Words On Wednesday

2016-11-02 Presidential Election 2016

Election day is next Tuesday. This time next week, the new president of the United States of America will be decided.

The past months have been entertaining to say the least. Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump going at each other’s throats like rabid dogs, Bernie Sanders appealing to millennials across the country, Gary Johnson stepping into the race last minute for the Libertarian party. Even for someone who traditionally doesn’t care a lick about politics, it has been an amusing contest.

I won’t go bad mouthing either candidate of the 2 main parties, or suggest that either is great candidate for the country. Personally, I think the bipartisan political system is terribly flawed, and we need to scrap it entirely. So many people side with either the Republican or Democratic party, and suggest that the other side are the “bad guys.” If you think any politician is a “good guy,” you’ve been hoodwinked. They’re all liars and thieves, it’s just a matter of which one will do a better job leading the country.

But my opposition to the bipartisan nature of American politics aside, we’ve got an election coming up. I’ve finally registered to vote, and plan on participating in this election (provided I can find the voting location for my precinct). Whether my vote counts or not, I plan on making my voice heard.

Am I excited about voting for the first time? Not really, no. Most of my options suck, so it’s still a matter of choosing the lesser of evils. Plus, I’m still not convinced that the electoral college is the best way to go about electing government officials. Sure, it has the benefits of minimizing the gap between urban and rural areas, but it also has plenty of problems.

The best part about the upcoming election is that people should eventually shut up once everything is said and done. Sure, people are going to complain, no matter who wins the election. But instead of hearing constantly about how “Killery” should be in jail and Trump gropes every woman he passes by, we can get back to our individual lives. Instead of hating people for their political alignment, we can hate each other because of our favorite football teams or whether we eat pineapple on pizza.

While I realize this post seems a little aimless, I felt it should be written. A presidential election is a pretty big deal, and I think it should be made note of. I’ve never voted before, I don’t follow political candidates closely (read: “at all”), but it’s something like a civil duty. We are the people of the United States of America, and we are in the process of selecting our next leader.

If you are registered to vote, go vote. Don’t worry if your state consistently votes red as blood or blue as the ocean and you feel the exact opposite. Don’t worry if people tell you, “A vote for [a candidate] is a vote for [another candidate].” It’s not. A vote is a vote, and it makes a statement.

If you aren’t registered, it’s a little too late for this election. Plus, I don’t even really care to push the topic. I didn’t register until last month, and I only did because I discovered that jury duty now pulls from licensed drivers, rather than registered voters. Avoiding voter registration was my tactic to avoid jury duty, and that doesn’t work anymore. So no, I’m not calling out into the streets for everyone to vote. I truthfully don’t care very much.

At the end of the day, the president still isn’t the king of the world. The beauty of the US government is the system of checks and balances in place. Though the president is a powerful position, no doubt, it isn’t a position that calls every shot without question. Congress members and Supreme Court justices play a huge roll in how things will play out into the future.

So I guess that’s that. I’m certainly not an expert on politics, that much is obvious. But I am a citizen of the United States. Therefore, I should probably make a decision on who I think should lead the country for the next 4 years.

Meta:

Words: 704 | Characters: 3945 | Sentences: 43

Paragraphs: 11 | Reading Level: 11-12th Grade

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One thought on “2016-11-02 Presidential Election 2016

  1. People often ask the question, in one form or another, “Why or how is America the greatest country in the world?” Or possibly “Is America the greatest country in the world?”
    My thought? Countries are like people. They have their individual strengths and weaknesses. America is great in some ways and not so great in others. And those areas of “greatness” have changed over the decades.
    When I realized that Trump and Clinton had become the two contenders for the Presidency, I was shocked. I hadn’t realized that we, as a country, had fallen so far. In this “great nation”, this is the best we could come up with to lead us? I mean, I have no doubt that there are a lot of individuals in the political system who are much better qualified to be President. No doubt at all.
    So how did we end up with these two? I don’t have a good answer for that. Perhaps it is the generally apathy about politics in general, as is well illustrated in this issue of this blog. And I can speak to that, to some extent.
    How did we come so far down?
    1) We have stopped caring enough to really research the issues.
    Back in July of 1971, the government of our country, prodded by the populace, decided to lower the voting age from 21 to 18. I was 16 at the time, and I may have been the only teenager in the country who thought that was a bad idea. I still think it was a bad idea, and I think the direction of politics and elections supports me. Most teenagers, starting around the age of 13, have strong opinions about the issues and the political situation in general. As we grow older, we become aware, more and more (if we are thinking individuals, which is always a minority), how many factors play a part in every issue, every situation. Those people gradually become less sure of their opinions and more open to new information that may change or modify what they believe.
    Unfortunately, most people see uncertainty as a weakness. And most people do not wish to be perceived as weak.
    Teenagers do not have the experience or the knowledge to make complex judgements. Heck, most 20 year olds and many older folk don’t either. How many of us really research and have an understanding of the issues that makes us qualified to have an opinion, far less qualified to vote? I think not many.
    Years ago, I read in the “My Turn” section of Newsweek Magazine where the guest editorialist said something I found quite insightful. “Before we had the concept that everyone had a right t0 their own opinion. Now we have moved to the concept that everyone’s opinion has equal validity.” (My paraphrase)
    Now the difference between the two should be obvious, but I am constantly astonished by how many people miss it. And if you believe the second, then research becomes less and less important to you. And people become more interested in asserting their opinions than in testing them.
    2) We have evolved into a society where truth doesn’t matter.
    How often have you heard the phrase, “everything is relative”. I mean, there are many people who actually believe that. I suppose it is along the lines of “nothing is impossible” and “Get out there and give me 110%”. There is no thought behind these phrases, and no intelligence either. If you don’t understand this, then, yes, I’m talking about you.
    Politicians used to travel around the country giving speeches outlining their plans and platforms. Now we have debates between two people who have hired experts to help them say as little as possible and make it sound as profound as possible. “Sound bites” rule. And the media supports this. I can read issue after issue of major publications covering national elections and find out very little about where each candidate stands. Most of the emphasis seems to be on whether so-and-so is electable. Really? That’s what people are interested in? Apparently so.
    It’s all about manipulating the public, and giving teenagers the vote gave a huge boost to this trend.
    3) We no longer vote for someone.
    Most people I talk to say that they are voting because they are against one or the other of the candidates. They are not voting for someone as much as voting against the other. This is a terribly sad trend, in my opinion. It means that we are resigned to accepting something less than we really want. Something we really should have.
    I won’t vote for someone just because I don’t like the alternative. If I don’t have a good reason for being in favor of a candidate, I won’t vote at all. In this election, I could not in good conscience vote for either candidate.
    Personally though, I don’t think this country would be in a much different place than it is if the “other guy” had been elected in the last 4 presidential elections. I’m truly hoping that will be true with Trump in office. People have always vilified presidents, but he is the first to really worry me.
    But I’m truly saddened by the apathy. An apathy which has us yielding to whatever sounds good at the moment. And which makes us ripe for manipulation.
    I have no illusions that this essay will change people. What is the solution? I don’t think there is one. We will keep cheering out favorite candidates, like we do our sports teams, because we have been trained to do so. Until something shakes us up enough so that we are yanked out of our complacency, we will continue on the path we are on now.
    And by then, we may truly regret the outcome.

    Like

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