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You can always make a custom jQuery build that only has methods you need.
This would save space and time (since you don’t have to write it yourself).

Although I agree that jQuery might be overkill in a lot of cases, never forget that:

  1. jQuery standardizes cross-browser differences (and since there are many, many browsers, this is really time-consuming).
  2. Since jQuery is so widely used, the chance that a user hits their cache is incredibly high (which means they don’t have to download it).

I think jQuery is not that bad in most cases. I certainly use it in most of my projects, even though I normally only use it to do some very basic things, like toggling classes.