I was in eighth grade when George W. Bush and Al Gore ran against each other in the race for the US Presidency. Bush became President and I was quite disappointed. That was around the time that I first began watching The Daily Show With Jon Stewart. That was also when I was first becoming strict about rules of language and grammar. I was a freshman in high school when 9/11 happened (taking a Biology quiz when all of the televisions flicked from the silent PowerPoint slideshow of reminders that followed the televised morning announcements to a scene of the World Trade Center with smoke billowing out of one of the towers—we all thought that it was a movie at first). Shock for those first few days swiftly became greater alarm as I saw the Bush Administration take advantage of the national and international goodwill and turn it in what I saw to be disturbing directions.
My high school was not a “political battleground.” In a survey my senior year, when incumbent President Bush ran against John Kerry, I was not yet old enough to vote—few of us were—but a survey of students (conducted by one of the notably conservative members of the faculty) found that 71% of the student body supported John Kerry, and 26% supported George W. Bush. And I live, by the way, in the Southeastern United States. In the Bible Belt. And while I was not, personally, a Kerry-supporter, I was a huge supporter of not-Bush (which seemed to be the general sentiment in the Democratic Party). Thanks to the overwhelmingly similar view of my peers, I was very optimistic about the 2004 Presidential Election.
I was, of course, disappointed. This time, Bush actually won the popular vote, and was reelected.
In 2008, I was so #TeamHillary (and I still am, really). I saw President Bill Clinton speak at my university (and though universities are supposedly “liberal-factories,” my college peers were much more evenly split politically than had been my high school experience). I was disappointed when she lost the primary to Barack Obama, who was, at the time, a relatively unaccomplished politician who seemed to be supporting himself through charisma alone.
As someone who too often relies upon charm to get what he wants, I am very suspicious of other …