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Thoughts From A First-Time Voter

Every year in history class, we learn about government in some form or another. Whether we’re learning about the American Revolution and the foundation of the nation’s government, or about how the Electoral College works and how Congress gets elected, it’s always been in our curriculum. It’s incredible that we live in a country that allows us to be a part of a democracy and have a say in who becomes the leader of our nation. “Voting is our civic duty,” we’re taught in AP Government, and as budding young adults, the chance to vote is exciting.

For myself, and for many other students around the nation, on Nov. 8, 2016 I will be voting in my first presidential election. And to be frank, I will be doing it begrudgingly. I’m not particularly thrilled with either of my two options, and as much as I would love to throw my support behind a third candidate; it’s just not realistic. In an election as important and unprecedented as this, I recognize the need to sacrifice some of my values for the greater good of the country. Still, I feel a little cheated, it’s the first election I get to vote in and these are my choices?

I’m not sure if this is the first election where the candidates have been so polarizing, or if I was just blissfully unaware in previous years. Never before have I seen political parties so divided, with Republicans voting for Hillary and Democrats voting for Trump and with many unsure voters caught in the crossfire. In this election, “Who is the lesser of two evils?” seems to be the name of the game.

We live in a world where Hillary Clinton is wishing herself a happy birthday on her own Twitter account and the most notable thing from a debate is that Trump seems to have come down with a case of the sniffles. The candidates are skirting around questions in debates and can’t for the life of them finish a sentence without being interrupted. I know way too much about the candidates’ pasts and next to nothing about what they have planned for our future.

Though I am not fervently throwing my support behind either candidate, I’ll be going to the polls on Nov. 8, and I believe everyone should, regardless of who you support. Voting is our civic duty; democracy is one of the founding pillars of our nation. Though memes and social media have helped us laugh our way through the ridiculousness of this election cycle, this presidential election is coming at a crucial point in our lives and its imperative we exercise our right to vote.

Many of the issues the upcoming president will take a stance on will affect us not just for the next 4-8 years, but for years after they are out of office. Whichever candidate is elected will be making Supreme Court appointments, creating jobs that us graduating college students will need and will continue to wage the war for (or against) women’s rights.    

A Media and Communications Studies & Spanish double major with an unhealthy love for corgis. 
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