Vote Your Conscience

| illustration by Charles Marsh |

I was riding home with a friend the other night and asked him to pull into this little bar I had just noticed on Camp Bowie. I don't know about you, but I try to drink a glass of wine a day for health benefits. The other five I drink for no particular reason. But anyway, I got to talking to the owner, and he said they were struggling to stay in business. I was surprised because it was a nice place.

I keep hearing that the economy has been getting better in 2016, but let's face it, it's still been a rough year for the oil business, yellow page salesmen and gluten farmers. That's one of the reasons why this presidential election is important. However, there are a lot of voters who are waiting for more information before they make a decision. Many will rely on what they hear in the media, but I don't know. At some point in time, news organizations decided to transition from messenger to advocate, and it's given them the power to undermine people with whom they disagree. But there's already a backlash. The media is always eager to share a favorability rating on some candidate or issue when it suits them, but if you'll notice, they never share their own. Mainly because it's right up there with Congress.

No, I won't be making a decision until I hear from some of the smartest people in this country…Hollywood actors. Think about it; these people have made millions of dollars just pretending to be somebody else. It's the most lucrative form of identity theft ever. This of course uniquely qualifies them to help us decide what's best for our country. And I know they will make a statement, just as soon as somebody writes it for them.

Now I think most people will admit this is one of the most contentious presidential elections in history. Regardless of the outcome, a very large segment of the population will be extremely upset. And as goofy as this election may seem, this country has had some stranger ones. You may not know this, but Andrew Jackson actually won the popular vote and electoral vote for president in 1824, four years before he became president in 1828. But he didn't have a clear majority over the other three candidates, which included John Quincy Adams. It was left to the House to decide. Adams then garnered support from the other two candidates and won the House vote. He also wound up getting all the electoral votes from Kentucky. That might not sound odd until you realize that not one person in Kentucky voted for him.

It gets better. In 1872 Ulysses S. Grant ran against a man named Horace Greeley. Grant wasn't all that popular, but he still won even though Greeley got 44 percent of the popular vote. So why was this election strange? Greeley was dead.

Eugene Debs ran for president five times. The fifth time he got almost a million votes. Not bad for a guy who was serving a prison sentence at the time.

This country has also had some strange candidates for president. Vermin Supreme campaigned as a Democrat in 2012 and promised a free pony for every American if elected. Gabriel Green ran for president in 1960 and 1972. According to his claims, if elected, he would have been our first extraterrestrial president. My favorite was Jonathon Albert "The Impaler" Sharkey. He's an ex-wrestler and self-proclaimed vampire who lost in 2012. But good news, he plans on running again in 2020.

Truth is, we really need somebody to bring this country together. And that person just might be Miley Cyrus. Back in March, she said she would leave the country if the election didn't turn out like she wanted. Personally, I think that would be enough to unite all of us to vote for the candidate that could make that happen.