Howdy. I'm Matt Todd. My wife and I have four kids and a dog,. I'm passionate about orphan care. I'm a die-hard fan of the Evansville Aces, the Indiana Hoosiers, and Star Wars. I'm trying to live life by the Todd family motto: "It behooves us to live!"

Worst.President.Ever.


By Unknown – White house, Public Domain, Link

When it comes to political discourse, it appears that we have become a nation of extremes. Many have taken the statement “If you’re not for us, you’re against us” into the political realm and then multiplied it to the extreme. With this type of approach to American politics, anyone who even remotely disagrees with you is obviously anti-American and full of hate. And if the conversation shouting match goes on for any length of time, one side is sure to accuse the other side of sounding like Nazi Germany or Stalinist Russia.

Of course, it is inevitable during conversations like this that someone eventually accuses a recent president of being the “worst president ever.” They rarely give many valid reasons why he was the worst president in the history of the US. They just make the blanket statement that he was obviously the worst president we’ve ever seen. Continue reading Worst.President.Ever.

Some thoughts about the upcoming election

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I’ve made it clear that I cannot support the Democratic and Republican nominees for President of the United States. If you support one of them, it’s OK. I really do understand. Both of them have policies that are appealing. And I really do understand the underlying fear that both parties have relentlessly stoked during this political cycle. I won’t condemn you for voting one way or another. I might not agree with you, but I understand. I honestly do.

I also understand the “lesser of two evils” argument. Some of you have chosen to follow this path. You believe that both Hillary and The Donald are horrible choices. The majority of the United States voting population agrees with you. But as you’ve analyzed this decision, you believe that one candidate is horrible and the other is only slightly less horrible. So you’ve decided to vote for the slightly less horrible candidate so the horrible candidate does not become President. I understand that dilemma. And I understand your choice. That major party candidate you don’t want to become President? I don’t want that person to win, either. I promise you that.

I almost chose this side. This Summer, I watched bits and pieces of the Republican National Convention and wasn’t very thrilled with what I heard and saw. And the I watched the Democratic National Convention. I listened to Tim Kaine. Having lived on the border of Virginia, I was familiar with him and his policies. I listened anyway. He invited disgruntled Republicans to consider joining them because there was room for them in the Democratic Party. It sounded appealing. A Big Tent Party sounds like a beautiful thing. So I cracked open that door just a little bit. Mrs. Clinton slammed that door shut in her acceptance speech. She and her running mate could talk a good talk, but it was made very clear that there is no room for someone like me in their party.

I’ve decided to abandon the major parties during this presidential election. Because it’s pretty clear they’ve abandoned me. It’s pretty clear that many other Americans feel abandoned, too. That’s what happens when you nominate the two most unpopular candidates in American history. I will not accept the false dichotomy that has been presented to the American public. I wish more voters felt the same. Because we are going to keep getting awful candidates if we accept the idea that we only have two choices.

“But, why do you want to throw your vote away like that?”

I’ve heard this argument a lot. In fact, I used to believe this argument. I have toyed around with voting Third Party for several years. I just couldn’t get over the notion that my vote wouldn’t matter. I realize now that I was wrong.

First of all, to the people who are making this claim, how dare you?

How dare you tell people it’s their civic responsibility to participate in the electoral process and then say that their votes don’t matter because they don’t agree with yours?

Are you telling me that some votes matter more than others? I realize within the context of the Electoral College, this really is the case. But this isn’t what you’re saying when you accuse me of throwing my vote away. You’re telling me that some votes are more equal than other votes. And that’s not OK?

Sounds like you’re trying to rig the system. That’s deplorable.

Voting for a non-major party is hardly throwing my vote away. Not voting at all would be throwing my vote away. Staying home – that’s how you throw away your vote. Voting is a right that I do not take lightly. I’ve spoken with people who live in countries where they do not have this freedom to choose our government. It’s a right I do not take lightly. Nor should any of us. Staying home and ignoring your civic responsibility to vote is throwing your vote away. Throwing support behind a candidate who is not a member of a major party? That just might be the most American thing you can do. After all, we say we’re big fans of the underdog. Right?

Besides, we aren’t gambling here. I don’t win any type of prize by voting for the winning candidate. The point of participating in the election process is to support a candidate, not necessarily to team up with the winning side. If I believe in a candidate and the candidate’s platform, does it really matter if anyone else votes for that person? I have nothing to lose by voting for the person with whom I agree.

I get it. We love winners. We probably love winners more than we love the underdog. That’s why there are so many bandwagon fans in the sports world.

But this isn’t sports. It’s our government. So how dare you say I’m throwing my vote away.

How. dare. you?

“Ok, why not just vote down ticket and skip voting for President?”

That’s one way to say you’re dissatisfied with the candidates. And I did that in the Primary.  But I cannot do that during this election. Because my silence does nothing. Nobody hears my voice. Because I don’t use the voice I’ve been given. So I’m ignored.

You know what happened when the conservatives stayed home and didn’t vote for President because they didn’t like Romney?

Donald Trump.

He’s what happened. People didn’t vote and the pundits tried to decide what the nonvoting American public wanted. It doesn’t sound like he was their expected result. And now that we’re presented these two choices from the two major parties, we have to realize that if we keep voting for candidates like these, we’re going to keep getting leaders like these. It’s time to break the cycle. Silence won’t work. Placing support behind a different candidate, a Third or Fourth Party candidate, is the only way I believe my voice will be heard.

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“But a Third Party vote is a vote for Hillary.”
“A Third Party vote is a vote for Trump.”

Stop it. Just stop it.

I’ve heard both arguments. Both are bunk. Talk about fear-mongering. This isn’t 1992 when Ross Perot took votes away from George HW Bush.

You’re assuming that the majority of the Third Party voters were going to vote for either Clinton or Donald. We weren’t. Neither one of them was going to get my vote, so voting Third Party does not make my vote magically support your opponent. So you can use all of the fear-mongering tactics that you want, but I’m going to sleep well Tuesday night, knowing that I was not complicit in electing either one of these candidates. You know, the two most unlikeable candidates in US history.

A third (or fourth) way.

Do I think a Third Party candidate will win the presidential election? No. Probably not. It’s my sincere hope, however, that a candidate or two will make enough noise to pass the 5% threshold that will qualify them for Federal funding in the next election cycle. It’s also my sincere hope that Third Party candidates receive enough support that it makes the Republican and Democrat leaders have a panic attack.

I’ve thought for a long time that we don’t really need just a major Third Party. We probably need a Fourth Party, too, if we’re really going to have politicians who listen to their constituents. We’re nowhere near that now, but we can make a start by giving rise to a Third Party. Do I agree with everything the candidate says? Nope. But I’m pretty sure the only person I agree with 100% of the time is me, myself, and I. And I don’t even think I agree with myself 100% of the time.

So I’m voting Third Party this year. And I’m hoping for a better future four years from now, where people will actually want to vote for a candidate instead of against one.

That, friends, would be huge and would make the country win. Bigly.

A photo posted by Matt Todd (@mattdantodd) on

 

How did we get here?

This election is making me cry

Growing up, I was taught that your presidential preference was a private matter. It really isn’t anyone’s business who you voted for, so you should just keep that information to yourself. I get the concern. I really do. You don’t want anyone to bully you into voting for someone you don’t support. Announcing your political preferences could impact your employment. Even though that kind of stuff is supposed to be illegal, it could happen. And there’s always the chance of losing friends over politics. It’s stupid. I know. But it happens. A lot. So I’ve generally kept quiet during election season.

So I hope you understand how uncomfortable this makes me. Yes, I’ve hinted before at my displeasure with candidate choices – I even joked about running for governor earlier this year – but I don’t think I’ve ever come out and used this platform to discuss who I was voting for or against. That was too private. Besides, my choice might offend someone. And that’s the last thing I want to do. Being offended? It’s no fun. It’s also no fun doing the offending. So I’ve sat back and stayed quiet. I can’t stay quiet anymore.

This presidential election makes me weep.

There. I said it. I know some of you are ardently for Mr. Trump. Others of you proudly say “I’m with her.” Me? I listen to the mudslinging and the pettiness and the name-calling and the fear-mongering and the intellectual dishonesty and the patently false accusations and the intimidation and the mind numbing rhetoric coupled with refusal to listen to anyone from the other side from the two most unpopular presidential candidates ever (EVER!!) and I wonder,

“How on earth did we get here?”

I really don’t know. But it makes me weep. It makes me weep when I hear one candidate say whatever is necessary to get elected. And then I hear the other candidate say whatever it takes to get elected. It makes me cry when I see venom spewed online. It’s not just directed at the candidates, but it’s also at their supporters. Nobody’s listening to each other. Everyone is just trying to shout down the other side, screaming louder and louder, refusing to pay attention to anything.

Anything.

And this is for the two most unpopular candidates ever?

What are we doing to each other?

I assume some of this has to do with the way we tie our political parties to our beliefs. Since there are only two major parties, American politics has become an “us vs. them.” You’re either for me and my party, or you’re against me and my party. I don’t see how anyone is supposed to get anything done at all with such a polarized attitude. And don’t point fingers when you read this. Both Republican and Democrat supporters are doing this.

So with this “if you’re not for my party, you’re against my party” type of attitude, the shouting begins. Then the mudslinging. And the vitriol. And the hatred. Then we forget that the “other” side is made up of Americans. They care about our country just as much as “we” do. So we build up these walls between the two parties, between “us” and “them” and  support anyone “our” side puts forth as a candidate. Because “my” candidate isn’t “their” candidate. And “my” candidate will win and make America greater (or great, depending on who’s saying what) again.

I had a teacher in high school tell us once that her father was a staunch Democrat. He was such a dedicated Democrat, that he would vote for any candidate the party would put forth. He said he’d even vote for the devil, as long as he had a (D) by his name.

I thought that was a little extreme when I heard it. But we’re not too far off from that now. Don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying Trump is the devil. I’m not saying Hillary is the antichrist. I highly doubt either one of them smells like sulfur.

I’d say these two are more like clowns, but clowns are already getting a bad rap right now.

And people are voting for them. Blindly. Because Hillary is not Donald and Donald is not Hillary. How messed up is that?

That’s entertainment?

And then there’s the debates. Don’t get me started on those. Are any of you actually listening to what they’re saying? Or are you just looking for “gotcha” moments you can turn into a meme? Do you really care about a proper discussion of ideas? Or are you simply looking for more reasons to justify why you’ve chosen the winning side? Are the debates merely entertainment now? That’s twisted. But if that’s the case, then pass the popcorn. It’s only the future of our republican democracy that hangs in the balance. So let’s focus on The Donald’s hair or Hillary’s cackle. Because those are the things that really matter.

I thought we were better than this.

I hoped we were better than this.

Are we better than this?

These presidential debates make me weep.

I didn’t even bother watching the second round of debates. And I still wept. All I had to do was look at my facebook news feed or my twitter timeline. Nobody was really listening to what the opponent was truly saying. They were just looking for reasons to prop up their own candidate. Or maybe they were watching simply for entertainment value.

So we have the two most unpopular presidential candidates in the history of the United States because we want to watch the debates turn into train wrecks? Because that’s what this election season has become. A train wreck. I wish we could hit a restart button. Or vote “none of the above.”

While I’m close to a decision about who to vote for, I’m not quite there yet. I can tell you this, though: I am not voting for Hillary Clinton. And I am not voting for Donald Trump.

No way.

Uh uh.

Not on your life.

Their candidacies make me weep. 

So voting for them would be…oh…what’s the word…?

Deplorable.

What’s an upstanding citizen to do in a situation like this? I might have an answer. Then again, I might not. I’ll be sure to share whatever conclusion I come up with. Because I have a feeling that I’m not alone in this conundrum.

*You’re welcome to comment on this post. But you have to be nice. If you’re going to try to convince me to vote for a candidate, make sure you’re actually talking about reasons to vote for the candidate. “Trump isn’t Hillary” or “Hillary isn’t Trump” isn’t good enough. I will delete anything that comes close to name calling or trash talking. Or better yet, I might edit your comment and make it link to the *other* candidate’s site. Let’s keep this civil, friends. Got it?