November 7, 2000. I was sitting in a bar in Boston. The results of the presidential election had been rolling in all night. I hadn’t been particularly fired up by Al Gore—let’s be honest, the man was BORING—but he was dedicated to the environment and he’d served under Bill Clinton (whom I thought was a pig but still a good president). Plus, he had to be better than George W. Bush and his scary VP.
I didn’t vote in that election. I’ve never told anyone that. I was apathetic. Gore didn’t inspire me. I never thought Bush could win. I was at a bar instead.
Then the results began to roll in. I watched the battle play out on TV. It was a battle I had a personal stake in, but I’d stayed out of the fight. When the results from Florida were shown, I knew we were screwed. Gore had lost the election. The thing I never thought could happen had happened. In a way, it was kind of like Brexit. I, like many people, likely believed there was no real chance Gore could lose, so I’d withheld my vote and the thing that I thought couldn’t happen actually happened.
It’s not hyperbole to say that George W. Bush left our country in worse shape than when he took office. It could have been worse. It could have been so much worse.
And now we’re here again. Hillary Clinton—whom I did vote for…twice—has been nominated for the presidency against Donald Trump. And I hear people saying there’s no way he could ever become president. I hear people saying they’re going to withhold their vote for Clinton for many reasons (most of which I find ludicrous, but some of which I do understand) in order to show their displeasure at our nation’s two-party system.
I’m going to vote for Clinton. Yes, she’s made some poor decisions, but I respect her and like her and I think she’ll lead our country far, far better than Donald Trump. I’m going to vote for Clinton because I don’t want to be sitting in a bar on another election night watching something I thought could never happen happen. I’m voting for Clinton because our nation deserves better than a man who uses hate to get ahead.
If you’re going to vote for Trump because you honestly believe he’ll be a better leader, I respect your decision (though I thoroughly disagree and would love the opportunity to tell you why), but if you’re going to not vote for Clinton out of protest or because you think Trump can’t possibly win and your vote won’t matter, please rethink your decision. Your vote DOES matter, and that thing you think can’t possibly happen will happen if we let apathy win.