There are a variety of reasons I usually refrain from posting my political opinions online. For one, I often feel like I’d just be adding my voice to an echo chamber in which the people who agree with me will continue to agree with me, and the people who disagree will ignore my thoughts and move on. I also lack the knowledge and insight necessary to make a worthwhile contribution to the political discussion that isn’t already being better made by a brighter, more informed writer or commentator. I’m more likely to share a journalist’s smartly written editorial (like this one) or video (see the John Oliver clip above) than try to produce my own, because as much as I try to keep up with politics and the news, it’s not my area of expertise.
Lastly, I shamefully tend to avoid confrontation, and when conflicting opinions arise on social media sites like Facebook, civil debates are few and far between. Disagreements in comment chains seem more likely to contribute to polarization than reduce it, and while I respect and admire the countless people I know who frequently share their political views online, I’ve never felt motivated to get into a heated discussion about issues like gun control or abortion with my college roommate’s best friend’s sister or a distant family member I see once every three years. What good would come of it?
However, the state of this election and the utter insanity we’ve all borne witness to over the past year has finally convinced me that I must, at the very least, publicly throw my hat into the ring (and shocker, it’s not a “Make America Great Again” hat), if for no other reason than to have gone on record as someone who was on the right side of history. Because that’s what it has come to. As much as I always try to maintain an open mind, hear the other side, and acknowledge that maybe even my most strongly held opinions are not the only way of looking at things, the decision being made on November 8th is absolutely black and white to me, and the fact that so many Americans are in disagreement over who should lead our country and the free world for the next four years is astonishing, disillusioning, and downright depressing as far as I’m concerned.
So here it is: I’m voting for Hillary Clinton, and I think she is not only the better candidate, but one of the most qualified candidates to run for president in recent history. I may not agree with every single one of her views, nor do I support all of the decisions she’s made in the past, be it as a First Lady, Senator, or the Secretary of State. However, she has been a First Lady, Senator, and Secretary of State. Her ample experience in government, tireless commitment to improving the lives of women and children around the globe, and adherence to core liberal values make her someone I am not only comfortable voting for, but excited to vote for. I am confident that she will take climate change seriously, continue to use diplomacy to properly direct our involvement in foreign conflicts, and implement the right strategies for dealing with the economic challenges we face at home. I am hopeful that somehow, when the dust from the election settles, she will find a way to lead our two main political parties back to the mediating table and put an end to the obstructionist attitude that has dominated the Republican party for the past eight years (I’m not holding my breath though).
As for Trump, it’s hard to even know where to begin. From the “Mexican rapists” comment over a year ago all the way through “nasty woman” at the third debate, he has torn through the country like a tornado of bigotry, fear-mongering, and misogyny. If you were to pluck one quote from his list of “gaffes” (if you can even call them that, since he rarely regrets them) and attribute it to a candidate in another election, it likely would have led to that politician’s immediate downfall. Calling for a ban on Muslims? Advocating the intentional targeting of terrorist’s families? Urging a foreign country to commit espionage in an effort to influence an American election? That barely scratches the surface of the many dangerous, demagogic ideas he’s spewed throughout his campaign, topped off by his recent insinuation that the entire voting system is rigged. Yet Trump lives on, seemingly thriving on the vitriolic anger he has stoked (or tapped into) in a significant enough portion of the American populace.
And as much as it frustrates me to see Trump on the national stage, turning the country’s time for substantive policy discussion and debate into a media circus, what upsets me more are his supporters. I am genuinely disturbed by the portion of Trump's base that are buying up “Trump That Bitch” T-Shirts and shouting racial slurs at rallies, individuals who Clinton rightfully referred to as a “basket of deplorables.” But then there are the mainstream Republicans, the ones who perennially vote conservative, who are somehow still standing by Trump despite the countless ways he’s demonstrated that he is unfit for the presidency. When Mitt Romney was up for election four years ago, I vehemently disagreed with many of his beliefs and policy proposals, but I was never afraid of living in a country under his leadership, nor was I confounded by those who chose to vote for him. That is not the case for Trump, because his childish temperament, questionable business record, and utter lack of experience in politics should be red flags to any voter, Democrat or Republican. Simply put, if you support Trump, there is a gap between our understandings of what qualifies someone to be president that cannot be bridged, and I hope you’ll reconsider before casting your ballot on November 8.
I mentioned that I tend to prefer sharing other commentators' editorials rather than clumsily attempting to draft my own as I have here, so as much as I want to go on about the false equivalency portrayed by the media, terrifying rhetoric used by Trump, and baffling existence of undecided voters, I'm going to stop here. One parting note: I’ve found the most reaffirming vindication of my point of view in the list of conservative-leaning publications that have taken an unprecedented official stance AGAINST their Republican nominee. These papers have nothing to gain from coming out against Trump (save for the preservation of their dignity), and in fact will likely lose subscribers in the red cities and states they serve, a consequence not to be taken lightly in that struggling sector of the media. So if you are planning to vote for Trump but haven’t done so yet, I implore you to read the few editorials I've linked to below before you do, because they make the case for Hillary better than I ever could.