This weekend I visited a friend at the University of Maryland. Her sorority house was buzzing in light of the highly

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anticipated homecoming weekend. I walked downstairs sporting my red Georgetown University College Republicans shirt; I figured that since I do not own any UMD paraphernalia, I would find something red to wear to be a good sport.

Shortly thereafter, I found myself standing across from parents visiting their daughter. I reached my hand out to introduce myself, and while doing so my cardigan moved in such a way that it exposed the GU College Republicans logo.

“Is that a joke or something?” the mom said in a nasally manner.

Perplexed, I asked myself, “Is this woman serious?”

In my head, I strung together a few derogatory Italian slang words and let her comment slide. But really, is that woman so strongly a Democrat that she cannot bear the sight of a shirt with the Republican Party’s logo on it?

Not only does this anecdote provide insight into how polarized our two-party system has become, but it also illuminates a few reasons as to why I might vote for a third party.

I identify myself as a New York Republican whose family has flourished as a result of the core principles of the Republican Party’s mission. But by no means am I a Republican ideologue. Coming from the suburbs of New York City, my experiences with diverse groups of people have rendered me more liberal on social issues, while I still subscribe to more conservative fiscal policies.

Put more simply, I like my guns and privacy, and I believe a wage is earned and not given. But I also see why abortions are in many cases necessary, and I approve of same-sex marriage. These political beliefs, however, put me at a crossroads of our two-party system, where I want as little intervention in my private life as I do in my economic life. It seems to me that I am your average American college student in an ideological dilemma.

I endorse President Obama’s stance on key election issues, such as abortion and gay rights. But without a doubt, I trust Gov. Romney more when it comes to dealing with our sluggish economic recovery, in part due to his astonishing career at Bain Capital. Needless to say, there is one candidate who embodies the socially liberal and economically conservative views my family and I extol. He is the libertarian candidate, Gary Johnson.

With an increasing libertarian streak developing across the nation, Johnson’s ideological melange of both Republican and Democratic ideals resonates well with independent and disenchanted voters in states like Nevada, New Hampshire and Colorado. Of course, he won’t garner nearly as much support as Obama or Romney, but his appeal crosses party lines, and this brings worry to both conservatives and liberals in states where the presidential race is particularly tight.

For people like me who are aggravated with the harsh political climate, disenchanted by the lack of discourse across party lines and annoyed with the cheesy and asinine campaign slogans, Johnson represents a hopeful divergence from the status quo.

He believes in decriminalizing the use of marijuana, wants to repeal the Patriot Act, supports gay marriage, wants to legitimately lower taxes and hopes to dismantle facets of the federal government that have been under long periods of scrutiny,

Johnson’s views may diverge from the traditions of America’s political landscape and political culture, but it’s a necessary divergence in that it promotes a new way — and potentially new wave — of thinking. Our two-party system is conducive to little more than government and policy gridlock, providing us with few solutions to our nation’s most pressing issues. We’ve experienced a sluggish economic recovery, our health care system is nowhere near repair and the unemployment rate severely limits the prospects of recent college graduates.

If we dilute the power ingrained in our two main parties and invest faith in other prominent third parties, we will find more diverse solutions and approaches to today’s complicated predicaments.

With that said, you can call me a radical and tell me I am wasting my vote, but as of now, my vote may go to Gary Johnson.

Daniel Pierro is a sophomore in the College.

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