By Clay Parlette
As I watch the results pour in from one of the most exciting Iowa caucus elections in recent memory, I read the bozo posts on Yik Yak about how Donald Trump is the solution to our woes and I watch Ted Cruz use scripture to bash our president. I find it necessary to explain why I am so passionate about this 2016 presidential election. To me, this year is not so much about whether our country will be better off with a President Clinton or a President Sanders, but rather that we secure the key advancements our country has made in the last decade. I have flopped from one candidate to another with each passing debate and forum, comparing and contrasting in my head the strengths and weaknesses that each candidate brings to the table. And, as passionate as I am for politics and true civic engagement, it has frustrated me that I have thus far been unable to lock in my support for one particular candidate—until I realized I was focusing on the wrong aspect of the race.
I’ve spoken with some people who say they won’t vote because they don’t like any of the candidates. Others say they will only vote if Trump or Sanders wins the nomination because they “hate” Hillary and the other Republicans. This sort of apathetic attitude toward the election is dangerous, not only in principle, but for our immediate future. Take this food for thought: One of the most honorable duties of the President of the United States is to appoint justices to serve on the US Supreme Court when a vacancy is made. Currently, 3 of the 9 justices are at least 79 years old, meaning they will likely be ending their tenure on the bench within the next president’s first or second term. With such cases as marriage equality and women’s health rights being decided on sharp political lines, and considering the court regularly splits in 5-4 decisions, the next president could have significant power to determine the nation’s social and ideological direction for at least the next decade.
Imagine for a second having a president the squashes the idea of green energy and climate change. Imagine sending someone to the oval office who encourages laws to be passed that restrict LGBT rights and encourage the discrimination of people based on their religion. Imagine having a president that claims our constitution—the most precious document we cherish today—is inferior to a religious book that he subscribes to. Imagine having a president that believes the solution to our foreign affairs is “carpet-bombing” an entire region. At least to some extent, some or all of the GOP candidates have expressed support for the above-mentioned ideas, and that should frighten us all.
Whether you’re a Hillary supporter or a Bernie supporter, ultimately both of them will continue the progress we’ve made as a nation. Their solutions are
backed by science and their positions favor no class or religion, but rather the betterment of our society. While it’s true that a president isn’t as powerful as we might think him or her to be, they are representative of our American values to the rest of the world. Young people carried President Obama to the White House, and young people will be just as crucial in this election. If we stay home and allow apathy to dominate our emotions, we may be feeling the sting for the next four to eight years. That’s something to be concerned about.