I was a freshman in college when Obama promised change—an awkward, small town girl wearing band tees and Chuck Taylors who was more interested in finding a fake ID, than I was in voting for the next president, specifically because I had zero interest in politics.
Voting was the thing to do—and I was supposed to vote for Obama. My peers were endlessly promoting the election with pins and t-shirts, telling me that my vote mattered. I didn’t believe that. I didn’t want to Rock the Vote. I was eighteen in a new city with the freedom to change, and exercising my right to vote, didn’t fit into my new regime.
Instead, I went to classes, trying to figure out what path to take. I hadn’t left high school with a desire to join a certain profession so I took intro class after intro class, and one day, while sitting in intro to social work when the professor called on me out of the blue, asking me to name one of John McCain’s beliefs.
I told him I didn’t know any.
He very rudely told me to “open a book”. Although, I doubted there were many books written about the presidential elections as they are happening. But even after the ’embarrassment’ I endured in class, I didn’t go home and Google McCain’s political views. I didn’t read article upon article about the election. I just didn’t.
Even now, I don’t read the paper. The extent of my political knowledge lies in the posts of my other uneducated, but extremely opinionated friends on Facebook. It’s all background noise in my busy feed.
When I tell people I don’t vote, it’s generally followed by outrage, and then a speech. I always listen, never argue, and just repeat myself. I don’t vote. They always ask why, like and ex-boyfriend, hurt that you’ve given up on them.
My answer is always simple: I don’t vote, because I’m not educated enough to vote.
Well, I voted once—for Obama’s reelection in 2012, and it came to me in a dream one night.
My dream took place at the debate, and since I had never watched a debate, it was set in a park, and the presidential candidates were giving away pizza. Romney had to force people to take his breadsticks by throwing them at people, while the crowds rushed to Obama’s side for free Pizza Hut.
For the second debate, each candidate was paired with a celebrity to answer a series of questions, like in the Miss America Pageant. Obama was paired with John Mayer—Romney with Stephen Colbert.
Even though I’m not a huge John Mayer fan, I took it as a sign. I should vote for Obama—so I did, proving that I am in fact, an uneducated voter.
I’ve officially decided to change that.
I’m going to go undercover as someone who knows and cares about politics. This means reading the articles and watching the boring shows, and I owe it all to Donald Trump.
I’ve always felt that America, as a country, knows what’s best. We’ve had presidents coming in and out of office for years and none of them have caused our country to implode. So, by all logic, none of them have done a terrible job.
But now, we have Donald Trump looming, like Jadis, The White Witch, ready to ruin Narnia as we know it.
That is why I’m ready to be an educated voter.
I began my journey by watching the Republican GOP Debate and starting arguments with people on the street, based on their opinions of Donald Trump and the current candidates. The results were alarmingly in favor of Trump, and I live in upstate New York—which is generally, a Democratic area.
The GOP Republican debate had the largest audience in history, thanks to Trump—so is it coincidental that I’m following in suit? As a proud Generation Y-er, I’m rooted in pop culture. I can name more Kardashians than presidents and everything I know about the White House, I learned from Sam Seaborn on the West Wing. So maybe it’s not a coincidence that I’ve decided to learn more about politics when a pseudo-celebrity threatens to ruin everything.
I may not know a lot about politics (yet), but I do know a lot about celebrity culture, and I know enough to know that they shouldn’t collide.
I didn’t have any background knowledge on the GOP candidates, nor have I ever watched a debate, but it was clear to me that Trump doesn’t know anything. He’s a lot like my Facebook friends—extremely opinionated and full of hate, but with no facts to back it up.
He wants to build a wall between the United States and Mexico, but doesn’t have a plan on how to do it. He claims it’s to salvage America from the Mexican rapists and drug addicts who are invading our country, but many of our major companies, including Macy’s, are against that. We’ve always been a melting pot, accepting others instead of segregating ourselves from the rest of the world.
At the debate, Trump said he wants us to be like Japan, a country “who doesn’t want our beef or our wheat.” In other words, they’re self-sustaining. Trump wants to collect money from other countries, but never distribute or accept other goods.
When asked who Trump’s military source was, Trump responded with, “I watch the shows.” Meaning, the TV shows.
And he thinks that a woman running the country would be ridiculous. If he’s planning his presidential reign around what he hears on the news, we are going to have a very big problem on our hands.
If the only political knowledge I need comes from the television, then by that logic, I could run for president–and that would be worse than Kanye West running.
Based on this, I can only assume that Trump also believes everything he reads on the Internet.
His opponents have opinions and they have plans.
Jeb Bush has a tax reform plan to help rebuild our economy the way Reagan did in 1986.
Ben Carson is in favor of education reform—denouncing the Common Core, while also supporting an Immigration work plan in order to monitor and manage the influx of immigrant workers.
Carly Fiorina accepts Global Warming and aims to create international treaties to control harmful emissions.
Marco Rubio wants to reform healthcare and formulate a plan that works for everyone.
And Donald Trump wants to build a wall.
While at a bar, I stood next to a man wearing a red shirt, blue shorts, and white shoes. He was alone, waving his money around, hoping to catch the bartender’s attention.
“You’re very American today,” I said.
He turned to me, bewildered. Apparently his choice of clothing was accidental.
“You’re wearing red, white, and blue,” I said.
He laughed. “Guess so. Gotta love America.”
“Gin and tonic, please,” he shouted to the bartender. “I don’t know about that. He has some pretty good ideas. I’m no Republican, but I’m thinking of voting Trump this time around.” He turned and walked away, leaving me to ponder his words.
“Well, that was weird,” said the guy next to me. “Why would a gay man vote for Trump?”
That was the moment I realized that Donald Trump is a real possibility.