In spite of what you just saw, you need to act.
The first of three presidential debates took place on Tuesday night at Case Western Reserve University in Ohio, moderated by Fox News’s Chris Wallace. After beginning with cordial greetings between candidates, the cacophony that followed was at best contentious and at worst incoherent and embarrassing.
Pundits from around the political sphere are broadly claiming this to be the worst Presidential debate in the history of the event. Despite its incoherence, the format went like clockwork: Wallace poses a question to Trump, Trump answers the question while Biden oscillates between serious preparation and incredulous head shaking. Then, Wallace poses a related question to Biden, Biden speaks for 5 seconds and is then interrupted by Trump. Wallace then occasionally asks Trump to let Biden speak, and occasionally tries to grab his attention by offering that the president will be “happy” to hear his next question. This occasionally halts Trump’s brash interruptions for a few seconds, but more often it just adds to the insanity of the discussion (if one can even call it that).
The result is clear: Biden was polite in comparison to Trump’s rudeness, and Trump’s plan was to interrupt Biden before he could finish a sentence.
For those who watched the debate, either in its entirety or for five painful minutes before turning it off, I urge you to not be discouraged by this moment.
For many of you, this could be the very first political debate that you’ve watched. For others, perhaps it will be the first time you are voting and you were hoping to watch the debate to help you inform your decision. Do not let this discourage you from voting.
I urge you to not be discouraged by this moment
Voting is not about choosing a candidate with whom you align completely. It’s not about picking someone because you’re passionate about them. It’s about exercising a right that many on this earth have not had and do not have. It’s about making a decision that will impact the world that you live in. And although your vote may seem small, it’s about its contribution to the whole that matters. In 2016, states were won and lost by such a small margin that those who chose not to vote and those who chose to do so were the people who decided the election.
A democracy is a form of government in which the people decide the leadership of their country. As it happens, the United States is a federal republic, a group of states that operates in one cohesive unit. A unit in which the people decide which people they want to lead them. Our government is guided by the decisions we make on who should lead this country. And, unfortunately, it will be quite rare that the candidates that you will be choosing from will be perfect. In fact, they almost never will be. You must participate anyway.
I’m not sure where the concept of voting for the perfect candidate came from and why people feel as though it is a reason to abstain from voting, but the fact of the matter is that voting is about choosing the person that you would feel most comfortable with in the job, the person that you would pick over the other person.
This stands true especially for the presidential election, but more local elections are decided by such a small number of votes, that the person you vote for locally will have a huge impact on your day-to-day life. And, as stated, we are a federal republic. A group of states that act independently, but all of which fall under the United States. But the fact that so much power is given to states shows the importance of action within one’s local jurisdiction.
It is important, above all else, to stay educated on the important issues, to vote for those who you most align with, and to act in a way that can bring about change.
So if you didn’t like what you saw in the debate last night, change it. It might not seem like it, but you have a voice, you have a say. Our government is set up so that you are the boss. Vote for the person you agree with most, and then act in such a way that you can vote for a candidate that you like even more in the next election, and the election after that. This is how our country has been run since 1776 and you can bet that a single presidential debate won’t come close to taking that down.
So take this as an opportunity to work towards the change you want to see. To strive to elect the leadership you want. It’s messy and it’s frustrating, but it has been and always will be up to you.