The year leading up to this election has been many things: contentious, headache-inducing, hilarious, entertaining, horrifying, corrupt, sobering, unbelievable. But one thing’s for sure—it has not been pleasant. And while I’ve kept my political opinions mostly to myself on most social media channels, there are a few thoughts I want to get out on this Election Day Eve. Throughout this whole mess, I’ve been thinking a lot about where I stand, but I’ve realized that it’s really about what I stand for.

You see, I will be voting as my conscience leads me to. Not yours or your party’s or your demographic’s. There are certain things that I stand for, value, and hold dear that I will not compromise on, no matter what.

I stand for morality. I stand for truth. I stand for treating others as you want to be treated. I stand for the value of the person not yet born, the value of the person whose skin isn’t the same color as mine, the value of the person who wasn’t born in the same country as I was, the value of the person just trying to make ends meet, the value of the person caught in the gears of a corrupt and flawed system, even the value of the person who opposes anything I stand for. I stand for justice. I stand for equality. I stand for racial reconciliation. I stand for owning up to and fixing our mistakes. I stand for free speech and a free press. I stand for religious liberty. I stand for hope. I stand for my often-criticized, far-from-perfect, desperate, beautiful, resilient generation. I stand for my often-criticized, far-from-perfect, hypocritical, redeemed, victorious, bold, beautiful, resilient Church. I stand not for making America great, but for serving a kingdom that is already great and will always be better than any earthly nation.

I stand for these things. And I am not obligated to vote for anyone who does not stand for them, too. Voting is a right. And in this wonderful, free country, I will use my right how I see fit. I will choose the option that is most in line with my morality, with what I stand for. And I praise God that there are other people out there who stand for these things, too. But even if there weren’t, I would still stand for them.

My loyalty is not to a political party. It’s not to a religious demographic or a generation or a geographical region or a socioeconomic class. My loyalty is to my Savior, Jesus Christ. And if I start thinking that any of these other things I could be loyal to are synonymous with being loyal to Him, I’ve missed the whole point.

So I will stand for the things I believe He stands for. And in a time when it seems like the only options are to bend down to the moral shallowness of one candidate or another, I will stay standing. That might mean not voting for president at all. That might mean voting for a virtually unknown third party candidate.

And you will probably tell me I’m being morally superior or trying to take the easy way out or being a bad citizen. That’s fine. I’m not perfect. I understand that many will disagree. I know my individual decision isn’t likely to have much of an effect on anything. And whatever your decision is, I won’t hold it against you. You have a right to vote as your conscience leads you to, too. But I know what I stand for. And, whether or not you like what I stand for or how I stand for it, I have a right to keep standing.

-LC