Last night we had the oh so important presidential debates. I only know this because I couldn’t find anything anywhere on the internet last night worth reading and I’ve come to realize that I’ve severely underestimated the political enthusiasm in my age group. Thousands of people gathered across campus to watch last night but not for its entertainment value, which if we’re being honest, did it have any other value?
I had no interest in being a viewer last night. I was doing something between watching my roommate play battlefield and reading Szasz’s “Myth of Mental Illness”. Real exciting stuff. Occasionally I’d break to check twitter and saw, as expected, hyper-partisanship.
We could address all the problems of this country. Poverty, hunger, crime rate, institutionalized racism, institutionalized sexism, the interference of religion in the country’s day to day life, the liberal censorship of the media, the media in general. All these things are terrible yet not a single one adds up to the atrocity that is partisanship. Why is that? What makes partisanship so bad? Partisanship is being so blind in your views that you refuse to acknowledge compromise or secondary solutions. Partisan thinking is purely dangerous, arrogant, and stupid.
I woke up this morning and saw countless people asking “How did we narrow it down to these two? How does this happen?”. My question is, how can you be so utterly daft that you can’t recognize the blatantly obvious steps we took to get here. How can you blame Hillary and Donald for making a mockery of our nation rather than yourselves? All year I have seen most people announce their support for a candidate for the sole reason of keeping the other candidate out of office. Washington said something one time about keeping a party system out of our government, I wonder if this is what he meant?
I simply cannot understand people who vote solely to make sure someone else doesn’t win. How is that properly executing your right as a citizen to cast a vote? Similarly, why are people so hesitant to vote third party? How do people not realize third parties exist at all? These are questions that have to be asked because clearly they aren’t floating through anyone’s heads. If you are voting to keep the Donald or Clinton out of political office, consider your vote wasted. You’re not putting your recommendation for our next best leader, you’re stating your disdain for one of the potential leaders.
This country is failing us as citizens and we are also failing it. Countless problems arise daily and have been for years and years with refusal to address. We spend so much time arguing back and forth and cementing our own views that we lose the idea that the problems even exist and no solution is met. Voting to keep someone out of office, voting because you’re a republican or democrat and for some asinine reason you have to stay that way, and voting because you agree with a candidate on a single issue are the votes that are destroying and tearing us apart. The reason third party candidates never win is because of these voters.
Before I returned to school I made a visit to meet with family, just to get together. As most family gatherings go, politics eventually became involved. That day I was wearing some 5$ shirt I got at a concert that accurately depicted my feelings toward trump and eventually it was noticed. I was somewhat taken aback by the responses I received following that. “You’re voting for Hillary?!?” Sticks out the most. I don’t believe my shirt said anything about Hillary on it. I replied with my stance on being third party and how I’m somewhere between Johnson and Stein. There was slight mockery whether it be playful or not which I suppose can be well received. While these things slightly shocked me, I wasn’t truly amazed at what I was hearing until finally a “You better vote for Trump” came out.
I understand most of this was playful and there were a lack of serious overtones present, however the fact that situations like these are very real across the country depicts exactly what’s wrong with us as citizens. We are no longer voting for the one best fit for office but rather the one who compliments us best, the one who agrees with us on a couple issues, or the one that’s least likely to do something like bring a war to American soil. If we are to continue to thrive, if we want to truly “make America great again”, we need to start really caring for what we’re doing. We need to become passionate while at the same time respectful and mindful of others views. The conservative vs. liberal fiery arguments need to end and we need to see what we have in common because there’s a lot more there than what most people think. Start thinking in terms of what’s best for the nation and it’s people rather than yourself, because you’ve put us between a rock and a hard place that we never would’ve gotten into had we been thinking clearly in the first place.