements blaming third party voters for Donald Trump’s election last Tuesday night.

I did not vote for Donald Trump. Rather, I voted for Gary Johnson. Over the course of Election Day, the attitude of almost everyone changed toward third party voters.

1“You’re wasting your vote” quickly became “you voted for Trump” and “you decided the election.” I have thought about what I’ve done, and I am proud to have stood by my beliefs and voted for the candidate whom I aligned with the most.

The Democratic Party has in recent history claimed the moral “high ground” of “tolerance.” However, the statements posted by many of my liberal peers did not reflect any moral superiority.

The “tolerant left” disappeared. Many spewed hateful rhetoric toward those whose opinions differed from their own. Ironically, this was the same type of rhetoric they railed against over the course of the election.

I opened Twitter to find more than 30,000 tweets trending with the hashtag “Rape Melania.”

I know it isn’t fair to generalize and accuse all liberals of agreeing with this statement. It’s the same sort of logic that led so many people to clump every Trump or third party supporter into a “basket of deplorables” who were “racist, bigoted homophobes.”

I am not any of these things. I support the equality of all people, and so did the candidate I chose to support.

I have seen many Democrats become offended over negative comments toward their candidate, yet throughout this entire election cycle they have repeatedly mocked the views and beliefs of Republicans and Libertarians.

This hypocrisy is impossible for me to ignore. Donald Trump won because there was no outlet for the voice of the silenced.

Not all supporters of Donald Trump are “racist, bigoted homophobes,” and labeling them as such is as unfair as it would be to label all liberals as “intolerant.”

It seems that many have lost their capacity to understand people with different values. Many seem to have given up on trying to understand.

It is time to stop thinking that anyone with a different set of values or beliefs is an idiot, a sexist or a racist.

We need to talk to each other and engage in open discussion and debate so we can actually try to get something accomplished, instead of just telling everyone else to piss off.

My “wasted” vote was labeled a “statement” by a friend of mine. My vote was not a statement. My vote was a representation of my belief that we need to stop engaging in conflicts where we aren’t wanted.

My vote represented an opinion that differed from yours because I did not support a candidate taking money from Saudi Arabia, a nation that does not allow women to drive cars and where it is legal to flog and behead homosexuals.

I did not support a candidate who bragged about sexual assault.

Jeremiah Van Auken is a junior history major from South Bend, Ind. He is the President of Young Americans’s for Liberty and is an amateur Iron Chef.

I supported a candidate who thought the world would be a better place with less United States military involvement.

I supported a candidate who believed everyone was equal and deserved equal protection under the Constitution.

I supported a candidate whom I actually believed in, not one who believed in having “public and private positions.”

I saw multiple posts telling me that if I voted third party then I would need to apologize to every marginalized person.

I do not owe anyone an apology because I exercised my right and voted for a candidate that best represented my beliefs.

I voted for a candidate who believes that every single person is equal and should be treated as such.

This is what I believe: If President-elect Trump decides to do anything to harm you or any marginalized group, know damn well I will stand with you against him.