All right then. Deep breath, everyone. We’re still here.  Let me tell you a story.

I was a nerdy kid (shocking, I know). I went to a very small public school in deep backwoods Mississippi. I was painfully, excruciatingly shy. I liked books and weird tv shows. Boys didn’t ask me to ‘go with’ them. I was excluded, I was talked about, I was laughed at. One person who claimed to be a friend started some truly nasty rumors about me that followed me for years. It was a life of cliques, and I was only welcome on the periphery. It may not have been intentional, but it was most definitely the way I felt as a kid.

I see the same thing happening now.

The bullies and rumor-starters of my day are the Trump Republicans now. They embellish any story they tell to be the most grandiose, most vile reporting of ‘facts’ about anyone who has any differing opinion. They are bombastic, screeching, angry, hatemongerers. They truly do not care about other points of view, and are overjoyed when they can offend someone.

The whispering, snobby, elitist jerks are the Clinton Democrats now. They are so self-centered in their smug ‘rightness’ that they don’t stop to think about how far they’ve pushed the bullies, and how mad the bullies have become. They don’t think about the opinions of others because OBVIOUSLY their own opinions are the most right, and the most true, and everyone should just conform to their way of seeing things. They speak words of non-violence, not deigning to dirty their hands with action. They are condescending, and entitled, because they simply know better than everyone else.

Where does that leave me?

I could not vote for Trump. He is a vile, disgusting, pig of a human who has spoken some of the most hateful statements ever made toward women and minorities. He has been a 1%er for his entire life, never having done a single day’s manual labor. Yet he built his entire campaign on the backs of those strong men and women who support our country with honest hard work. He’s the loudest voice in the crowd, and he’s yelling things they want to hear. They ignore his moments of lewd, potentially criminal, behavior because he’s the one who is pushing back against everything they have been conditioned to hate.

I could not vote for Clinton. She is a scheming, sneaking, back-room dealing career politician who has stated her firm support for ending entire sectors of American jobs such as coal mining. She is no friend to the blue-collar worker. Her rallies included support from well-known musicians and actors, and the majority of the entertainment industry has been vocal in their support for her. Lovely people, yes… but they do not represent the majority of people in America. Hillary ignored the steelworker, the nurse, the refinery worker, the farmer, and the grade-school teacher, and they are tired of being ignored.

So, I voted for a third-party candidate.

It became overwhelmingly, abundantly clear to me in July that Trump was likely to carry the electoral vote for the state I currently live in, and the Clinton campaign essentially conceded it to him. So, I felt the need to vote where my conscience led me. I investigated, I researched, I read review after review and listened to countless interviews. I looked at how candidates handled previous public service jobs. I looked at and read everything I could think of. Knowing all of these things, I voted for a third-party candidate.

You may say “Well you just wasted your vote. How could you do that in such an important election?”

To you I say “My vote isn’t wasted if my conscience is clear.”

I voted third-party because it is time we had more choice in elections. I voted third-party because neither the Republican or Democrat platforms are agreeable to me. I voted third-party because the candidate I chose to support isn’t being investigated or sued, hasn’t bankrupted a company, and hasn’t been convicted of any criminal acts. I voted third-party because that candidate has a belief system that is in alignment with my own principles. Most importantly, I voted third-party because after all my research, I believed my candidate to be the best choice for leadership of this nation.

Did my candidate win? NO. Did they stand a chance? NO. But that’s ok. In the next national election cycle, my candidate’s party is now eligible for funding support and other recognition alongside the two failing ‘major’ parties. This is a success to me. We have to start somewhere.

That’s how a revolution begins.