Third party candidate overlooked

By: Heidi Krick – Staff writer – [email protected]
For the first time in my personal voting history, I voted for a presidential candidate who is not the lesser of two evils or the opposite side of the same coin.
Happily, gladly and proudly, I voted early for the former Governor of New Mexico Gary Johnson, the Libertarian Party’s presidential candidate, and the only third-party candidate on the presidential ballot in 48 states.
Voters are often shocked when I explain who I voted for in the current presidential race.  I am often told that I am wasting my vote by voting for a third-party candidate.  The only wasted vote is one that is cast because the candidate is not the other guy.  He is not Obama, and he is not Romney.  Wasted votes are those that are made without education, understanding and real support of the candidate.
I cannot count how many times I have been told that a voter would vote for a third-party candidate if that candidate actually had a chance of winning.  These are the voters who usually end up voting for the lesser of two evils, the opposite side of the same coin and the media favorites.  These voters believe there are only two options in this election: Obama or Romney.
The reality is a third-party candidate may actually stand a chance in this election if the many supporters of third-party candidates actually vote for the candidate whom they actually trust and believe.  If voters choose to vote for the candidate who truly represents their ideals and beliefs, rather than determining between the two media favorites who is the closest match, they might be surprised to learn just how many of us want real change. Johnson represents the change so many Americans desire.
Johnson is the only presidential candidate who is vocally against crony capitalism.  Crony capitalism is the belief that success in business is based on a close relationship between businesses and government officials.  Crony capitalism leads to favoritism in policies, grants and tax breaks, and it is in direct opposition to how the American economy is intended to function.
Johnson is the only presidential candidate who supports immediately repealing both the PATRIOT Act and the National Defense Authorization Act, both of which violate basic American civil liberties.
Johnson’s stance on foreign policy is, perhaps, his most controversial.  Johnson intends to stop the trillions of dollars lost in the wars overseas and bring our troops home.
According to the 2010 Department of Defense’s “Base Structure Report,” the United States maintains 662 military bases in 38 countries around the world.  American involvement in overseas wars has supposedly been instrumental in fighting the war on terrorism.
Americans need to start asking just how protected our country really is with the majority of our military everywhere but America.
Johnson intends to end the war on drugs.  Historically, there have been two belief camps regarding the war on drugs: pro-drug and anti-drug.  In actuality, the war on drugs is a war that can never be won.
Hard drug abuse is an issue that needs to be handled by therapists and health experts.  Drug abusers have problems and personal issues that will not be solved by throwing the offender in jail.  The offender needs real help, instead of a long-term and criminalized punishment.  Repeatedly placing drug offenders in prison without dealing with the offender’s underlying issues costs taxpayers more than if the offender was offered therapeutic support.
The Justice Policy Institute’s 2011 “Incarceration or Rehabilitation?” report explains that two years of incarceration costs taxpayers more than five times the amount than if the offender was placed in rehabilitation services for the same amount of time.
Johnson is the only presidential candidate who believes in marriage equality as a fundamental and constitutional right.  The Declaration of Independence states that all are “endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”  The ability to love freely, whomever the heart desires, is directly involved with one’s pursuit of happiness.
We are denying a large portion of America the right to live both freely and happily.
Johnson wants the Federal Reserve to be transparent and held to the same scrutiny as any other federal organization.  There are long-standing questions attempting to understand whether the Federal Reserve has a heavy hand in inflation rates and prolonged unemployment.  Johnson will demand, if elected, these questions are finally answered.
Johnson’s stance on the political and economic issues is untraditional and maybe even extreme.
Obama’s campaign in 2008 pushed the belief that he represented “Change We Can Believe In.”  The execution of the change Obama promised fell flat during his time as President.
Libertarian Johnson’s perspective represents a promise of change that is clear and evident.
Johnson wants us all to open our minds, eyes and ears and accept the reality that the way we are handling our economic and political problems is only prolonging and exacerbating them.  If we want change, we need to change the way we are dealing with things.  Johnson will do just that.
Whether or not you agree with Johnson’s policies or even my vote for president is irrelevant.
Vote for whomever you choose.  Just make sure your vote is an actual decision and not a backhanded attempt to keep the other guy out of office.
I am proud to voice my reasons for whom I have chosen to vote, and I urge all voters to be able to do the same before casting their ballot.