I am writing this in response to Evan Beck’s perspectives article on the election. I want to be clear that I have nothing against Evan nor people who agree with him. I agree that this election is one of the most heated in U.S. history.Like Evan, I think this is probably due in part to the distaste that most Americans have for both candidates. I don’t, however, think that this is either out of the blue, or something we should take lightly. You should read Evan’s perspective; he makes some good points.
However, there are bigger systems of both political corruption and tension, as well as systematic oppressions at play. In 2008, the U.S. presidential election resulted in the first African-American president and the first non-white president in U.S. history. Many Americans say that this is a clear sign that we are living in a post-racial America.
However, racial tension has come to the forefront in many communities recently. Beginning with protests and tensions in Ferguson, Missouri and continuing even this summer with a series of shootings and uprisings, we’ve seen racialized violence brought to the forefront of political consciousness.
We’ve seen tensions surrounding sexual violence and women’s rights rising. We also see heightened awareness of an increasing class gap and economic disparity, tension around environmental issues and a general lack of assurance that the U.S. will be “alright.”
These issues are only examples of what continues to affect our country and society. Now, you may be asking, what does this have to do with the election? Some of you may be asking why we’re talking about sexism and racism and all these other -isms when they just don’t seem to be the issue. I hear all of you.
But to say that we should simply trust the system of checks and balances to check the power of the executive holds a certain level of privilege. This attitude says “the system works for me, and I can trust everything to work out in the end.”
Marginalized people who aren’t given a voice in government–undocumented immigrants, indigenous people fighting the pipeline and women and people of color–can’t say they trust a system that has consistently failed them.
The president is charged with important powers: veto and the ability to take military action. I don’t have time to delve into how this relates to systems of racism and oppression, but I encourage you to do your own non-partisan research. Find out where you actually stand politically, not just within the two party system either.
This election, we see two major candidates. Donald Trump, who says the solution to racial tension, economic disparity and sexism is to stop and frisk, build a wall and sexually violate women. It’s undeniable that there are people all over the U.S. and even on this campus who agree with him. It’s also undeniable that he is playing into the insecurities many Americans have.
Hillary Clinton, however, admits that she is a politician, she knows the system. But she sees the system as a solution to the problems we face in this country. This puts people off who distrust the system. But in comparison to Donald Trump’s inflammatory remarks, Hillary is at least nice.
It’s also undeniable that much of the flack that she’s gotten this election season is aimed at her gender. Her acquisition of political power is attributed to her being corrupt. She’s called a “nasty woman” as the basis for not voting for her, and her stamina is questioned even though she has the experience.
The election does matter. Whether you believe that your vote doesn’t matter or that not voting is a form of protest. Whether you trust the system or you’re in between the parties and feel underrepresented. It’s important that you go out and vote. Vote locally, vote federally, vote if it doesn’t matter and vote if you trust the system.
But beyond that, get concerned. Research how the system silences certain voices. Don’t just take my word for any of this. Even if you disagree with me, you should speak up because the federal government does affect you.