Several of my Facebook friends have given a "like" to Mitt Romney, including a few former Ron Paul supporters whom I got to know during our historic "takeover" of the Minnesota GOP conventions earlier this year. To conservatives who don’t think much of Romney (which, according to polls, seems to be a lot of them), I’d like to say "please reconsider." And to ex-Ron Paul people who are supporting him out of "anybody but Obama" desperation, I’d like to say, "You should know better!"
The conventional wisdom on voting is that you should always vote because it is your "patriotic duty," and that your vote should be for one of the two major political parties, otherwise you’re "throwing your vote away." I disagree. I think people should vote their values, which might mean voting for an "unelectable" third party candidate, or perhaps not voting at all.
I had a political science teacher in college who taught this, and it has stayed with me. He said that if people don’t know the issues, they are better off not voting than risking a vote for the wrong candidate. I agree wholeheartedly, and I’ll even take it a step further: when the choice is between two piles of excrement, one only slightly less foul smelling than the other, we do not have to pick one of them out of some misguided sense of patriotic obligation. If the best the major parties have to offer fall short of the principles you believe in, then it is your patriotic duty to not vote for either one of them.