By Sam Perszyk /// Staff Writer
As election time inches closer, and Mr. Trump brings a mixture of comedy and fear to most students at this school, the debate rages on over which presidential candidate is best suited to run this ever-fashionable country. Now, with Trump, Sanders, and Clinton as the clear front-runners, let’s assume (probably accurately) that they are the only true candidates for this race.
This country is, as always, at a delicate and important point in history. Years of fighting overseas with an increasingly ambiguous enemy and a decreasingly clear objective has left the American populace tired of hearing about the struggles of far-off lands when they cannot even manage to find a job here at home.
The economy, though largely recovered, is still a point of contention among candidates and stress among citizens. Social inequality and a growing wealth gap has increasingly upset lower- and middle-class families, and a generation of debtors is struggling to cope with the financial burden of an education that seems to be getting them nowhere.
Yet, like every election season, we are being promised change. Let us stop though, and ask ourselves, do we really believe it? We should not. What ails this country on the inside is not something which can be fixed by electing a new face as Head of State.The issues inside our nation drip from the cracks in our political, economic, and educational institutions. Presidents cannot seal those cracks alone.
For a nation which seems to be so divided, with half of us screaming for universal free education while the other half draws up plans for a fancy new wall and nervously cleans their rifles, Bernie and Trump are far more attractive candidates than Hillary could ever be. They each cater to what those two extreme sides want to hear, and they do a damn good job of it, too. For Hillary Clinton, however, charisma is not a strength. Bernie and Trump have her soundly beat in that category. Whether it’s the Benghazi debacle or that you simply do not like her because you believe she is cold and soulless, Hillary loses big-time on “likeability” for many Americans.
However, when talking about the long-term future of the country, the flashy, image-attacking, often enraging rhetoric of the presidential race does not matter as much as you might believe. Presidents are rarely as powerful as fearful citizens make them out to be. Bernie cannot simply make education free, nor can Trump really remove all illegal immigrants from the country. As such, the polarized halves of the American electorate waste an absurd amount of time being afraid of the president “ruining the country,” which is 1.) Not legally possible because 2.) Congress and the rest of the political system exist to ruin it instead. Meanwhile, people seem to ignore the greatest power that the president does have: to act as the leader and diplomat of the most powerful country in the world. As easy as it is to let ourselves believe that internal change can really come from one person, we cannot afford to be so naive any longer. Outside influence, however, is a different case altogether.
Voters must recognize the extreme importance of our president’s diplomatic powers. As tired as this nation’s populace is of hearing about the outside world, the international system is becoming vastly more important to nations around the world.
Countries, and the politicians and citizens inside of them, would love to pretend that their world is a bubble, and that relations between Iran and Saudi Arabia won’t affect them, or that tensions between Russia and Turkey could never involve the U.S. But that is not the reality of our world anymore. While domestic issues remain hugely important, and while the president does act as an indicator for how those problems might be addressed, the president’s diplomatic powers will only become more important as time goes on. And, with that in mind, Hillary Clinton is this country’s best option.
The president’s most important role, especially in an increasingly connected and interdependent world, is to act as the representative of our country overseas. How other countries perceive us affects our trade, our economy, our educational opportunities, our technology, and the stability of the world as a whole. Hillary, likeability aside, has already done quite a good job of helping America in this field. As Secretary of State, she visited 112 different countries, more than any of her predecessors. She spent those visits undoing the unilateral, often arrogant diplomacy of the Bush administration, while working to present a more personal and favorable view of the U.S. abroad. So, while us citizens focus on getting Congress to rebuild this country from the inside, Hillary can help build the future of the country by focusing on what she knows best: what’s going on outside.