On Monday, an estimated 100 million Americans tuned in to watch Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton debate at Hofstra University. In the end, the narrative was as expected: 90 minutes of talking and very little was actually said. Honestly, I was frustrated. For the Washington & Lee community, election season ushers in a certain fervor, as lunch table conversation and classroom discussions begin circling election day.
Yet, this year is different. For the first time in American history, both candidates are viewed negatively by the majority of the population. Democrats and Republicans alike have defected from their parties in droves, fed up with the cronyism and false promises that have become synonymous with American politics.
Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton are not wrong in their diagnosis of America’s ills. We face growing income inequality, racial profiling and violence, and a stagnating global economy. The next four years will have a profound effect on our lives, especially as we graduate and enter into the “real” world. Bernie Sanders had it right to say that the American people, and especially young people, have a real hunger to transform the political system in America. That’s why I believe that the solution lies outside the two-horse race that the media feeds us on a daily basis. I believe in change. I believe that the American people have a better option in November. I’m voting for Gary Johnson.
At this point, some of you are rolling your eyes and some of you are Googling who the hell Gary Johnson is, but hear me out. Between Johnson and his running mate Bill Weld, they have 16 years of executive experience. They’ve successfully governed blue states, winning re-election in landslides. They’ve improved infrastructure, education, and healthcare, all while cutting taxes and balancing budgets.
They’ve run businesses, created jobs, and yes, climbed Everest. But that, honestly, means very little to me. I’m voting for Gary Johnson because he represents a future I want to live in. He represents the opportunities I want in my life to go out and make a difference. Whether you want to make millions on Wall Street, cure cancer, or write a Pulitzer Prize-winning novel, our future begins on November 8th and we have a choice to make. We deserve better than the squabbling and polarization that America witnessed Monday night.
At the end of the day, each of you must decide what you want. Whether you want to make America great again, you’re with Her, you support Dr. Jill Stein, or like me, you want a Johnson in the White House, I urge you to vote your conscience on November 8th. Register, either in your home state or here in Virginia, and cast your ballot for the future you want, not just the candidate you hate least. Without sounding apocalyptic, I believe the health and future of American democracy are at stake.
As the W&L community knows well, some of the best insights come from when we have fruitful debate and ask each other tough questions. By engaging the system and demanding change, we can bring about a new, healthy age of democracy. I truly believe that if we as a body go out and vote for the future we deserve, the next four years will indeed be great.