The upcoming presidential election means different things to different people, but regardless of political disposition, this election will represent a choice about the future of America, and what we want our country to be.

Are we satisfied with the current state of affairs? Four more years of a Trump presidency could mean a permanently altered America — one of border walls, loose environmental regulations and very few gun restrictions. That may be the America some of us want, but it doesn’t come without a cost, either.

The national debt is the highest it has ever been, our global trade partners have taken notice of Trump’s feud with China and the number of shootings in our country is worse than most other countries in the world, and certainly an outlier considering our wealth.

On that note, our wealth isn’t really ours, almost all of it belongs to our wealthiest 1%, and the gap between them and the rest of us continues to widen as wages stagnate.

Our minimum wage hasn’t been raised in 10 years, despite steady inflation. Meanwhile, science continues to prove and confirm climate change.

Some want to argue or deny it, but science simply has no agenda or motive to lie — every motive to do so is on the side of those who would see their profits slide if they had to stop ruining the planet.

And even if there were some giant conspiracy of scientists to fake a global crisis — they can’t control the weather, and they can’t fake the obvious evidence we have right in front of us, including skyrocketing average temperature measurements over the last decades, the very real phenomenon known as the greenhouse effect, the rising ocean levels, the change in ocean chemistry that is killing fish and has killed large chunks of the Great Barrier Reef.

Climate scientists insist it is nearly too late to reverse the damage done to our atmosphere. Some would see the other direction as just as bad.

Many of the Democratic candidates support policies that are socialist by nature. Perhaps, thanks to years of McCarthyism and the Red Scare, America isn’t ready for that, either.

Some don’t believe their tax money should help pay for healthcare or education costs, or they don’t trust the federal government to handle such programs. They worry a liberal or progressive candidate will take away their 2nd Amendment freedom as gun owners, or that political correctness will somehow endanger their free speech.

Whether America grants President Trump a second term, elects his yet-to-be-determined Democratic challenger, or — much less likely — a third-party candidate, someone takes the vote, we stand on a precipice, after which the world will never be the same.

The choice between protecting the America we know and embracing what America could be rests on our shoulders — whatever we decide in 2020, it will be our children and grandchildren who will face the consequences, come whatever may.

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