Everything You Need to Know (About this Election) You Learned in High School

Remember high school? The jocks, the nerds, the band kids, the goth kids — you knew the characters and which clique they belonged to. You were just trying to fit in somewhere.

Hillary and Donald attended your high school. Remember them? I think you do.

Hillary was the A-student, the do-gooder that the teachers all loved. She got called on a lot because she always had the answer. She organized that Earth Day clean-up event. She won some special award and got to go to a big conference in a big city with a bunch of other kids like her from around the state. She was on the National Honor Society and gave a little speech at the banquet, which turned into more of a lecture than a speech, and you sighed a little as you sat there, checking the clock. She didn’t have super close friends, but she had a little gaggle that hung out with her, mostly providing affirmation and cheering for her and her many accomplishments.

You thought she was ok. You clapped for her when her name got announced, and you voted for her for student council president, but you secretly hoped that someone else would unseat her from the honor roll just one time. She won the student council race, but she wasn’t about to become homecoming queen.

Donald was a different character altogether. He was a jock, and he was the one who would torment the 9th graders in the locker room, locking them in a locker or tying them up with duct tape. Actually, Donald probably didn’t do it himself; he had his own little group of devoted followers that would do his bidding, mostly because they were afraid of what would happen if they crossed paths with him. Donald’s reputation would have been well known; he held grudges and would never stop harassing someone who made the mistake of being disloyal.

Donald was always trying to get the attention of the pretty and popular girls. He’d land dates with the cheerleaders, and any that wouldn’t ‘put out’ would be made fun of, and if they would, he would brag about it. Science geeks and band nerds tried to steer clear of him in the hallway because they didn’t want to get on his radar. He slammed his teachers and openly undermined their authority in class, but none of them did much about it, partly because his dad was the rich guy in town and caused a lot of commotion if you called him up.

No, I don’t know what they were actually like in high school, and people certainly change in 50 years, but there are some fundamental personal traits that aren’t going to change — character, values, the vibe you get when you shake their hand. You knew these people in high school. Now you fast-forward 50 years and you turn on the news and these people that you knew in high school are vying to become leader of the free world. It’s crazy, but someone had to do it, and they came from someone’s school and it could have been yours. For a handful of people, this may actually be the case.

These are the people on the ballot and you know them. No, you’re not excited, but you aren’t voting for homecoming king or student council president, you are voting for our nation’s top office. And you aren’t electing a party or a platform — you are electing a person, a person who will make decisions that affect every single person on the planet, which is why this should be pretty easy to figure out.