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Why I Don’t Tell People How I’m Voting on November 8th

The 2016 election and all of the events, media coverage, and scandal which have surrounded it, have been historic to say the least. There have, of course, been presidential candidates, and even presidents, who were not career politicians; rather, they were celebrities before their time in office (Hello, Ronald Reagan). We have had candidates and presidents from so-called “political families” too: Adams, Roosevelt’s, Kennedy’s, and Bush’s. We have also had campaigns wrought with mudslinging and insults in previous elections. These are not desireable characteristics in candidates for President of the United States, although they are notable and have been frequently discussed in the news cycles since both Clinton and Trump announced their candidacies for the presidency. What makes our 2016 major party candidates unique, in my opinion, is the way in which they have polarized America, and, yet, each failed to emerge as an option that indisputably possesses qualification, integrity, temperance, and likability. This election has opened rifts between segments of our population, stirring up more controversy ever in the history of an election. In addition, there is an unprecedented lack of professionalism, honesty, and discretion on the parts of both candidates, although one seems to be more guilty of these offenses than the other, not that I’m naming any names.

I am not writing this to express my political opinions, or the way in which I plan to vote on November 8th – although I will be voting and I would like to take this opportunity to urge everyone reading this to exercise their rights as well.

What I am doing is writing, rather, to express my profound disappointment.

The Constitution of the United States begins with the famous phrase “We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity…”

The very tenets of this nation, the ones deemed so important by our Founding Fathers that they saw fit to include them in the very first sentence of the Constitution, are being undermined. The “more perfect Union” is being strained by the polarization caused by this election – disagreements about policy, but also disagreements about the importance of personal character and temperament, have been pulling citizens of this country apart. The “Justice” mentioned is believed, by many, to be cast by the wayside – it has frequently appeared in this election that given enough money and political influence, one can evade allegations of nearly any kind with little to no consequence. “The domestic Tranquility,” which sounds so beautiful and idyllic on paper, has been completely discarded preceding the 2016 election. Protests at rallies, interpersonal violence over political disagreements, and talks of war have not only divided us further, but stricken fear into the hearts of some who do not know what their fate will be should hate continue to proliferate on the basis of their skin color, religion, or sexual orientation.  

I am extremely saddened that, as a 19 year old, this is the very first presidential election in which I have the opportunity to vote. Neither of the two main parties’ option is perfect, and I personally would question the sanity of anyone who claimed that either candidate meets their every specification for the “perfect president.” I know how I am going to vote – nothing will change my mind about that at this point. However, I don’t want to tell people who I’m voting for, because I cannot effectively defend my position in the face of criticism or opposition. My choice is not without its drawbacks – but no choice would be. We have been placed into a situation where we must decide which candidate is the lesser of two evils, and which would be the least detrimental to give the unofficial but telling title of “Leader of the Free World.”  It is truly frustrating.

The present situation does, however, have a potential silver lining. The utter disappointment with the outcome of this election that will inevitably result, no matter what it may be, may urge younger voters to make their presence truly known in the polling stations in the elections to come, both local and presidential. As far as I can see, that is the most positive outcome that can result from the 2016 presidential election: that the younger generation learns from the mistakes – and, yes, I do believe these candidates should be classified as mistakes – of the older generation.

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