Sarah Jawhari: It’s a (two) party and no one’s invited

Cleveland in Color

The frenzy hurtling us into the 2016 elections is nauseating to me. I despise politics. I actively choose not to follow it the same way I choose not to listen to the tedious din the radio believes popular. On principle, I disown what the media circus follows, and many people save a headache and a half by doing the same.

It’s not because I feel I am above the noise but because I’ve found the news we sift through repetitive and trivial. Donald Trump allowed yet another racial slur guide his prospective policies? Excellent. He still has a significant following, pleated with diehard supporters? Yes. Even stranger still, we live in America and the year is 2015. Just when you thought narrow-minded bigots were finally going extinct, here comes a 70-year-old racist running for office, his flimsy toupee dancing with each impassioned, ignorant speech.

But I still vote. It’s your duty as an American to vote, and my foremothers took great risks in granting me this right. I try to make informed decisions with what little we are offered. If a donkey and an elephant are there at the polls, you have to pick one, because a third animal never makes it to the party. You review what they offer. As a student who is perpetually broke and a child of immigrants, I pick the donkey who vows to help me out. The elephant is looking at my future paycheck and counting the moments when it might benefit me more to tack my vote on his manly tusk and pray for a tax break.

What animal am I when I go the polls? A sheep.

Our fault is in a two-party system that champions old dogs, all while clumping certain beliefs in categories that might not be cohesive. They have to be viewed as opposites somehow, even if they are not. If you’re pro-choice but champion stricter immigration policies, you’re forced to make a split. Or take easy street and not vote at all. As a nation, we are holding on to laws or maintaining rusty frameworks that simply can’t be applied with our current racial composition, our scientific advances, our debt load, our evolving crime or even our economy. America is dynamic and the faces of America are morphing into the contemporary new world. Why don’t we have more diversity at the polls? Why is no one else invited?

When Hillary Clinton visited our university, my primary thought was, “I hope parking is not so bad this morning.” To avoid the anticipated rush, I left my west side home an hour early. “Curse you, Hillary, you democratic goddess,” I grumbled. “Couldn’t you have visited on a weekend? Help a sister out.”

However, I don’t dislike Clinton. For what it’s worth, if I imagine Trump as an angry, stripped ear of corn, I don’t hate him either. My skepticism of the political arena is not a personal endeavor; it’s just that we’ve been stuck in this dichotomous rut for decades on decades. If I were to water down my analysis to these two candidates (or any two others), the conclusion would be identical. The fact is, we are not voting for our futures—we’re voting for a single person (one out of two) who essentially decides it for us.

Sarah Jawhari is a biweekly columnist for The Observer.