Vote for your values, not for a party


Kelsii Kyto

Midterm elections may be over, but the abundance of political arguments all around me have not ceased to exist. While listening to the classic left versus right quarreling, I couldn’t help but wonder where I fit into the discussion.

Whether it’s topics like abortion, concealed carry policy, national anthem protests or minimum wage levels, people find it crucial to stay on one side of the spectrum. However, these arguments make me ask myself what box I fit into. Then I realized that it’s OK to not fit into just one box. In our current society, the need to fit into one political party or another is more ubiquitous than ever, but people often forget that it’s also alright not to pick a side.

Of course, it’s important to take a proper stance for the good of the country, but those ideals may not be aligned with one single group or another. For example, socially, I may be considered more democratic; however, fiscally, I lean more to the right. I wouldn’t consider myself an independent either, but I feel more comfortable voting for policy and ideals rather than party loyalty.

Many people vote straight-ticket because they refuse to support other parties, but what good does that do? Vote for values. It is unnecessary to be embarrassed or nervous if you end up supporting someone not in your political party. It is not their label that is important, but their qualifications and ideals that match with yours. Even more so, your ideas are important, but so are those of the community. Vote for a leader, not simply a party member.

Our two-party system has led to the culture of revenge politics. Saying “you hurt me so I’m going to hurt you back” is unproductive for our society because it will ultimately lead to deadlock.

Leaders are more interested in playing politics than in finding solutions. Members of Congress feel that they will lose voter support and, in turn, their seats if they work across the aisle. This fierce political tribalism leads people to see those who work across the aisle as traitors, which is pointless. The rhetoric surrounding identity politics leads to the dehumanization of the people who sit on the opposite side of the spectrum from you. Not all Democrats are “snowflakes” and “radicals,” and not all Republicans are “bigots” and “extremists.”

Just because Proposal 3 passed and straight ticket voting will be an option does not mean you have to use it. It is not about the party, it is about the people. Do not be lazy in your voting. Do not allow yourself to be led around like sheep by a party. Parties do not care about people, they care about power. The GOP and the DNC are only interested in how many seats they can turn red or blue, they are not always concerned about the things that affect you and your community. Take the time to research candidates on both sides rather than just one, and your eyes may be opened in a way you weren’t expecting.

I’ve learned so much this election season about both parties, and I think they each have certain qualities to share with the country. Without one, there wouldn’t be the other, nor would there be the encouragement of political participation and free speech.
Perhaps for the next elections, we could all stop thinking in binary terms, and start thinking in bipartisan terms for the better of the people.