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The Blue & Gray Press | October 17, 2017

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November what? American politics in a world view

By TESS OSMER

While walking to class Tuesday morning, campus chatter focused mainly on the first Presidential debate the previous evening. “How did we get stuck with Trump and Hillary of all the candidates,” my classmates deplored.

That got to me. How did we get stuck with them? I did not vote in the primaries. My friends, they did not vote in the primaries.

The Pew Research Center, not surprisingly, was also concerned with this factor of the 2016 election. Approximately 57.6 million Americans, or 28.5 percent of eligible voters, took to the polls in the Republican and Democratic primaries.

In April, Generation X, comprised of ages 36-51, and members of the Silent and Greatest Generation, ages 71 and older, comprised of 25 and 12 percent of the electorate. Interestingly, the research shows, millennials continue to have the lowest voter turnout. While the Baby Boomer voting-eligible population peaked in size at 72.9 million around 2004, 46 percent of eligible millennials said they voted in 2012.

Not only do millennials continually disregard voting, they are the most outspoken against both Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton. We harp on candidates such as Bernie Sanders and Gary Johnson but we have not taken the time to write their names on a ticket.

When I got to my apartment after my classes on Tuesday, I was infuriated with myself. I thought, “What must other countries think of us?”

And so I found out the answer. The best was Britain’s response, written by Tim Stanley of The Daily Telegraph, logged in an all-inclusive article by CNN.

“The debate was widely mocked,” he writes. News coverage is as dominated by Trump’s remarks as it is here in the U.S. “Britons find having money embarrassing and boasting about it nauseating,” Stanley noted.

While it is good to know there are some people that are more self-grounded, it hit me that this election is as much a joke to the international community as it is to millennials.

Stanley also mentioned that both candidates failed to articulate how they would deal with the Middle East, a point that I found was largely ignored in Monday night’s debate. “Across Europe,” he writes, “the lack of American leadership on foreign affairs is noted and regretted.”

In Iran, as reported by Camelia Entekhabifard, most are concerned with, “the continuation of Obama’s policy.” Therefore, most support leans toward Clinton’s campaign. Entekhabifard also noted that the possible election of a Republican could also have an impact in Iranian elections. “The fact is,” she writes, “extreme talk fuels animosity in Iran and increases the chances of Tehran’s hardliners seizing power.”

Most concerning was Ferial Haffajee’s response to the election on behalf of South Africa. “Donald Trump? After Barack Obama?” she exclaims. She uses the word “incredulous” to describe the election. Her account bothered me the most. South Africa, a country riddled with domestic issues, is looking at a country that spends most of its time meddling in international affairs with eyes of fear and concern.

As a millennial voter I am ashamed of myself. I am enraged at the circumstance that we have put ourselves in and I am appalled at how our country looks in the eyes of the international community.

Although I participated in snap-chatting filtered videos of the debate Monday night and joked about the possibility of either candidate stepping up to the plate, I can no longer ignore the reality.

One line of Stanley’s story really stood starkly, “Our own leaders have failed to fill the vacuum.

The result: the bodies of refugee children washing up on European beaches.” In the United States we have the luxury of ignoring this reality. It is no longer cliché to say, “it is the future of our country at stake.” Whoever wins Nov. 8, I will be sure to be a part of it.