So, I have a confession to make.

Before the Indiana Primary in the spring, I had never voted.  I’ve been eligible to vote since 1999, and have not done it.  Worse than that, I had never even registered to vote.  The simple truth is that I just didn’t care enough to do so.  I have been one who believes that my vote didn’t really matter all that much in a sea of votes, so why bother taking the time to do it in the first place.  I never really paid much attention to politics, so, in some sense, I felt like it was probably better for me to not vote than to vote ignorantly… not that it has stopped other people.  Well, that changed this year.

I don’t know if it was must disgust at the leading candidates for each party or something else that prompted me.  I remember talking with a couple of friends a few months ago, and I said, “Guys, it’s really bad this year.  So bad that I actually registered to vote.”  And I was serious.

Now, the attention is being turned to November, with it shaping up to be a Trump v. Clinton circus, with one pandering to the lowest common denominator and the other recently being called by the FBI “reckless” when it comes to sensitive information on national security.  But, as people will tell you, those are your choices – a rock and a hard place.  Vote for one or against the other, it doesn’t matter.

However, the simple truth is that they will not be the only ones on the ballot when November rolls around.  There will be other candidates who will not be running under the banners of the Democrat or Republican parties.  Most people won’t think twice about these candidates because they stand outside the established system, and it is rare that a third party candidate even makes a dent in the headlines.  And, usually, when they do, the political commentators are simply saying that the candidate is going to pull votes away from one party or another.

More likely than not, it will be one of the major party candidates that wins on election day.  Unfortunately, that’s just the way our political system is set up.  If you aren’t backed by one of the heavy hitters, you are going to have a much more difficult time getting elected to any office for the most part.  But one of the things that I have heard regarding third party candidates is that we shouldn’t “waste our vote” on them because it just pulls support away from one of the big fish.

I have to tell you, it bothers me that somebody would say that.  For years, I have chosen to abstain from voting because I have felt like it would make a difference.  I finally decide to do it, only to hear people say, “Don’t waste your vote on somebody that isn’t part of the establishment.”  We’ve been voting for establishment candidates for quite some time.  How’s that been working out?

The very reason I registered to vote is because I wanted to be involved and make my voice heard over my extreme displeasure for the frontrunners of each party.  Don’t tell me that it is a waste to use my vote on somebody that isn’t part of our bipolar party system. (And, yes, I used bipolar on purpose there.)  It is not a waste.  Will that person win?  Probably not.  I realize how our system is set up.  That doesn’t matter.  That does not influence my vote.  If my convictions push me towards a particular candidate, then that is the person that will get my vote.  I see no other reason to vote.

I’m not a fan of Clinton or Trump.  One of them will probably win.  And it will be historic.  Our next president will most likely either be the first female to hold the office, or the first Oompa Loompa overlord person with absolutely no political experience or social filter to hold the office.  I’m not voting for either one, and it’s not a waste.  It’s an expression of my right as an American citizen.