It was no surprise that President Barack Obama won yesterday’s election. It’s disheartening, but most voters believed they only had two choices – incumbent Barack Obama or Republican candidate Mitt Romney. The popular consenus among many voters was that the choice was between the “lesser of two evils” and voting for someone other than the Republican or Democratic candidate was a “waste” of a vote, but here’s why that simply isn’t the case.
Gary Johnson, the two-term former Republican Governor of New Mexico, was the 2012 Libertarian candidate for president. He has a proven track record of vetoing wasteful spending over 750 times, and was cited “best job creator” by National Review. His campaign was hardly covered by the mainstream media. I found out about Johnson through my “smart” friends, and I’m so glad I did. Upon researching Johnson’s stance on the issues and using interactive tools such as isidewith.com – I discovered that he was the candidate I felt most aligned with my own views. Johnson is socially liberal and fiscally conservative – which in my opinion, is exactly what our country needs right now. The damage done by the Obama administration is simply not sustainable: The federal deficit has tripled, the American dollar is hardly worth anything, and the unemployment rate is sky-high.
Johnson’s plan was to stop the spending immediately, audit the federal reserve and abolish the IRS. Johnson rallied to bring troops home and limit U.S. involvement in foreign affairs. He believes in keeping the internet safe and censorship-free. He also has been on a long-running campaign to legalize marijuana and to regulate it in similar fashion to alcohol and cigarettes. Johnson supports civil liberties such as gay marriage and abortion, issues on which the government shouldn’t impose, as well as the repeal of the Patriot Act. Gary Johnson stood to defend freedom, peace and well – liberty. He encouraged us to “Be Libertarian with me this one time.”
The more I followed Gary – on YouTube, Twitter, and Facebook – the more his message resonated with me. I know that I wasn’t alone in feeling fed up with the venomous campaign messages being tossed back and forth between Obama and Romney, the endless flyers, the ridiculous debates. The two-party system is corrupt. Both of the main candidates were essentially endorsing the same things. Plenty of folks voted for Obama simply because of Romney’s pro-life and pro-marriage stance, neither of which have much weight if he actually were to be elected. Campaigns know which issues to press to sway voters. Gary Johnson spoke the truth, unlike either of the other candidates. Oh, and by the way: Johnson is an avid skier, marathoner and climbed Mount Everest.
If Gary Johnson had achieved his goal of 5% of the popular vote, it would have ended the two-party abuse, and granted the Libertarian party equal funding and ballot access. Johnson received a total of 1,139,562 votes, more than any other Libertarian candidate to run for presidential office. That is historic and amazing. He was America’s best hope. I couldn’t be more proud to have “wasted” my vote on him. I know I share that pride with the rest of the 1% who voted for Gary Johnson. I know this isn’t the last we’ll see of him. I can only hope that in time, more Americans will take notice of other candidates on the ballot, and have the courage to vote for who they truly believe in, rather than who has a “chance” of winning. I know I did.
“I am not a champion of lost causes, but a champion of causes not yet won.”
-Norman M. Thomas