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.

Trump Hillary.png

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.

I wrote a blog about last night’s Republican Convention, but Melania Trump stole it

I really tried to watch some of the coverage of the Republican National Convention on Monday. But between Rudolph Giuliani screaming like an attack dog foaming from the mouth, African Americans handpicked like pawns to decry the Black Lives Matter Movement in front of an otherwise universal white crowd, and other speakers who essentially painted all undocumented immigrants as murderers, I just couldn’t take it anymore.

It boggles my mind that there is not just a group of people — but an entire political party — that is so out of touch with reality.

Never mind that they adopted one of the most extreme ideological platforms in a century — one that forbids abortion even in circumstances surrounding rape or women’s health; one that denies even basic civil rights to gays and transgenders; and one that rejects the need for stronger gun control.

Also never mind that the party (predictably) hires exclusively white interns.

And never mind that Donald freaking Trump is their standard bearer.

What instead caught media and mainstream attention following last night’s circus was the presumptive nominee’s wife, Melania Trump, delivering a speech that uncannily resembled one given by Michelle Obama eight years earlier.

Melania Trump

Immediately following night one of the convention, Melania Trump was being lauded as one of the high points of the evening. She spoke clearly and concisely, and even had some pundits wondering where her husband has been hiding her the past year while on the campaign trail.

And then a laid-off journalist in a coffee shop broke the story.

Comparing transcripts of Melania’s speech to Michelle Obama’s shows that parts of the speeches are nearly exactly the same. So much so that it can’t possibly be a coincidence.

Methinks that a Trump speechwriter thought no one would notice if he used a speech by the current First Lady as a basis for writing a new one. But never underestimate the keen investigative skills of journalists. Especially ones that are laid off and desperate for work.

How big of a deal is this, really? Well, for one, presidential campaigns and gubernatorial bids have been ruined by instances of plagiarism.

Additionally, we teach college students that plagiarism is pretty much the worst academic mistake you could ever make. Universities usually have a one-strike policy for such offenses.

And it also doesn’t help when an idiotic campaign spokeswoman shoves aside the clear cut evidence by saying that “Michelle Obama did not invent the English language.”

So it’s bad. Is it a scandal? Sure. But is it political suicide? No.

It will, however, make for an endless amount of jokes. Like this one, which is a transcript of Melania Trump’s next speech:

“Four score and seven years ago. I have a dream, that it is not what you can do for your country, because I’m proud to be an American, where at least I know I’m free.”

That was posted by a Facebook friend of mine. I unfortunately cannot take credit.

Ah, and this was after just one day of the first political convention.

The fun is only beginning.

Buckle up.