Tessa Hughes is a journalism junior and a Mustang News opinion columnist. The views expressed do not necessarily reflect those of Mustang News.
With Nov. 3 rapidly approaching and the current state of our country, this year’s election may be one of the most pivotal to date, as many people’s livelihoods are on the line depending on who is elected to serve as our next president. Now, this time last year I didn’t think I would be advocating so hard for yet another straight, white, cisgender moderate male candidate (boooooorrrrrringggggg), yet here I am because I have to.
Like most other Americans, I have no other choice.
In this election, a vote for Joe Biden is so much bigger than just who is going to be our next president. We are voting for a completely new cabinet, a return to diplomacy, quality supreme court justices, a rejection of “Trumpism,” economic recovery, better public health and safety, pro-immigration and the first female Vice President.
The current cabinet cultivated by Trump has been less than effective over the years and is primarily self-serving. The Director of the Environmental Protection Agency Andrew Wheeler weakened environmental protections in the country in favor of the coal industry, recommended unsafe drinking levels in the water, ignored scientists and loosened various emission restrictions among other things. The list goes on for all the dangerous environmental impacts he has made for our country.
Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos grew up only attending private schools, consistently favoring them over public schools in her policymaking. Amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, she also pressured schools to reopen without a safe plan to do so, and threatened to cut their funding if they did not open.
Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, has effectively politicized his position, worsened the United States’ relationships with other countries. He is also underr investigation for speaking at the Republican National Convention, as no sitting Secretary of State has ever done spoken at a partisan event while serving in office.
Attorney General William Barr has not held the executive branch of the government accountable for any wrong-doings thus enabling an increasingly fascist presidency. Barr is currently being used as a weapon to combat Trump’s political enemies, not serving to protect the citizens of our country.
On top of all of this, nepotism is running rampant through The White House. Ivanka Trump is an adviser to her father, Jared Kushner, Trump’s son-in-law, serves as a senior adviser and Donald Trump Jr. has sat in on a plethora of Trump’s meetings that pertained to his issues with campaign collusion from other countries. Additionally, at the 2020 Republican National Convention, half of the notable speakers are related to Trump! Even his least favorite child is getting a chance in the spotlight (I’m looking at you Tiffany). Now, this would be different if any of his family had remotely any background in politics, but they have zero political experience, further proving his deliberate nepotism.
Biden, if elected, is promising a return to diplomacy. He wants to improve international relations the Trump administration destroyed. His platform hopes to do this through many avenues including ending the United States’ support for the war in Yemen, respecting the intelligence community rather than relying on Russia, making reparations with Mexico, France, Australia, Germany, Canada and the United Kingdom as well as reducing the tensions between Iran, North Korea and China.
The next president-elect will also get to nominate at least two Supreme Court Justices given the fact that Stephen Breyer is pushing retirement age and Ruth Bader Ginsburg died Friday, Sept. 18. If Trump is reelected, two young conservatives could be placed on the bench with the potential to serve for decades, potentially jeopardizing the protection of abortion, LGBTQ+ and workers’ rights.
Even on a federal level, Trump has nominated almost 200 judges, which is the second most in U.S history right behind Jimmy Carter, and he could continue to do damage as these nominations help further his selfish agenda at a national level
His agenda as president and the way he runs this country has become known as “Trumpism,” a new political ideology and style of government. The way he has conducted his job has undermined the constitution and tainted what was once a respectable job. His inexcusable actions include excessive force against protestors, defending white supremacists, silencing whistleblowers, withholding foreign aid in exchange for information, witness intimidation and abusing his political status to benefit his friends. He has also been spewing lies since his 2016 campaign and most recently lying to his people about the severity of the COVID-19 pandemic. By electing him out of office, we as a country are rejecting his ideals and everything he has come to represent.
Among his COVID-19 mishandling, the Trump administration provided bail-out loans to companies across the U.S. in attempts to alleviate the financial burden the crisis caused. However, as he has done with everything, he butchered this for personal gain. Multiple members of his family and friend’s businesses received these loans while hundreds of small businesses that actually needed the funding have shut down.
The Trump administration prides itself on creating a strong economy with a low unemployment rate, but the reality is that he inherited that economy the same way he has inherited everything else in his life, and just like with his past endeavors, he ran it into the ground.
Under the Biden administration, the economic plan “Build Back Better” Biden proposed will hopefully bring back five million jobs, reverse the Trump corporate tax cuts and revive American manufacturing.
Along with improving our economy, Biden is effectively working with past opponents Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders to create progressive health and environmental policies to make our country safer for its residents. These are two areas that have been severely neglected and gutted over the past four years, endangering the lives of every single American. Biden wants to ensure safety through acknowledging facts and science, supporting the funding of programs such as Planned Parenthood, understanding the significance of leading health organizations such as WHO and the CDC, combating climate change, repealing the Title X Gag Rule and emphasizing the need to build on the Affordable Care Act.
In addition to all the previously mentioned failed promises of Trump, one of his biggest promises — and one of the most racist and inhumane — was of the border wall and his immigration policies. Such immigration policies included undermining asylum, imposing immigrant “wealth” tests and reducing refugee admissions. The way Trump has guided ICE, handled immigration and frankly just people of color from outside countries is despicable.
Under Biden, those seeking refuge will be welcomed into our country in a humane, streamlined and dignified way, and the treatment of them established by Trump will be eradicated. It will be done so by eliminating the funding for the useless border wall, punishing ICE workers for inhumane treatment, protecting DREAMers and their families, ending family separation at the border and rescinding the “Muslim Ban.” He will also create workplace protections for immigrant workers, fast-tracking legal citizen status for children and essential workers as well as make it easier to attain citizenship for all immigrants, and, overall, modernize the U.S immigration system.
Finally, a vote for Biden is virtually a vote for Kamala Harris, who if elected, would become the first female, the first African-American, and the first Asian-American Vice President. Representation at that high of a political level would be revolutionary. It is true, Harris has a shady political history in regards to her time as a prosecutor, but it is rare to find a politician with a clean record. Trump just so happens to be one of the “untouchable” cases, while Democrats continuously get scrutinized.
This election is not the time to nitpick every flaw of Trump’s opposing candidates. The crimes Trump has committed and the way he has conducted himself over the past four years is disgusting and needs to be stopped.
This impending election is so much bigger than who is going to be our next president. It is about what legislation, policy, decorum and manner will be instilled and representing our country for the next four years. The presidency used to symbolize a leader that was a role model in our country, however, I don’t think that is the case anymore. To restore the dignity of the position, we need to restore the dignity of who is holding the title.
To claim political ignorance or to vote without regard for others is a luxury millions of Americans do not currently have. America was founded on selfish ideals, and this is the election to prove that we as a country are making progress to stray away from what is ingrained in our society.
As a country, we need a new cabinet, we need progressive health measures, we need regard for science, we need consideration of humanity, we need better decisions and policymakers, we need diversity and we need to think outside of ourselves.
2020 has been a disaster thus far, but Nov. 3 is our chance to change that. Show up and vote like your life depends on it — because it does.