I get that many will criticize me for my view on this. But I stand my ground in saying, “No, I don’t have to vote in the upcoming election.” You can quote me on that. But telling me on Facebook that by not voting I’m somehow magically distorted into a terrible American will not help your position either. I get that some will say I’m not “exercising my right to vote and therefore have no right to complain.” Fine, I have no problem with that. And you know why? Because I’m not going to complain.

But here is what I am going to do. I’m going to keep my mouth shut because I don’t believe in or agree with a damn thing happening in politics today and I’m not sorry. I will not vote for someone just because he or she is the “lesser of two evils” as I have heard from so many people. The words even came out of my mouth a time or two when I still fell into the whole idea of voting whether or not I agree with a candidate. I won’t support a person who I do not agree with, especially in the areas where I am extremely passionate. Education. Mental health. Small business. Healthcare.

I’m not going to support anyone in this election. I have done my research…you know, the real kind. The kind the media typically doesn’t show. No, I don’t owe you or anyone else an explanation as to why I came to the conclusion I have. I know my passions and I know my truth. I am not writing this to tell you to not vote. I believe in the right to vote, but I also believe in the right to not vote if a person wholeheartedly disagrees with every candidate and everything happening in politics today. This isn’t only about candidates for me, this is about corruption as a whole. This is about a flawed system.

I get that yes, someone will be president. And when that time comes, I’ll treat him or her with the same respect I’ve treated every other president. I stand during the National Anthem. I listen when the President speaks. I recognize the difficult job any president has to do and I wouldn’t want it, so I’ll be respectful. Remember, we don’t have to agree to be respectful. Arguing respectfully is one of my favorite pastimes (and strongest traits I might add). I will respect that my fellow Americans voted whomever into office and I’ll deal with the repercussions just like every other American. I’m proud to live where I do, work where I do, have the family I have, and have the freedoms I have.

One of my freedoms includes my “right” to vote. It’s not a “requirement.” And I just can’t bring myself to do it.

Photo credit: Theresa Thompson via Visualhunt / CC BY

Bailey Koch

The story of Bailey Koch finding her love for and strength in writing begins with near tragedy. In February of 2012, Bailey's husband was nearly killed in a head-on collision with a semi truck. As a method of getting information to friends and family, Bailey began a Caring Bridge page. Immediately, others began commenting that Bailey should be a writer. "Yeah right!" Bailey thought. "There's no way I could do that!" "Never Alone: A Husband and Wife's Journey with Depression and Faith" was published in March 2015 and is written by Jeremy and Bailey Koch. It details their struggles with severe depression and the journey toward understanding their purpose, accepting help, and finding faith. High school sweethearts, Jeremy and Bailey know their lives were meant for each other and to help others by being honest about their story. They are proud parents of two beautiful, and often rambunctious, boys, Hudson and Asher. You can learn more about their journey and even purchase the eBook or paperback copy of "Never Alone" at www.jeremyandbailey.com. Additionally, a new book written for families to open up a conversation about the reality of Depression is now available. "When the House Feels Sad: Helping You Understand Depression" is available at www.jeremyandbailey.com as well. Jeremy and Bailey found their purpose in helping others find hope when suffering from a disability, especially unseen illnesses like depression. Jeremy, who suffers from suicidal thoughts, continues to learn to live, not simply stay alive, through hope from God and the acceptance of help. Bailey is his biggest supporter and left her teaching job, after being in public education for seven years, to focus on what the two know to be God's plan. Bailey now works as a Lecturer in Teacher Education at the University of Nebraska at Kearney and will graduate with her doctoral degree in Special Education from Walden University sometime in 2019. Jeremy and Bailey co-own and operate Natural Escapes, a landscaping and greenhouse services business that also includes a paint your own pottery and canvas family art studio. The passion to advocate for those who can't easily advocate for themselves is strong. Bailey has a message of hope and acceptance for all; she has plans to completely demolish the societal stigma attached to mental illness.