This election desperately needs the political junky wisdom of Hunter S. Thompson. He could sort through this bullshit and let the Freaks know what it is they need to know. He could tell it like it is, with a subjective wisdom unique to him. He was beyond party loyalty and called the thieves, thieves. The pimps, pimps. The twisted and corrupt, well, he called them twisted and corrupt. He had vision, he had principles, and he was unwavering in defending what he knew to be right.

But, this is not about how much I love Hunter Thompson. This is about the election. Not the election for Sheriff of Pitkin County, Colorado (where Aspen is) when HST made an unsuccessful run for that particular political office. No, this about current politics. This is about the 2016 presidential race and the Fear and Loathing that have come to dominate it. Which is why we need Hunter so badly. Because nobody understood Fear and Loathing like the late, great Doctor of Journalism.

It all started in 1988. The year I was born. And, the year Hip Hop broke. What these two things have to do with either Donald Trump of Hillary Clinton is beyond me. But it was when it all started. For me anyway. And in the years I’ve been alive since then, I cannot recall a more disgusting election cycle that clearly demonstrated why we need to dissolve the stranglehold Democrats and Republicans have on our brand of democracy. Freedom ain’t free if it’s between Coke and Pepsi. Your teeth will rot either way if you drink either every day.

Yeah. No, I completely understand the Fear thing. On one side you’ve got a racist, wall-building, sexist pig who is so corrupt he can’t even count his money without the Clintons’ in the room. And, on the other side, you’ve got the Clinton. Her history is dotted with silent support, as first lady, on the Defense of Marriage Act—the legislation signed into law by Bill Clinton—which had to be overturned by the Supreme Court before marriage equality was a right. And, as a senator, she said ‘Yes’ to war with Iraq and voted ‘Yes’ on the Patriot Act. Donald Trump wouldn’t rent to minorities and thinks Stop and Frisk doesn’t violate the Fourth Amendment. They both suck.

In truth, Bernie Sanders should have won the Democratic Primary. But, it is clear the corruption infused within the DNC would not let a self-proclaimed, Independent, democratic socialist take over their part of the political mechanism. And it was the Republican brand of populism and the Republican Party’s rhetoric on smaller government and business savvy that forced the RNC, albeit ironically, to nominate a crazed, corrupt, crony capitalist as their guy.

Understand this, Donald Trump is a Special Interest. The man has made his billions being part of the system that is fed by people like Hillary Clinton. Donald Trump will not end the reign of Special Interests and their influence in Washington. Donald Trump will merely pick which Special Interests shall be treated special. He will not bite the hand that feeds him. He does not care about you. He is not running for POTUS for the American people. He wants the one thing he cannot buy outright. And he is trying to get it by manipulating you into believing he is something that he isn’t. He is tapping into your genuine anger and frustration over a corrupt political system and giving it voice. He is a crook. He is a criminal. He is a liar. He is a manipulator. He is everything wrong with our country’s culture.

America is already a great nation. It does not need to be made great again. And it also does not need four more years of failed Neo-liberalism. It needs genuine Progressives, Conservationists, Freaks, Independents, Greens, Libertarians, Poets, Painters, Singers, Doctors, Lovers, Geeks, Blue-Collar workers, social programs aimed at Liberation, Liberation, Liberty. It needs Love.

Vote for who you want to vote for. I’ve made it clear I have a strong disdain for Hillary Clinton. But I absolutely Loathe Donald Trump. I highly recommend voting for ANY third party candidate (unless there’s a Nazi party running. Don’t vote for Nazis). I will be voting for Gary Johnson because I think he has a real shot at getting at least five percent of the vote, which will help establish a new major party, and help get the message of Civil Rights and Civil Liberties re-delivered to the National Doorstep. Because I think our Rights have been stepped on for far too long. And Gary Johnson, regardless of any other position he might take, believes fully in the rights of individuals. But, honestly, I think a vote for Jill Stein, Dan Vacek, or even Vermin Supreme are all valid choices because they highlight the genuine frustration of an electorate fed up with Coke and Pepsi. We want Shasta. RC Cola. Hell, we want juice or ginger ale. Maybe even water instead. Anything is better than the duopolistic sugary lie we’ve been drinking since Hip Hop broke.

We are tired of being told we have to pick blue or red if we want to be taken seriously and not waste the voting booth’s time. We are tired of being told that we have to compromise our values to stop the Greater Evil, by electing the Lesser One. A logic inherently flawed. But, I will stop short of calling Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton evil, because I want to make it clear that I love you regardless of who you vote for. Your vote, or lack of vote, is your choice. And my vote is my choice. I know what’s important to me and that’s why I’m voting for who I’m voting for. Because I love liberty, I love freedom, and I love you. I love you when we disagree. I love you when we find common ground. I love you when you hate me. I love you when you love me. I just fucking love you.

I hope I’ve made clear my feelings about all of this shit. Because, I’ve kept relatively (and uncharacteristically) silent this election cycle out of Fear that the strong political polarization represented by the two major parties would cause tears and rifts amongst the people I love and care about, should it be thought I harbor ideas favorable to the “enemy” and I Loathe myself for it. So, here I am, on the Final Friday night before the Election is had. And I’m writing down my thoughts instead of going out and getting drunk in Downtown Duluth.

But, does any of it matter?

Who knows? Meaning is what you make of it. And we don’t have a wise Papa Gonzo to guide us Freaks through all the twists and turns of this wicked little election. So, why don’t you join me—if you’re already leaning that way—in throwing a wrench into the already-broken Machine. Dissent this election. Vote your conscience. Vote third party. Vote for who you want, not who you don’t want. Vote for what’s important to you. Or don’t even vote. But, really, you should vote. Fuck, write-in Mickey Mouse, he always gets a few votes, so at least you won’t be alone in that choice. But understand that we all make choices and that we must all own those choices. Regardless of the choice you make, own it. Be free and unafraid to disagree. And choose the candidate that best suits your principles, beliefs, and desires for the future of our Nation.

This land is your land. This land is my land.

And, I love you.