Problem: The election of Republican nominee Donald Trump to the office of President of the United States will be at best an embarrassment and at worst actually dangerous to our nation. The only responsible course of action is to vote for the Democratic candidate, Hillary Clinton, no matter how much one may disagree with her policies and positions.
Problem: The election of Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton to the
office of President of the United States will be at best an
embarrassment and at worst actually dangerous to our nation. The only
responsible course of action is to vote for the Republican candidate, Donald Trump, no matter how much one may disagree with his policies
So of you're a person who believes that voting in elections is the kind of civic duty which you should not shirk, considering how many people sacrificed so that you could have and keep the right to do so, you have one heck of a problem. Now, it's not like there haven't been morally objectionable candidates for the office before. Woodrow Wilson was a vicious racist. Richard Nixon was a crook, despite what he said to the contrary. And so on.
But in 2016, both major parties somehow dipped their cups deep deep down into the fetid level of their basest, where greed and narcissism and the naked lust for power metastized together with malignant untruth and paranoiac secrecy and basic incompetence. And then they each drew up a gelid stinking rat's nest of a candidate, only to find that they had finally really done it: They had nominated two people who mirrored each other in almost every way, with the minor differences between them (he's more natural at public speaking, she has a better handle on how to get policy enacted) drowned in the reality that neither of them is of fit character for the office of President of the United States. Neither of them deserves "Hail to the Chief" or Air Force One or a life in the West Wing of the people's house or to receive a salute from someone wearing our nation's uniform.
The only position for which either nominee is suited by character is one of grasping avarice, single-minded in their devotion to enrich themselves and gain power for the sole reason of being able to tell other people what to do rather than empower them on their own. This position they already hold, of course, and a sane cosmos would leave them both in it.
This being the cosmos we have, though, here they are and there is still the necessity of voting. And so for someone of a conservative political bent, there comes former New Mexico governor Gary Johnson, running as the Libertarian Party candidate. Mr. Johnson is far from ideal. His ideas on religious freedom remain dismal (and not all that libertarian) and his track record in limiting spending isn't everything you could want (although he had to work against his NM legislature to even slow it down).
What I read of Mr. Johnson makes me think he would be at best an average president and unlikely to get a lot of his agenda through Congress. We might wind up with the authority and enormous bureaucracy of the executive branch trimmed, since he could do that more or less on his own. Or he might decide he needs to invest his energy in getting pot legalized. In an ordinary year, I can't find too many policy reasons I would vote for him, especially given the near certainty that he will not win.
But this is no ordinary year. The foulest stench is in the air; the funk of forty thousand hours of political ads and debates and conventions, and the only thing that Mr. Johnson has to recommend him is that if I mark the box next to his name on Nov. 8. I can look at myself in the mirror on Nov. 9 and probably corral the completely understandable impulse to ram my head through the wall behind it.