Tough Tuesday (2016 Election)

My goal here is not to fill your brains with political propaganda, but merely to make you think a little more about November 8th, 2016.

Maybe, like me, you’ve already spent hours thinking about it, & maybe, like me, you’re frustrated.

This is the VERY FRIST presidential election I will be able to vote in and I am more than disheartened by the circumstances of it. In fact I have embarrassingly uttered the words, “I don’t even want to vote this year.”

I am a 20 year old college student, & while I do not generally immerse myself in political tv or talkshows, I like to think that I am slightly more informed than the average joe. In all honesty, the first time I really understood what was going on during a Presidential election was 2008, the first time President Obama was running for office. Because I am so young, my voice is usually cast aside & ignored, but I’m tired. Tired of being regarded as uninformed, uneducated, and blatantly being told that I, “don’t understand the real world.”

In high school I started forming my own opinions on politics & policies. Since then they have evolved, changed, and morphed into what they are today. I won’t get into what they are specifically, because my goal in writing this blog is not to persuade you, but like I said, to make you think. I formed my opinions based off of my own experiences, what I have observed from others, and tried my hardest not to — only believe what my parents tell me. However, I was quickly realizing, that my opinions didn’t really line up exactly with either of the two super party’s platforms.

I believe the fact that we have two parties that are thought of as opposites is one of the biggest reasons that we have been at a impasse in our government as of late. Our government is no longer “for the people, by the people”. It has become a battle of winning and losing. Republican vs. Democrat. Politicians do not sit down to compromise in order to create policies that are in favor of the common good, they do not sit down to help one another towards common understanding and growth. They sit down to fight until they get their own way, & usually, this means no progress is made in any direction.

Yes, of course there are more options to vote for than just the Democratic or Republican candidate, but in the U.S. we all realize the likeliness of a 3rd party candidate being elected for almost any government position is very small. In fact 3rd party presidential candidates have often been the butt of jokes around election time. But why?

When election time rolls around people start asking questions.

“Who are you voting for?”

“Are you Republican or Democratic?”

But rarely do you hear someone ask the question, “WHY?” Ff they do ask that question, are they genuinely curious about your answer? When you ask that question are you honestly open to the idea that someone might have opinions that challenge your own, and if so, do you actually think that some of their ideas might be really valid?

Are you open to the possibility that your opinions might change and evolve as time goes on, or are you steadfast in your position, and unwilling to hear anyone else’s thoughts on the matter?

Moreover, when is the last time that you considered voting for someone outside of your party because you agreed with the positions they take on policy, rather than voting for them because they were part of your “Party”?

When was the last time that you voted for someone that was representing your “Party”, even though you didn’t agree with anything that candidate stood for?

Maybe you always agree with the candidates from your chosen party, and if so that’s great! More power to you, but for the vast majority of the US, that’s not the case. This year I have heard an unfathomable number of people say that they were going to vote for Hilary simply because they identify as DNC, or vote from Trump because they are GOP members, even though they RESENT THEIR CANDIDATE. Do all Mexican people eat tacos, and all Polish people eat potatoes? Are they supposed to eat a food they don’t like simply because society told them to? NO! So why are we voting for people we don’t respect or agree with, simply because they are the chosen candidate for our party?

It’s time that we started looking at elections as a possible win for AMERICA, rather than a win for Democrats, or a win for Republicans. Until we do this, it won’t matter who is elected, almost nothing will change in our government.

Now, I’m not proposing a specific candidate, I am just proposing that for those people who are unhappy with the current representatives of their party, START LOOKING OUTSIDE OF YOUR PARTY.

The two main candidates we have to choose from this year are a joke. They are both incredibly selfish, dramatic, ill-equipped, and under qualified politicians. Instead of promoting their platforms they plan on winning the election by bashing one another for the next 4 months. How can we possibly trust either of these candidates to run our country when they are currently fighting their way through the race in the most childish of ways?

This is the first election in history with this large of a chance for a 3rd party candidate to win. Start considering alternative options rather than admitting defeat and voting for a candidate you don’t actually like. Consider alternative candidates rather than opting out of the elections this time around.

Recently Gary Johnson has sparked a bit of a spotlight, and I am interested to see where he will go with the recent attention, but he’s not the only out there; do some research. Don’t just sit around and let your “Party” tell you what to do.

I know people are hesitant to cast a vote in the direction of a 3rd party candidate because they feel that it is a wasted vote, but if there was ever a time to consider it, this November is it.

The problem is that 3rd parties don’t have the momentum or publicity to get their word across large numbers of americans who aren’t doing their own research. But if Gary Johnson or any other 3rd party was given a spot at the presidential debates this fall, his voice could be heard by the American population and maybe, just maybe, people might agree with him.

Remember, this is our election, & we determine the outcome.

 

Don’t just take my word for it: See USNews article on Gary Johnson here.

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All things vast & minuscule.

Ahhhh, the Grand Canyon.

So beautiful. So enveloping. So vast.

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I mean seriously, this thing is so big you can see it from space.

 

& me in front of the Grand Canyon.

So small. So irrelevant. So minuscule.

& yet, so very very at peace.

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The GC has this crazy effect that makes you turn into a philosopher. Instantly. I actually think it’s impossible to see the canyon without contemplating all of existence & time at one point during your visit.

The thing about this that blows my mind is how irrelevant the details of life are. Now, don’t take this the wrong way. I’m not saying that our lives are meaningless, & I don’t mean that anyone is in anyway unimportant. However, that test I failed last week, the rude customer at work that I had to be nice to, the interview I didn’t kill? I might even go so far as to include my irritation with the presidential race among the list. These things are all relative, & when I stood there looking out at the Grand Canyon I finally remembered that it’s pretty much irrelevant in the course of this universe.

Truly, I (we) get so caught up in the day to day nuisances of life that I forget about the big picture. I take for granted this magnificent & beautiful world that was crafted for us. These adventures & journeys in the world are at my fingertips; to explore & cherish with those that I love & sometimes on my own. Some journeys are near, like my back yard as a child; some adventures are far away in other states, countries, & continents; some are above me in the night sky; & yet, some of these journeys take place within me.

I forget that there is a very large world out there. A very large adventure always, always waiting for me.

See that grayish figure in the middle? That’s me. Sitting at the edge of a cliff. Sitting on the edge of the World. 

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See the grayish figure at the point? Yup, still me. Same cliff; different view. Pretty terrifying huh?

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Well here is my father. Sitting in the exact same spot, a little under 5 years ago. 

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I included this photo because it made me think about how many other people have sat in this exact spot over the years. Perhaps having the same thoughts that I have & perhaps thinking very different things. Millions of people visit the Grand Canyon annually, & while it may affect us all in different ways it impacts us all none-the-less. It’s so important to remember that we are all on a journey. Many of us walk different paths & are heading towards different destinations, but we are all on journeys.

I need to remind myself not to allow all of the small stressors in life to get in the way of the big journeys I have ahead of me. I forget that it doesn’t really matter that I don’t have it all figured out. No one really does, & if you think you do, you’re either lying to yourself, or lying to everyone else.

I forget that my failures are temporary, while my journey is everlasting.

& Even when things are going really really well for me I forget that there is a very large world out there. A very large world that knows nothing of me, & that while my success’s may be great, they are no more-or-less important than the rest of the world’s people and their accomplishments.

Sometimes all it takes to humble me is a random act of kindness from a stranger & some days it takes a bit more than that. Last year I was immensely humbled by the joy of the people in Costa Rica, & today it happened to be the vastness of my view at the Grand Canyon.

The important parts of life are not how much money I can accumulate, it’s not how many friends I can find, & it’s not how perfect my grades or body could be.

What is really magical in life, are the ways the world impacts me & the ways that I leave an impact on others in the world.

The rest of it? It’s just minuscule noise.