By Cameron Pierre-Pierre

When did the presidential election become a circus? This is a question that has been plaguing me since this process started a year ago. I have watched grown men make fun of the size of each other’s hands. I have listened to supposedly educated people talk about torture and indiscriminate killing of civilians, via carpet bombing, as if they were talking about something as mundane as bringing a trash can to the curb. I have listened and watch a man tell blatant lies with total impunity, lies that seem to do more to help his campaign than hurt it. Is this really what we want to see from the people that we are supposed to have enough confidence in to elect president?

Frankly I am embarrassed to even think about this election sometimes. What must people in the rest of the world think of Americans when they see this mess? How could we possibly convince any person outside of the U.S.A. that this a great and prosperous country? We’ve turned our political system into American Idol, except in this contest the winner gets to make life or death decisions with serious consequences. To be honest, the only thing that could redeem this election is if it actually became a singing competition.

All jokes aside, I think that at the very least this election gives a choice. No, not just who we want to be president, that’s obvious. This election will be a referendum on the identity of our nation. Will we allow ourselves to be bigoted, xenophobic, crass, rude, and brutish? Or are we going to be intelligent, compassionate, forward looking and accepting of others? I have no idea which side of the coin we are going to land on come November. I just don’t want politics to continue to be such a joke.

One day I will hopefully have some grandchildren. I want to be able to tell them just how exciting politics was when I was growing up. I want them to know that is important to be engaged and actively participate in the process. I don’t want to have to tell them about “Little Marco” and all of the joking that took place in 2016. They deserve better than that, and so do we.

Cameron Pierre-Pierre is a student at the University of Rochester studying Latin American History.

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