As a political enthusiast, this year was an interesting learning experience for me. This was the first year I was ever really involved in politics. I feel that I gained a lot of first-hand insight into the world or politics and found out what my values really are: from working on my first political campaign, to helping Salt Lake City lobby during the legislative session, to attending my first National Convention. And after harnessing this curiosity early on in high school, and allowing it to blossom into an interest and a major in college, I am starting to doubt the system that we have in place. I always realized that the political system isn’t perfect, but I didn’t see it as flawed as I do now.
In theory, our political system is the best form of government in the world. It’s supposed to be run “by the people,” and we as citizens reinforce the type of authority we want to be governed by through the power of our vote. But in reality, it doesn’t work that way. Money directly has a greater impact on what kinds of legislation gets passed, on who wins and who loses. This discourages a lot of people from voting or even participating in politics. In turn, politicians don’t get what they want done based on merit or on having good values – they get things done on a tit-for-tat basis, or the things they do accomplish are driven by money.
Also, in my opinion, a lot of the people who do vote aren’t informed – sometimes it’s ignorance, but most of the time, I think it’s because of the abundance of false or misleading information out there. What motives do think-tanks or super PACs have to actually tell the truth in their paid advertising? In a world where we get so busy and grow complacent, it’s understandable that a lot of people don’t do their own research or fact-checking. As a researcher, I’ve learned how easy it is to manipulate data and create a sound argument to back up any statement. The way data is presented makes a huge difference.
I guess I’m just really frustrated. As a Democrat in Utah, I hate not having greater representation in both the state and federal government. And with the way this election season is unfolding in its final stretch, I don’t think any of the candidates I support are going to get elected.
I know that in theory, since Utah is a red state, then the electorate must ultimately have deep-seeded values and interests within the Republican Party. And if this is for the greater good of the state, then this is supposed to be a positive thing. But what if the majority is wrong? What is good for the majority may not necessarily be good for the very few who don’t have much of a voice just because they are outnumbered. Literally – It’s picking winners and losers.
It just breaks my heart. I’ve worked so hard all summer, donated a lot of my time and money to helping the people I believe will make good leaders. And I feel like it’s a lost cause. Democrats can’t win in Utah, and the biggest issue is money. It just isn’t fair.
This doesn’t just apply to Utah. This is a national problem too. I am literally so scared that this country will elect the wrong leader. A leader who doesn’t even know what his opinion is on anything. A leader who won’t make decisions based on the best interests of the country as a whole – a leader who won’t consider the effects his decisions may have on a person like me. I am just so unhappy with politics today. And it kills me, because I thought I had found my passion, but all I’ve found is disappointment.