I’d like to preface this by asking for respect. I’d also like to ask that anyone reading this post realize my ballot is currently winging it’s way to Herkimer County, so even if you do change my mind, it won’t help anything (and thus it’s probably better not to try). 

I voted this week! For the very first time ever I voted in a presidential election.  It’s an exciting milestone to reach. I honestly wasn’t sure if I was going to vote, but since voting is compulsory in Australia, our professors made it compulsory for the students in our group. (It was pointed out to me that this rule would be difficult to enforce, but I voted anyway) I wasn’t sure if I was going to vote because I really wasn’t pleased with either candidate. If someone only knew me in 2008, then timewarped to 2012, they’d probably be surprised to hear that. I was a very staunch Obama supporter then. I picked him out really early, way back in the Democratic primaries. I liked the way he presented himself, I liked his policies and I thought he would make a good president. I was hopeful, and wanted change, and all those other things that have now become cliches attached to our president. I followed the election progression with interest, I debated policy with my classmates, I cheered when I found out he was going to be our president. I told everyone, way back at that early stage, that I would definitely vote for his re-election in 2012. Being from a small mostly republican town, I was told I was full of shit. But, I wasn’t. The guy I wanted from the beginning was the President of the United States of America.

Fast forward to present day, and my approach to politics has been completely different. When people bring it up, it’s all I can do to stop myself from stuffing my fingers in my ears and singing “lalalalalalaIcan’thearyou”. I’m not sure what has changed. Maybe its how hurtful the conversation about politics has become. Before, I feel like I used to be able to have friendly discussions, but now it’s all out war. Everything seems radicalized, moved to the far extremes of the spectrum. Politics no longer seems interesting, it seems caustic. I feel like discussing politics is just asking for anger and discord. I feel like people can no longer agree to disagree. And though I know most of my friends are like-minded, I can’t bring myself to bring it up. Maybe it’s just more real now. It’s only now that I’ve actually got (and have wielded) the power to vote, that the desire to be a political ostrich has come about.Maybe it’s because I’m ten thousand miles away on a huge island. Maybe I just don’t want to be judged. I told anyone who would listen that I was going to “throw my vote away on some third party candidate” but I knew that I wouldn’t. Ultimately, I voted for the candidate whose values I felt most aligned with my own. That’s the best I could do, and I imagine it’s the best anyone can do. I’m still hopeful that the politics of the US can change. I hope that the vicious throat jumping can be put aside and civilized adults can act like civilized adults again. Maybe that’s asking for too much. I hope not. 

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