Many of us watched the first of three Presidential debates held at Hofstra University. While there are those who have already decided on who they will vote for in November, many people are skeptical of both candidates. The skepticism over Donald Trump is for obvious reasons, which he seems to have no ability to hide. On the other hand, Hillary Clinton has been seen to come across as if she is hiding something. Who will you vote for to be the next President of the United States of America?

To be honest, I cringe at the question because these are the only two candidates running for the position. The skepticism towards Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton is valid. While Clinton does have more experience in dealing with Washington politics, that seems to be the very thing that many voters want to get away from.

Donald Trump is an outsider in terms of holding a government position. However, too many of his remarks over the past several months have cast him in a terribly negative light. From demeaning women to singling out Muslims and immigrants, he does not have a cap on what he will say publicly.

Yet, in light of all that he has said, before last night's debate, National Polls had Clinton and Trump in a tie. I believe this is because both of them have glaring weaknesses. The only difference is, Trump seems to parade his weaknesses around while Clinton tends to avoid or deny her weaknesses. What a problem for American voters.

On a more personal note, I am an Independent Voter. I grew up along the lines of a conservative Republican thinker. However, my views were altered as I sat in a home in Florida and watched Al Gore lose my home state, for some odd reason, as Florida's win was taken away from Gore and awarded to George W. Bush. Then, you had the entire situation with recounts, etc. It screamed the notion that something had to be fixed. From that time forward, I decided to take more of an interest in what is going on in Washington, D.C.

As a Conservative thinker, I was disappointed in the John McCain, Sarah Palin ticket that followed eight years of our former President Bush. As we know, his term did not end well. I was okay with President Obama winning his first term especially because this nation, the United States, had enough people vote for someone who is of half African-American decent.

As time moved on, I was disappointed that race was used to influence the African-American communities nation-wide to vote for Democrats, but as politics goes, it is to be expected. I was even more disappointed by the Republican party for having no better candidate than Mitt Romney to challenge Obama's second term into the White House. I didn't dislike President Obama, but I did not agree with some of the moves he was making and wanted the country to alter its course.

At the mid-way point of Obama's second term, I realized what I had known all along: whether it's a Democratic President or a Republican President, people are going to complain increasingly as time goes on and blame whomever is in the Seat. The political party does not matter. It's someone's fault that things are going wrong in our lives.

Consider last night's debate, after eight years of a Republican President followed by eight years of a Democratic President, we are still talking about clean energy, education reform, fixing the roads and bridges, race, religion, gun violence, wars, the national deficit, and the list goes on. I thought to myself, we're talking about doing the same things that needed to get done sixteen years ago. The only real difference is, the situation from race relations to the national deficit has gotten much worse.

Several months ago, I arrived at the point where I could not stand the gridlock anymore. I did not want to associate myself with the Democrat or the Republican Party because each side wanted all of the credit for something good, but none of the blame for anything bad that happened.

I registered myself as an Independent Voter. This way, if the Democrats came up with a good idea, I could say, 'Nice  job,' without being scrutinized by Republicans. And if the Republicans came up with a good idea, I could say, 'Nice job,' without the feeling of my name being smeared on late night talk shows.

The animosity between the two Parties and their Supporters is so palpable, you cannot exist peacefully within that world. They do not seem to understand that every idea a Republican has or every idea a Democrat has, is not a good idea. Some ideas are good, some, not so much. And some ideas are absolutely ridiculous. But if you support that Party, you cannot publicly suggest that one of the ideas of your own Party could possibly be wrong. You will be annihilated by your own. This is a huge problem.

Again, who will you vote for this November? Have you already chosen a candidate? What was your biggest takeaway from last night's debate?

My biggest takeaway from last night's first debate is Donald Trump knows how to fix the country's financial problems including the trade deals. He is better qualified to do that, but on everything else, Hillary Clinton is better qualified.

Here's another problem: The National Debt is so out of control that if we don't fix it nothing else will matter, anyway. As a Nation, we're trillions of dollars in debt and when you don't have the money necessary to run a country, everything will come crashing down. Education. Military. Environment. Infrastructure. Health. The Arts. Space Exploration. You need money to run everything.

One term. I would give Donald Trump one term to fix the deficit. The crazy thing is, he is so protective of his name, his legacy, he would probably fix the national debt problem in one four-year term. Of course, the other problems would arise outside of the financial aspect. His temperament is atrocious. It is especially problematic because everyone knows his temperament is atrocious. Leaders of entire countries will bait him like Clinton baited him last night and, my gosh, get rid of one problem to invite several more.

On the other hand, Clinton is a bit of a mystery to me. She seems to align herself with profitable opportunities from high-profile speeches to raising funds through certain events. She knows how to make money for herself and seems to bask in the glory of being the first woman Presidential candidate more than what is healthy for a person to do. She is better with laying out the details of what she wants to do, which does not necessarily translate into her going in the right direction.

At this point, my Vote would lean towards her because, 'publicly,' her temperament is better than Donald Trump's. There is clearly a veil there, however. Her temperament is not as good as her smile suggests. Yet, she knows how to show restraint, for the most part, publicly. Still, behind closed doors, I do not believe Hillary is as far off from where Trump is as people may think.

With that said, the final question becomes, which would you prefer: Someone who shows no restraint or someone who puts on a mask of restraint? Perhaps, the question can be altered: Do you prefer a next door neighbor who pretends to like you or a next door neighbor who says they do not like you to your face?

We are going to be stuck on an island with this person for four years. If you believe Hillary Clinton is not a pretender or involved in 'shady' (for lack of a better word) activities, then, I hope you are right. I just do not have a good feeling about her. As for Donald Trump, well, we all know where he is. Like him or not, there is no guessing game on where he stands, which would not be so bad if his temperament was better. -ECJ

Published by Eric Christopher Jackson