You Are What You Vote: A Student’s View on Politics

My friend Jen is a ninja. She’s not the typical kind, with the polyester ski mask and throwing stars made of lined notebook paper (oh, those middle school days)—no, she yields something much more powerful: road signs and the youthful vitality that can empower just about any downward-spiraling political campaign. Jen is in her early twenties, and calls herself a “political sign ninja.” Her job is to post campaign promotion ads along highways speedily, so that the general public does not see them being placed.
Kind of like Disney magic, I guess. My friend seems to know exactly what she wants with regards to politics. I, on the other hand, am not so sure. I know the issues, and usually recognize which political party is taking a stance on which dispute. Every day I keep one eye glued to CNN’s website and the other on Fox News, trying to piece together a balanced and up-to-date representation of exactly what each political party is looking for. But the tricky thing with politics, at least in my opinion, is that no side or candidate is ever completely right. Abortion just doesn’t sit well with me, but neither does denying welfare to the weak or impoverished. I don’t think marijuana should be made legal, but believe that neither should high-capacity magazines for guns. Providing government-funded homes to people in need is admirable, but so is lowering the national deficit.
My parents think fiscal conservatism is the only way the U.S. is going to survive. I grew up listening to Clark Howard and Dave Ramsey from the car radio every afternoon. By the time I was in middle school, I grew tired of their droning voices and the young couples calling up Dave’s show just so they could scream “We’re debt free!” all too exuberantly into the nation’s otherwise peaceful cars. My annoyance canceled out my family’s trait of penny-pinching. I have since decided I would rather use money in too-drastic acts of kindness than cautiously squirrel it away under a mattress. But I am also a Christian, and some social beliefs of conservatives strike home. It’s the same thing with the Democratic Party—some things I like, some things I don’t. I don’t even focus on individual politicians as of late. One person will never change history as much as an entire group.
In about 660 days I will have the opportunity to vote for the next president of the United States. If I were a moral absolutist, I wouldn’t vote for either candidate. Neither will fit my exact beliefs, and I won’t feel completely justified voting for either one. But, nevertheless, I plan to cast a ballot for the lesser of two evils, whomever that may be. Tony Snow, a former White House Press Secretary and journalist, once said, “Voting is a right best exercised by people who have taken time to learn about the issues.” I’m no ninja, but I do keep an open mind. That has to count for something. -By Adrianne Cleven