For many Americans, they would say that the country is stuck between a rock and a hard place looking ahead at November’s election. With the Republican National Convention last week and the Democratic counterpart this week, tensions are high regarding the best choice for president. Those from either side of the aisle are weary of choosing either major candidate, Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton.
This year is the first chance I get for voting for president, which is very exciting for me. On my eighteenth birthday, I was impatient to shout my preferred party affiliation from every mountain top. Now that I am a part of the democratic process, seeing so many people doubting this year’s decision aggravates me.
I have been quite young for every other presidential election year, but this year’s process has been a glorified reality drama. So many people are talking about politics, but are focusing on the tabloid-style news updates rather than the issues that really matter. Either national convention is an event tailored to bashing the opponent with every nasty detail they can find.
One specific example I think of is Mrs. Trump’s speech at the RNC that apparently copied Michelle Obama. Yes, the resemblance is notable, but the headlines completely blew up. But in the retrospect of everything else going on in America and the world, how much does it really matter? Going back to my previous blog post about society practically skipping over the grieving process to digest the tragedies that have wreaked havoc on us, from my time looking through social media and what people are talking about, a headline like the RNC speech seems to trend higher than the constant instances of international violence. A bit backwards, if you ask me.
If you thought the parties pulling further apart from each other to their separate corners, you’re right, and at this point, that trend isn’t slowing down any time soon. As long as we’re dedicating our time to bashing each other, we’ll never be able to truly cross the aisle and settle our disputes. Opinions will always vary, but compromise is key.
Do I think a new third party may form for those moderate voters who find difficulties identifying with the polarized versions of our current parties? Absolutely. If Bernie Sanders’s campaign taught us anything, it’s that when citizens come together focused on a purpose, we will make change. Bernie may not be the nominee, but his philosophies are making their way to the DNC and helping people reconsider what has become unfair and corrupt. Every vote and person matters. That’s the definition of a democracy, so if we want it to function properly, we have to take our individual roles seriously.
Back to Trump and Clinton. I’m remaining loyal to my party, but that doesn’t mean I see serious flaws in both people. Nobody is going to be the perfect candidate. If I could vote for four more years under Obama, I would in a heartbeat. But with this hyper-awareness on Trump’s and Clinton’s every move, we’re forgetting that a great leader is nothing without the people backing them up, which in this case is Congress. These Congresspeople are elected to serve each distinct voice in our country, and collectively they make or break a presidency (like the numerous instances of disarray that slowed down many of Obama’s proposals). The president is the public image we think of representing national government, but so many other players are also involved. Take the time to learn about local candidates and choose people who you stand for, even if you don’t want to stand for either presidential nominee.
Let’s acknowledge how far we have come in the past eight years, stop blaming each other areas of concern, and focus on the task at hand: choosing the next world leader. This person isn’t someone who simply walks around with paparazzi behind their backs. He or she will make crucial decisions on the direction America will take moving forward. With only a few months left before the big decision, we can’t spend our time on superficial details. We must fill our roles as informed citizens, studying the values and proposals of each candidate and determining who we want sitting in the Oval Office. Educating ourselves is much more than reading the day’s catchy headlines, but delving deeper into their histories and statements.
America needs somebody smart, ready to tackle any obstacle in his or her path with poise and courage. Whoever the country ends up electing, I hope we can set aside our personal hesitations and back up that president. The longer we all spend hating on our commander in chief, the longer it will take to make any type of progress. Again, if you don’t like the either candidate, it’s time to vote for Congresspeople who can bring your unique voice to Washington. And if the president doesn’t perform adequately enough, be ready to take things a little more seriously in 2020.
I may be young, in a demographic that has less-than-satisfactory voting habits, but I take democracy very seriously, as I suggest you all do as well. Then we can potentially look beyond the sensational stories and internet memes to reemphasize the importance of the ballot.
Take care, and keep the faith. -Allie