By Cameron Pierre-Pierre

Sixteen years ago, when I was in the first grade, I got my first real taste of presidential politics. It was the election between Al Gore and George W. Bush. I wanted nothing more in the world than to see Al Gore become the next president of the United States. I don’t really know why I cared so much, but as a young child the choice of president seemed like the most important thing in the world. I used to refer to Bush as “George Idiot Bush.” I was a strange child.

When Gore finally lost, I didn’t handle things very well. For an assignment at school we had to choose someone to write a letter to. I decided to write my first letter ever to Al Gore. I don’t remember the exact details of this letter, but I remember that I expressed my sadness abouthis loss and that I thought he would have made a better president. I was a really strange child.

Fast forward to today, and once again it is election season in America. I have grown up a lot since the first grade. The optimistic and passionate little kid has long since disappeared. He has been replaced with a very cynical and very worried young man. When I look at the presidential candidates now, I don’t see the future leaders of this great country, I see everything wrong with this country wrapped into two individuals. I see the crooked politician versus the shady businessman. What would first grade me say if this were the first election he had experienced? First grade me probably wouldn’t have bothered. First grade me would have probably watched Sponge Bob. First grade me would have played in the park and left the politics to the grown-ups. Problem is, I’m not in first grade anymore, I am a grown up now.

It is ironic that now that I can vote, I am less interested in the process than when I couldn’t vote. The thing is, no matter how I feel, I have to vote. We all have to vote. It’s easy to turn a blind eye and say, “I don’t care.” It’s easy to say, “I don’t really like either of them so why choose?” It’s easy to say, “It doesn’t matter, and nothing’s going to change anyway.” Well life isn’t easy. It’s not supposed to be easy.

Life is struggle. Life is hardship. Life is sacrifice. We won’t always be presented with some perfectly polar good versus evil scenario. We have to be prepared for disappointment.
Neither candidate will ever deliver on all of their promises. Neither candidate can, will, or frankly should solve all of our problems with a flick of their wrist. Neither candidate will win the support and undying affection of everyone. But we still have to pick one. I’m not interested in telling you who to vote for. I just hope my story will inspire you to vote. Because if a first grader with no understanding of politics can care as much as I did, what’s your excuse?

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