Hey, America, can we please stop vote shaming?

Jason F. Wright, 

According to my Facebook feed, if you’re voting for Hillary Clinton you hate America, women, soldiers and puppies.

If you’re voting for Trump, you must detest Mother Nature, early voting, and soccer moms.

It’s even worse if you’re voting for Jill Stein, Gary Johnson or Evan McMullin. Supporting those “plants” makes you a threat to democracy and you probably ought to be held in a barn somewhere in Russia.

You’ve heard it at least 1,776 times – men and women have died for our right to vote. With both their blood and hearts on their sleeves, these heroes have wielded weapons of all kinds in many lands to defend your right to walk into a polling booth and exercise one of your most divine freedoms.

Your vote is your vote and my vote is mine. It is one of the most sacred pieces of the American experiment and you and I don’t just have a right to vote, we have rights to the opinions that lead us to vote.

“Oh, but wait, we didn’t mean for that gal or for that guy. Or for that crackerjack who’s only on the ballot in three states and his entire candidacy is based on providing free Fruit Loops to every child.”

You’ve heard these gems, too.

“Don’t you know that if you vote for anyone other than my candidate you’re an idiot? Not as informed? Educated? Don’t you know voting for a candidate who can’t win is just wasting your vote?

How about this approach?

“Look pal, if you share one more anti-Hillary or anti-Trump story I am unfriending you and checking the ’no’ box on the ‘Do you like me?’ note you shoved in my locker.

This is called vote shaming, and shame on those who do it.

vote-election1_small-2 Hey, America, can we please stop vote shaming? Freedom

What these vote shamers forget is that while it’s perfectly American to promote and defend your candidate, it’s absolutely un-American to demean, diminish and shame those you disagree with.

Your vote is your vote and my vote is mine. It is one of the most sacred pieces of the American experiment and you and I don’t just have a right to vote, we have rights to the opinions that lead us to vote.

To my friends voting for Hillary, I might not agree with you politically, but I will not demean nor diminish your vote because I disagree with it. It’s your vote.

To my friends voting for Trump, I may not agree with his fitness to be president or his colorful personal history, but I will gladly stand next to you next Tuesday and honor your right to check the box, push the button, or pull the lever for your choice. It’s your vote.

Some will read this and certainly light up the comments with accusations of my naïveté. I support that right, too.

I hope when you step up to cast a ballot, understanding that there may not be a perfect candidate with whom you necessarily agree on every single thing, you’ll vote for someone you believe in.

Let’s cast aside the idea of voting for someone simply to prevent someone else from getting the job.

Here’s a thought: What if we all actually voted for someone we want to have the job in the first place?

Good luck next Tuesday, American. And may we shame no more.