The 2016 Election = Vizzini’s Choice

This has certainly been a fun election year so far, don’t you think?

Ok, “fun” might not be exactly the right word.

I know it seems inconceivable, but the two major political parties (bless ‘em) have offered up the two most disliked candidates in U. S. history.

What’s a conscientious voter to do?

As I’ve considered my voting options, it occurs to me that, as in most important life experiences, there is something to be learned from that legendary cinematic masterpiece, The Princess Bride.

We are faced with what I would call “Vizzini’s Choice.”

In the rare case that you have never seen the movie, or your memory needs to be refreshed, or you just want to see a classic film scene again, this is the scene I’m referring to…

So, as we face the 2016 election, I say…

“All right. Where is the poison? The battle of wits has begun.”

What about Hillary Clinton?

There are many reasons you could find to vote against Hillary. Perhaps your reasons go back to the Whitewater scandal. Maybe for you it’s her involvement in the Benghazi attack or the fact that she’s in process of being investigated by the FBI. Or, it could be that your reasons have more to do with the uneasy feeling you get when you realize their personal life and marriage seems a little too much like Frank & Claire Underwood in House of Cards.

For me it’s pretty simple. I cannot, in good conscience, vote for any candidate who claims that mothers have the absolute right to end the life of their unborn babies if they find them inconvenient. I don’t consider myself a “one issue voter” but this one is a deal breaker for me. I believe it is the most basic of human rights issues and goes to the heart of who we are as a people.

“…so I can clearly not choose the wine in front of you.”

Ok, what about Donald Trump?

Donald can’t seem to make up his mind what his opinions are so it’s kind of hard to know what he would do as president.

In 1999 Donald is “pro-choice in every respect.” In 2016 he thinks women who have abortions should be punished. So, what does he believe? What will he do? The truth is, no one has any idea. He has since back-pedaled on his answer, but that is his typical pattern. He generally seems to have no idea what’s going to come out of his mouth until he hears it played back for him. Then he has to “clarify.” This is not a character trait I want in a president. Every elected official struggles to keep his campaign promises. Some are more successful than others. But we really don’t have a clear idea what his campaign promises even are.

Except that he’s gonna “make America great again.”

What does he really mean by that? Judging by his campaign rhetoric, making America great will came at the cost of making America good. A bully is not great, he’s just mean.

Is it possible that his picture of a  “great” America is the same as David Duke and the KKK? He seems fairly comfortable with the fact that he has their support. Well, I’m not.

His supporters somehow have the idea that he’s on the side of the little guy. They think he is an outspoken business man who “tells it like it is.” He’s not. The only part of that that’s true is the “outspoken” part.

I hate to re-use all the same adjectives that appear in every #NeverTrump article, but he is an arrogant, racist, misogynistic, xenophobic, bombastic, childish and thin-skinned blowhard. He’s an insulting, disgusting bully. He is not a leader.

“…so I can clearly not choose the wine in front of me.”

I wouldn’t want to “have a beer” with either one of them, let alone a glass of poisoned wine!

So back to the original question: What’s a conscientious voter to do?

Not voting at all is a bad idea. This could be interpreted as apathy and the only message it sends is that you think things are going fine without your input.

No, I think we must vote for someone, anyone, other than Trump or Clinton.

Right now I don’t know who else will be on the ballot in November, but someone will get my vote. It may be a Libertarian, an Independent or a write-in, but it emphatically will NOT be Hillary or Donald.

I know what you’re thinking. The Republicans are thinking that “a vote for a third party is a vote for Clinton.” The Democrats are thinking that “a vote for a third party is a vote for Trump.”

Be careful with that thinking. When you say that, what you’re really saying is that you’re not going to vote your conscience. You’re saying that your vote doesn’t represent you. You’re saying that you have no choice but to fall in line with the party, and unite around the candidate the party tells you to unite around. You’re saying that your vote is not yours, it belongs to the party.

I urge you not to fall for it! Who’s in charge here?!?

I am under no illusions that a third party or independent candidate will be our next president. But if everyone who hates Trump and Clinton votes for someone else, it will send a powerful message. One of them will in all likelihood still be president, but the party leaders will see that a majority of voters voted against them, and the president will not be tempted to interpret his/her election as a mandate.

Yeah, our next president will be poisonous.

But here’s the good news:

“They were both poisoned. I spent the last few years building up an immunity to iocane powder.”

Well, actually, we didn’t build it up. The immunity is written into the constitution. The good news is that the president is not an emperor or a king. The president doesn’t rule, he presides. (One reason why Trump isn’t qualified.) The checks and balances of our constitution is a beautiful thing. Yes, we’re in for a tough presidential term or two, but I’m optimistic about our future. Don’t believe the prophets of doom who say that the future of our nation depends on this presidential election. Our nation has endured bad presidents before and we will again.

I urge you to vote with the long term in mind. As Miracle Max said: “You rush a miracle man, you get rotten miracles.”

Vote your conscience. Let’s do our part to make America good!

Lloyd

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