With the Iowa Caucus taking place this past Monday, election season has finally begun—if you don’t count the previous 3 years, that is.

Election season essentially begins following the presidential election in November when we all begin talking about who is going to run next and who has the best chance to call the White House home.

Escaping the rhetoric of politics is impossible, even if you are an international student. Classmates, friends, family members: seemingly everyone is talking about politics. Lines are drawn generally between two parties, the Republicans and the Democrats, with most taking a firm stand on a certain side.

Politics is a subject that can provide good, healthy discussions between people, but can also generate a strong amount of hateful speech. The media covers certain candidates more than others seemingly because of the ridiculous sound bytes they generate, and it feels like less emphasis is being put on the actual issues at this point.

The election feels more like a reality show than an actual election for the head of state.

I, Luis, went home for Christmas break, which coincided with the elections in Spain and I witnessed the contrast between the United States and Spain.

In Spain there are four main parties with ten smaller parties who generate votes, opposed to the two dominant party system in the United States. After a tough political time in Spain, the election process is focused more on improving the country through working together than fighting between parties, which leads to an extreme divide among those in power.

The entire election season takes roughly a year for completion. In my first year in the United States, I experienced the election from a different area of the country, where the reactions against President Obama were strong.

The transition to Goshen has provided a very different experience this time around from 4 years ago.

I, Seth, am consistently disappointed by our overblown political season. In an interview with Stephan Colbert on the Tonight Show in September of 2015, John Oliver said he didn’t care about Donald Trump because “it’s the 2016 election, and it’s 2015 right now so I don’t care until we’re in the same year as the thing I’m supposed to care about.”

This sums up my current feeling about politics perfectly. The overblown coverage over the “Race for the White House” is beyond off-putting. Granted, the debates provide some amusing quotes in between all the shouting and mudslinging, but the circus-like state of political races is embarrassing to witness.

It’s great to hear people talking about the issues because that’s what the election should be about, just make sure to do it civilly and not tear others apart for their opinions should they differ from yours.