In a little over three months, the United States will finally know which of the presidential candidates will be running our country for the next four years. The Democrats and Republicans have just finished their conventions and we now know that it will be Trump versus Clinton within the major parties.
I do not think I can put a number on the amount of Facebook posts that tease the fact that the two nominees for the major political parties are, well, just crazy. Trump is Trump as usual and Hillary Clinton just won a rigged election that everyone knows about. Everyone seems to question: which one is truly better for our country? Which is the lesser of the two evils? Which one should I vote for?
Trump versus Clinton is a fight that Americans do not have to go along with. Bernie Sanders is still technically in the race. Many political experts expect a fair number of Sanders supporters to write the candidate in despite his endorsement of Hillary Clinton. Other options for president include Gary Johnson, the Libertarian candidate, and Jill Stein, the Green Party candidate. Both of these great choices for president have unfortunately faced an absolute media blackout throughout the race. If Johnson and Stein are new names to you, I highly suggest checking out their issues.
The news media in this country sheds an unfair amount of coverage on the Democratic and Republican primary races. People forget that there are other political parties and candidates that represent them. Of course, these third parties do not have the same amount of power, influence, or money that the major parties do, but that is only because the media refuses to cover third parties and the American people are not interested in looking into or supporting third parties. After all, a presidential election would get too confusing for Americans if more than two parties were involved. Our choice to ignore other platforms is a glaring testament that we are still uneasy about change.
When I first registered to vote in high school, I was really interested in keeping myself an independent. However, my social studies teacher (who is probably reading this article, if so, thank you) encouraged me to choose a party so I could vote in primaries. This year, I was ecstatic to be a registered democrat so I could vote for Bernie Sanders in the New York primary. Now I am absolutely disgusted to call myself a democrat after the corruption and shadiness shown in the primary. I realize now, as I sit in bed with my “Feel the Bern 2016” t-shirt on, that poor Bernie never truly had a chance.
However, I am not upset that I registered as a democrat two years ago.
This experience made me realize that there are other options out there that truly coincide with my ideals. I decided to look at the Green Party platform and realized that most of my values were supported by Jill Stein. After the embarrassment at the Democratic National Convention, I have even decided to change my party affiliation to Green.
People ask me who I plan on voting for and I tell them that I will choose Bernie Sanders or Jill Stein. I am fully aware that the majority of people will probably choose either Clinton or Trump and my vote may not necessarily make too much of an impact. However, as someone who values my own beliefs, I would rather vote for a losing candidate that will fight for what I believe in over a winning candidate who is more concerned with money, power, and greed.
I truly believe that we as Americans have a moral and civil responsibility to vote smart. However, such a practice has become rare. We are too focused on sports and celebrity gossip to really take time and think about the issues we believe in and research our candidates to make the best choice. Donald Trump is a genius. He has thrived off of America’s infatuation with celebrity gossip. He has said some of the most racist and outlandish things throughout this election and people still vote for him because he is the most interesting to the public. He is someone easy enough to follow along with our daily helpings of the Kardashians, the Jenners, and Kim and Kanye.
The reason we allow our political system to be dominated by two parties is because we are too focused on the stupid things to really examine what matters. We pay no attention to the corruption and big money in politics because, quite frankly, it is too hard for Americans to understand. The same goes for political candidates. We refuse to look into other, more qualified people because Clinton and Trump are the easiest to understand and follow. All we have to do is open our Facebook accounts and scroll through our timelines to get our daily dosage of dumb and dumber.
I urge all Americans, specifically millennials, to stop splurging on the McDonald’s of entertainment media and consider all of the options we have in front of us for our next president. I know that many of you are tired of hearing about politics, but the reason why politics are everywhere is because they are important. We are not talking about the next person who gets to live in the White House. We are talking about the next person to attempt to lead our country out of the giant mess it is in. We are talking about the future of our country and, due to climate change, the future of our planet. Neither of which seem bright. If we do not stop paying attention to the things that do not matter, we are doomed. That simple. We are doomed.
Lastly, if you do decide to heed my advice and look up the issues of at least all five major candidates (Trump, Clinton, Sanders, Johnson, and Stein, in case you forgot), choose the candidate that goes along with your beliefs. We are screwing ourselves over by going with the norm of Trump and Clinton. The only reason those two politicians are leading in the polls is because they are rolling with the major parties. The only reason why that detail matters is because we allow ourselves to succumb to the simplicity of a two-party system and cast a long, dark media shadow on other qualified candidates.
However, we cannot blame the media, we can only blame ourselves. The media may seem big, but it is motivated by money, and the only way media and news corporations get paid is by giving the people what they want. We need to demand what we truly need: balanced politics, diverse platforms, and attention to the extreme issues at hand. Once we start caring, we can start our demands. We are stronger than we may think.
Donald Trump Issues: https://www.donaldjtrump.com/positions
Hillary Clinton Issues: https://www.hillaryclinton.com/issues/
Bernie Sanders Issues: https://berniesanders.com/issues/
Gary Johnson Issues: https://www.johnsonweld.com/issues
Jill Stein Issues: http://www.jill2016.com/plan