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To Voters in the 2016 Election
Tuesday, 2016 September 27 - 11:34 pm
I've posted in three parts on Facebook, but these are thoughts that I want to make public. I'll probably repost all of this multiple times in the run-up to election day.

To the Gary Johnson supporters on my Facebook wall: please stop it. I beg you. He's not going to win. He's only going to steal votes and play spoiler, and that means that the candidate you like the LEAST might become President. Sure, you'll get to sit there and claim it wasn't your fault that the country went down in flames, but in fact, it pretty much would be... because your vote might have tipped the results in the crucial state that tipped the electoral college.

"None of the above" is not going to be President. It will be Trump or Clinton, and we have to make a choice of which one it's going to be. Maybe you find those choices distasteful, but it's a false equivalency to say that both candidates are equally bad in equally the same ways. One of them is worse for you and worse for the country, and I think you know that. And also, voting for Gary Johnson isn't going to "send a message" or "disrupt the system" or any such nonsense, any more than it did in 2012 (do you remember that Gary Johnson ran, and lost, in that year too?), or any more than voting for Bob Barr did in 2008 (do you even recognize that name?)

The more relevant event is when Ralph Nader's 97,488 votes in Florida in 2000 probably cost Al Gore the election and put George W. Bush into office. Did that tear down the two-party system? Did that send a lasting message to the major parties? No, it just put the Republican party into power and gave us one of the worst Presidents in history. If that happens again, I will blame YOU.

To the Trump supporters on my Facebook wall (there aren't many of you, and you've probably already unfollowed me during this political season, but...) please know this. Even without considering policy or qualifications or experience, it absolutely pains me to know that you support him to be the President of our great nation.

It's the racism, mostly, that I find personally offensive. It's the misogyny that makes me cringe for all the amazing and powerful women that I know. It's the bullying that makes me sad for the weak and underprivileged people in this country. And as a person who's worked hard all my life to be informed and educated, it's infuriating that Trump claims to be an expert in things that he clearly knows very little about.

Your support for Trump means that you condone all of these things that are hurtful and offensive to me. I try not to judge people personally based on their political viewpoints, but this goes beyond politics. If you stand for a person that represents racism and misogyny and bullying and ignorance, then it feels like a deliberate and personal offense towards me and everything I believe in. And that makes it very hard for me to maintain respect for you.

Now, if you're just posting your pro-Trump stuff on your own wall, then I'm taking advantage of Facebook's "unfollow" feature so that I don't end up angry with you. But if you start decide you need to post some kind of anti-Hillary or pro-Trump stuff on my wall or my wife's wall, it's doubtful we can remain friends.

To the Hillary Clinton supporters on my Facebook wall: Hey. I'm glad you're on board. I'm with her, and I'm with you. Here's the thing, though: now is the time to speak up and state publicly what you believe in. I know that it's not exactly cool to support Hillary openly. You might be like me, treading carefully among lots of people who say crazy things like "Hillary is a liar and a warmonger", "I've always been a libertarian", or "Trump just speaks the truth". You want to avoid offending people or starting an argument. You don't want your house vandalized because you put a Hillary yard sign out. I get it. I feel the same worries.

But we've gotten to a point where your words, or your silence, might make a difference in this election. Yesterday I might have reached a Trump supporter by telling her how hurtful his racism was to me. Today I talked to a millennial and might have convinced him that the things he's always heard about Benghazi and about emails don't represent the real truth. So you see, you don't have to wear a Hillary t-shirt, and you don't have to stand on a soapbox and preach. But you can talk to your friends who might still be undecided or convincible.

Be open, thoughtful, and compassionate. Most people aren't deliberately evil. But maybe they don't have all the facts, or maybe they don't fully realize the consequences of their vote. And maybe it will be your sincerity and civility that helps them understand your viewpoint. There's still hope for this country. We can reject hate. We can have civil discourse and rational disagreement. And most of all, we can be stronger together.

Election day is Tuesday, November 8th. Vote.
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Posted by Ken in: politics

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