It is an election year. As a twenty-something American, I know how election years go. There are a lot of debates, secrets dug up and aired, and a general electric buzz in the air. I know elections. I get them. There was once a time when I envisioned myself as the first female POTUS. While Hillary Clinton may soon earn that title, I’ve become increasingly disturbed by this election cycle. I washed my hands of politics a few years into my undergraduate degree when I realized how petty and dirty politics can be– even at a university level. Call me idealistic, but I could not stand the mud-smearing and name-calling so prevalent in the halls of our student government. I was terrified of what I would find if I ventured to Washington, D.C.
I now have zero desire to enter politics. Just some background, I am currently pursuing my Masters degree at the London School of Economics & Political Science. That means I am, for all intents and purposes, an expatriate. That does not mean that I don’t keep up with what is happening in my home country though.
As I am a Masters Student, I don’t actually have that much time to watch TV (except for that occasional Netflix binge). Even if I did watch a lot of TV, I watch British TV so I don’t even know what kind of absurd propaganda campaigns have begun to air in the States (although that generally happens following the conventions).
Even without this huge medium so integral to elections, I’ve still seen recordings of debates and I’ve read… a lot. And quite frankly, it makes me embarrassed that the candidates vying for such an honorable and powerful position of leadership have resorted to being pigs. Literally, they sling mud– At each other, at religion, at race, and more.
The fact that Ted Cruz openly stated that he intends to block any move President Obama tries to make in nominating a new Supreme Court Justice absolutely disgusts me. The fact that Republican senators have signed a letter to the Senate Majority Leader detailing their decision, is heinous. Barack Obama is still the President of the United States and it is his duty as the United States of America to appoint a new Justice. It is the Senate’s job to confirm this appointment– without falling victim to the lure of politics.
Donald Trump, who is actually inching closer to the Presidency, has called Mexicans rapists and criminals. He wants to build a wall and make Mexico pay for it. He wants to expel Muslims from the country. Sometimes I wonder how he has the privilege of being an American citizen.
I’d like to say that this problem is limited only to the Republican party, but I’d be lying. Bernie and Hillary have become increasingly fierce as the competition heats up. Plus, it seems we just can’t accept the fact that Hillary made a massive mistake with those e-mails. The American people also seem to have an issue accepting the fact that Hillary Clinton is a woman. The American public also seems to not remember anything they learned in high school and doesn’t realize that no– Bernie Sanders is not a Communist. Socialist, sure. Communist, no. Put away your pitchforks, folks.
I recently read an article by the New York Times titled, “I Miss Barack Obama,” speaking about his morality and general “good guy” demeanor. In another titled, “What Today’s Republicans Don’t Get About Reagan,” illustrates how the current Republican candidates are ruining the once decent and good reputation of the Grand Old Party. It seems that moral depravity is now immediately equated with American elections.
The fact that President Barack Obama has been criticized for “daring to shed a tear” following yet another mass shooting in the United States is beyond comprehension. I don’t know what has happened in my home. I no longer have the patience or energy to defend my country from the criticisms of my international classmates. I am no longer proud to come from a country where less than half of its population own passports and debatably less bother to vote, all the while complaining about “those damn immigrants taking our jobs.”
Here’s an idea: let’s go back to a time (idealistic and naive though it may be) when politicians actually worked for the betterment of the country. Let’s go back to a time when politicians worked to improve the lives of ordinary Americans. I know, I know. Don’t be naive. It is politics, after all. Therefore everything will be political. I get that. But for a country that so prides itself on its government, we’re doing a really shitty job at projecting any positive impressions around the world.
Until that time comes around that we have leaders worth being proud of, I’m tired. I’m sick. And while I will exercise my privilege to vote come November, I have had enough.