By Sam Arciprete
We’re about two weeks out from Election Day and the campaign that seemingly started eight years ago for Hillary Clinton is winding down to what seems like it will be a pretty comfortable victory. I could not be happier to return to the non-campaign normalcy of American politics. As the election draws to a close, it will be difficult for all of us to readjust to a world where Newt Gingrich and Chris Christie’s faces aren’t being shoved in front of a camera; we don’t have to ponder whether our next president will be a sexual predator, and Breitbart headlines no longer hold national prominence.
However, I resent that people have been focusing so much on the things Donald Trump tweets at 3AM and yet there are numerous Massachusetts residents who cannot name what all four ballot referendums are. There are some incredibly important decisions that are being made in the ballot booth this year that don’t involve either Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump. For example, question two is a proposal to increase the amount of charter schools in the Commonwealth. Gov. Charlie Baker has been campaigning very hard for this issue and it’s an incredibly important policy area that will affect every child born in Massachusetts. I made up my mind about who I was voting for in the Presidential race a long time ago, but for question 2, I am still very much torn. On one hand, I am the product of public schooling. My mother was a public school teacher and a proud union member. Having said this, I think that parents should have the right to choose where to send their kids to school and if the local public school is underperforming or doesn’t seem like a good fit for your child, you should have the opportunity to choose a different one. Increasing charter schools will essentially give parents the ability to go “school shopping” to find a school that best fits their child. Open up more schools, let the free markets operate, and the ineffective schools will shut down, just like businesses. The problem is that these are the years of a child’s education that we cannot get back; the aftermath of a child having to change schools midyear because their school shut down would be catastrophic for the development of the child and could set them back permanently. We just cannot take risks with a child’s education. Public schools provide stability and are a known commodity. Plus, an increase in charter schools will come at the expense of decreasing the budget for public schools. This is a very complex issue that I have gone back and forth on and will probably continue to go back and forth on until the election.
I’m ready to move on to post-election America now, although I’m slightly fearful of what post-election Donald Trump is going to look like. When these campaigns first started about a year and a half ago, I don’t think anyone knew we were in for this. And I’m not sure American politics can return to where we were before all this started. I mean, who would’ve thought two years ago that Billy Bush would’ve been the most important Bush of the campaign.