First-time voter Gail Banawis: Angry and undecided

She would like the U.S. president to be a person who treats people equally and with dignity, giving special attention to women. Photo by Velzon Hizon Velez

She would like the U.S. president to be a person who treats people equally and with dignity, giving special attention to women. Photo by Velzon Hizon Velez

By Cristina DC Pastor

Asked to share her feelings about her first presidential election, Gail Banawis quickly blurted, “Angry.”

“This is my first presidential election,” said the 20-year old singer-model. “I never imagined these would be the people I would have to vote for. I am not fond of either right now.”

According to a Gallup Poll in July, Gail has company. One in four Americans or 25 percent “dislike” both Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump.

“One in four Americans have an unfavorable opinion of both Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton more than double the rate who disliked both candidates in 2012 (11 percent),” reports Gallup in July. “The 25 percent who dislike both candidates are also disproportionately young.”

Gail’s views appear to reflect the statistics. Interviewed by The FilAm on November 4, she said neither candidate has so far swayed her.

“Definitely I will vote,” stressed this registered Independent voter. “It is my duty as an American citizen.”

But as she ponders the pluses and minuses of both candidates she finds herself listening and weighing the voices in the background: her family’s and her friends’.

“My family has been Republican for a very long time, and they also find some complications with Trump,” she said. He can be kind of vulgar.” As for Clinton, she said the email scandal is a “big deal” to her parents. Right now, she said in jest, “I don’t like talking to them.”

Her friends, on the other hand are mostly liberal, Democratic and avid Clinton followers. “It’s kind of hard (to make a choice) when you have family and friends trying to influence you. I’m trying to balance both,” she said.

Gail lamented how she wished Trump handled himself with more maturity and decency . She said the multiple sex assault charges against the real estate businessman bothers her, but his speaking style, characterized as direct and politically incorrect, does not.

“As a New Yorker I hear that every day. It is not alien to me; it’s pretty normal. A lot of New Yorkers speak like that.” She said she could understand why such manner of speaking would be offensive to some because Trump is the type of speaker who does not sugarcoat his words or tries to be polite.

Some voters glean a certain charm about Trump for “telling it like it is,” and equate it with being “authentic.” Clinton, on the other hand, is seen as too much of a politician, too polished and stylized in her ways.

Looking at the ideal qualities of a leader, Gail said she would like the U.S. president to treat people equally and with dignity, especially the women because “we are not yet at the bar where men are.” She wants her president to project strength, to be decisive and to stick to what he or she believes in.

“I don’t want my president to be someone who is vulgar,” she said. Most important, she wants the president to be the father or the mother of the country because “that is what this country needs.”

Might it be that Gail just made her decision?

Gail Banawis launched her self-titled album “GAIL” on November 5 at The Cutting Room theatre and bar. To purchase, call 845-633-0980.

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