This Is The One Question You Need To Ask Yourself Before Voting Third Party In November

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By De Elizabeth

I find that it’s important to start this article by saying I’m not the type of person who writes articles like this. I’ve never considered myself super political. Sure, I have always cared about voting, and I’ve known that it’s important, but I never did anything beyond just go to the polls in November to cast my vote. I followed the primaries in 2008 and I was excited to vote for Obama, and was equally enthusiastic to re-elect him in 2012. But that’s all that drove me – excitement and optimism. And those feelings didn’t motivate me to do anything else beyond “just vote.”

This year is different. 

Like many people, I am much more invested in this election than I’ve ever been before. Because, as many have said, this election is not just about left vs. right or liberal vs. conservative – it’s about stopping someone who is extremely dangerous from becoming President of the United States.

This is a long-winded disclaimer but I want anyone who is reading this to understand: up until this year, I have never posted political things on Facebook. I never donated money to a campaign. I never volunteered for door knocking or cold calling. All of that changed this year, because I feel that I need to do more than “just vote” for Hillary. We all need to do more, because this election year has turned into an emergency. I am afraid for myself, for my friends, for our entire country. And as a writer, I’m going use this platform to try to explain why.

To be clear, this article is not aimed at Trump supporters. I don’t even know what to say to those people who cheered at his racist rhetoric last week at the RNC. I don’t know what to say to the people who think his plan to “build a border wall” is legit. I don’t know what to say to the people who look at his retweets of white supremacists, his anti-semitic imagery, his takedowns of women and minorities and think, “This man will make our country great.” I don’t know what to say to you. So this is not for you. (But in case you wanted to see a massive, comprehensive list of everything terrible Trump has said and done, here you go).

This article is for the people who, like me, are horrified at the prospect of a Trump presidency but, unlike me, are uncomfortable voting for Hillary. This is for you, the person who is contemplating not voting, or voting 3rd party. Perhaps you voted for Bernie in the primaries. Perhaps you’re still angry that Bernie is not our nominee. Perhaps you have always disliked Hillary. Perhaps you are just tired of the “same old” politics in our country.

I am not going to try to convince you of Hillary’s many qualities. Yes, I am a Hillary supporter, and yes, I genuinely believe that she’s the most fit to lead our country. And not just that, but she’s going to make our country better. But that’s not what this article is about either.

This is about our country, and about being on the brink of an absolute disaster.

Here’s some background as to where I am coming from.

In addition to writing, I teach middle and high school students. Every year, I teach a unit on World War 2 and The Holocaust. I take Hitler comparisons really seriously and I don’t think it’s something to throw around lightly, but year after year after year, my students ask the same question:

“How did the Holocaust happen? Why did people let it happen?”

And it’s a hard question to answer. There is no clear response, no black-and-white answer that you could write down on a test. You could talk about the socio-economic state of Germany after World War 1, how the Treaty of Versailles hurt the morale of the German citizens, or you could blame the whole thing on propaganda and deep-rooted racism and bigotry. But one thing is clear – Hitler unearthed violence, anger, and bigotry during the 1930s. He inspired hatred and fear. But Hitler was only as powerful as his supporters. One man did not cause the Holocaust.

One of the activities I lead in my classes is a “Responsibility Assessment.” It’s a resource provided by the US Holocaust Museum, and it asks students to rate the responsibility of various groups and individuals. The essential question is, “Who was responsible for The Holocaust?” Some of the individuals and groups on the list are: “ordinary citizens who just abided by the rules,” “people who attended Hitler rallies,” and even, “the US government who limited immigration of Jews during WW2.”

Every year, my students come to the same conclusion: Everyone. Was. Responsible.

And this is what we’re facing now. I’m not saying that Donald Trump is going to launch World War 3 or start a second Holocaust. And I’m not even saying that Donald Trump is 2016’s Hitler. However, and this is a strong “however,” it cannot be ignored that he has unearthed and given life to a deep-seated racism and bigotry in our country. It cannot be ignored that he has given voice to hatred. It cannot be ignored that what’s more frightening than Trump is his supporters. There is an eerie similarity between the state of our country now and 1930s Germany that we cannot push aside. We are all responsible now, and what happens next is is in our hands.

So, finally, here is the one question you have to ask yourself before you cast a vote for Jill Stein or Gary Johnson in November:

Are you willing to risk a Trump presidency – and all the consequences that might come along with it – simply to make your point? 

Because that is what you will be doing. Yesterday, CNN released a new poll that showed Trump gaining a lead over Hillary. This race is not a given. Trump very well could win. Trump might be our next president. We can’t be naive about this any longer.

Normally, I am all for independent voters. But this is not a regular election year. This is an anomaly. Risking a Romney presidency or a McCain presidency did not pose nearly the same kind of threat that the risk of a Trump presidency does. And whether or not you want to hear this, it’s a fact: Gary Johnson will not win the election. Jill Stein will not win the election. Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton WILL become the next president.

So, this is not the year to make that point. This is not the year to sit at home. This is not the year to be a bystander. This is the year to take action, to make sure that all the progression our country has made is not undone. This is bigger than politics, bigger than Democrats and Republicans, bigger than everything we have ever known.

Right now, this is in our power. Right now, we still have a choice. Between now and November, I encourage you to think about the outcome of your decision. Because every vote matters, and every individual decision matters.

We are not excused from this responsibility.

{featured image via unsplash}

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