By: Rachel Theodora Appleton Twitter: The_Apples816 Instagram: Apples816
Being a politically undecided 21 year old during the 2016 presidential campaign is a tough life.
1) My parent’s generation thinks I’m a flaming liberal, even though I’m not.
Look, I know I go to a liberal college. I know most of my professors detest Donald Trump and Chris Christie. I know that they are #withher because they give indiscrete innuendos during lecture all the time. I know that children and young minds are sponges that soak in their surroundings, BUT COME ON GUYS; it’s not that simple. One of the main goals of college is to teach people how to make rational decisions. College teaches us that a black and white world doesn’t exist. Most circumstances end up with a greyish answer. You think I’m liberal, but I just choose to look at both sides of a story. I’m not soft and I’m not too sensitive.
2) Your classmates think you’re a racist, sexist, murderous trump supporter if you don’t agree with them.
I’ve brought this up to a couple people outside of University. Whenever I bring it up to Gen Xers and baby boomers, they’re not surprised in a that’s so typical kind of way. From their perspective, college is a cesspool of liberal brainwashing camps. This entire campaign has brought the ugly out in society, a society that judge’s character based off of political opinion. I haven’t dared to support Trump in class (#1 because I don’t, #2 if I did- I would be attacked by he said this, this, and that’s by a majority of my peers,) and who would out rightly disagree with the person grading you? If I did support trump, I bet I’d have a harder time making friends. In a Pew Research Study, more than half of consistent liberals delete friends on Facebook if they disagree. About the same number of republicans only have friends that support their opinions.
3) You feel like the government cheated you out of a nice voting experience.
I was lucky enough to vote in 2012. That campaign year was intense, the stakes were high, but it was nothing compared to the 2016 horror “reality TV show esque show” of an election. So many of us now understand the flaws of a two-party system supported by monetary power moguls and corruption. Deciding who to vote for based off of “who is less terrible” doesn’t make anyone feel good after sending in a ballot. I want to vote for a candidate I have faith in. I refuse to vote for the not as bad candidate.
4) If you don’t vote, you are seen as un-American and disrespectful towards your veterans.
When people ask me who I’m going to vote for, my stomach drops, I start to sweat, my vision blurs, I get the shakes… well, no, not really, I’m exaggerating a bit, but I do give the same answer every time, and it goes a bit like this: “oh, God…I don’t know…I don’t like either of them. It’s crazy. I don’t even know if I’m going to vote. What about you?”
The truth is, I want to vote because that’s what democracy is all about. However, when your representatives don’t represent you, who do you choose?
5) You feel like you really wanted Gary Johnson to pull through, but realized he’s an idiot.
Remember a couple months ago when thousands of people heard the word “libertarian” for the first time? A flame of hope shot across their hearts. (queue musical chimes in the background.) Unfortunately that flame burnt out when Gary Johnson made it to prime time media coverage. The guy sounds fantastic on paper, but then…. but then… he speaks and words come out of his mouth that just sound ridiculous. It was a short-lived dream, but hopefully libertarians can gain some more inertia next time. Back to dumb and dumber.
6) You feel like you’ve put the decision off for far too long, and now it’s two weeks away and you’re still questioning everything.
People are sending mail-in ballots and your research hasn’t made anything better. You have put off choosing for so long that you forgot you had to make a decision in the first place (god-willing that your voter registration didn’t expire unknowingly to you.) Maybe it is the pressure of defending either choice that makes this difficult. Perhaps, I’ll flip a coin? I might just go to the booth and rely on my intuition and prior research to get me through the ballot. Wild card, anyone?
7) If I don’t want to talk about politics, it doesn’t mean I am ignorant.
This happens a lot, but sometimes politics consumes too much of my life. Maybe I want to talk about trivial things like other people’s experiences and theories on philosophy and life.
8) You may actually believe the whole world is a conspiracy theory now.
We all know Donald Trump thinks the election is rigged. I mean, who are we to say he’s wrong, we’re just working plebeians. I’m all for our whole existence being a video game. Maybe someone’s pulling the strings for us. At least we’d know someone has a direction in mind.
The political world has changed, for the better or worse? That’s for you to decide. As for me, I feel that presidential campaigns will increasingly become a part of our lives and make us crazier than we already are. For the past year, our Facebook newsfeeds, Twitter pages, emails, and newspapers have probably said “Clinton” and “Trump” 13.62 trillion times (yes I chose our national debt as an extreme measurement as emphasis.)
Being an undecided 21 year old during this campaign has been stressful and unrewarding. It’s showed some ugly sides of society and prejudice that I hope can be addressed by young politically undecided 21 year olds all over the land of the free, like me.