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Opinion editor Sarah Grindstaff argues that American citizens should vote with their conscience in the 2020 presidential election, urging them to select the "good" candidate.


It’s Monday. Almost a week ago, the third U.S. president ever to be impeached was acquitted by a historically split senate. As the United States reels from this devastating event in our American politics, I can’t help but wonder, how did it come to this? 

No matter your politics, I’m sure everyone reading can agree that the 20-day trial was both an embarrassment to the nation, as well as an unpleasant circus of domestic and international political entwinement.

After a hearty month of partisan politics, James-Bond-esque international characters, insensitive remarks, sensationalized news and barely legal jargon, the American public has been left with a disgraced president, desensitized thinking, an ever-growing political divide and a complete ignorance as to what will happen next in this four-year political saga. Where do we go from here?

Well, I’ll tell you where. Tomorrow is Tuesday, and in 38 weeks, the next presidential election will occur. Some will vote for Trump, but who will the Democratic nominee be? Who will win the presidency? Students will vote for their politics, party or parents’ choice, but for those who have maintained an open mind despite all that has happened these past four years, I ask that you vote with your conscience. 

While we may not all celebrate or wallow in the same way following the president’s acquittal, it is important that we learn an important lesson from this grand political charade: As American citizens, we must vote someone into office who is good.

Trump was cleared on all charges, but when looking to the leader of the free world, the American public deserves a leader who is good. A good person. Someone who has honor and will take responsibility for their own personal wrongdoing. Someone who will bring positive change to this country, as well as preserve the positive qualities of the status quo. Someone who will not engage in inappropriate behavior, despite its legality, for the sake of their own personal agenda. Someone who will once again award this country with respect, even on the international stage.

Trump has the qualities that embody this description of the candidate we need in 2020. Or you may flat-out disagree with that statement. At this juncture in our political history and our question-filled present, we mustn't allow our own personal politics and narrow-mindedness to cloud our judgement.

The 2020 election is not about our political party. It is not about hope that our country will change dynamically in the course of only a few years. It is not about fear that our rights and groups will be misrepresented or forgotten. It is not about me or you. It is about our country and electing someone who will be good for it.

While our government is vast and power is distributed, who we each vote for this November will have a great impact on our country and future. Individually, our choices may not affect some of us that much, but if you are one of those people, consider yourself lucky and remember your choice will affect others’ lives.

Let’s not be afraid of what one candidate will do versus another or spew partisan rhetoric against one another, in order to fill the pockets of our representatives. The only thing we have to be afraid of is failing to elect a president in 2020 who is good and will represent our country, both domestically and internationally, in a positive way.

Don’t just vote for Trump, Pete Buttigieg, Joe Biden, Bernie Sanders or Elizabeth Warren in 2020. Don’t simply vote for the one who will legalize marijuana, build the wall or expand health care. Don’t get sucked into the political machine and the powerful competition to earn your vote. Vote for "good" this election. 

 Sarah Grindstaff is a sophomore from St. Louis studying political science.