Athens, GA — I always thought I would be president, but now I don’t want to be the town dog catcher. Let me explain. If you knew me in high school or in college, or anytime before 2018, you would know that politics was my life. But not because of the power and respect that comes with it, but the idea of making lasting change, not just for people living now, but for future generations.
I know it sounds like I’m giving a TED talk, but you get the idea. Now I feel I’m up sh** creek without a paddle. It’s as if any person who I feel could make my state or nation a better place decides to run for office, they are instantly bombarded with vitriol that I feel I would only see if I was watching WWE.
While I may lean to the right on some issues, I am in no way singling out one party, rather the entire system. In the GOP, there are people who have dedicated their whole lives to principled conservatism. Now they are faced with a choice between their party elite and their own moral standards.
Is it just me that’s been enthralled by the Jan. 6 hearings? It appears as though a sitting president was okay with his own supporters threatening the life of his vice president. Do people not see how ludicrous this is? Have we sacrificed our own moral backbone to satisfy the will of one man? Maybe he didn’t do it, but it should be a red flag nonetheless that we are even discussing it.
For me, I’ve lost friends because I sided with Brian Kemp for the governor’s race in Georgia where I live, not President Trump’s pick. Now I mainly use Instagram to post pictures and largely refrain from posting anything political. I don’t even talk about politics. It’s like a taboo subject. And that’s with people who grew up Republican like me.
In the past few years when we’ve gotten so heated, what have we accomplished? Simple: nothing. Political offices in general were designed to act as a service to the people, but it seems like now it’s just a megaphone to spout never-ending hot air. We are either making small incremental changes or kicking the can down the road for the next generation. Who would want to serve in a political office and make changes for the better if they are going to face rhetoric that encourages violence against candidates? And if you think that a nonpartisan local office, like town dog catcher or coroner, isn’t immune, you’re wrong.
I’m a history major. I learn about great compromises in early American politics, even up through Reagan. I grew up believing in the grand experiment that is America. I still believe that America is the greatest country on earth. But if we do not stop prioritizing personal vendettas over conscientious leadership, there will be even darker days to come in the future.