It’s a bit difficult for me to believe that politicians, individuals who claim to care about me, actually have my welfare as their best interest. I have credited Wake the Vote many times for the lessons it has taught me, the opportunities it has provided me, and the memories it has given me, but even with these benefits I still stand here today so perplexed at the American political system. I came into Wake the Vote with the desire to learn more, even gain a first-hands experience of politics, and I guess this counts as a first-hands experience and a lesson learned, but I stand here, three-quarters of the way done with Wake the Vote, wholly disgusted and utterly confused by what I have witnessed. Politicians, do you care about me?
An even better question is, as I have come to discover throughout the process is: does that even matter? I feel that in some ways I am making almost a full circle to the same Grace I was when I first started Wake the Vote– cynical, but not exactly a 360 because I’m no longer apathetic. Instead, I am enraged, angered, bothered, frustrated, and probably all of the other words you could find in a thesaurus. But is that what you want your democracy rooted in? A democracy fueled by negativity? Is it Donald? Is it Hillary?
Throughout the DNC, I met many individuals who had the opportunity to work on President Obama’s campaign back in ’08. Every one of them would say how inspired they felt. They worked hard for his campaign because they truly believed that Barack Obama was the leader that America needed. They believed in his message, one fueled by optimism and hope, but that stood in a bit of a contrast to what I had experienced in both the RNC and DNC. Of course, the DNC had a much lighter atmosphere than that of the RNC, but negativity nevertheless seeped throughout the DNC, i.e. Clinton’s anti-Trump videos during the convention nights.
I sat there in the convention center with a deadened feeling. “I’m supposed to be excited”, I thought, but my heart rate was a steady beat with my body language rather lethargic and a wimpy, “Woo~”, that seldom slipped through my lips when speakers came out to endorse Clinton. I just couldn’t get excited for Clinton. That’s not to take away from the fact that she’s an absurdly well-qualified candidate or to take away from the fact that she’s probably going to be our next President, but what am I to believe of the American political system if the candidate that remains in the run to become President is someone who fails to excite someone who desperately yearns for hope?
I can’t help but wonder if more than half the politicians I meet are in it for self-gratification. To some extent that thought is greatly flawed. It doesn’t necessarily pay to become a public servant and it definitely does not make one’s life easier, so one would think that they’re in it for the improvement of their beloved country and for the betterment of their neighbors’ lives, but I have not witnessed that in my experiences thus far. Why does it feel like every politician I come across simply does not care for my livelihood or that of many others? Are they there to benefit only the lives of those who look like them, think like them, and talk like them?
Maybe I’m being too skeptical. Maybe I’m oversimplifying the processes of the political system. Maybe I’m being too impatient with it all. Or maybe I’m entitled to this opinion and I have every reason to be frustrated because I find that my only motivation to vote this fall is out of fear that Donald Trump might actually have an influence on my fate and that of many others.