I’m 19 and I’m disappointed. I’ve had the fortune of being born to parents who see the importance of education and have worked tirelessly to put my brothers and me through school. My mother teaches English to immigrants, and my father is an architect. This is the American Dream I was raised upon.

To what end do both sides beat each other into the dirt? Isn’t this America? Isn’t this democracy? Aren’t we supposed to reconcile differences and move forward together, regardless of political affiliation? This isn’t the dream; it’s a nightmare.

The Nov. 8 vote signals an important split in the road. We have the choice between Americanism and globalism, to quote Donald Trump’s presidential nomination acceptance speech. I think this election has broader implications.

Lying before us is a choice to be governed by fear or not. His “Americanism” is nothing more than a hijacked phrase, as is his label as a “populist.” Implicit within the words of our Founding Fathers was not a sentiment of xenophobia, but instead one of compassion for all humans, irrespective of cultural background or the bias surrounding it.

How did this message become so twisted? Why do we see arenas packed with Americans chanting “build that wall”? This is not what made America great. I am sad.

While I don’t see Hillary Clinton as a favorable candidate either, I will vote for her. Not because she has moral backbone (it’s flimsy) or because I feel that she represents my interests (she doesn’t). No, I’m going to vote for her because she isn’t Donald Trump; what is sadder than that?

We can do better, and we should demand better.

Meanwhile, I implore my fellow Americans to not choose fear, because that choice will bring no comfort and is a wholesale betrayal of the values that make us great.

Henry Oliva

Yarmouth