The reactions to the recent presidential election in the news and on social media would have you believe that we live in a fiercely divided nation full of passionate political views and even more passionate political action.  Protests in the streets, crashing Canadian immigration sites, and the social media atmosphere would have you believe Donald Trump had taken the presidency by force, leading a coup of Klansmen in white hoods over the Potomac.

With protests of varying types being organized and executed all over the country and everyone with a modem chiming in about the use of an electoral college, one would think voter turnout for this election would have to be close to a hundred percent.  Sure, a few people may have missed the polls, but with so many people speaking about this election as though it were a matter of life or death, I’d have to assume those who opted out of voting, or perhaps missed their chance, must be the ignorant or uninspired minority.

Which marks the second time I’ve been wrong about how this election would turn out.

A recent CNN article shows that voting in this year’s election actually hit a twenty-year low.  In order to find another election that so few voters participated in, we’d have to go back to 1996 when Hillary’s husband, Bill Clinton, ran for reelection against Bob Dole.  Current numbers (which are subject to change) show a meager fifty-five percent of eligible voters participated in this year’s presidential election.

Suddenly, protests and riots, Facebook memes and hashtags, crying celebrities and college kids, all mean just a little bit less.  America, it would seem, would rather protest after the fact than participate in real time.

Colin Kaepernick made headlines earlier this year by choosing to kneel during the national anthem in protest of the way he felt minorities were being treated in the United States.  I won’t pretend to understand or fully appreciate the challenges many young Americans face due to race, religion or sexual orientation, so I won’t dispute Keapernick’s decision to kneel – but I can certainly take issue with the new reason he’s been in the headlines lately: he also didn’t vote.

Keapernick, like many Americans, claims he didn’t particularly like either candidate, but for a man that chose to take such a public and political stance to then simply sit this election out is a perfect representation of the way many Americans dealt with the 2016 election.  Men and women on both sides of the aisle and in each of the third parties that find themselves somewhere in between, took to the internet to yell and scream at one another about an election they couldn’t be bothered to actually vote in.

I read your posts, memes and blogs.  I saw the signs in your front yards.  I believed that for the first time in my life, America’s populous had woken up and had chosen to fight for their ideals and beliefs.  Whether yours match up with mine or not, I love the idea of a passionate American fighting for what he or she believes in.  I, honestly, didn’t want to see Hillary Clinton win the presidency, and an increased voter turnout likely wouldn’t have changed the course of the election, but I would have settled for a president I didn’t want elected by a country that truly cared, truly believed that what they were doing what was right.  Instead, this election was just another celebrity lion killed by a dentist: Facebook fodder.