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Be Careful What You Wish For, Mr. President

By Marisol Miller Richa ’22

Presidential candidates Joe Biden and Donald Trump (Photo Credit: CNN)
Presidential candidates Joe Biden and Donald Trump (Photo Credit: CNN)

I valiantly face the long line in front of me while pulling on my mom’s arm. It is November 8, 2016. The crowd has moved up, and I can almost see the cafeteria in front of me. The stark white walls and caged staircase offer little comfort to students normally, but today, with the tables and chairs pushed to the side and replaced by stations of volunteers, eleven-year-old me is horrifyingly reminded of a blood drive. I was terrified of needles.

We shuffle through the cramped space, pick up a ballot and a pen, and find an unused podium. I stare at the sheet of paper that my mother quickly scribbles on, filling in box after box while quietly answering my countless questions. She hands in the ballot and takes an “I voted!” sticker, pushing me outside to finally go home. My feet hurt, but I’m not complaining because I get to see how our democracy works.

On November 3, 2020, eleven-year-olds in America should get the chance to examine politics for themselves in person. Who knows if they will get this chance?

It’s no secret that this year is special, and not in a good way. We can’t come within six feet of each other, so how can we share pens or voting boxes? We can’t watch live debates or join rallies, so how do we know who to vote for? We can’t encounter a politician whose past isn’t riddled with sexual assault accusations or family drama.

President Donald Trump has held office like a president might on the set of a telenovela. His administration has been full of affairs and investigations that make me long to throw a drink in his face. Even so, in his eyes, all that seems to matter is that he’s the star.

The Trump 2020 campaign will aim to stir up this sort of drama in former Vice President Joe Biden’s past and present. They aim to sow doubt in Biden based on his dealings with China and his age, trying to secure the election through improper gossip.

I’ve spent the last few weeks thinking about the outcome of this election and what we, as Americans, are looking for in our next president. Leading up to election day in 2016, we seemed to want another ‘historical’ presidency; perhaps, we thought, this time, a woman could occupy the oval office. Instead, what we got was four years of a decision made by scared Americans: the decision to elect another white, cisgender, straight, male president. The choice to not take another step in the direction of change resulted in bad legislation.

So, this next election could be considered a ‘normal’ search for a standard political leader—one prone to signing bills and sticking within party lines. Biden has plans to tackle every American issue and call it part of his ‘vision.’ He has plans to change America, and this would be his chance to finally make a big difference. Third time’s the charm, right?

Sorry, Joe, but the next four years will be consumed by the need to re-invent our society to accommodate COVID-19. Questions like, “will we be able to spend time close together in movie theaters or swimming pools?will plague our thoughts. Everything will need to change: how we work, where we socialize, what we buy, and more. We need a leader who will be able to make educated decisions for the good of the country, someone who can answer the questions Americans are bound to ask.

Maybe this will be the goal of the 2020 election: find a leader who can and will walk our country safely through the trials of a pandemic. We should be looking for a leader to speedily rid this country of the pandemic, a leader who can make educated decisions and create policies that will eradicate COVID-19. Is this leader going to be our current president?

I am not here to pretend that I wouldn’t vote for President Donald Trump’s opponent, regardless of who that might be. When you’re raised by two liberals and sent to a liberal school, it’s practically second nature to despise Trump’s politics. But even without that, it’s easy to see why: he’s unintelligent, rash, and so sexist my blood boils. Many Democrats have always agreed with me, but now the numbers are rising both in and out of the party. It seems that he’s just glad to be in the headlines, but more and more people are seeing Trump in a new and sharply truthful light.

Trump still has his most dutiful Republican followers, yes, but his slow reaction to the pandemic has lost him significant popular support. Recently, Trump has been polling at 36%. Biden, whose “trustworthy” and intelligent persona has put him a whopping fourteen points above Pres. Trump, according to the New York Times.

Even so, evidence points to this election as a sort of referendum on Trump’s presidency. For much of the country, it’s not that Biden is very favorable as much as it is that Trump is very unfavorable.

The election seems to be headed towards a ‘will they or won’t they’ situation. Will America re-elect their fumbling ruler, or will they throw him out on the White House steps?

So maybe the genie has given him his final wish: for all eyes to be on him during this campaign. Regardless, electing the ‘acceptable’ candidate can’t be great for the country’s morale, but it isn’t Trump, so maybe we’ll all make it out of this alive, waving our dusty flags.


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