As a young female voter, this election has been disheartening to say the least. After over a year of debates, rallies and punditry, I am presented with two simply unacceptable options in November. Americans deserve better.
On the one hand, we have a Democratic candidate who has spent her entire political career not-so-subtly pandering to women under the guise of shattering glass ceilings, while simultaneously lining her foundation’s pockets with cash from countries such at Qatar and Oman that practice blatant human rights abuses against the same gender she claims to champion. What’s worse is that we have a Republican candidate who is perfectly content with making distasteful comments about women on a regular basis—playing into every stereotype that the Republican Party has tried to run from.
Gaffes and lies aside, the core issue here is that both parties are unflinchingly embracing their respective nominee without expressing any real hesitation—defending and tacitly embracing their comments and corruption. It is time that we as Americans— particularly our nation’s young people— say enough is enough. While it is easy to rag on the millennial generation using popular media tropes, we are the ones that will most directly face the consequences of today’s decisions, are we content with the choice before us?
A staggering nine out of ten of our nation’s young people are unhappy with the current choices and want an alternative. Millennials, myself included, are so dispirited by both parties that they’re looking outside of the traditional party structure for something better for America’s future. Moments like these are what birth movements that create seismic shifts in the political and social status quos.
Reagan famously gave his “Time for Choosing” speech, one what was instrumental in shaping the modern conservative movement, in 1964. Through his timeless oration, he depicted a country faced with a grave and monumental decision come November. He discussed how he was once a Democrat not too long before, and that the party had left him through its promotion of big government policies. He refused to simply vote along with his party as they were making monumental mistakes in pursuit of fleeting votes. This is what we are all called to do this November — choose not settle.
Many incorrectly believe this election is about choosing the lesser of two evils, which tells you most of what you need to know about the two major party candidates. In reality, November is about choosing who we want to be as a nation. Do we want to be that shining city on a hill by putting forth the very best candidates our country has to offer, or are we okay with settling for the terrible hand we’ve been dealt? Should our next president reflect the very best in American values and virtues, or should they be the most crafty and opportunistic?
Over 60 percent of voters say neither Clinton nor Trump has the values they identify with, according to a recent NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll. The same poll showed that there is an opening for an independent alternative to the two candidates and that independent voters could play a crucial role in determining the outcome of the general election.
Many of those independents and those on both sides of the political spectrum are taking a rational stand and saying: Never Trump and Never Hillary. We are often told to stand up for what we believe in—not very often are we presented with such a clear opportunity to do so. I contend that we millennials can lead the change that so many Americans crave, let’s raise our voices and demand better for our country through an independent alternative.
I want to be able to tell my future children that I had absolutely no part in electing either Trump or Clinton—not only because neither comes close to representing my core values and beliefs, but also because they’re diametrically opposed to the best of what most Americans believe is right. I, like many Americans, want to be able to vote with my conscience in November. I’m praying for an independent candidate that will allow me to do just that.
It’s been said that America is too great for small dreams, let’s dream bigger.