On rare occasion I've actually "voted" for someone. But usually, like most Americans I suppose, I've just voted against their opponent.
I can probably list on one hand the number of times I voted for someone. It includes the likes of John Anderson, a congressman from Rockford, Illinois, who ran an ill-fated independent presidential campaign against Jimmy Carter and Ronald Reagan 26 years ago and Richard Daley, who first ran for mayor of Chicago back in 1989. I'm sure there are others but, for the life of me, I can't remember their names.
More often than not, I've gone into the voting booth, held my nose, and made my selections. It didn't matter if they were Republicans or Democrats. I haven't liked the candidates I've chosen.
Some of this is due to the way campaigns are managed these days. To be victorious in a presidential primary, for example, a candidate needs to appeal to their party's true believers. The result is that we get Republicans and Democrats who appeal to their party's extremists, leaving people like me, more oriented toward the center, feeling as if there's no one they really want to vote for during the general election.
On the whole, I've found Republicans to be usually far more conservative than I'd prefer and Democrats to be out of touch with reality.
In spite of these observations, however, it's never stopped me from voting. And it shouldn't stop you either. Even if you despise both candidates.
If you don't vote, you're supporting an argument made centuries ago -- that people are incapable of ruling themselves. This argument continues to have life to this very day in places like Africa, the Middle East, Asia and maybe a few other places I've forgotten about, where human rights are spit upon.
And I don't know about you, but under no circumstance do I want to find myself holding the same political position as North Korean dictator Kim Jung Il.
By voting, you're proving that people are capable of understanding the issues their community, state or country faces and selecting the candidate that is best suited to handle them.
So get out and vote!
You don't have to like every candidate you chose. But, at the very least, you should take the time to understand the issues and then vote for the candidate you think will do the best job.
By not voting, you're supporting the political positions of dictators and monarchs. Their argument goes something like this -- you're too stupid to govern yourself.
Have some pride, vote!