As a young American who studied political science in college, I got the pleasure of studying in depth my heroes such as JFK and FDR. However, I draw the unlucky card of having a Trump v. Clinton election as my first presidential election I will be voting in.

This election is one of those elections that is sure to rile up your racist, inappropriate uncle at the family get together.

But if you have half a brain, which if you have the capability to read this I assume you do, voting for Donald Trump is out of the question and Hillary excites you about just as much as morning traffic on the 405. So what is one to do with such a dilemma.

You can put your head in the sand and stay home on Election Day. But if you do that, remember that you are giving up one of your most inalienable rights as a citizen of the United States. That right of the people to decide who will govern them has been fought for and died over. People have struggled for that right since the first day man attempted to govern himself. Matter of fact the right to vote is so engrained in who we are that we’ve actually tricked ourselves into thinking we are entitled to it, and that abstaining from it is just as fine as cancelling that terrible tinder date you had planned.

So let’s assume you are an engaged citizen of this democracy who is going to vote. You have quite the dilemma. So if you don’t want to vote for a tyrant and possible second coming of Hitler or a lying, do anything to get elected, run of the mill politician, then vote for a third party. Or pencil in a name, and don’t ever let anyone make you feel bad about that.

This isn’t a rant on the two party system, there’s plenty of those out there. But the fact of the matter is, with the two party system we have, we as citizens only get the two options given to us. And if those two options sucks, then I won’t vote for either of them. We are citizens of the greatest society, the greatest nation in all of human history, (despite what your trump-loving uncle, or socialist college professor told you) and as a result we should not accept mediocre candidates to be shoved down our throat. If enough people are pissed off and sick of the mediocrity and refuse to accept it, then we will see change. If third party candidates, or other votes start significantly taking away votes from the two major parties, then we will see a change.

By voting for a third party your voice is being heard, loud and clear. It is not a wasted vote, it is not a vote for evil because your taking votes away from the good candidate. No. It is you exercising your right as a citizen of this democracy for your voice to be heard. This election I will not be voting for either Hillary or Trump. In all honesty I will probably just pencil in the first name that comes to my mind when I am in the booth and by doing so I am letting my voice be heard. As a citizen of the greatest nation in the history of civilization I refuse to have inept candidates forced onto me, I refuse to pick the lesser of two evils, and I refuse to stay home on Election Day because of it. As a result, maybe my vote, and millions of votes like mine will someday make a difference in creating change that will better our nation. That’s what my vote is for.

By Mike Oropollo

Mike Oropollo is a Santa Monica resident