The 2016 Presidential Election and Me: An Essay by Austin Cross

This was the first election that I could vote in. When it started and I saw Hillary announcing her candidacy, I was ecstatic. The first female president in the White House? It was about damn time for that to happen, then I saw that Donald Trump announced his candidacy as well. I did not think that much about it because it was Donald Trump. The man is a business man and a reality TV star. Something about that did not really scream “future president” to me.

Then, I saw Bernie Sanders announce his candidacy. Having heard of him but not really knowing what he stood for, I did some my research on him and decided that he was the candidate that I would vote for. I was so excited about Bernie Sanders, in fact, that when it came time to vote in the primaries, I was a bit overzealous and woke up really early just so I could get to the polls at 7:30 in the morning; the polls in Pickett County, Tennessee, opened at nine. Despite this, however, I was still the fourth person to vote that day, and I am damn sure that I was the first one to vote for Bernie.

So, throughout the rest of the election up until the Democratic National Convention, I thought that Bernie would somehow run right past Clinton and take the Democratic nominee for president. It was bound to be true because of the ceaseless corruption, mysterious speeches, big money hand-outs, email scandals, fracking controversies, and rumors of illness, and rumors of election fraud that plagues Hillary were all coming up on her at once. But, after the DNC, I realized that there was nothing that anyone, including me, could do to get Bernie the Democratic nomination. Time and other forces proved that a Bernie presidency was not meant to be.

Many people would make the assumption that after Bernie was denied the nomination that I would, in turn, pledge my vote to the front-running Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton. Everything that was revealed about her over the past few months would not influence me to. After the events that took place during the Nevada Democratic State Convention in May this year, I realized that I was not a Democrat. I found myself at a loss and asking so many questions. What political party would I be affiliated with now? Did I actually fit in with another political party? Are there actually any other political parties that shared my ideals and stances on certain things, such as education and renewable energy? Upon searching and searching, I finally found what political party I really belonged to: the Green Party. I only masqueraded as a Democrat so that I could vote for Bernie.

Jill Stein was the nominee for the Green Party. While she was not the most qualified candidate that the Green Party could have chosen, I really respected what she stood for: a welcoming path for immigrants, the Green New Deal, relinquishing college debt and offering a better financial way to attend college and many others. I was all set to vote for Jill in November, though I knew that she had no chance of winning. I simply could not vote for Hillary after what I had witnessed over the last few months, and I was never going to vote for Trump at any point during the election.

All in all, this election was a big disappointment for me. Out of all the candidates that we saw running, we narrowed it down to Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, two of the most unlikable candidates that the United States has ever seen. Surely we could have done better than that. But we have seen the election results and we need to accept them. Donald Trump will be our commander in chief in just a few months. For those who felt that a Trump presidency could have been the worst thing in the world to happen (me included), we need to treat the man with respect. If we don’t, we will just as bad, if not worse than, those who felt that a Clinton presidency could be the worst thing (me included as well, but not as much as a Trump presidency), or even a Bernie presidency.

So, hats off to you, Mr. Trump. You were initially thought to be a joke, but you kept at it and made it to the very end. Maybe you won’t screw us over in the end.

8.20.2017 EDIT:

I was wrong. I was fucking wrong. It’s only been eight months and it’s a total shit storm. I am man enough to admit that I was wrong, and I was wrong.

Thank you.

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