I remember first hearing about yet another attempt from Donald Drumpf to run for President the summer of 2015, while working as a tour guide abroad. My employer was a company whom catered to high school youth who come from very, very privileged backgrounds. The students in my group, luckily, had an intelligence and understanding level that rivaled their immense privilege. That can’t normally be said for three differing sets of kids, totaling to about 40 overall. This bright bunch was eager to learn about everything, with topics including love, how people like myself and my co-lead survive in a vagabond lifestyle, and, of course, politics.
At this juncture, Drumpf had barely begun his unwarranted, media onslaught. I had not given a thought to candidates, as our current president still had nearly half of his second-term left to serve. One of my students brought up the name Drumpf, and without second thought, I went into a tirade, albeit a watered-down, age-appropriate one, about how even in the worst of times, no one in the US would be naive enough to fall for such ridiculous antics. I am lucky I kept it PG and not laden with my true beliefs, because it turns out my student was family friends with good ole’ Drumpfy pants (and I don’t need a lawsuit coming my way for my opinions, because that is now possible in our homeland!). I thought that would be the end of hearing about him, that he would flame out like elections past. How wrong I was, and how quickly I became the naive one.
There is no point in explaining what we’ve seen occur over this stupidly long election season. We all have television, radio, internet, and most likely the ability to have dialogue with other human beings. Drumpf is here to stay. As much as I want to be angry and point my finger any which way, the truth of the matter is Drumpf isn’t the real problem. We are.
We can blame politicians, the system, and the other side's policy as much as we want, but the truth is we allow this to happen. We are the ones who tune into CNN, Fox, BBC, etc. for 2 years of campaigning. We are the ones who fund and fuel campaigns. We are the ones who talk about primaries and caucuses without actually understanding how those votes work, spending our precious time to give power to delegates and super delegates who aren’t actually bound to the candidate we voted for. We are the ones who consume these reality TV shows faster than processed food. We are the ones who allow “news sources,” to put words such as “Global famine,” in the same headlines as “Kardashian-West.” We allow polarized politics to keep us fighting one another; the people actually affected by the system.
If we are truly outraged, it isn’t Drump we need to be going after. Or, if you are associate with the other side of the pie, the Bern, Hill Dog, and Obama shouldn't be your target either. We should be going after ourselves. We should be angry with ourselves for being swindled by the media. We should be angry at ourselves for being swindled by the system. We should be angry at ourselves for forgetting in this country we are granted rights that allow us to stand up in the face of injustice.
If we are outraged and want to make a difference, what we need to do is boycott the primary and caucus system. You can pump the need to vote all you want but I am certain that in this pre-election time what we need to do is turn off our TVs. By making the choice to vote in the primaries and participate in our convoluted system, we are creating a political climate where we can only have two parties. By making the election last literally years, we foster an environment where only multi-millionaires and billionaires have the means to run. This action waters down our own pool of candidates. We are the only "advanced" nation who has an election that last months, let alone years, and spends billions of dollars doing it. Other “advanced” countries have election that last around 6-weeks, and cost a fraction of what we spend in the US. This results in less headaches, more efficient elections, and ballots that actually represent multiple parties offering a diverse set of beliefs, ideologies, and policies.
While we have been told that the best way to change the system is to get out and vote, I’m telling you that this is false. Though the ship may have already sailed this season, the answer is don't vote. Don’t fund candidates. Don’t watch debates, and don’t listen to the news. If we want better candidates, we need to expand the ability of who can be a candidate. To do so, to actually live in a multiparty, democratic nation, we the citizens, the voters, the constituents, need to stand up and change the system. If we are truly outraged by the politicians we see today, we need to make the change, and not wait for them to throw us scraps from their gluttonous plates.