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CB Students Weigh In On the Presidential Election

Whether or not you’re of age to vote, the upcoming 2020 election is extremely important. You will be directly affected by the outcome of this election, whether it’s the effects of climate change, Covid-19, racial or socioeconomic inequalities, or one of the countless other issues plaguing our nation. Climate Change Policies to benefit the future […]

Whether or not you’re of age to vote, the upcoming 2020 election is extremely important. You will be directly affected by the outcome of this election, whether it’s the effects of climate change, Covid-19, racial or socioeconomic inequalities, or one of the countless other issues plaguing our nation.

Climate Change

Policies to benefit the future of our planet are a huge factor for many young voters deciding between the two candidates. While neither of the candidates are what Young Progressives leader Elizabeth Ann Ajiduah (’21) had hoped for, she believes Democratic nominee Joe Biden is the better choice.

“Biden has a good plan, Trump doesn’t believe climate science is actually a thing, so Biden is way better in that scenario,” she claims. “[Biden] is also talking about things like a jobs guarantee, like offering new jobs, working on infrastructure, and all of that stuff”

Young Conservatives leader Jacob Schnetz (’21) views climate change in a different light.

“The climate is always changing throughout the time of the earth. It’s gone from Ice Age, heat wave and a whole bunch of things like that, so it might just be a heat wave with it. But then with the United States we have had the lowest carbon emissions,” he asserts. “With fracking, we have been able to use the natural gases to reduce CO2 emissions — Biden and Harris have been opposed to fracking”

In order to gain more knowledge on the pressing issues of the upcoming election I reached out to CB’s AP Government instructor Mr. Vince Leporini.

“It’s difficult to talk about any sort of climate change policy unless the whole community is involved,” he says. “We are a little bit contradictory — we want to stop the impact of climate change if you are on the more liberal side, but not pay more for a lot of products.”

Covid-19

The Coronavirus has affected everyone’s life in one way or another. The virus has become highly politicized in the U.S., causing it to be a deciding factor in the upcoming presidential election.

Giacomo DelPiero (’22) and Brooke Koenig (’22), leaders of the Young Conservatives, are confident in Trump’s handling of the Coronavirus.

“Donald Trump imposed a travel ban in March and he was called by the Democratic nominee Joe Biden a racist and a xenophobe, and he was saying that he was fear mongering over the fact that he was trying to keep cases down by imposing the travel ban,” Giacomo asserts. “It wasn’t until April or may that Joe Biden said that Trump’s travel ban was a good idea.”

“I think Trump has a done a good job with giving out stimulus checks and providing the states with extra healthcare equipment,” Brooke says. “Trump’s vaccine plan will be the quickest anyone has created a vaccine for a virus”

The junior also praises Donald Trump’s economic policies.

“The economy dropped when we had to shut down the country, but Trump has brought back the economy day by day. He has created millions of new jobs even with restrictions placed on the economy from Covid”

Young Progressives co-president Kamron Soltani (’21) is critical of the way Donald Trump has handled the Covid-19 virus.

“It is quite evident that the virus did come from Wuhan, China, but most of the viruses that we saw in the US actually came from Europe — that is statistically proven by Pew Research,” Kamron says. “The fact that we have a president that is scapegoating the Asian-American community is awful. He didn’t make masks mandatory in federal buildings — he’s fighting science. I think that’s the worst thing — he is clashing with Dr. Fauci and other officials.”

While Kamron condemns Trump’s handling of the virus, he is optimistic for Biden’s plans.

“Joe Biden, for example, is going to try and make masks mandatory at federal buildings, so that’s a start. He is going to make sure he listens to science, unlike Donald Trump. He is going to make sure its safe for us to return”

Mr. Leporini thinks that the politicization of the virus has a negative effect of the US population.

“I think that pandemic has been highly politicized and used as a weapon politically. I think it is distracting from a lot of the other issues,” he says. “There is a huge economic factor to this — we have basically had an economic shutdown for months, and that’s going to have huge ramifications on what people consider the American Dream”

Healthcare

The importance of healthcare is especially prevalent in the midst of Covid-19. Young Progressives co-president Christopher Hoang (’21) shared his outlook on the candidates plans for the future of healthcare.

“Basically Donald Trump does not have a healthcare plan if we are being honest” Christopher says. “When Republicans had the House, the Senate, and the presidency, they tried to pass like five or six different plans, but they couldn’t pass any because they didn’t have support from their own party.”

“Meanwhile, if we look at Joe Biden’s healthcare plan, he believes in a public option. In other words, a public option is when there is a government funded option or a private option. So if you want to keep your private insurance, you can have your private insurance. If you prefer your public funded option, lets say Medicare for example, then you can be on Medicare”

Kamron is in agreement with Christopher and expresses his concern that, “especially during a pandemic, right now Trump’s healthcare plan does not cover preexisting conditions, and if you have Covid, that will be considered a preexisting condition in the future, so his plan is not really inclusive, and it’s not really fair for workers and the middle class”

However, Brooke and Giacomo disagree.

“I think Trump has changed a lot in the healthcare system to make it better and more affordable,” Brooke says. “When you want universal healthcare, you are essentially increasing taxes on the middle class and lower class”

“[Biden’s campaign] estimates that the individual income tax rate will increase up to 39.6% in order to raise $150 billion,” Giacomo says. “I think something that most conservatives are against is the fact that it’s going to raise taxes”

“The cost of Biden’s new proposals will lower the Medicare eligibility age. He said that in April he was going to lower it from 65 to 60 and this will approximately cost $200 billion over a decade”

Mr. Leporini has a holistic outlook on the importance of healthcare in our society.

“We are seeing with this pandemic, much like the public school system, that it is in everyone’s interests for the majority of citizens to have healthcare at some level because it has an impact on society as a whole,” Mr. Leporini says. “We have so much more knowledge of modern medicine, but that creates the expectation of what is necessary versus what is optional — I think that is more of the discussion.”

Racial Inequalities

Jacob thinks Trump has been forceful in denouncing hate in the U.S.

“Trump has denounced white supremacy on six different occasions, he designated the KKK a domestic terrorist organization, and that he does not like hate groups and that most of the hate does come from the left”

After a summer of tensions in the U.S., Elizabeth is not optimistic for the future of racial equality under either candidates.

“Again I am pessimistic for both of them, but on Donald Trump’s side, he won’t even condemn white supremacy because white supremacy makes up his base,” Elizabeth tells me. “I personally don’t like the law and order aspect that both candidates are doing because that has such a racist history, especially in this country.”

“I do understand that people want to condemn the destruction of property, but throwing the Black Lives Matter organization under the bus is never the way to go and will never be the way to go”

Immigration

Whether you think we need to strengthen our border security or create an easier path for people who want to immigrate to America, it is safe to say that the United States immigration system can use some improvement.

“Donald Trump said he was going to build a wall and make Mexico pay for it,” Christopher says. “He did none of those things, and we ended up getting into a whole tariff war with Mexico and only like three miles of new wall are built.”

“In terms of the separation at the border, I think that is awful the fact that he is putting all of these asylum seekers in camps and then they are separating families. I don’t know how to explain how bad this is” Christopher says. “Yes, Obama created the camps, but Donald Trump and his administration have been so much worse with the amount of time people have spent there”

Kamron has a similar outlook and believes xenophobia to be a main issue in the U.S. immigration system.

“For Biden as well, they don’t necessarily have great immigration plans and they are both conservative in their immigration, and I think most of America is, but the problem with that is that you allow more white people to come in this country disproportionately than Asians or African-Americans, so when people start scapegoating Mexicans, Latinos, and Asian-Americans basically for taking the jobs, there are always going to be jobs in the society that some people just don’t want to do, and it is unfortunate how it is”

“The person who is like ‘I will employ you’ is the person that makes conditions that the most vulnerable people have to take,” Elizabeth asserts. “Rather than blaming immigrants, how about we talk about improving our work laws.”

“In terms of the arguments that immigrants take jobs, there have actually been some academic studies done on this, and that is not necessarily true, because when immigrants usually come here and work, they spend money in the economy, which eventually creates more and more jobs in the long run,” Christopher adds. “If you are in favor of legal immigration, then wouldn’t you want to make the immigration system a little easier, so people can immigrate more?”

The leaders of Young Conservatives and Young Progressives have clashing opinions yet again.

“Legal immigration is good, and it makes good diversity in our country, but we want strong border control,” Jacob says. “Build a wall, and if you want to come into the country, you are going to have to come in legally.”

“We feel that you must go through the process in place like any other legal immigrant. We have a system in place for that, otherwise we feel like it’s cutting the line, and it’s disrespectful to those who have gone through that system and have gone through that process to become a legal immigrant” Giacomo states. “Border security is something that we all advocate for, so just having secure borders and making sure that we are actually letting in people that are going to bring something and are going to continue and add something positive to the American population”

Giacomo also defended Donald Trump’s immigration policies.

“Donald Trump only continued putting kids in cages and separating them at the border for a short time due to making sure that they were not victims of sex trafficking,” Giacomo claims.

Mr. Leporini sees the topic of immigration from all sides.

“In my opinion, any kind of attempt to build walls or limit immigration has not addressed the demand why immigration is a push factor for individuals or the pull to America, there is going to be some way that immigration happens if there is more demand than the existing channels to immigrate,” Mr. Leporini says. “We like to espouse that America is the land of opportunity, but then get confused on why individuals might want to come here”

“I can see the perspective that even like CB, there is a reason that we have a limited number of tuition and limited number of spots — airplanes have limited number of spots. I get that logical mindset that if there is a finite resource, then you want people to go through the proper channels” he states. “Reforming the immigration policies becomes difficult because there are a lot of politically motivated ideas too of how you label refugees, student visas, work visas. There are all sorts of different ways you can really skew the numbers.”

Through talking to these students, I learned that no matter what your opinion is, you need to make your voice heard. Whether or not you are 18, it is beyond important to educate yourself on the issues our country is dealing with. Take time to learn, listen, and speak out.

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