Have you heard of Gary Johnson and Jill Stein? Probably more from the former than the latter. Yet, they both have something in common with omnipresent President Barack Obama and his Republican challenger Governor Mitt Romney: they're all running for the highest public office in the land.
Gary Johnson, as many of you may know, is the Libertarian Party nominee for president. Jill Stein is the Green Party candidate. Both candidates are in the ballots in enough states to mathematically reach the 270 Electoral College votes necessary to unseat Obama and become the next president of the United States. However, neither will get the public campaign financing nor media exposure necessary to fairly compete with the nominees from the two major parties.
This is ironic, as both President Obama and Governor Romney like to talk about "fairness" and "freedom" a great deal when they are seen on the campaign trail or on any of the numerous canned media appearances that their lovers/haters from the national media regularly award them with.
Furthermore, the argument against giving Stein and Johnson equal air time (equality, another word the Obama campaign loves to toss around) is a self-fulfilled prophecy as -- according to the Commission on Presidential Debates -- presidential candidates must poll above the 15% mark in order to gain access to the debates. But, how does one expect to improve one's standing in the polls when one is not given fair media access to begin with?
Perhaps, 2012 libertarian leaning Republican presidential candidate Ron Paul was right when he decided not to stage a third party run despite the obvious national support from his huge following. Unlike the rest of the 2012 Republican primary field, which after months of name-calling, fighting and kicking now have fallen in line with the establishment wing of the Republican Party and pledged their support to Willard Mitt Romney, Ron Paul didn't "fully endorsed" the former governor of Massachusetts. However, Paul continues to call on what he sees the system's abuses of the Constitution by sponsoring bills to audit the Federal Reserve, among other liberty-oriented measures.
So, if you've already made up your mind for either Romney or Obama then more power to you. But those who feel neither candidate represent her or his values must not let figures like Republican vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan bullying them into believing that considering a third option -- whether it's writing Ron Paul in or voting for Stein or Johnson -- is either a waste of time or (worse) something stupid to do. Similarly, those who voted for Obama in 2008, even when they recognize the depth and breadth of the crisis he inherited as well as the (real or exaggerated) Republican obstructionism, must not fear to hold the president accountable and fire him (yes, he works for us people) if they feel he's not performing satisfactorily. Americans are dying as you read this to protect your right to choose (another popular campaign keyword). And there is life beyond Romneybama.