The 2016 Presidential Election will go down in history as the craziest election thus far. I can already imagine history textbooks excited to include this in the next chapters. In this election, we have Senator Hillary Clinton, the Democratic party candidate and former First Lady that is being investigated by the FBI. Then there's Donald Trump, the Republican party candidate, that is the face of many online memes and has no background in politics. And as usual, the many third-party candidates.
For the past year, all I saw on my news feed was people fighting and losing friends over who they chose as a candidate. I know we have the freedom of speech but it would be nice if we respected each other's opinions.
When someone said that they didn't like Trump, everyone else argued,"So you support a liar like Hillary? She's corrupted and should be in jail."
When someone said they didn't like Hillary, everyone else argued, "So you support a racist and misogynist like Trump?"
When someone didn't like either candidate, everyone else argued, "So you're going to waste your vote on third-party? You shouldn't vote at all."
When someone says that there's no point of voting (since we are doomed either way), everyone else argues, "It's your civic duty to vote as an American, we fought for this right."
I heard a lot of "if you don't vote, it's another vote for ___." For a lot of Americans, this was what we dealt with all year.
Before I was eligible to vote, I was the one that did most of the research and told my family who the best candidate would be. So when it was finally my chance to go to the voting booths, I made sure I did everything I could to do it right.
I did my research, learned more about the issues that were brought up in the debates, chose a candidate, voted in the primary, felt a true heartbreak when my candidate dropped out after the primary, cried a little, looked into flights to Canada, listened to what millennials were saying about each candidate, prepared for the end of the world, chose a new candidate, watched the debates, prayed, became confident in my choice, researched the proposed amendments on the ballot, voted early, and got a sticker.
This is the first time I actually watched the Presidential Debates. It disheartened me that 97% of the time, the two candidates were just insulting each other and barely talked about how they would help our country. I also wish we gave third-party candidates a chance. If we don't like the two main party candidates, we have other options. We've had plenty of President's that weren't a Democrat or Republican.
Our civic duty doesn't just mean stand in line and vote. Our civic duty is to do the research, learn more about the issues in our country, and everything else that is needed to have a well-rounded vote.
This whole process was a rollercoaster but it was worth the ride. There was a lot of excitement and angst as November got closer, but I'm confident in my decisions. This is a right that not all countries have, and I'm thankful that I can do this every few years.
But I'm still salty that this is my first presidential election and the two main candidates are Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. Like really, America?