WARNING: This post may offend some of you. I promise that I don’t have any specific acquaintance in mind, but I have noticed a trend. Many of my friends are probably starting to wish I would shut up about this election, and who could blame them? Despite my best efforts, I get interested in this stuff every cycle, and I like talking about it.

But enough of that. Without further ado:

Please stop “vote shaming” your friends and those you encounter online. I thought I had come up with a new phrase here, but I found evidence of that saying online going back to 2014.

I have been called names several times this week online, not by people who actually know me, but simply for making comments indicating that I will be voting for Gary Johnson.

Yes, I know he is very unlikely to win.

No, I don’t want to bet money on it. I outlined my reasons for my vote a few days ago elsewhere. If you’re interested, I would be happy to explain this to you.

At any rate, as a longtime Republican, I have many well-meaning friends who are still trying to convince me to vote for Donald Trump. I will not do so. I refuse to be shamed into voting for someone I do not respect. Yes, we have had bad guys as President in the past, and some of them did a decent job. Yes, I know that God can use bad people to accomplish good things. I am still not voting for him.

God could use Hillary as well.

Yes, He really could.

Contrary to what you may think, God’s abilities are not limited by either political party.

No, I am not helping to elect Hillary Clinton by voting for Gary Johnson.

No, I am not helping to elect Donald Trump by voting for Gary Johnson.

A vote for Gary Johnson is not a vote for anyone other than Gary Johnson. Period.

Stop trying to make anyone else feel bad for their vote. Stop unfriending or getting angry at people who have different opinions.

No, seriously. Stop it.

Stop predicting a dark, dystopian future under one candidate or the other. Stop saying that Trump is Hitler, or that we may not have a country in four years if Hillary is elected. Stop trying to justify that you are voting for a bad person because the other person is worse.

Stop assuming that you know something I don’t, or that “if I would just consider _____”, things would be different.

If you are voting for your candidate because you believe he/she is the best person for the job, that is wonderful and I applaud you.

I arrived at my own decision after months of deliberation, thought, prayer, and observation. I have my reasons. You have yours. And that is okay.

I do not fear either of the major party candidates, but I cannot support either of them in good conscience, as I have said several times.

On January 20, 2017, no matter who is sworn in as President, life will go on. Keep in mind that the people whom you are shaming and calling names today are the same people you have to live and work with next year. A certain percentage will be thrilled on that day, and another segment of the population will probably feel dread.

Neither reaction is necessarily correct, but I won’t delve into that right now. The point is that we will all continue to work, and love, and live, and hurt, and help, and hope. The media has done a wonderful job of terrifying a huge portion of our country (if it bleeds, it leads), but God is sovereign and in control.

I have peace in my heart no matter what happens on November 8th. I pray that you will find this peace, too.