It's November 9th. The election is over. Donald Trump has won and will become our next president.
Am I happy about this? Not particularly. Am I worried by the outcome? A bit, yes. Do I feel regret over how I voted? Not at all.
As I mentioned yesterday, I'm well aware that I - along with all other third party voters - am going to be blamed by some for the outcome of this election. In fact, it has already begun. Here's a sampling of what I'm seeing from people on my own Facebook friends list:
"How are you feeling, third party voters?"
"I blame... 3rd party voters."
"If you voted 3rd party... shame on you."
"If you voted for Johnson, just smack yourself - why bother voting?"
There's more, mostly in the form of memes and shared posts, but the general consensus re: third party voting is that I should feel terrible, shamed, and shouldn't have even voted.
And now, my response.
How am I feeling? I'm OK, thanks. Not great, mind you, but I'm hanging in there. I really thought Gary could get to 5%, so I'm definitely upset that he didn't, that there's no guarantee that 2020 will be any different. And I can't say I'm really looking forward to Trump's presidency, but it will be interesting to see where this takes us as a country. I want to see how people step up to fight against, or support, a Republican-run America. There is so much anger and sadness today, and that hurts my heart, but I also hope it pushes people to take action (appropriate, positive, non-dangerous action). Our votes are our voices, and last I saw, Hillary edged past Trump in the popular vote. That means that more people voted for Hillary, more people's voices screamed her name and wanted her leadership, yet Trump becomes our president-elect. This is how the system works, and clearly a LOT of people are not happy with that. So speak up about it. Keep using your voices until you are heard.
I will accept your blame if it helps keep the peace. I shouldn't accept it; I'm not truly to blame. You think that if I hadn't voted for Gary Johnson that surely my vote would have been for HRC, and that's why you're blaming me. You believe my vote would have helped your candidate, and that Johnson stole my vote away. Here's the thing about that: It's simply not true. Hillary never had my vote. Nor did Trump. Had they been the only two choices, I would have abstained from voting completely. Are there people out there who might have voted for Clinton if a third party option hadn't been available? Sure. But I'm not one of them. Nor is my Hubby. Many of us would have preferred to NOT vote rather than vote for "your" candidate. So you can blame me all you want, and I'll take it. I'll shoulder that for now because you're hurting and upset, because - particularly if you're my friend or family - I love you and I'm willing to do that if it will help ease the pain.
Accepting your blame is one thing, but I refuse to feel ashamed of my vote. By telling me I should be ashamed of myself or by trying to shame me for my choice feels no different than bullying. Shaming me for voting for someone I believe in and admire? Shaming me for using MY vote for MY voice? Shaming me for not voting YOUR way? I've been raised to believe that voting is a duty and an honor. If I had voted any other way, I would have been doing myself and my country a disservice by letting my voice be silenced by those who are now trying to shame me. I voted for the person I truly felt was best suited for the role of president. In doing so, I have done nothing shameful or of which to be ashamed. I've taken your blame, but keep your shame. You may need it.
I "bothered" to vote because it's my right as a citizen of this country. Just as it is your right to vote for HRC, it is my right to vote for Gary Johnson. When I say, "Get out and vote!" what I mean is "Get out and vote!" Apparently, when some of you said "Get out and vote!" what you meant was "Get out and vote for my candidate!" You made it sound like you were encouraging me to exercise my right, but my right is to vote for whomever I choose. And yes, it is also your right to (try to) blame me and shame me for my decision. You are using your voice to convey your disgust and desperation, and you are entitled to do so. But here's a question for you to consider: Why? Why chastise me for voting third party and not almost half of the country who actually voted for Trump? Why use your voice to beat me down instead of using it against the party you're actually against? Why ruin friendships and burn bridges when you could be embracing an opportunity to engage in dialogue and hear different views? I "bothered" to vote because I wanted things to change. Now that the results are in, might you agree with that?
Donald Trump will be our next president, but don't blame me... I voted for Johnson.