**The first 5 paragraphs mighttttt be interpreted as political, so skip those and go straight down to the bolded stuff for a truly non-political post. But if you want to know why I’m not telling you who I’m voting for, start from the beginning.**

I cover a lot on this blog, but politics isn’t one of them. Yes, even on Presidential Election Day. I respect those who campaign on social media and beyond on behalf of their chosen candidate, but the fundamental right of Americans to cast silent votes is one that I value. I don’t think it’s weak or shady to be private about your choice, rather I see it as a chance to have a voice without taking part in a discourse that divides friendships, perpetuates self-righteousness, and spurs on hate. No matter the side of the aisle, and no matter the slogans or declarations otherwise, I’ve seen more hate in the last 6 months than I ever care to see again. My choice was to stay away.

back-away

Some may disagree and claim that it’s important to stand up for “basic human rights” (Right: Second Amendment, keeping the money you earn; Left: gay marriage, a woman’s right to choose, open immigration), and I don’t blame you for doing so. You’ve chosen to publicly stand for what you believe are “basic human rights,” and that’s good on ya’, even if someone else thinks the opposing side promotes “basic human rights.” I wish most of you would’ve been kinder and less self-righteous, but your decision to be public about your vote is a choice you had every right to make.

I’m just choosing the different path, one that was set in place hundreds of years ago for what I think was a pretty obvious reason: To avoid the anger and discourse we see among citizens today. We were given the opportunity to vote quietly, because our vote represents our beliefs as an individual. As one person, with one vote.

More so, some candidates didn’t even have campaigns back in days of Washington and Jefferson. As a matter of fact, many of the early great leaders of our country had no desire to run for president. They were simply qualified and respected, thus nominated. (Many, not all.) Washington’s humility and disinterest in personal gain is exactly why we have a democracy instead of a dictatorship. Plenty of people wanted him to remain president, but he refused to do a third term. He easily could’ve held onto power, held onto what he’d accomplished in 8 years and not been willing to trust the hands of a different person, but he stepped down. And that officially set the tone for how America’s leaders would proceed with presidential terms. (Did you know that a terms were technically unlimited until 1951?) What a difference a few hundred years can make in the types of people running, and their desperation for such power, now masked by “wanting to serve their country.”

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I’m getting a little carried away, so I’ll rein it in. My point is that I’m not telling you who I’m voting for, which doesn’t make me less passionate or less interested in the direction of our country. It’s just a personal choice. Telling me I’m wrong for being silent only strengthens my argument that being publicly passionate feeds pride and self-righteousness at an alarming rate, so you do you and I’ll do me!

I will, however, publicly say the following:

Be kind to one another, no matter how strongly you disagree.

NOTE: If you can’t be kind to someone (I personally wouldn’t be able to be nice to someone in the KKK or who is mean to old people), simply state what you believe with conviction and without hurling insults, then walk away. Standing up for what you believe is different than being accusatory, sarcastic, condescending, or brash. Those tactics never work, anyway. So say something if you feel so compelled, then peace out before you become part of the problem.

Remember that your views are a product of your experiences.

Puppies solve almost anything, so find one to hold today if you need to.

Wave at people who let you into their lane during heavy traffic.

Call your mom.

Write thank you notes.

Pay for the music you listen to, unless it’s somewhere legal like Pandora.

Don’t believe something is true just because you read it or saw it on a documentary.

Tip 20%.

Be the first to apologize.

Surprise someone with a gift, an appearance, or just doing something helpful at least once a month.

Do something good every day without anyone knowing.

Support local businesses.

Eat fresh fruit and veggies when you can.

Pray. Not just when you’re in need, but in gratitude.

Forgive.

Give strangers the chance to be your friend.

Always give yourself a 3 drink maximum and a 2 pizza slice maximum. You’ll feel better in the morning.

Don’t spend money you don’t have.

Give some of your money away. GoFundMe makes this really easy.

Visit friends whenever you can.

Laugh when something’s funny.

And most importantly, read Generation grannY. (LOL JK but not really)