Photographer:Fotograaf: Still from the Clinton-Trump debate last Monday
Why are many young Americans so disappointed in the presidential elections that they even consider not voting at all? Cydney Contreras (19) from southern California, who is an exchange student in political science at UCM, explains her considerations.
As an American, I have been raised to believe that it is an honor and a privilege to vote for our country’s next President. It is the first year I am able to vote in a Presidential election and yet I cannot bring myself to do so. I want to believe that my vote will matter and that in voting for the lesser of two evils I am helping my country, but I also want the first time I vote to mean something.
Democrat Hillary Clinton or Republican Donald Trump could potentially be the next President of the United States. A thought that scares me, because of the bizarre nature of this year’s election. I feel like I am waiting for someone to announce that this was a joke, a social experiment of sorts. Sadly, it is not and the feelings I have are shared by my friends and family who are trying to decide how to vote or if they will vote in November.
As a female, I am offended by the words and actions of Trump, who seems to have no regard for anyone regardless of gender. But I also cannot support Clinton simply because I wish to see the first female president. I know that for older generations it is a big deal to see a female candidate, but for me I am not worried about a woman being elected President in my lifetime, because I know it will happen. Regarding her husband’s actions, I try to remain impartial because her marriage is her business and she is the one running for President, not him, but I still can’t help but to question how a woman can remain with a man accused of sexual assault.
Recent events aside, the past issues concerning Clinton’s involvement in the Benghazi scandal and Trump’s taxes (or lack thereof), are my main issues of concern. When Clinton was Secretary of State, she ignored requests for more security for a US compound in Benghazi, Libya. Islamic militants attacked the under-protected compound, leading to the deaths of a US ambassador and three Americans. The Secretary’s office initially claimed it was a random attack despite the evidence that there were requests for more security in light of terrorist threats.
In general, Trump has lied routinely and takes no responsibility for his actions. His actions speak for themselves.
Clinton and Trump have both lacked the ability to be honest about their actions and in a time where a majority of Americans share the sentiment that politicians are liars, it is important to be forthcoming about issues that matter.
In deciding that I couldn’t vote for the Democratic and Republican candidates, I began to consider voting for third party candidate Gary Johnson from the Libertarian Party, but unfortunately he was just as hopeless. A deciding factor was when he was asked in an interview about what he would do to alleviate the conflict in Aleppo. Instead of responding with a well-articulated response, Johnson asked, “What is Aleppo?” This man who was running to be one of the most powerful people in the world, apparently didn’t know what the city of Aleppo was. In my mind, anyone who intends to be President of the United States should have a basic knowledge of foreign policy, so in seeing his response I have chosen not to vote for him either.
In the past weeks, me and my friends have spoken about the disappointment we share over not being able to vote for Senator Bernie Sanders. Even friends of mine who were conservative and identified as Republican believed in the liberal policies he proposed. He had a realistic, yet optimistic approach on how to improve the country. When Sanders lost in the primaries, many people like me felt they couldn’t vote in the upcoming elections.
I cannot vote for someone I do not believe in, plain and simple. Yet even as I write this, I question whether sticking to my principles is really the right thing to do in this case. I fear another event like the Brexit, but being raised to believe that voting is important has made me feel like it is okay to not vote if I truly don’t believe in any of the candidates. I guess now, only time will tell.