America the Beautiful
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Politics and Activism

America the Beautiful

But Also The Petty

America the Beautiful
Aaron Burden

I’ve been trying not to write about the election because I feel like what I have to say has already been said, only more articulate and informed. The last thing the Internet needs is yet another opinion piece about it. But, just like our two candidates, these last couple weeks have left me feeling uninspired.

Here’s the deal: I honestly don’t care about politics. Until last November, I don’t think I’d ever registered. I’ve definitely never voted. I’ve never done research on a candidate to see if I would really like him, or I guess, her (way to complicate things, Hillary). I’m not saying this to brag, I’m just being honest. I’m not apathetic, just lazy. When the wheels of the 2016 election started turning years months ago, I said I would vote for Bernie Sanders because that was what all of my friends were doing. I didn’t do a lot of sleuthing to figure out his stance on issues, his past voting history, etc. I just absorbed what my friends and Facebook told me, and thus I concluded that he was the most reasonable choice. For a brief moment, I was semi-into the political discussions my friends and I had (or mostly my friends, with me just listening in the background), but once Sanders dropped out of the race, I stopped caring. Rather, I stopped putting on the illusion that I cared.

You see, I don’t care who wins because no matter what, my life as a pleb will go on. If the future Commander in Chief makes some boneheaded move that ripples out and affects my daily life, then I have no control over it. My one chance at controlling anything will be next month, but because I live in a red state, it won’t really matter. I feel like every single election, people say that the next president is going to ruin this country or—gasp—even the world. Yet, here I am, living a moderately comfortable existence, with all my basic human needs met, and then some. And sure, Clinton and Trump are different than other candidates in the past, and now that I’m on my own I might have less of a cushion from any fallout made in part by their decisions. My life will continue regardless of whatever calamity happens. If it is made more difficult because of the decisions of a person who has no direct connection to me other than the fact that he/she is my president, then I’ll adjust, just like I’ve already done in difficult situations.

To me, the two-party system is like two really nice, well-funded 6A schools. Each school has a high graduation rate, a great curriculum, and the best teachers in the city. Throughout the year, these two schools butt heads, but it doesn’t disrupt the daily lives of students who attend the schools. When football season comes though, these schools both face each other in the state championship and the petty rivalry erupts. Nasty rumors about each school circle around the city for weeks until everyone tires of it. By the time the big game comes around, the student sections for each school are overflowing, but because of the rumors, no one else from the city really attends because no one wants to support either school. After the game, a winner is decided, but it doesn’t matter that much because both sides have to do damage control in order to save face. Some parents transfer their children to smaller, less esteemed schools, but at least they don’t have to worry about if the rumors are true or not. Or, parents keep their kids enrolled at each school, but it’s only so their children will get the best education, not because they actually want to show any support.

Okay, in case that analogy didn’t make sense (I know nothing about politics or sports), the Democratic and Republican parties both have a lot of money and a lot of funding to just carry on their business and do their best for the people. Bickering is normal, but when election time comes around, things get so out of hand that even those who don’t have ties to either party get tired of dealing with it. For those who don’t identify as Democrats or Republicans, the animosity is perceived as even more childish and petty, and it alienates them further. Because these two parties are so absorbed with their own drama, the ability to do any good is diminished because of the time and resources spent making the other guys look bad. Sometimes it seems that the Democratic party or the GOP are just two mean girls who are both popular but are also very insecure deep down, and making any sort of comment or slight is enough to incite a little retaliation.

I don’t want to be a part of something like that, and there are thousands of others with the same mindset. America is just a country, just like any other country. We aren’t the best at anything, except acting a fool on a world stage so everyone can point and laugh at us. I will pick a candidate, but only to avoid the guilt trips that would surely come once friends and family found out I didn’t vote. Maybe I need to check my privilege, but voting shouldn’t feel like something I have to do. Clinton and Trump don’t inspire me to make the effort. I can’t relate to them, their policies, or anything else. I don’t get either party because I feel like each one is kind of cult-like. When all of this is said and done, the country might end up in smoke. And it might not. Democrats and Republicans will keep fighting their own little Cold War amongst themselves in the name of democracy. In the meantime, my existence as a pleb will go on.

God bless America.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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