By Cameron Pierre-Pierre

For those of you that don’t know me personally, I am currently 22 years old. Four years ago, when I was 18, I had my first opportunity to vote in a presidential election. I took that opportunity to vote for, and help reelect President Barack Obama. I was apathetic. My apathy didn’t stem from dislike towards the president. I personally think he is a good man who has done the best with what he has had to work with. My lack of enthusiasm stemmed from the fact that I had accepted that nothing would ever change and that my vote was basically irrelevant. I am a lot more cynical than most people my age.

Fast-forward four years to the 2016 election. Going in to the process, I felt the same level of apathy I had felt towards the last election. I certainly didn’t imagine I would be writing about it. Enter Senator Bernie Sanders. When I first heard of this wonky old democratic socialist from Vermont, I was shocked. I couldn’t believe that someone like him could exist. In my mind, a politician was just a sellout who is willing to say whatever they can to seize power. I was dazzled that this man had spent the last twenty plus years in Congress fighting for the same thing. His vision of an America that benefited all people, not just a small group of billionaires and millionaires. I truly believed that change was possible. That we could take this county to the next phase of it’s evolution.

Well here we stand now, the end of the primary process. Am I as cynical as I was four years ago? Not exactly. I believe that Bernie Sanders has ignited a flame of hope in myself as well as millions of other people. But my enthusiasm has decreased markedly. Sadly, it seems that he will not get the nomination. In November I will probably find myself voting for Hillary Clinton. Will it be with the same enthusiasm I had for Senator Sanders? Not even close. But unfortunately, the opposition is much worse. I may not like everything about Hillary Clinton, but she is not Donald Trump. It fills me with immense sadness that this is how my political decisions have to be framed. Column A sucks, but Column B is worse, and since there is no Column C, I’m stuck with A. So as much as I would love to romanticize the “Bernie or Bust”, I can’t in good conscience stand by and allow a person like Donald Trump to be elected. I hope that in the rest of my life, I never have to make a choice like this again. I don’t think I can handle becoming anymore cynical.

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

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