My Thoughts on this Election Cycle

Right now, I’ve got about 7 posts saved in my drafts, unfinished because no matter how hard I try, my mind always comes back to the election. This is likely due to the fact that my roommate isn’t really aware of the politics in our country (or any country for that matter) so I don’t have someone I can talk this out with every night. As shared with my first political post, I don’t publicly talk about politics on my Facebook very often, so here goes…

As this is my first election cycle where I’m old enough and informed enough to care, I don’t have much to compare it to. But even with that in mind, this cycle has been bizarre.

Even in just this past year that I’ve truly stayed informed on national and international matters, I personally have noticed the extreme polarization of America’s political parties and it’s scary. Just in the past 6 months, I have seen a drastic difference. Between Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders, America’s extremes were pushed to the limits. Democrats are more liberal, Republicans are more conservative. We are losing our moderates. In the past, I would have considered myself a moderate liberal but even in my own views I have noticed a change, and I’m not so sure that I like it. I am more passionate about my views than I have been every before. I don’t really think that I moved farther left, I believe that it’s because the conservatives moved farther right that I feel like I’m farther left than I am. I don’t really know, but its confusing because I feel more liberal than I think I am.

The inequality was bound to be seen in the public, but the potentially most absurd aspect of this election is the fact Trump is not being considered an “unqualified” or “un-presidential” candidate. If any candidate in history, republican and democrats alike, said the things that he did in public they would have been committing political and social suicide. But I suppose because Trump is not a politician so why should he be held to the same standards as one? Oh, I don’t know, maybe because he’s running for president… You’d think that having no political experience would have disqualified him as a candidate during the primaries but here we are. The majority of Trump’s supporters are white people without college educations so perhaps it makes sense that they’d support a white candidate with no political experience. (Too far? Probably, but I doubt any of them are even reading this so screw it.) Even so, I remember during the primaries that young people were voting for Trump as a joke because it was funny and he couldn’t possibly become president.. Well, here we are, with probably the most unqualified and un-presidential candidate ever.

As a woman, I have been aware of the double standards we are held to for years now but I know that not everyone in the country is. One thing this election cycle has done extremely well is made a number of them obvious for those who benefit from the different standards that women are held to. However, despite the evidence being right in front of their noses, there are still people out their who truly believe that men and women are equal.

The other aspect of inequality here is gender rather than experience. I do not think I have ever seen a more unequal race for anything than this presidency. A highly qualified woman is still having to prove herself over and over against a candidate with no political experience at all. This is the most public case of women having to prove why they are a better choice than a less qualified man. I am positive that any woman in the work force has either had to do this themselves or watched a colleague, friend, or family member do this. It’s ridiculous yet fitting for the state of our country that this would also be happening at the level of electing our next president.

Something else that I have noticed many people doing is using Clinton’s first name both in media and casual conversation. In journalism, it is proper to use people’s last names when referring to them in writing, which was then picked up by the general public. No one called President Obama by his first name, Barack, and Mitt Romney by his surname.  However, in this election cycle, I constantly hear people refer to Donald Trump as just Trump but Hillary Clinton as Hillary in the same sentence. In my mind, it’s almost like we’re disrespecting her when doing so, like people are saying she shouldn’t be held to the same standard or have the same respect as her male counterpart. Some people may disagree with this and that’s fine, it’s simply something I’ve become aware of in the past few months.

The final aspect of this election cycle that I find a bit ridiculous is the number of ad hominem attacks the candidates throw at each other. From what I’ve seen, Trump does it more often and more aggressively than Clinton, but she’s definitely not innocent in this field. Continuing on the idea of stereotypes, Trump is very blunt about it. He had a nickname for nearly all of his Republican colleagues during the primaries as well as for Clinton. During the debates, he couldn’t seem to answer a question without attacking Clinton first. Clinton on the other hand, is more passive about it. She says things toward Trump with pride but not in the aggressive manor that I’ve seen him do it. But regardless of how the personal attacks are delivered, they are far more prevalent, it seems, in this election than those of the past. We have seen them on the rise for the past 15-20 years or so but this cycle looks to be more about who can throw around better insults than who has better policies.

Overall, this sure is an interesting election cycle to be a part of and definitely one I will tell the next generation about. I just hope we don’t have a repeat in 4 years because I really don’t think I can handle another one like this.

And while we’re on the topic of politics, VOTE!!

~Sarah Ann

My Last Post: Rape Culture

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