Tuesday, October 25, 2016

My Thoughts on the 2016 Election

 I am referencing this post because I’m repeating some things. You don’t have to go reread it, though, because this post is a complete thought.

Back when I was at BYU, I got extra credit if I went to a lecture. I don’t remember who the lecturer was, so I apologize for not giving him credit for his ideas. Anyway, to start out, we all got a piece of paper. We were told to either choose Plan A or Plan B. If the majority of the people chose Plan A, then everyone who chose Plan A would get $100. Everyone who chose Plan B would get $50. If the majority of the people chose Plan B, then everyone who chose Plan B would get $10 and everyone who chose Plan A would get nothing. That day, the majority of us chose Plan A. Our lecturer was astounded because that never happened. People usually go with Plan B because it’s safe. The point of the exercise, though, was that we can do a lot better if we communicate and work together.

Enter the election 2016. Clinton and Trump are the most unliked presidential candidates I think ever. It would seem that the thing to do would be everyone vote third party. However, no one trusts each other. Some are too afraid of Clinton wining, so they vote Trump. Others are afraid of Trump winning, so they vote Clinton. What should have been an easy victory for a third party has turned into the same old story. (You can also argue that none of the third parties were on the ball enough to gain a ton of support).

I live in Utah. So let’s talk about McMullin. On the website "I side with" I score very high with McMullin. He’s a Mormon, so a lot of his ideas are easy for us Mormons to get behind. Everything he says sounds great. His popularity in Utah has climbed really high in a short amount of time.

There’s just one problem – how do we know we can trust him? McMullin has worked for the CIA, Goldman Sachs, and the Republican House Conference. Unfortunately, he can’t really tell us a lot about any of his work because it is private/ confidential etc. He hasn’t been vetted by any political party as he is running independent. I’ve heard one person point out that both he and Hilary Clinton belong to the Council on Foreign Relations (it’s on his LinkedIn profile so I don’t feel bad at spreading that). Obviously that means he’s a plant for Clinton, right? If you look at his time for entering the race, who he’s targeting, etc, it sure looks like he was the perfect person to come and keep Utah from going red.  

I’ve heard the argument made that Mormons are just too trusting. That is why we have all rallied behind McMullin. We see one of our own and we believe him. He knows what to say to reach our hearts. But I ask you, is being too trusting a bad thing? From the example with Plan A and Plan B we can see that everyone benefits when everyone is trusting and trustworthy. When does being trusting turn from being a strength into a weakness? How do we know when we’ve crossed the line into the range of being naïve? Has that happened here? Or is McMullin actually deserving of the trust Utah has placed in him?

My purpose of this post is not to tell you to vote for anyone in particular. My purpose is to tell you to vote your conscience. That is going to mean something different for difference people. For some that means voting the lesser of two evils. For some that means voting for someone who doesn’t have a chance of winning. That’s okay. After listening to a lot of people’s opinions, I’ve formed one of my own. Your vote means exactly what you want it to mean. Yes they will look at the statistics at the end. However, they aren’t going to separate it out like, “well these ten votes were made to stress their opposition to the Republican Party, these ten votes were just voting along party line, and these ten votes were cast because they wanted to stick it to the man.” Only you can determine why you vote a certain way. Don’t let people bully you into voting for anything. Don't let people tell you your vote means something different. We all think differently and that’s okay. The value of your vote is what you give it.

Now, after saying that, please don’t shame others for thinking differently than you. I’ll admit, as a conservative, I’m not a huge fan of Clinton; but that doesn’t mean I think less of those who will vote for her. I understand why my friends are willing to vote for her. I also understand why people will vote for Trump. I also get why people will vote third party even though they know their candidate won’t win. If you’re saying you don’t understand why anyone could be so stupid and vote for (enter candidate name here), you’re doing more than just shaming others. You’re refusing to listen. You can disagree, but please don’t shame.

At the end of the day, we’re all still Americans. We all still need to work together. We all could be a little better. And we are all probably better than we think we are. Let’s lift each other up.