This election cycle has been hectic. Between the surprise success of Bernie Sanders and the even more surprising support for Donald Trump, the rhetoric behind this year’s election has been defined by shock, fear and anger.
The difference between this presidential election and the one four years ago is vast. Most especially for those young voters looking forward to casting their first ever votes for president.
I remember being eighteen years old in 2012 – I was giddy with excitement. I couldn’t wait to vote. The pervading feeling was hope. I was inspired.
But in talking with my roommates on Tuesday, I did not feel that same hopefulness. They are a year younger than I and thus couldn’t vote in 2012. This is their first election, and they don’t want to vote. They feel that neither Hillary Clinton nor Trump reflects their values or deserves their vote. They are disheartened by the state of things.
I tried telling them that it wouldn’t necessarily be Trump v Clinton, but I realized I was kidding myself. Trump won the Indiana primary on Tuesday and all but locked up the Republican nomination. Meanwhile, Sanders’ hopes of somehow ousting Clinton from the nomination are all but exhausted. Both parties have all but picked their nominees and there’s not a lot to be done about it.
It’s funny and sad how much the texture of this year’s election has changed since 2012. I understand the frustration that many young people are feeling and expressing, and I am glad. I am glad that you are dissatisfied with this reality, because it needs improvement. But don’t cast your vote aside because you are dissatisfied. Instead, use that vote to communicate your dissatisfaction. Do not sit silently because your silence only allows this reality to perpetuate itself. Take up your dissatisfaction and use it to propel change and progress.
In the words of Frederick Douglas, “Without struggle, there can be no progress.” So struggle. Struggle to change what is so apparently wrong with this situation. Use your vote.
— Will McQuilkin, A&E Editor 22
Will McQuilkin is a senior Communication major, hailing from a small California farm town in the San Geronimo Valley, often described as a hamlet. He has survived not one, but two surgeries on his right hand (pinky finger and thumb) due to baseball related injuries. His favorite candy is Sugar Babies.