And so it begins. The great election of our time.

When this election season got into full gear late last year and in early 2016, between the debates and the primaries, I was super interested.

I watched everything with such a vested interest that I almost became too emotionally involved. But once the primaries started racking up and I saw what direction we were heading in, topped off by the constant flow of divisive rhetoric and back-and-forth name calling, I made the conscious decision to step back.

I decided to stay interested, but to try my best to view the events through the lens of an observer. I already knew how I intended to vote. So nothing between then and November was going to change that.

Instead, I realized that this is a monumental, historic time for America. And I just wanted to pay attention and soak it all in and try to understand both sides of this contentious race.

And what I have realized is that there is no better time to be student of political science in America than right now. If you are in college pursuing that subject, then holy shit, I wish I could be a fly on the wall in your lecture and discussion classes.

Because what is happening in America right now is something that will have its own chapter in history textbooks.

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In those books, we’ll jump from the Bush administration and his ghastly mistakes invading Iraq and Afghanistan, to Obama’s tackling of economic inequality while making amends with long-estranged nations, to now, of which I presume will be given the chapter title of: “What the fuck?”

If there is one bright side, it’s that it is almost over. The Republican National Convention enters its final night on Thursday, and Donald Trump will formally accept his party’s nomination.

It closes a tumultuous week, headlined by Melania’s copycat speech, to Ted Cruz being booed off the stage, to a New Hampshire delegate and adviser for Donald Trump suggesting that Hillary Clinton should be killed by firing squad.

Hillary Clinton, meanwhile, is expected to name her running mate on Friday, and will formally accept the Democratic Party’s nomination next week.

So let’s do this. We’ve built up this election for more than a year, and now we finally have two candidates. There was no open convention, no Bernie miracle. It’s Hillary and Trump.

The first debate will take place in a little over a month at Hofstra University, here on Long Island, less than 10 miles away from where I am writing this.

There of course have been many other things going on in this country recently — racial tension and fear of terrorism has reached a boiling point.

How Americans vote in November will truly set us on a new path. All I ask is that we all take this seriously. There’s no more hypotheticals. No more “we couldn’t possibly elect Donald Trump as president, right?”

We only get one shot at this. Please make an educated decision and think about what America you truly want to live in.

You, my friend, have the ability to alter the future. Choose wisely.

And do not fear. Whichever candidate becomes president, there will still be Pokemon.

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