With only one week remaining until our country faces perhaps the most important electoral decision in its history, everyone needs a few tips to help them survive the last week of this election season. The media debacles of the coming week will most likely not get you super excited, but there's no better place to get Election Day advice than from the most popular political musical of our time.
1. Rise Up.
The intensity of this election requires everyone to "rise up" and engage with our nation's democracy, especially millennials. Did you know that young adults make up a whopping 31% of the electorate? Read more about millennial voting here. It's our time to step up. Every citizen's voice deserves to be heard in this election.
2. If you stand for nothing, what'll you fall for?
It's true that everyone should be engaged in politics, but it's also important to engage with issues and ideas you care about. The decision our nation faces is far too important for you to vote for someone simply because your family likes them or your best friend supports them. Research the candidates and understand their stances. Take a side. Stand for something. Don't be an Aaron Burr.
3. Talk less, smile more.
Even though it's important to pick a candidate that aligns with your views and stand by them, it's also important to open your eyes and ears to what supporters of other candidates have to say. Because of the passionate rhetoric emerging from both the Trump and Clinton camps - and even from third-partiers who support Gary Johnson or Jill Stein - we all need to listen carefully to each other. So if you find yourself in a heated political argument over the next week, shut up and smile. After all, that's what Hamilton did to get his plan on the Congress floor.
4. Think past tomorrow.
This may seem obvious, but once our new president is elected next week and sworn in on January 20, 2017, he or she is going to be in power for four years. Not only are you voting based on personality and how you feel about the kind of person a candidate is - you're also voting for the kind of leader this person will be for our country. The new president will appoint Supreme Court justices, sign executive orders and veto laws. When election day ends, who do you want to still be discussing their policies?
5. Winning is easy, governing's harder.
Just as voters should be more concerned with what will happen once a candidate is in office than what happens before, the candidates should certainly be more concerned about what could happen once they're actually the head of the Executive Branch. The international community always looks to the President to serve as an example of stability - not to mention the numerous situation rooms that the Commander-in-Chief will find themselves in. Maybe winning the 2016 Presidential Election won't be an easy feat, but it's just the first hurdle on a very long political road.
6. Everyone's just as "Helpless" as you at the polls.
While the choice of Trump or Clinton on November 8th might be the most important decision in our nation's history, it is also probably the worst. If you're feeling disappointed or frustrated with this election's options, just remember that everyone else is in the exact same boat. It's also disappointing for those who are able to vote in their first election this year that the choice of candidates isn't that great. But regardless of your sour feelings about the nominees, college students should really care about this election. And everyone else should too.
7. "The World Turns Upside Down" after this election.
No matter how you slice it, this election is extremely important: the future of the United States and its image is on the line. Regardless of the winner being Trump or Clinton, the new President will make decisions that have the capability to turn the world upside down. The new leader is unlikely to lead us into a conflict as big as America's split from Britain, but his or her term will still be revolutionary.
8. Don't throw away your shot.
Yes this election is controversial, but it's also critical, so what are you going to do about it? You have one shot, and you should use it. VOTE!
9. Get to the room where it happens.
So you want to vote and you know which candidate you're voting for, but where do you go? If you aren't already informed about where your voting booth will be located on election day, you can find out here. It's important to get to the polls on time, be informed about when your polling place opens and closes and make sure to leave enough time on your break from work or school to wait in line. In order for there not be a tie like the Election of 1800, we need everyone's voice to be heard.
10. History has its eyes on you.
This election will have a profound impact on the international community's perception of the United States, so the entire world is waiting for the outcome. This means that 2016 will certainly be a year for the history books, so be sure to exercise your rights on November 8th.
Our country has never seen an election quite like this before. This means that every vote counts, and it's important to be involved. Engage with democracy and be a part of history this year. Even if you're disappointed in the choices, you still deserve a voice in the election. After all, Hamilton voted for Thomas Jefferson. Surely you can vote for Trump or Clinton.
Lead Image Credit: Hamilton's America via PBS