I am independent. There, I said it. Weeks and months and, some would even say, years have led up to this presidential election, and I am still undecided. People stare at me and wonder what rock I have been living under. International students politely tell me that if they had my vote, they know whom they would vote for. Being independent and undecided is not easy in a place as politically charged as Georgetown.
To be honest, I did vote, but it does not matter for whom I voted, and it never will. I am from a bright red state. I go to school in a bright blue city. My vote will not change the outcome in either. I really did not have much incentive to lean either way, but that does not mean I did not lean at all. It does not make me apathetic.
I am not the only undecided independent on campus. Others are probably hiding out from the campaigning masses just like me. In my case, I even had calls from my parents. It is easy to get caught in the middle when your mother is decidedly for McCain and your father is for Obama. Their votes cancel each other out, and that means mine is the only one that really counts. They do not like to hear that, especially when I divulged that I very nearly voted for a write-in candidate just to avoid dealing with the decision. Let’s just say politics is a touchy subject in my house.
But how could I still be undecided? Even I wonder sometimes. I have watched all the debates. I have Republican and Democrat friends who consistently try to pull me to their respective sides. The campaign has certainly given all of us ample time to decide, but that is the problem. It has just gone on too long.
When the primaries took place, I knew who I was voting for. The candidates’ faces were still fresh and new. They each still seemed to have their own opinions and their own beliefs that set them apart. They were still individuals.
Now, they are just candidates. I feel as though every election I have ever witnessed has come down to the same two candidates. Obama and McCain used to be two separate people, and I believed in them. The first time I heard Obama speak, I was awestruck. Sure, he is a phenomenal speaker, but there was something about him that I felt I could trust. The first time I heard McCain speak about being a veteran, I felt like it was truly genuine. This was a man who had been there on the battlefield like so many American men and women today. I deeply respected both candidates, and I still do now.
But sometime between the primaries and the general election, their parties turned them into political candidates spewing the same rhetoric that every candidate in the last several elections has spewed. The election lost its magic, and I became undecided.
In the end, I happened to vote for the candidate my 17-year-old brother ardently supports. I think it worked out well. He felt strongly about the election but could not vote, and I had been leaning toward that candidate for a few days, anyway. It sounds flippant when I say it that way, but long elections wear people out. They produce almost too much information. They beat the populace over the head with facts and rumors, and non-government majors like me do not know who or what to believe anymore.
Now I am waiting with the rest of the country and the world to learn the fate of this nation. I do not know who will win or who I want to win in this election. I can imagine worthwhile change coming from both candidates. The next four years will tell. Hopefully the 2012 Election will bring back the magic and the individuality of candidates on both sides, and I will be able to feel good about casting my vote.
Jenny Rogers is a sophomore in the College.