Every day on social media, I’m asked to defend my decision to vote (or not vote) in this election. Depending on who is asking my tone may differ, but the essence of my answer remains constant: I believe voting is an all-important right of every American citizen, and that right should be exercised and informed by principle, even when we may not agree with the chosen nominee.

In California our liberty is constantly under attack. It is dying a slow death, poisoned by a lack of mature leadership and the effects of tyrannical liberalism.

The hard truth is today’s voters are driven not by decisions informed by principle, but by immature feelings and cult-of-personality statuses.

Gone are the days when the reliable grownups were in charge. Even so, does that mean we should give up our principles and the fight for liberty? Not at all.

Voting is a right that is difficult; nonetheless, I do not take it lightly. Founding father Benjamin Franklin knew we would have difficulty when he said we have “a republic if (we) can keep it,” and I am mindful of all those who have sacrificed so much for my right to live and vote in this republic.

However, it is also not enough to simply vote; we must vote informed by our principles or – sadly – we will lose our republic and our liberty all together.

Despite the embarrassing spectacle of the current presidential race, no Republican should feel so discouraged as to refrain from voting Nov. 8.

Indeed, even though we may not like the impossible task of choosing the next president, it is my firm belief that the best route to preserve our principles and our liberty this election cycle is not with our presidential vote.

Rather, it’s with our votes in the down-ticket races. That is exactly why electing solid Main Street Republicans like Scott Wilk for Senate, Cameron Smyth for City Council, and Dante Acosta for Assembly is so imperative.

We must have Republicans like them in the pipeline or we will have no one representing our principles in the years to come.

If this circus of an election has taught us anything, it is that anything can happen because the hour is late and the will of the people is in doubt. Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not giving up on liberty — not at all — not even in blue, blue California.

What I am giving up on is the idea that we must vote for the “lesser of two evils.”

That, my friends, is a recipe for failure. It is like dating an abuser and staying with him because his sister is sweet.

She may be sweet, but he clearly is not good for us and we should know better. We must vote, or not vote, based upon our Republican principles.

How we Republicans vote at the ballot box is vital – though having said that, it is equally vital how we respond to tyrannical liberalism in our personal lives. It matters.

It matters greatly because that is exactly how we ended up in this mess. The time for being reserved and polite is over.

We must be unafraid to stand on our principles and articulate them boldly and unabashedly. We must also expect the onslaught of criticism, even from our own side.

We must speak out, educate the fence-sitters and encourage them to vote Republican because we know liberty is the only cure for the poison that is tyrannical liberalism.

To that end, we must vote as many down-ticket conservatives into office as possible, and most importantly, we conservatives must remain to pick up the pieces after this election to nurture liberty back to health once again—and we must do so informed by our principles.

As for the presidential ticket, I leave that to each of you to carefully consider which candidate, if any, will best represent your principles.

One thing, however, is clear: It is crucial on the local and state levels that we continue to elect those – like Wilk, Smyth and Acosta – who will consistently represent our values and protect our liberty well into the future.

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Gwendolyn Sims
Gwendolyn Sims is a Midwesterner currently existing in California while dreaming of the real America. It's out there, she remembers it. She's a lover of words, clever comedy, and writing in all its forms; fan of Constitutional freedoms; mother to 2 teen monsters, rescuer of dogs, and reluctant runner--but not in that order. Follow her on Twitter at @scvbuckeye where she tweets about politics, liberty, California, and other subjects that make her laugh.