A Responsibility; An Obligation; A Civic Duty

This post was from my LinkedIn page dated November 10th, 2016. It discusses my thoughts on the 2016 election between Hillary R. Clinton and Donald J. Trump.

Election Day has passed in the United States of America and over 100M (million) individuals voted in this year’s general election and cast their ballots for the next President of the United States. This president will replace President Barack Obama and will become the leader of not only the American people but also the most influential nation in the world. In America, we do not have an election that is based solely on the popular vote, instead, we have an election based on the ‘electoral college.’ This ‘college’ represents the total number of points that a candidate receives if they win a state and the total number is the sum of two senators and the number of representatives in the House of Representatives for that individual state (i.e. South Carolina has an electoral number of nine because of two senators and seven representatives). A Presidential candidate who receives the majority of the electoral votes (270 needed to have a majority) wins the Presidency, and that candidate was the ‘Republican’ nominee Donald J. Trump.

Now many people, ~59M-60M (million) to be exact, voted for his opponent Hillary R. Clinton and are dissatisfied and concerned about the future of the United States of America and the nation’s international foreign policy influence as well as the future of domestic policies enacted over the last eight years. Donald Trump used the people’s fears and anxiety in order to gain political momentum; and although he attacked homosexuals, women, Americans who are Jewish and Muslim, the media, incited violence, poked fun at the disabled, and has gained support of hate groups such as the Ku Klux Klan and the National Socialist Party (Neo-Nazis), people chose him over Hillary Clinton. Now Trump did not do this alone and before the end of two weeks prior, he was projected to lose with no questions asked. So what happened? When the FBI (Federal Bureau of Investigation) Director James Comey announced in a vague letter to Congress that there were emails related to Clinton, on a server that was recovered in a different investigation related to Anthony Weiner, Clinton began to fall in the polls. Director Comey tried to save himself from embarrassment from this summer’s lack of evidence to press charges against Clinton, and his letter to Congress allowed for the assumption and reminder of the lack of transparency that Secretary Clinton has fought for the past couple of years. When Director Comey again said that there is no evidence to press charges against Clinton, it was already too late. The opinions of the people could not be swayed and were finalized on their decision. Last night’s election was historic and it all came down to Pennsylvania, which has 20 electoral votes.

I was not particularly happy with the results of the 2016 Presidential election and I am disappointed in the people’s choice, however for my own reasons that will not be discussed here. As a student of politics, philosophy, and law (PPLW) I have accepted the results of this year’s election and will watch carefully the next four years of domestic and foreign policies that are enacted and/or repealed. It is my responsibility to remain unbiased and to look at all sides of an issue before making my judgment/decision. It is also my responsibility to observe and judge policies through ethical principles rather than political loyalty, which is possible due to having none. I am not a modern day ‘democrat’ nor ‘republican’, instead, I am a pragmatist, or someone who relies on the practical use of policies and uses truths rather than falsehoods in order to make informed, ethical decisions that progress society rather than reverting back to 60 years prior. It is my responsibility, obligation, and civic duty as a PPLW student to be well informed and criticize any side that is (a) not progressing society socially and/or economically; (b) not listening to the people and solely relying on party loyalty for their own political gains; and/or (c) acting in an unethical manner. It is my civic duty as an Eagle Scout and an individual wanting to go into a career of public service to inform the general public of immoral behavior while also listening emphatically to the populous in what they believe necessary. My obligation as a public servant is not only listening to the populous but also to make the decisions that are necessary, which perhaps may not be popular. This ‘obligation’ is in order to create a sustainable and better world for ourselves but also for the future generations to come.

I understand that I might be young but I am not naïve, ignorant, nor arrogant to the real world. Politics and change take dedication, time, and patience; yet I recognize that I will have many triumphs and failures. Theodore Roosevelt once said in his speech Citizenship in a Republic that “It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat” (Man in the Arena). It is important to take these lessons from the past and apply them towards the future.

Now I understand the disappointment and the pessimism about this election but let us not give up on the progress we have made thus far. America was not built in a day and it continues to grow due to perseverance and hard work. We shall not weep, but instead, unite with one another and stand against bigotry, ignorance, and hatred. It is the time where we, as a society stand on our feet and unite in one purpose: to create a greater America. An America where:

  • our education system is better,
  • our infrastructure is being rebuilt,
  • our alliances with our friends are stronger,
  • our commitment to peace is met with leading-by-example,
  • our trade deals are negotiated for the better, rather than just thrown away,
  • our compassion for human rights and dignity allows for continual peace talks and for the conclusion of peace deals and treaties,
  • our environment is cleaner and more sustainable,
  • our economy is growing at a sustainable rate without massive growths and declines,
  • our health care system is being fixed over time and allows for the inalienable right of health,
  • our political system is filled with people of integrity and ethical principles rather than individuals who focus solely on party loyalty
  • and finally where we as a nation collaborate ideas and have insightful and meaningful debates on issues, rather than just arguing and being polarized.

If we want to change America…if we want to make America great again, then we must act in a moral manner and we must fight the injustice that exists in the world. For if we fail to educate our citizens and create a society based on principles, then we stop being influential. America was founded on religious tolerance, acceptance, and liberties for ALL people. If we say that it is only for a select few or for one group over another then we are no better than the nations where our ancestors came from.

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