I’m a political junkie and have been for a while. One of my first memories was when I was 7 years old filling-out my Scholastic News 1996 Election magazine issue. I remember the magazine highlighting the pros and cons of Bob Dole and Bill Clinton. I went home and told my mom how lucky I felt that I got to pick between Dole and Clinton. She played along for a little while, but when she broke it to me that it wasn’t a real vote, I was upset. I couldn’t wait for a ‘real’ opportunity to cast my vote.
At 9 years old, my family got our first computer. I remember using our dial-up internet to take bogus political surveys and ideology tests while on America Online (AOL) or finding political garbage in random corners of the internet. I’m sure my parents loved all the viruses I was putting on their computer.
I remember taking some of those silly internet quizzes and thought it was strange that I often ended up in the middle of the political spectrum. I agreed with some Republican and Democrat ideas at 9 years old.
I would go to school and talk about my internet discoveries, while my friends mostly repeated what their parents told them. For a while, I thought something may be wrong with me when I wasn’t saying what they were saying.
Now at 31 years old, I realize that it was perfectly normal. It may have been silly, but I was thinking about the issues and applying logic to those quizzes. Sure, I was a boy and obviously I was influenced by adults in my life, but at a young age, I still didn’t agree 100% with one side. I was thinking!
At 11 years old, I remember my Dad telling me that we’d never see anything like the Florida controversy in the 2000 election between George W. Bush and Al Gore. The mischievous hanging chads were legend until 2016 happened. Hillary Clinton was guaranteed to win. It was reported for weeks that no matter what, she could not lose… then it happened… Donald Trump won.
People went hysterical, Trump winning meant the end of our representative democracy. People could not believe that America could vote in a tweeting orange reality star jerk. We would never have a ‘normal’ election again. Well… fast-forward a few years and people are making their decision again. We have Campaign 2020 and people are voting for president just like they have every 4 years.
Unfortunately, Campaign 2020 practically started after the results of the 2018 Midterm Election. Even as a political junkie, you need to take mental breaks from presidential politics for your own sanity. Some 25-30 candidates lined up to take on Trump with similar messaging from 2016. “He’s bad and I’m good.”
When the Democratic field shrunk down to 2, Joe Biden ended up surviving a strong surge from Bernie Sanders because of various deals to bring the party together. Political competitors within the democratic party found ways to align to do what was right for the party and their people.
Now on the national stage, the messaging has gone back to Trump’s a racist orange jerk that wants to destroy our representative democracy with a single tweet. Trump’s name-calling and narcissism don’t help him, but have we not learned our lesson? Are both sides this bad? The reality is either Biden or Trump can win tonight.
I’m not a fan of Trump or Biden, but Ideologically I’m not afraid to give praise or throw shade at either candidate. Neither are perfect and we need to understand that the main lie from both candidates is this is the most important election of our lifetime. It’s not. Period. We’ve heard this before, and we’ll continue to hear it as more elections come and go through our lifetimes. We need to think about the issues and find ways to work together.
To the Trump supporters, your guy can lose, but that doesn’t mean it’s over. No, I’m not saying to hit the streets, but in 2 years many of you have big elections in your states and in 4 years you get to vote for president again. That’s what makes America great.
To the Biden supporters, your guy can also lose, but you also don’t have need to throw a tantrum in the streets. Why? Because in 2 years you can make change and in 4 years you can build back better in the next 2024 Presidential Election.
No matter what the results are tonight or perhaps in the next couple of days, weeks, or even months remember that we will be just fine. No matter where you stand politically, our government is designed to not radically tilt one way or the other. Apologies to all those political ads that say otherwise. We must get over our ‘all or nothing’ political mentality and find ways to compromise. If Biden wins, Trump supporters should focus on the good he can do for you and the same logic applies the opposite way.
We should also find ways to talk to each other again. It’s sad to think that some people don’t spend time with friends and family with opposing political viewpoints. Trust me, I know it’s good to hear different perspectives and have conversations with opposing positions. You’ll probably find out that you have more in common than you thought.
Never forget that we, the people, control our elected representatives, so challenge your political ideology! You’ll quickly find out that you’ve never voted for someone with whom you 100% agree. It’s not possible.
Another thing, while everyone obsesses over the presidential election make it a point before you vote to look up your ballot and take some time to read about the other candidates. Sure it’s not at sexy to vote for your local government, but that has more of an impact on your daily life than the national election.
So to Biden supporters and Trump supporters, don’t be a pawn for one party and vote for the individual that you think will do the best job. Change may be gradual, but if we all started applying this logic, we’d be okay.
When I cast my vote later today, I’m perfectly okay with my choices losing. Why? Because, I know there will be more elections in the future. Follow my path and remember, no matter what happens tonight we’re going to be fine. If not, maybe I need to talk to the people at Scholastic News so we can get all a child’s perspective of the 2024 presidential election.
Jared Yamamoto is a Doctrinaire and Producer of The Von Haessler Doctrine radio show heard daily from 9-Noon on News 95.5 and AM 750 in Atlanta, Georgia. He is also the host of The Power Pod radio show every Sunday from 10-Noon on 98.7FM and AM1340 WGAU.