Keeping Perspective on the Presidential Race

Courtesy of NOBCChE

Courtesy of NOBCChE

Caren B. '17, Co-editor

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Welcome to the 45th Hunger Games, where we’re fighting to the death to pick a winner: Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump. At one or both of those names, a shudder runs down your spine and you look desperately for an escape; unfortunately, there is none. Your disliked candidate’s name is splashed all over neighborhoods, cars, websites and media, and, unless your superhero politician can swoop in and save the day, the U.S. will spiral out of control and you’ll be forced to move to New Zealand and spend the rest of your life touring around with “Lord of the Rings” geeks.

Luckily, we won’t have to move to New Zealand. As your party and the other party scream that the end is coming and head for the exits, you can remain calm, since this election doesn’t matter as much as others are telling you. As much as your conservative aunt Jane shouts at you or your best friend and Bernie supporter will argue with you, it just doesn’t. You shouldn’t take this as an excuse to avoid voting now or in the future, but you have to face it.

First of all, we do not live in an absolute monarchy where everyone is required to obey the president alone. You roll your eyes at me, reader, but Americans do forget. If you hear anyone say, “Our party has to take the White House or it’s four more years of the other side’s policies,” please tell them to retake U.S. history with Mrs. Ide immediately and apologize to the 500+ government officials in Washington.

“But the president’s the only one who can veto and choose Supreme Court nominees,” you counter, remembering your own U.S. history lessons. You’re correct, but don’t freak out yet; Congress (the Senate and the House of Representatives) balances this since it can overrule a veto and block a nominee if it chooses, also lessening presidential power (and patience).

Speaking of lessening presidential patience, each election season George Washington watches the voting booths from above and angrily strokes his pet eagle as he hears the phrase, “This is my only chance to make a difference.” Believe me, it’s not. You can start or join a political club, write letters to local and national politicians, inform others about politics and protest peacefully whenever you please.

And in a way, those actions would have a less diluted impact than voting. Picture 320 million slips of paper in a glass bowl and mentally add one more to the bowl. As much as you’d like to, you can’t change what those 320 million slips already say, and the one you added won’t sway it much either way. As long as you do your best to inform yourself and vote with your conscience, you voted correctly, and at the end of the day it isn’t useful to worry about what you can’t change.

Think of it this way: politics can only go part of the way in making this country better. You and I believe in something above politics—-whether it be religion, love or something else is for a different discussion—-which ultimately will make our country a more peaceful and caring place. Focusing on that something above would have a more profound impact on our country than worrying about a decision you have little control over.

So, instead of worrying about the election like the rest of the country, take a deep breath and keep it all in perspective; our Founding Fathers will thank you for it.

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