No, I Am NOT Obligated To Support Trump

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I recently had the pleasure of engaging in a conversation with an individual who, without a doubt, is a Republican Party loyalist. By that I mean, one who will support the Republican Party no matter how far it drifts away from it’s original values. Throughout our discussion, this individual made it very clear that Republican-leaning conservatives should rally around Donald Trump in order to beat Hillary Clinton. I believe the exact words were: “If you’re not going to get on board, then you better get out”.

Now, I’m certain that this individual is someone who cares deeply about our country, and they must be horrified by the prospect of Hillary Clinton becoming President of the United States. While I certainly share this concern, it begs a very important question: As a Republican-leaning conservative, do I have the obligation to support Donald Trump during the general election?

My answer, quite frankly, is ABSOLUTELY NOT. I refuse to play the “lesser of two evils” game for any longer. I refuse to be a mindless drone that follows a political party regardless of how far they drift away from their values and principles. Finally, I refuse to buy into the idea that, by not voting for Trump, I am essentially voting for Hillary. These toxic ideas have plagued our political arena for long enough, and I refuse to fall victim to this ego-boosting rhetoric.

Every Presidential election cycle (this one in particular), I am inundated with the idea that we are supposed to vote for “the lesser of two evils”. Sure, Donald Trump may be a bad guy, but hey, Hillary Clinton would be a heck of a lot worse. This argument may have worked when the GOP nominated pseudo-conservatives, such as Mitt Romney and John McCain, but anyone who follows politics can see that Donald Trump is on a whole different level.

If I am limited to only two choices, both of which are highly undesirable, why should I violate my conscience by voting for either one of them? Am I obligated to support the power of a political party, or am I obligated to stand for my principles? Instead of limiting myself to two horrendous choices, I believe it is my duty to vote according to my principles and my values.

This is not to judge anyone who votes for Donald Trump, or even Hillary Clinton for that matter. Your vote belongs to you, and you are entitled to vote for whomever you believe in. My vote, on the other hand, belongs to me and is dictated by a strict adherence to the Constitution. My vote belongs, not to a political party, but to me. I vote for the person that I think will best represent my values, my principles, and the United States Constitution. If neither nominee reflects these characteristics, why should I feel compelled to vote for either one of them?

Part of the problem lies in this “Party-First” mentality, which has been having a destructive impact on American society. In the modern political arena, if you are Republican, you must support every Republican candidate, regardless of whether or not they adhere to conservative principles. The needs of the political party take priority, even if it means electing someone who skews conservative beliefs in a negative way.

The same argument can be made in regards to the Democratic Primary, in which many voters support Bernie Sanders. However, due to the superdelegate system, Hillary Clinton will clinch the nomination because party insiders have determined its in the party’s best interest. Unfortunately, on the Republican side, there has been a decreasing focus on the Constitution, and an increasing focus on who can ensure that the party stays in power. While the Democratic Party has been destroying the Constitution for years, it is disappointing that certain conservative sell outs are willing to compromise principles for party power.

Another theme that party loyalists seem to beat their drum to is the argument that: “If you don’t vote for Trump, you will be, essentially, casting a vote for Hillary”. This argument is a bunch crock, and anyone who uses it needs to take some serious time to reflect upon what is really driving their political decisions. Again, my vote belongs to ME. If I choose to follow my convictions and vote for a third party candidate, that is MY choice. If I choose to write-in a candidate that I believe in, that is MY choice. Neither of these actions are a vote, or an endorsement, for Hillary Clinton, nor are they a vote or an endorsement for Donald Trump.

I assure you, it is possible to be anti-Trump without being pro-Hillary, and vice-versa. We should not allow ourselves to be defined solely by a political party or an individual candidate. This election is not about Donald Trump. It is not about Hillary Clinton. It is not even about the Republican or Democratic Parties. It is about bringing America back to its constitutional principles, and supporting the individuals who adhere to these principles.

In conclusion, if my only options are to “get on board, or get out”, then I will have to say, in good conscience, that I will choose the later option. I will continue to support, and vote for, the state and local candidates who reflect the values and principles that I hold. I will continue to support the ideas that I believe in. However, Donald Trump is a man who has spent his life subscribing to liberal ideals, and has defined his character through amoral actions. If I were to throw my support behind Trump, I would be forced to violate my deepest held principles.

During the 2016 General Election, I urge all voters to vote based on their convictions. If you strongly believe that Donald Trump’s divisive and derogatory approach will “Make America Great Again”, then vote for him. If you believe that Hillary Clinton’s progressive-minded, politically-correct propaganda will reignite what makes American great, then vote for her. I refuse to be a pawn for either candidate, and no, I will not support Bernie Sanders either. If you are, like me, unsatisfied with both of these options, I encourage you to find a candidate who you can conscientiously throw your support behind. Don’t continue to let egotistical grabs for party power influence how you vote.


You Only Support Liberty When it’s Convenient for You!

I get weary from hearing the following rhetoric from modern-day politicians: “I support liberty……unless (fill in your favorite qualifier).

It seems to me that, far too often, we are inundated with politicians who claim to support liberty unless it interferes with their personal interests. Such individuals are not only a threat to individual liberties, but also illustrate the consequences of failing to live by principles.

Politicians who quote the Constitution and invoke liberty only when it is convenient for them, create a bad name for those who strive to adhere to Libertarian concepts. These individuals use the concept of liberty as a tool to gain a following, but end up exploiting the main objective of the cause.

Take the case of gay marriage for instance. A true Libertarian who opposes gay marriage would say: “While I disagree with the concept of gay marriage, I fully support your right to enter into a contract with whomever so you please”. This mentality allows for freedom of conscience, as well as, guarantees equal rights to all individuals.

A false prophet of liberty, on the other hand, would utilize the following approach in a similar situation: “I’m a supporter of liberty, however, gay marriage conflicts with my personal opinion. Therefore, as long as my liberties are protected, we should ensure that gay marriage is illegal”. ┬áSuch an approach not only goes against the foundations of liberty, but also gives certain individuals preference over others.

Now, I want to make it clear that the above example is not insinuating that those against gay marriage are inherently intolerant. The same concept could be applied to homosexuals that expect everyone to agree with and accept their lifestyle. Instead, it is purely an example of what happens when personal interests trump the concept of individual liberty.

Unfortunately, there will always be individuals who claim to support liberty but fail to act if their personal interests are not involved. On a regular basis, we are exposed to politicians who claim to support freedom of choice and individual liberties but end up supporting regulations that cut deeper and deeper into the liberties of a select few.

My call to action is to encourage those who support liberty not to fall victim to this trap. If you choose to be selective with whom deserves liberty, you are no true lover of freedom. In this coming election season, it is more important than ever to support candidates who are not selective where liberty is concerned. Let’s be sure to elect politicians who continue to support liberty, even when it conflicts with their personal interests.

Tolerance vs. Acceptance

10513891_872297119496327_2054023484_nI want to take a moment to write about the difference between tolerance and acceptance/endorsement. In the wake of the recent SCOTUS decision legalizing gay marriage nation-wide, I feel as though such a discussion would be quite appropriate. This post is neither for, nor against, gay marriage. My stance is, and will always be, that government should remove itself from the marriage business altogether. However, this post is not about my stance on marriage, but instead, a common-sense look at what tolerance means.

In modern society, there is much emphasis that is placed on the importance of tolerance. We are taught to tolerate those who anger us, tolerate those who disagree with us, tolerate those who come from different cultures and tolerate those who live lifestyles that conflict with our own. When it comes down to it, this mentality is absolutely correct. As a society, however, we run into issues when the definition of “tolerance” becomes ill-defined or misconstrued.

The biggest mistake that an individual can make is confusing tolerance with acceptance. Far too often, individuals are under the impression that, in order to tolerate, you must also accept. On the flip side, there are those who believe that, by choosing to tolerate, they are also displaying a personal endorsement. Neither of these scenarios is the case.

Tolerance, in its simplest form, is acknowledging differences, understanding that differences are inevitable and, finally, having the ability to discuss these differences in a civil manner. Tolerance does not mean conforming to an opposing viewpoint. Tolerance does not even mean endorsing an opposing viewpoint. Tolerance does, however, mean finding a general understanding and having a general respect for all human beings.

Am I “intolerant” because I disagree with the the actions of others? Absolutely not! Am I “intolerant” because I refuse to conform to and endorse lifestyles that conflict with my personal beliefs? Absolutely not! Am a conformist if I am willing to acknowledge personal differences and continue to treat those with whom I disagree with respect? Of course not!

Ultimately, we need to take a different look at what “tolerance” really means. Too often we allow the PC police to use tolerance as a means to force certain viewpoints upon the population. After all, who wants to be labeled as “intolerant”?

In conclusion, if society wishes to be truly “tolerant” we must accept the fact that human beings will have differences. We must not force others to see or accept our point of view. Finally, we must not let such differences prevent us from being civil individuals. The next time you hear someone preach “tolerance” ask yourself this question: “Is this true tolerance or is this an effort to force a certain viewpoint upon others?”

– The Objective Independent