Keith Larson: Voting to get a good night’s sleep

Former New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson
Former New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson Getty Images

“So, who are you voting for then, Larson?”

I’ve been asked that many times since recently describing the top five presidential candidates as a lying socialist, another liar, a Republican with about as much experience as Senator Barack Obama, an insider-wolf in outsider-sheep’s clothing, and a circus ringmaster.

Having worn no political jersey for decades and with candidates as described, I’ll not be participating in the primary. Unless there’s been a dramatic change, in November I’ll vote for Gary Johnson, the former two-term Republican governor of New Mexico. He’s running as a Libertarian as he did in 2012 when he received slightly less than one percent of votes cast, including mine.

Johnson will get more this year, maybe much more. But he won’t win, an acknowledgment which leads to the next question I’ll be asked.

“So, how you gonna feel throwing away your vote, Larson?”

I will not be throwing away my vote. I will be following the command of Henry David Thoreau: “Let every man make known what kind of government would command his respect, and that will be one step toward obtaining it.”

For me, this means government that follows strict constitutional limits, ensures free markets, secures borders, and has fair immigration policies. It means a strong military for defense but not endless interventions. It means a balanced budget and term limits on congressmen.

The government that would command my respect would itself first respect that people are endowed to live free – to worship as they want, speak as they want, arm themselves if they want. It would recognize that people are sovereign and adults have the liberty to do things others might not agree with – to marry whom they want, make decisions about their own bodies and what they put in them, and generally live as they want as long as no harm is done to others.

These are also many of Johnson’s stated beliefs. He represents the government that would command my respect more so than any other candidate, so he’ll get my vote. Thoreau knew political change begins when people decide to stand for something, even if at first they’re only part of the slightly less than one percent.

My vote will count because every vote counts, not just those of the victors. It will be cast fearlessly for what I believe in, not reluctantly for the “lesser of two evils.” After all, the government we have today is the result of decades of voting for the lesser of two evils, as Johnson often says.

Our Founders didn’t choose the lesser of two evils. They chose freedom and liberty, for which they fought with no guarantee they’d win. They risked losing, for what they believed. People today go to the polls and vote for less than what they believe, afraid that otherwise their jersey will lose.

I will once again vote my beliefs, and I will sleep well. We are all free to vote as we choose, and sleep as those choices allow.

Keith Larson can be heard weekdays 9 a.m. - Noon on WBT AM/FM.