How to Save America? Drop The Three H’s

Donald J. Trump was sworn in Friday as the 45th President of the United States of America. His road to the presidency was marked with controversy, confusion, increasing tension between the country’s liberals and conservatives, and a new way to look at the country. These next four years will be marked by the very same things, and it is important to be prepared and aware of what is to come. Because, after all, what happened during the last year could be only the beginning.

The tension between the two American political views is unlikely to lighten up, and both sides are bound to blame the other for this increasing fracture. With that, comes hypocrisy, haughtiness and hatred – The Three H’s, so to speak. Hypocrisy has always been a problem between the liberals and the conservatives, with one accusing the other of the same faults that they have. For example, some conservatives are saying liberals are acting like sore losers over the election of Trump. Yet, not too many conservatives handled the election of Barack Obama quite well either. Meanwhile, some liberals would criticize conservatives as being small-minded and ignorant, while they can also be the same exact way. The only difference is the issues at hand, such as gun control, same-sex marriage, immigration, Black Lives Matter, and many more.

And that is where haughtiness comes in. Both sides claim to have all the answers and know what is best for the country. Granted, all countries have this problem, but how many have a long-standing two party system with little room for a third or even fourth political party?

Anyway, it is the way the liberals and conservatives act and behave that gives way to arrogance. Like the aforementioned example of some liberals call conservatives ignorant and prejudiced for not seeing eye-to-eye with those previously mentioned issues. In return, some conservatives call liberals intolerant and ignorant about those same issues. Conservatives may criticize liberals are being intolerant despite the liberal insistence that they are tolerant. Liberals may criticize conservatives for not being compassionate despite many conservatives following Christianity, a religion of compassion. Conservatives may say Obama divided this nation even more when it comes to race issues, while liberals may also say the same thing about Trump.

Arrogance is responded with anger, and anger often gives way to hate. With that comes slander, smearing an entire group with the same brush, and total fear. When Obama was elected, supporters of Obama were seen as communists, atheists, tree-hugging hippies. There were even allegations that liberals did not believe a baby was a human being until it reached the age of two, therefore allowing late-term abortion.

Now with Trump in the White House, his supporters are all being seen as ignorant country hicks, white supremacists, misogynists, homophobes, Islamophobes, and so on.

Let’s not forget that while these allegations may be true – may be! – for both groups, it is not true for all. Again, painting an entire group with the same brush. Generalizing. Everyone’s guilty of it at one point. But in today’s America, it has gotten out of hand.

As a result, more tension, perhaps not seen since the 1860s, back when this country had a bloody civil war. Some Americans wonder if there will ever be another civil war, and probably dread it will happen this time around (though they feared the same thing when Obama was elected, and when Bush 43 was reelected in 2004, and nothing like that happened).

Now granted, some radicals on both sides will be more than happy to start another civil war in this country. Just look at the protestors at Trump’s inauguration smashing windows and lighting cars on fire. And just take note of the militia groups who were willing to start warfare if Hillary Clinton won instead.

But the vast majority of Americans do not want a civil war, and likely are not happy with all the tension and hate going on in the country these days – even though most Americans carry some degree of The Three H’s in their hearts.

So what to do? We’ve got four years before the next election, and who knows what will happen then. Trump may be reelected. He may not. Another Democrat will rise to prominence to combat him in 2020.

But there’s no point in waiting until 2020 to change America or to keep it going. The time is now to make it better or to keep things going the way they are.

What to do? Take away The Three H’s. Lessen the hypocrisy, lighten up the haughtiness and get rid of the hate. Listen to each other. Understand not only why someone voted for Trump or didn’t, but why they want the America that they want. Ask why someone believes climate change is real, and if not, why. Ask why someone believes Black Lives Matter is legit movement, and if not, why. Ask why someone believes Roe v. Wade should be overturned, and if not, why.

If you love America, truly love America – its history, its culture, its Constitution, its democracy – you would do all these things. Unfortunately, too many Americans love only one America, and that is whatever one fits their political views, while scorning the other side as anti-American.

Now it will be tough to be open-minded enough and be flexible enough to talk to someone. Both liberals and conservatives are guilty of wanting the other side to agree with them in every way, and are willing to preach to the choir, even if they have to take the rude and bullying approach.

So, it will take a major chill pill and a big piece of humble pie to get rid of The Three H’s. And we’re all in this together, whether we like it or not.

Liberal or Conservative. You seem to have only two choices in this country.

But in truth, it is love or hate. Those are the only two choices every American has now.


Society’s Acceptance of Mental Illness

It is said that there is a stigma against the mentally ill in our society, and there is a lot of truth to that. After all, why is there a hashtag going around that tells people to #EndtheStigma? Society shames and silences the mentally ill, even though 25% of the population struggles with an illness on any given day.

Those with depression hide their problems from others out of fear of being judged. Others with bipolar disorder refuse to tell anyone about it, even though it would explain their sometimes bizarre and/or erratic behavior. People struggle to reveal to their dates, bosses, and certain friends that they are seeing a therapist, and/or are on psychiatric medication. The fear and shame that comes with having mental illness makes many not seek help or support to help them with their problems.

But why is this? Why is it all right to have epilepsy, diabetes or cerebral palsy?

Some say it is because we can see a physical disability but not a mental disability. All right, but we cannot see diabetes or epilepsy until something goes wrong. The same can be said about bipolar or anxiety disorder. Everything can be fine until a trigger happens, and the disorder reveals itself, frightening everyone who doesn’t have nor understand the problem.

Perhaps that is why mental illness is shunned by society: it scares people. It makes them uncomfortable. It provides awkward moments. Kind of like how stutterers make people nervous or someone with autism create uneasy social situations. So with that in mind, it makes sense why mental illness has such a strong social stigma. Seeing someone have a nervous breakdown or a panic attack is scary and uncomfortable for many. Even worse, someone having a dissociative moment or behaving in a paranoid matter increases the fear and discomfort, to the point many would run away or become erratic themselves.

Image via Wikimedia Commons
Image via Wikimedia Commons

This could also explain why mental illness is rejected by society. The vibe it gives off makes others wonder if it is contagious, and they will be stricken with the mental illness themselves. I’ve had moments of severe depression where people went out of their way to avoid me like I had bronchitis or the flu. I’ve had moments of dissociation where others reacted angrily out of the fear of the unknown. I’ve had irritable outburst that made others want to run and hide.

We all don’t like negative influences. If someone is bad tempered, we try to avoid them and not just because we don’t want to experience their wrath. If someone has a negative attitude, we also try to avoid them, lest we feel down in the dumps or annoyed ourselves. Vibes are contagious, and they are related to our emotions. Human beings are joined by social emotions, and when there is someone giving off emotions deemed bad by society, we avoid them, and even do all we can to shun them, so they can run and hide.

That is why charming, charismatic people are so popular. They spread good vibes and they can make others feel like they are the only people in the room. They light up the room wherever they go, and their enthusiasm is infectious. Everyone wants to be a part of them, and everyone looks beyond their negative attributes because their charisma is so powerful.

Which leads to a severe problem society has regarding the mentally ill. See, everyone yearns for positive energy so much, they’ll attach themselves to it, no matter what shape or form it comes in. It could even be a superficial, shallow form of that energy, but it doesn’t matter. As long as the charm is strong and amazing, everyone would stop, take notice and worship that energy. Even if it is in the form of a narcissist or a psychopath.

Yes, overtly charming people are usually narcissists or psychopaths. Their powerful ability to manipulate the masses is both scary yet intriguing. It can make one fly even though that person knows in the back of their mind that flying is not possible. Yet, just as charming a narcissist or a psychopath is, they are also equally void of any empathy or conscience. Hence why they have a reputation as being destructive, abusive and dangerous. This is why Narcissistic Personality Disorder and Psychopathy are considered mental illnesses. Both conditions are intensely studied by the mental health field, and both are listed in the DSM-V book, which is basically the Bible for mental illnesses.

Come to think of it, narcissists and psychopaths are the most dangerous people around. Everyone fears them, yet everyone is intrigued by them. Even though these people are listed in the DSM-V and are considered mentally ill. But society seems to embrace these people more so than other mentally ill people, such as the usually harmless depressed, anxious, schizophrenic and others; others who usually have harm done to them than the other way around.

So why does society embrace those without conscience and empathy, while also shunning those who cry a lot, freak out a lot, or hallucinate a lot?

Because on the surface, narcissists and psychopaths are not scary. As mentioned earlier, they are very charming and can put others on cloud nine. Those with depression or PTSD cannot do that. They instead put others in the dumps themselves. The only time a narcissist and a psychopath seem scary is when they unleash their lack of empathy, expose their cold and lifeless eyes, or basically treat others totally with no regard. Then they are frightening, and then people want to run away and shun them. But a few seconds later, the narcissist and the psychopath turn up the charm, and everything is OK. Everything is not OK, and it will take a strong, smart person to realize that. But these people are so manipulative.

Maybe that is why narcissists and psychopaths are more accepted than those with a different kind of mental illness. They bring magic to the world while the others bring misery.

Don’t believe that narcissists and psychopaths are more accepted by society than anyone with depression, anxiety, or psychosis? Haven’t you noticed that everywhere one turns, there are books and articles celebrating the attributes of narcissism and psychopathy? Here’s one that tells you to embrace your inner narcissist. Here’s a book that tells how psychopathic traits aren’t so bad. How about this piece from that teaches us that sometimes narcissists and psychopaths have it right?

Image via Wikimedia Commons
Image via Wikimedia Commons

So, some members of society tell us that having no remorse, empathy or conscience can actually be a good thing. Which basically means some forms of mental illness are being accepted, although these illnesses do a lot of damage and destruction to individuals, businesses and even entire economies. Yet, narcissism and psychopathy are not entirely shunned. Heck, there are TV shows that have psychopaths as the anti-hero. There are movies with psychopaths as the main character that we love to hate.

But where are the all the TV shows and movies that celebrate bipolar disorder, rather than shame it, much like Homeland or The Silver Lining Playbook? Where are the books that tell people to embrace their panic disorder or their psychotic problems? Where are the public speakers telling us that having a depressive episode or suicidal thoughts can actually be a good thing?

No where. Because society doesn’t have the compassion for those people. These people create awkward or miserable situations, so there’s no room for compassion for them. But if you are charming yet lack remorse, all the better!

It seems as if society prefers the mentally strong over the mentally fragile. Physical fragility can always be compensated with mental toughness, but not the other way around.

Don’t believe me? Then why when someone is depressed they are told to “get over it”, or “pray your way out of it.” If someone has anxiety, they are told to “get over it” or “it’s all in your head.” If someone is having a psychotic or dissociative moment, they are simply told they are freaks, if no one has run away yet.

But if someone clearly displays lack of conscience or empathy, and charms people enough to ruin their common sense, they are awesome.

Image via Flickr
Image via Flickr

Are we that deprived of excitement, attention and charm in our lives that we eat up what a psychopath or narcissistic says and does? Are we so competitive as a human race that we look down at the fragile, the weak and the struggling? The latter need compassion and help, while the former need to be avoided at all costs. Yet, the opposite happens.

There’s a spectrum for the mentally ill. On one hand, you have the fragile and the struggling (depressed, anxious, PTSD, etc.), on the other end, you have the cold and the soulless. Interestingly, it is the cold and soulless that are treated more positively than the fragile and the struggling.

There is no need to End the Stigma against the mentally ill. If narcissists and psychopaths are accepted, but the depressed and anxious are not, then the End the Stigma campaign needs to be revised. Perhaps Hug the Anxious or Be with PTSD or Love the Dissociative should be done instead. Or more simply, Love the Fragile works better.

And at the same time, Down with Evil should be around, kind of like a dual campaign. Meaning, while embracing the fragile, the evil should be denounced as well.

Until society accepts struggling and weakness as part of the human condition, and stops embracing arrogance and cruelty as a sign of human strength, the quest to end the stigma against the mentally ill will see no light.


The 2016 Presidential Election May Just Change Everything

2016 had been long projected as a game changer in American politics. It also was projected to be a big turning point in the country’s direction. After all, President Barack Obama’s two-terms were ending, and it was guaranteed that a new president will take his place. Moreover, many in the country are frustrated and dissatisfied with Congress, with poll after poll displaying such annoyance over the two-party system and the constant squabbling between the two.

So, this presidential election year was thought to be the real game changer. Millennials were expected to play a big role, as they did with President Obama in 2008 and 2012. There were talks of a third party candidate playing a major part in the process.

But instead, things turned out in a way very few saw coming.

Image via Wikimedia Commons
Image via Wikimedia Commons

Firstly, if someone told you a year ago that businessman and reality star Donald Trump was going to most likely be the G.O.P. candidate, would you have believed them? Probably not. But here he is, with a good shot at being the nominee, and thus, being a step away from the White House. This despite his bashing at anyone who isn’t a white Christian male in this country.

It has been shocking to see the country take a step backwards after electing a black president twice. But then again, a good portion of the country was not pleased to see a black man become president, and all the racial discussions that arose as a result. So much so, that it became quite clear that a movement had made itself known in the country, labeled by VOX as the authoritarians. VOX’s excellent analysis of these authoritarians perfectly explained where they came from and what makes them tick. It appears this group of American voters are going to be around for a long while, and will continue to make themselves known for each major election.

Over on the Democratic side, the popularity of Bernie Sanders almost threatened Hillary Clinton’s bid for the ticket. That meant a good number of Americans showed an interest in socialism, something opponents felt was un-American. Given the high number of votes Sanders earned, it seems like the idea of socialism may not go away anytime soon.

Screenshot via YouTube
Screenshot via YouTube

Then there are those dissatisfied with both the likely Republican and Democratic nominees, and there’s talks of a third party candidate shaking things up all over again. In fact, such talks may have led to CNN holding a town hall for Libertarian Gary Johnson just last week. It gave American voters a chance to learn about Libertarianism, which claims to want less government on both conservative and liberal issues. However, not everyone was impressed with how Johnson presented himself and his party. So, maybe the third party talks died a quick death.

Or has it? There’s still articles here and there that express the possibility – or impossibility – of a third party may just turning things around for this year’s presidential election. Many people are not pleased with Trump and Clinton. Don’t be so surprised if the voter turnout rate is very low in November. You know, just like other previous presidential races.

But clearly, 2016 is more than just the year we will get a new president. It is the year ideologies and political hopes changed for this country.

With four months to go before the big election, it is a wonder how many more changes will occur.





Kim, Emily and Pro-Sex Feminism

Earlier this week, shock waves ran through social media when Kim Kardashian West once again posted a topless – albeit censored – photo on Instagram Wednesday. She was joined by model Emily Ratajkowski, who also posed topless, though censored bars made the photo a little less risque.

It was a clearly done to protest – and possibly piss-off – the backlash that occurred earlier in March, when Kim posted a censored nude photo on International Women’s Day, using the hashtag, #liberated. That hashtag was meant to honor how far women have come in terms of rights and equality in a patriarchal world. Many felt Kim was degrading women by once again relying on her body and sexuality for power, something some feminists feel is what women should eschew.

Kim, however, strongly disagreed:

“I never understand why people get so bothered by what other people choose to do with their lives. I don’t do drugs, I hardly drink, I’ve never committed a crime — and yet I’m a bad role model for being proud of my body…I am empowered by my body. I am empowered by my sexuality. I am empowered by feeling comfortable in my skin. I am empowered by showing the world my flaws and not being afraid of what anyone is going to say about me. And I hope that through this platform I have been given, I can encourage the same empowerment for girls and women all over the world…It’s 2016. The body-shaming and slut-shaming — it’s like, enough is enough. I will not live my life dictated by the issues you have with my sexuality. You be you and let me be me. I am a mother. I am a wife, a sister, a daughter, an entrepreneur and I am allowed to be sexy.”

(BTW, about the crime part, she did sexually harass Bette Midler by publicly taunting her to send nudes)

So, now with another topless selfie, and with Emily Ratajkowski insisting that women should have a right to express their sexuality, the ongoing question on whether feminism should include the right for women to celebrate their bodies and sexuality has come up again.

Many women, especially those of an older generation, see red when a woman relishes in her sexuality because they feel any sexual expression caters to the patriarchy (meaning, men), does not allow women to be respected by men, and basically reduces women to being a piece of meat. On the other hand, plenty of younger women believe slut-shaming needs to end, and a woman has the right to do whatever she wants with her body, since she is its rightful owner.

Both sides are right. Many men get confused when a woman flaunts her body yet demands to be taken seriously. Yet female bodies have been owned and controlled by men for millennia, and women have every right to take control and do what they please with their own bodies. That is what feminism is all about, according to some. However, when a woman does what she wants with her body, negativity arises. It is as if something isn’t being done right in feminism’s quest for women to own and celebrate their bodies and sexuality.

Some members of society – both male and female – believe a woman cannot celebrate her sexuality while also having a well-developed personality and a functioning brain. It is the old madonna-whore complex, where a woman can only be either or, but is not allowed to be both.

It is something several women in the public eye have addressed time and again. Pop icon Madonna certainly did during her heyday in the 80s and 90s. Christina Aguilera tackled the issue with her Stripped album in 2002. Yet, little has changed and the argument over whether a woman could own and flaunt her body, and still be taken seriously, continues as though it started yesterday.

Part of the problem is that men, unfortunately, are visual creatures who see a lot and hear little. When they see a topless woman, they see a topless woman. She could be making a monumental speech that is the equivalent to the Gettysburg Address…and they’ll still see a topless woman.

But at the same time, there are incredibly sensual women who transcend the madonna-whore complex and come across as fully developed human beings, leaving men drooling over their sexuality and their personality at the same time.

Helen Mirren comes to mind. The Oscar-winning actress was well-known for doing nude scenes in plenty of films, including the 1970s flick, Caligula. Yet, the word “slut” isn’t used towards her, and if it ever is, it simply would not fit. Another Oscar winner, Charlize Theron, posed for Playboy in the late 90s and is incredibly beautiful, yet comes across as full human being. Model Kate Upton broke the Internet with that YouTube video of her doing the Cat Daddy while wearing a skimpy bikini, yet comments of her down-to-earth personality weren’t too far away.

What are these women doing right, and other women, like Kim and Emily, are not?

For one thing, many see these two women’s recent photo as an attention-seeking publicity stunt. Most people do not take Kim Kardashian West seriously, despite her insistence that she is a savvy businesswoman. She might be, for all we know. But with her often posing topless or nude on social media and in magazines more so than celebrating her business sense, it is difficult to take her seriously. Not to mention that Kim is noted for being famous for being famous, thanks to her sex video from 13 years ago. She is savvy with PR and is noted for doing publicity stunts. Where’s the room to take her seriously?

Emily Ratajkowski does have a point though – more so than Kim – about women’s bodies being demonized and not celebrated. But is she really the best person to make such a point? After all, she did star in Robin Thicke’s “Blurred Lines” music video, which certainly was not a celebration of women’s sexuality, despite the video’s female director’s insistence. She also has posed for men’s magazines wearing very little, and had a topless scene in the film, Gone Girl, where she had only a secondary role. Despite her political activity this year by openly supporting Bernie Sanders, Ratajkowski has not developed notoriety as something other than being a sex symbol. She believes she has a right to be both sexual and political – and she does! – but it hasn’t yet been developed.

And therein lies the problem. If Emily and other women want to be sexual and taken seriously at the same time, they’ll have to do both. Catering to one side of one’s self while not fully nurturing the other does not lead to respect, especially if one is a woman. Basically, you can’t flaunt your breasts and expect others to think you have a brain somewhere. For example, if Emily wants her political opinions to be seen as valid, then she actually has to make political statements. Supporting someone isn’t much of a statement.

Anyway, as unfair as it sounds, that’s the way the world is. If pro-sex feminism wants to keep the ball rolling on tearing down the patriarchy, they’ll have to add substance with the style (Not to mention also address the serious issues regarding women’s sexuality, but that’s another story).

If these women want to be sexual and respected, they have to do more than send out topless photos to make a point. They’ll have to talk. They’ll have to let their minds do the talking, not their breasts. They’ll have to be like Helen, Charlize, Kate and all the many women who express their sexuality along with their personality.

In other words, if Kim, Emily and other women really want to be pro-sex feminists, they need to play the game right. And by that, the game of tearing down the patriarchy, not the game of publicity.






Drug Epidemic Grips Staten Island

Last week, Staten Island, New York City’s fifth borough, was rocked by news of a 35 year-old man found dead in a bathroom at a Perkins’ restaurant. The restaurant markets itself as having a family friendly atmosphere, and this particular location is in Eltingville, a quiet, middle class, mostly white neighborhood.

So why was this death such a big deal?

Because a needle was reportedly found near the man’s body. And Staten Island is in the midst of a major heroin epidemic.

Just one day earlier, it was announced that in March alone, 9 Islanders overdosed from drugs. The Island had the highest overdose-deaths in New York in 2014, with a total of 74, up from 64 in 2013. Of those 74 deaths, 42 were from heroin.

What is going on? Why is Staten Island having such a serious problem with drugs, especially heroin?

Some might say it is a reflection of a worsening heroin epidemic among suburban Americans. It is related to the painkiller addiction epidemic, which also ravaged Staten Island not too long ago. That was the result of prescription painkillers being considered safe, which turned out to be the contrary.

But one has to wonder if boredom and lack of pride is behind Staten Island’s drug epidemic. Known as the “Forgotten Borough”, Staten Island is overlooked by the city – from the politicians to the residents. Even newcomers to the city do not wish to settle there.

Connected to the city by a ferry from lower Manhattan, and the Verrazano Bridge to Brooklyn, plus three other bridges to New Jersey, Staten Island is truly an Island onto itself. It is left alone in the Lower New York Bay, with nothing much to do or to take pride in. Boredom can lead to drug use, and on Staten Island, there is little to do except shop at the mall and shopping centers, go to tanning or nail salons, and not much else. Transportation is poor, with only a car as the most useful way to get around. Going into Manhattan or Brooklyn, where there is plenty to do, takes forever.

So what is an Islander to do when there’s little options and not much is expected from what is known as the “armpit” of New York City?

If Islanders had more pride and more to do, perhaps the drug epidemic wouldn’t be as bad as it is. Of course, there’s a lot that goes into addiction. But lack of pride and lack of activity are two factors. And in the case of Staten Island, it could possibly be the biggest reasons why so many Islanders are dying because of a killer that shows no mercy – drugs.





The Future of Education

As part of my goal to be an education reporter, I have been doing a lot of reading and research. This week saw me visit a Bay Ridge public school to learn more about its school garden. During the tour, I learned and witnessed how STEM is creating a whole new way of learning for DOE students.

For example, a classroom of second graders were learning about planting seeds for the spring season. To do this, they drew pictures and glued seeds onto the plants, the result of an art project. They were then asked to write sentences about photosynthesis and growing plants – an English assignment! Next, they received envelopes of seeds and were told to read the back of the envelopes, where there was a map of the United States and an explanation of the best time of year to plant certain herbs and vegetables. In other words, these students had a brief lesson on geography, topography and meteorology! In less than one hour, this group of second graders learned and practiced six different subjects – all of them intertwined through the school’s garden.

I was told that this is all part of STEM – Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics – and teaching this requires combining subjects together, which is something progressive education promotes. When I was a student of the DOE some 25 years ago (yikes!), there were no combining of subjects, and certainly no hands-on learning. Science was taught with a blackboard, a textbook, and maybe some magnets, solar system dioramas, and fun mini-volcanoes. Looking back, those lessons seem so primitive and cheap.

Combining subjects together, along with hands-on and group learning, I believe, will certainly make students more interested in learning and have a damn good time doing so. It can make learning less boring and less of a chore, and could possibly lead to a decline in school dropouts. After all, it has been said that having extra-curricular activities and art programs in schools inspires more kids to stay in school. Imagine what progressive education can do to make kids stay in school.

Heck, imagine what progressive education can do to help students figure out their future. As they are exposed to more aspects of learning through STEM, their worlds open up and they are exposed to more career options. Meaning, instead of a 10 year-old wanting to be a lawyer, a doctor or a teacher, that 10 year-old could now say they want to be a engineer, a biologist, a nutritionist, and so on and so on. The possibilities are endless with DOE students, just as the many ways of learning are.

STEM is slowly making its way into NYC public schools more and more. As it does, the future will look brighter and brighter for New York’s students.

Is America Really Ready for a Third Party?

The 2016 presidential election may be less than 16 months away, but the race is off to an intense start. Candidates keep coming forward, with five Democrats officially running and, at last count, fifteen on the G.O.P. side. Polls are being intensely conducted, and Americans are already debating on who should be their next President after Barack Obama leaves office in January 2017.

With so much intensity so soon, there is a good chance for voter fatigue, probably by in January 2016.  By then, if not already, we Americans will be cynical and careless about who is elected to the White House. After all, we’ve been inundated with news and reports about the coming election since 2012 itself. In this country, once a presidential election ends in early November, the next one is already discussed on the same election night.

It also does not help that the majority of Americans are fed up with the government in general. Many feel those in Washington are not doing a good job, care only for their interests rather than the needs of the American people. Let’s also not forget that most Americans have grown tired of the two parties frequently being at odds. The government shut-down in late 2013 showcased exactly what many Americans were fed up with.

Which is probably why the thought of ending the two-party system (I should say tradition because there is no law or anything in the constitution that says our country must only have two major parties, unlike so many other democratic countries. The U.S. has had two major parties since its birth, and its stayed that way ever since, almost like a tradition or even a bad habit) and having a third party candidate for the 2016 election is growing more vocal. Whispers are turning into average level voices that there needs to be a third party candidate to ensure the future of the United States. Not to mention, because many feel the two-party system no longer works.

In 2013, and again in 2014, Gallup conducted a poll that found that more than half of Americans say a third party is needed since the other two – the Democrats and the Republicans – do such “a poor job” running our government. This is a sentiment that has been around since 2007, according to Gallup.

So, why is there a delay in having a major third party in this country? Some say there are some unethical and even illegal activity to prevent a third party candidate from being on the same level as a Democrat or Republican candidate during the presidential election. Or, it could be that since the media pays little attention to third party candidates, few Americans get to know them. Unless someone with a large enough profile as Ross Perot had in 1992 and 1996, a third party contender can easily go unnoticed.

There are also finance issues, as third party contenders do not get the same amount of funds as the other two do. Plus, there is the sentiment that third parties ruin elections, as those feel Perot did when he took votes away from then-President George H.W. Bush in 1992, thus allowing Democratic candidate Bill Clinton to win that year. Then again, those who were never big fans of Clinton are the ones who have this sentiment.

But could it also be that some Americans are apprehensive about having a third major party in our government? Even though most Americans say they want a major third party, they seem to hesitate. They hesitate to do their research. They hesitate to support a third party candidate, even though such candidates do run for President each cycle. They hesitate to actually take action and make way for a third party to be up in the ranks as Democrats and Republicans. Voters have the power to make this happen, yet there is no big movement to take this matter into their own hands.

Maybe there is now, since political morale is so low these days. But are Americans simply practicing wishful thinking when they say they want a third party to make everything better in Washington? Or are they apprehensive to have multiple choices when it comes to politics?

Maybe because having multiple choices could lead to confusion and even unhappiness? Is less actually more when it comes to politics? It has been noted that when communism fell in Eastern Europe, the people there became confused and unhappy, rather than continue on their enthusiasm. That was because they suddenly had so many choices. Choices over soap, bread, clothing fabric, and so on. Life had become more complicated for them.

Could life in America become more complicated if we allowed a third party to be on the same level as Democrats and Republicans? After all, there are so many alternative parties to choose from. There’s the Green Party, the Right to Life Party, the Working Families Party, just to name a few. Which one is more deserving to be the long-awaited third major party in this country?

That’s for voters decide, and they do seem to be hesitating. Is it because they see third party candidates as an alternative to the Democrats’ and Republicans’ rhetoric, rather than representatives of actual political parties that have actual political agendas?  Third party candidates are not around to simply say something different than the other two candidates. They have a motive to do something to change this country. Though, possibly, with more sincerity.

Which leads to the next question: what exactly do Americans who hope for a third party candidate want for their government and the future of their country? Confidence in our country’s future is low.  While America seems to be moving in the right direction in some areas, but in others, it seems stuck. What is wanted with the economy? With foreign affairs? With climate change? Those are big questions not to be answered lightly.  That is why a third party candidate cannot be seen as a sigh of relief. That person is going to change the course of America’s future. We voters cannot say, “I don’t care, as long as its not a Democrat or Republican! I’m sick of those two!”

If we are to be serious about the future of our nation, we need to choose our next president seriously. We need to think carefully and wisely, and then choose a candidate carefully and wisely – be it a Democrat, a Republican or one of the many third party candidates.