It’s really interesting how much one’s worldview changes when they are informed of all of the news and recent politics going on in the world. Up until November of last year, I was not a citizen of the United States and had no opportunity to vote. Therefore, I didn’t really pay attention to what was going on around me in the country I lived in. This is the first year that my parents can vote in a presidential election, the first year that I really worry about who our president is going to be. As someone who is keeping informed about politics and finally being a citizen of the country I grew up in, I am extremely concerned about our future based on our political system and the way it is being used.
First of all, the American system doesn’t make sense. We have a first-past-the-post one vote electoral political system which means that really only two political parties have a chance of having a candidate become president and most people end up voting against the person they don’t want rather than for someone they would really want. For example, I would not like either Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump to be our next president, but when voting, I – as well as many others – would need to ask myself who I would want less. It makes me wonder whether democracy is supposed to be like this.
None of the candidates this year had enough policies that I agreed with for me to really want to vote for them, but it was the way they handled themselves in person and on social media that lead me to the opinion that politics is petty. For example, Bernie Sanders displayed pettiness when he refused to give up and endorse Clinton until the very last opportunity even though it was apparent months earlier that he wasn’t going to win. Sure, being stubborn might be a virtue to be proud of in some cases, but this isn’t one of them. Now many Sanders supporters are against Clinton even though Sanders endorsed her. Also, Trump once insulted Clinton on Twitter, to which her campaign replied: “Delete your account.” It’s such a childish thing to say that I wouldn’t be surprised if an anti-Trump ten-year-old hacked into Clinton’s account just to send that tweet.
Of course, Trump shouldn’t have insulted her in the first place, but he says and writes so many awful things it has become hard to keep track. Lately, he has been writing “our incompetent secretary of state” as a description of Clinton and even went as far as to tweet in all caps that President Obama was the reason for “ISIS, the rise of Iran, and the worst economic numbers since the great depression.” Trump has no sources and no logical reason for saying these things, but he also says outrageous things out loud. During the Democratic National Convention, a father of a soldier who gave his life for this country gave a speech and said that Trump had “sacrificed nothing and no one.” To this, Trump responded by saying he had made sacrifices and started listing them off. Included in this list were creating tens of thousands of jobs and being successful. Trump also asked if Hillary’s scriptwriters wrote that line.
Even celebrities who don’t have anything to do with politics have stepped in with their opinions. J.K. Rowling compared Trump to Lord Voldemort and many of Cher’s recent tweets consist of insults against candidates. Amy Schumer and even Oprah have gotten involved.
All of my friends and family in Europe are also watching this U.S. election season carefully, some of them asking me not to vote for Trump for fear of how he will handle his office. To them, all I can say is that I can’t. I will still be 17 years old when November comes around and it is incredibly frustrating to only be able to watch as the people of country I have just become a part of turn on one another in the most petty ways. Before becoming more informed, I had assumed that there was some dignity to politics even though I was pretty sure it wasn’t a happy topic. Now I feel like I’m watching children squabble every time I read the news.