-

The Observer is a Student-run, daily print & online newspaper serving Notre Dame & Saint Mary's. Learn more about us.

-

viewpoint

Election season

| Wednesday, November 9, 2016

It’s over.

After a year and a half of scandals, lies and cringe-worthy soundbites from both candidates, the presidential election is finally over.

Let’s be honest, this year’s race wasn’t met with very many positive or inspiring moments pointing to a promising future in U.S politics, and many are rightfully concerned about how this election will change the landscape of politics down to the local level. Now that it’s all said and done, it would probably be best that we avoid another hectic election between two very polarizing candidates.

Despite it all, there are indeed positives to take away from what we have witnessed in the past year or so. There’s a wide range of answers that a person can give when asked what the positives of the election were, but objectively speaking, there’s one positive that many have continued to take for granted: For yet another election, every single person in this country had a say in who should be the leader of this country.

It’s seems simple and insignificant at first, but the simple fact that we can vote for our leaders is something that we should continually appreciate and recognize regardless of how terrible the candidates are. Unlike several countries around the world, we can have open debates on the news, on social media, on university campuses and at home about politics and who we think is most fit to sit in the White House. Unfortunately for people who live in countries like North Korea, Somalia, Libya, and Sudan, among others, they don’t have the option to sit and debate about who should lead their country because they don’t have the option to pick.

Many of these countries are either outright dictatorships or are in such political turmoil that elite, powerful families step in to take advantage of a state of political corruption. In Latin America, there are several countries who are continually dominated by the same few families that have been in power for decades, and while elections are open to the public, the candidates to choose from have already been decided by the corrupt parties that run the government.

Just recently in Nicaragua, Daniel Ortega won his fourth term in office in an election that U.S State Department officials have said was concerning. Ortega reportedly won the election with 72 percent of the votes, but officials have said that Ortega, who changed the constitution to allow for a president to run for more than two terms in 2014, has made the elections difficult for the opposition to compete. Keep in mind that his wife also won the vice presidency. In Honduras, Juan Orlando Hernandez has done the same in extending the number of terms a president can hold and is looking to win a third term in office next year. Despite the corruption, nothing is done about it and life goes on in these countries.

So while many of us struggled to get through this election season, let’s remember how lucky we are to even have the choice to decide who we want to lead our country.

The views expressed in this column are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.

Tags: , , ,

About Manuel De Jesus

Manuel De Jesus is a junior from Chicago, Illinois. He is an American Studies major with a minor in Journalism, Ethics and Democracy. He is currently covering ND Volleyball, Men's Soccer and Men's Basketball.

Contact Manuel
  • João Pedro Santos

    The US is the only “democracy” in which the candidate with more votes isn’t the winner.