Why I Won't Be Voting In The 2016 Election
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Politics and Activism

Why I Won't Be Voting In The 2016 Election

An explanation of my choice to abstain.

Why I Won't Be Voting In The 2016 Election

"He won, he won!" My mother was screaming as she came into my room and woke me up. This was the night in 2008 when Barack Obama was elected as president. I was 13 and in the eighth grade, a long way from being able to vote, but I understood that being a part of that historic vote was something important to her.

I went to school the next day to hear the opinions of my peers. Many of them were happy and celebratory at this historic vote and many of them were not, saying the classic, "I'm moving to Canada," line they probably heard from some relative. I saw a clear divide in my classmates and it seemed to permeate in our class for the rest of our years in high school. I remember thinking what a great privilege it is to vote (despite others disagreeing with you) and what a great struggle it has been for anyone other than an old, straight, white male to get that privilege. I couldn't wait until I was able to vote because I wanted my voice heard and, if I was able to, then I wanted to be apart of an historical moment.

Finally, that historic moment is here. I am 21, I am a senior in college and I have the chance to elect the first female president. However, there are some things about this election and its candidates that I cannot ignore; things that make me consider whether or not I want to vote in this election.

Hear me out.

With this election, we are being forced (it seems) to pick between two candidates who both have been under much public scrutiny for some of their actions. These things are inexcusable and cannot be overlooked just because one supports the respected parties. Even if both instances could be passed off as a media ploy or an attempt to incriminate a public figure, then there are some aspects in both stories that are quite questionable. Like Trump’s allegations of rape and child rape. Shouldn’t it be enough that Trump was not only business associates, but friends with a man who is now a convicted child sex offender to question the legitimacy of these allegations? Or Clinton’s voter fraud: shouldn’t that be enough to question the validly of the voting system and the people like her who use it to their advantage?

Are these the two candidates that are fit to be president? The fact that support for third party candidates is low and it is highly unrealistic at this time to think that a third party candidate will be elected in office, Trump and Clinton are our only choices and like the Odyssey article I read predicted, it is a game of, "Would you rather?"

It is obvious that if Trump is elected, then his reign will help maintain that “traditional, American way of living” that is rooted in the sexism and straight, white male patriarchy that our society favors. However (and stay with me), if Clinton is elected, then that same sexism that we believe we will be avoiding will transform into a new kind of sexism.

Oblige me for a moment.

It is evident that our country hates women and it teaches them to hate themselves and other women. This is seen in any time there is a moment to expose and collectively bash some female celebrity in the media for some insignificant ordeal. However, when some male celebrity is faced with a domestic violence and/or drug charge he may be frowned upon for a time, but eventually, he is met with praise and forgiveness because he is attractive singer / dancer / actor. This clearly puts forth that it is OK to bash and to expose a woman because it seems, she “deserves it.”

Women are taught to be a "daddy's girl,” to behave like a "lady,” to be a mother and a homemaker, rather than start a career of her own; that their only worth is in the home. When they go outside of this norm and enter the professional world, they are faced with obstacles that their male counterparts are not: sexism. And this sexism attempts (and sometimes succeeds) to undermine a woman’s intelligence and work competency, to suggest that maybe women do belong at the house.

This workplace sexism is somewhat amplified for women in positions of power. This is why the resignation of Debbie Wasserman Schultz goes a little bit deeper than just a simple resignation. She was in the wrong and needed to resign, that's a given, but it is the aftermath of it all that I find problematic. When a man in a position of power messes up, they get fired or resign. They may or may not receive backlash for it, but after time it will be forgotten and that’s that. When a woman in power messes up, she is fired or asked to resign, but the backlash she receives is fueled by sexism, something that a man is not subjected to, and almost always, her faults tend to never be forgotten.

When and if Clinton gets in office and she does something the American people dislike (as all presidents do) she will be scrutinized not only because they are disagreeing with the president, but because they are disagreeing with the president and a woman in power, and, her presidency will only further the idea that women don't belong in positions of power, that yes, they do belong at home. Hopefully, we will all understand that is not true. Just because one woman does a bad job, doesn’t mean all women will and they do not speak for future and upcoming women in power.

I sort of feel like even if Clinton does a great job as president, people will still find ways to undermine her position, inadvertently(or advertently) contributing to sexism. Hopefully, I am wrong, but due to our society's treatment of women and women in power, it is hard not to think that way. (Does it not sound bad that in the first election in which a woman could be elected president we are told to vote for her because she's the "lesser of two evils"?)

It is hard to look at coverage of the campaigns and all of their absurdities and not question whether this election is actually happening. I am under the impression that 20 years from now someone’s going to tell us that this was all a joke and we’ll laugh about it because deep down, we all knew...or maybe it is all real.

All I see on social media is, "I'm a Democrat so I'm voting for the Democratic Nominee or I'm a Republican so I'm voting for the Republican Nominee or I don't believe in the two party system so I am voting for the independent party candidate."

I'm just thinking to myself, "What a confusing time to be alive, to have people pull you in every direction: to the left, to the right, to the north, to the south."

"Sheep," I said in reference to the constant pulling when texting one of my friends about this.

He responded, "Sheep? Or do they just trust a system that doesn't oppress and supports them? As POC [people of color] we how the system really works. It has never worked for us. Politicians say nice things about us all the time, for a long ass time, but we still haven't gotten anywhere for real. It is easy to support and believe in a system that supports and protects you and a system you can benefit from."

While reading this, it all made sense. Maybe this is why I can't latch on to any of these campaigns because I see right through it.

How am I able to support and understand a system that does not support and understand me? A system that has been proven to be corrupt? A system that prides itself on appearing to support minority communities, just to get the “Black vote” or the “Latino vote”? A system that divides?

It is for that reason my choice for 2016 is to abstain. I hope to not offend anyone of my choice, but to possibly provide a perspective of those who just cannot and will not decide.

I'm here to tell you, "It's OK, me too."

Whoever the new president is we will all collectively complain about her or him like we usually do, whether we voted, abstained or were too young to vote; and we will all be divided on our stance of the president. Hopefully, there will come a day where we all have equally great candidates for president and a great president is selected out of those candidates and that the division between the two parties and its supporters will diminish. However, that may be too idealistic at this time.

I hope that whomever is president, she or he, will do the best job they can for the American people. I hope corruption in the government that has been exposed recently will get fixed and that the president will move toward making the government less crooked and more equal, and truly equal. I hope that the words she or he said while they were campaigning won't just be words, but have truth behind them.

All I want to do is go to school, get my degree(s), start a career, get married, make my mother proud and try to live a life without experiencing some type of prejudice or injustice. This is my American Dream and hopefully, the next president will not be a direct threat to that.

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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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