Like many of my fellow students, this is to be my first presidential election while in college. I have to say, however, that UR has severely let me down. I know that to most of the student body, specifically anyone attending classes, eating campus food or living in UR housing, this is no big surprise, but to me it is somewhere in between heartbreaking and disenchanting.
You could say that this political season is the last blow to all the unreasonable and unrealistic but stereotypical expectations that any freshman walks into these hallowed halls holding tightly onto. In my mind, politics and college campuses are closely intertwined. Each is a melting pot of ideas and personal expression that represent advancement of thought and values of the people. Needless to say, I was a bit of an idiot as a freshman, but looking ahead to the 2008 presidential election, I still harbored some hope that this place would become like the campuses of the 1960s movies, with interesting discussion, psychedelics, prolific and promiscuous sex and political protest. However, as any student now knows, only half of these daydreams have come to pass.
Why though? That is my question. Where did all the fervor to change the way the country acts, the way it sees itself and the way that the world views this nation go? I find it hard to believe that this is a natural progression and that somehow the UR student body has decided that their votes really don’t matter. New York and the many New England states that most of the student body comes from will undoubtedly be won by whoever wins the Democratic nomination. Likewise, the anomalies such as me, who come from the Midwest or South, will be equally disenfranchised by the masses who will vote unequivocally for a Republican. However, these voting blocks have existed, perhaps in other forms, for the entirety of this nation’s existence, yet there have been times of great upheaval and political and social change and action.
With the same logic, the idea that the political machine is controlled too much by the wealthy and powerful is also not a valid excuse for the lack of collegiate interest in this issue. I know that I have been longwinded in getting to the point, but what I’m trying to say is that we are not at fault (though this may be some amount of rationalization) for our apathy about the political system or the upcoming election. What separates this election from the previous ones is that every potential candidate is absolutely horrible. I cannot find a single reason why I would like to vote for any of the three remaining candidates.
Besides the fact that one is a woman and the other is a ethnic minority – and that I would like to see the end of a long line of old, white men – I can’t bring myself to vote for either of the Democratic contenders. Furthermore, I wouldn’t want to vote for either on the basis of sex or race because I think that would trivialize the idea of a female or minority president by undermining the idea that they are qualified without a handout. Therefore, judging on character alone, both candidates fail to inspire my belief that they aren’t a typically loathsome politician. The Democratic ticket seems to be a choice between a robotic ideologue who seems oddly disconcerting and an inexperienced sensationalist who has simply recycled JFK’s speeches in a competition for who can say the word change more often. They each speak of a new vision for these United States, but mostly it seems that both of their platforms are simply GW in reverse without much thought.
The Republican side is equally dreary. The last man standing in a September 11 and Iraq mudslinging contest is the 109-year-old McCain. Though I actually believe that he is the candidate least likely to lie to me, his visions of new Middle Eastern conflicts that stretch countries and decades is mostly scary. Likewise, giving the reigns to another Republican seems comparable to letting a convicted felon run a daycare center. Perhaps that is a bit extreme, but after eight years of war, soaring oil prices and racism disguised as a war on a noun, I’d rather bite off my own tongue than see another Republican in power.
Basically, what this writer is trying to say is that statistically your vote does not count, but that doesn’t matter because there is no one worth voting for. And if you must vote, due to some type of moral obligation, vote Hillary because her husband would make a killer first lady.
Burnett is a member of the class of 2010.