Those who know me won’t be surprised by my choice to vote Libertarian this November. I have yet to vote for the Democratic or Republican nominee in a general election and even if this were a normal year with merely awful candidates—as opposed to historically awful—I would still happily “throw my vote away.”

Normally, I take it for granted that I am not only in a very small minority of consistent third party voters, but am in the even tinier minority of staunchly Libertarian voters (okay I didn’t vote LP in 2008, but a write-in vote for Ron Paul pretty much counts, right? I digress). But this year far more people than I’m accustomed to are planning to vote third party, and even more unusually, the number one third choice happens to be the candidate I’m supporting: Libertarian nominee Gary Johnson.

In light of these unprecedented circumstances, I’m taking the opportunity to welcome those new Libertarian voters into the fold, even if it’s just for this one election. Or, if you’re leaning towards voting Johnson/Weld but are waffling, I’d like to encourage you to stay the course. But even if you are definitely not planning on voting for Gary Johnson, then I hope you will at least take a moment to hear my pitch.

Flawed though his candidacy is—and I do not hide from that—Gary Johnson represents more than just a protest vote. His message and the broader libertarian movement he represents are more than just a rejection of tired, failed policies and ideas. What he and I advocate are ideas simultaneously timeless and new: freedom and tolerance, respect for both mine and your choices and hearty resistance to those who seek to restrict those choices.

Would a Gary Johnson presidency help move our society further in that direction? I don’t know and to Gary’s great credit, neither does he, for alone among the remaining candidates, he seems to understand the great truth that a just, prosperous society cannot be instituted by a small group of people from the top down. It’s made by you, me and millions of other free people pursuing our own interests, helping and supporting each other, cultivating personal and collegial relationships and doing whatever we can to make our lives better.

A politician thinks about the next election, so the old adage goes, but a statesman thinks of the next generation. Gary Johnson and William Weld are true statesmen, not because of their specific policy proposals or their two very impressive records as governor, but because they put faith in you, me and us to build the world we want to see.

But What is Aleppo?

As I mentioned, Gary Johnson is a deeply flawed candidate; so let’s address that elephant in the room. Yes, Johnson had a stunningly embarrassing moment that has become infamous,  further confounded when Gary himself later described a similar stumble as another “Aleppo moment.”

First and foremost, I’d like to emphasize that, lost amidst the cheap (though usually funny) jokes, his diplomatic, non-militaristic position on Syria and the rest of the world in general is both more logical and compassionate than what is put forth by either Clinton or Trump.

Beyond that, I’m not especially interested in providing an excuse for Governor Johnson. However much I believe that politicians do not and should not have all the answers to the world’s problems, I think it’s obvious that someone running for president should be held to a certain degree of higher standards than say you or me. But again to his credit, Gary isn’t all that interested in excusing himself either, and has shown a remarkable amount of humility and candor about his missteps that is admirable for someone who could potentially wield significant power over the world. For this reason, I gave him a pass, but if you can’t, then as Gary himself says “so be it.”

Friends, family, countrymen

We’re accustomed to hearing the common refrain every four years from politicians: “This is no ordinary election.” But in another anomaly, this year they seem to be telling the truth. The basic narratives and themes remain the same as any other year, but rarely has an election year painted our choices in such stark colors.

Both candidates represent two flavors of an authoritarian hubris, of knowing what is best for each person’s life, including yours. On the left we see Hillary Clinton carrying the fading torch for an increasingly intrusive and unwieldy government as the answer to our present and future problems. On the right we see Donald Trump seeking to harness that government and assert the supposed power of his own personality upon what he presumes is a formerly “Great” nation.

To me the choice is clear. Vote for freedom instead of authority. Support peace over conflict. Reject fear and despair. Celebrate the prosperity of the present and embrace optimism for an even better future. Say yes to love and no to hate. Vote Johnson/Weld on November 8.