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My opinion on the ongoing presidential election has reverberated off my tongue and through my fingertips both on and off my social media.  Really, I can’t keep my mouth shut about it.

I’ve always enjoyed politics and have traditionally yearned to have a part in the shaping of America’s future.  I’m not shooting to be commander-in-chief myself—even though this election’s made me consider it—but I want to do what I can to have an impact.  That might mean just writing this blog post and ranting on Twitter from debate to debate but, still, I’d argue that alone makes a difference.

Admittedly, I feel some added adrenaline from this election specifically.  Sadly, that thrill is almost entirely grounded in my concern over whether or not the general public will come to understand the right candidate for office—who happens to reside in “the left.”

Needless to say, #ImWithHer.  And, so, this political rant has been officially initiated; buckle your seatbelts.

First, I’ll just say the blunt truth: Donald Trump and Mike Pence are dangerous for our country.  And, ironically, their “Make America Great Again” campaign slogan would argue the polar opposite.

My question to Trump and Pence: Who’s defined “great” for you?

The America I’ve known for the past 20 years is indefinitely “great.”  Actually, I’d argue great is a serious understatement.

We’re living in the land of opportunity, acceptance and free self-expression. In America, my hard work is often just about the only factor that determines the possible professional avenues ahead.

Granted, I’m a white male—which means I’ve been gifted a level of privilege that starts me off ahead of the majority of the population.  Thankfully, though, we’ve started aggressively, and thoughtfully, deconstructing that privilege in the past decade.

As a country, we have movements (ie. Black Lives Matter and the LGBTQ initiative) that have questioned privilege and the suppression of long-time marginalized populations.  As a millennial, watching these movements unfold and, slowly, challenge the “norm” has been impassioning.

My outlooks as a millennial directly contradict those of the generations before and that’s a beautiful thing. These differences allow for both myself and the rest of my generation to share the knowledge of our times with those who came before us.  Really, we all can be advocates—so long as we choose to educate ourselves on and live in the true, “millennial experience.”

“Millennial experience” is a term I use often and I think it begs for some explanation.  We’re living in a time where acceptance of the “other” is rapidly becoming an expectation and, for the first time ever, I’d argue accepting the “other” is a choice we can make for ourselves.

Trump and, now, Pence have proudly exercised a complete rejection of the marginalized—all in the midst of these groups, more so than ever before, beginning to challenge the “straight world order,” as LGBTQ activist Mads Ananda Lodahl labels the majority’s influence.

Trump’s used fear propaganda to take the focus off his regressive outlooks on today’s social issues—in a very Hitler-esque fashion.  By pinning Muslims as “the enemy” and putting his focus on “destroying ISIS,” fear begins to take over and Trump’s shortcomings are excused.

Of course, our country’s fight against terrorism is important.  Really, it’s one of the most pressing issues we face.

Still, though, Trump’s focused his entire campaign upon the benchmark of fear and, in that choice, has proven he’s far from well-rounded.

Calling women “pigs,” proudly voicing his perpetuation of rape culture and blaming gang violence on immigrants, he’s become an image of everything that America isn’t: Isolating.  Trump categorizes, assumes and, really, in everything he says, proves he’s the only one in an isolated group—which we refer to as the “two percent.”

So, where do Trump and Pence stand in regard to the LGBTQ community?  Well, they stand firmly in the realm of ignorance, denying the Constitution’s promise of basic rights while campaigning for the highest office in our country.

According to Huffington Post’s Michelangelo Signorile, Pence has been a long-time supporter of anti-LGBTQ initiatives, most notably Indiana’s Religious Restoration Freedom Act where “Pence became a laughingstock on national television unable to defend the law.”

Signorile added that Pence’s stance on LGBTQ issues is too often ignored in media coverage.

“…[W]e’ve seen scant coverage in this campaign, with Pence rarely asked about it and much of the media hardly raising it,” he said. “And yet, it’s a defining issue for him, and one that was built upon years of anti-LGBT attacks by Pence as a radio host and commentator and as a member of Congress, where he even proposed cutting funding for AIDS and diverting the money to ‘ex-gay’ therapy programs.”

Let’s look at Pence’s support of those latter two incentives alone.  One denies medication to those who, often, unknowingly catch a terminal illness.  The other forces people into a box of isolation most psychologists would say could likely lead to heightened chances for depression and suicide.  Really, the idea of upping the funding for “ex-gay therapy,” which teaches people to suppress homosexual tendencies, goes completely against what this country was founded on: “Liberty and justice for all,” as stated in our nation’s Pledge of Allegiance and recited by nearly every elementary school student from kindergarten onward.

“Liberty” is defined as “the state of being free within society from oppressive restrictions imposed by authority on one’s way of life, behavior or political views.”  Additionally, the term can be defined as “the power or scope to act as one pleases.”

“Justice,” closely related to the idea of liberation, is defined as “just behavior or treatment.”

So, my question to Trump and Pence remains: Who’s defined “great” for you?  Because, as it turns out, your definition of “great” couldn’t be farther removed from what the founding fathers defined it as.

And, so, let’s keep America great, with a variety of colors, orientations and a common goal: to thrive, succeed and be who we were all intended to be.

This post was originally published on thatsuperfluousman.wordpress.com

Photo credit: imagesource.com

Freshman journalism and mass communication major at St. Bonaventure University
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