Better Together Voting for party over political issues limits possibilities

Dyala Kasim

The 2016 presidential election is the first one where I have been able to vote, yet I never expected it to be what it is. This election seems more like a reality TV show than an ongoing debate on who will be the next president of the United States, and I often find myself torn between genuine concern for the future of my country and grabbing a bowl of popcorn to watch the show. 

Look at the debates, for example. They were the most-viewed debates in the history of American presidential elections. And the advertisements, too, were full of jabs, insults and anger. Just turn on Comedy Central and listen to Trevor Noah recount some of the things that have been happening during this race to realize how unique it is. 

Even though at this exact moment, I do not know who the future president will be, I have definitely learned an important lesson about human nature by following this particular election. And that lesson is how much more powerful we are together, as one unified country, one unified America, than we are on our own.

Here’s the thing about political parties: they are fixed points of identification for people. “I’m a Democrat,” or “I’m a Republican,” “I’m an Independent” or “I’m part of the Green Party.” All of these groups become ways for individuals to superglue themselves to a concrete point on the political spectrum and stay there. Though many may make the claim that political parties are unnecessary, that our founding fathers advised against them, I don’t think that’s the problem that we are facing. No, the real problem is that people begin to identify so closely with these parties that they forget about looking at the real problems in our country.

No matter which party you claim as your own, you will always stick to it. Identification is a strong, powerful thing, something that is often difficult to turn away from. In this election, many individuals know that candidates speaking for their party are wrong, that they do not truly fall under what the party stands for (if you all haven’t guessed who I’m talking about by now, let me make it more clear: Trump), and yet they refuse to vote for any other party. They simply cannot bring themselves to do so because it would go against the tenets of their own political points of identification.

But that is not, and never was, the point of the presidential election. That is not why we vote for a new president every four years. The point of our election is to choose a leader who will help our country and the people of our country move forward. This is no elementary school student government election, in which you vote for the person who gives out the most stickers and promises to extend recess by 10 whole minutes. This is the future of the United States of America.

In America, we pride ourselves on our individualism. Although we are strong on our own, we are more powerful together. Every single one of us, as individuals, can do something great. But together, as a group, we can do something even greater. With all of our individual thoughts, individual experiences, individual identities and individual stories, we can collectively make our country thrive.

Put your political parties aside for a moment and think about it. Think about the two slogans “Make America Great Again” and “Stronger Together.” We all want our country to be great and continue to be great. But how can we do it if we are separated? For though we may be powerful on our own, we are much stronger together.