Editor’s Letter: Caught in Between

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Photo by Luxe Palmer

By Luxe Palmer, Co-Editor-in-Chief

Dear Readers,

We all know exactly how stressful 2020 has been. I hardly need to list the tragedies and struggles we’ve had to walk through, what with the pandemic, wild fires, police brutality conflicts, and most especially, the presidential election.

From what I have witnessed, this has been one of the most contested elections in a long time. Many political spectators have commented that the political parties have polarized themselves dramatically in the last four years; a vast majority of people who supported Trump four years ago stubbornly support him today, regardless of any of his actions, good or bad, while people who supported the Democratic candidate in 2016, Hilary Clinton, are very likely to support Biden, their views being just as stubborn. The party system has become increasingly toxic, with supporters of either side condemning the opposition for their views, tearing down yard signs and flags. From my view, the American political system has become poisoned with cocksure opinions, intense hatred for the other side, and the lack of a presidential candidate everyone can peacefully agree on.

As you may know, the Bear Truth Editors-in-Chief endorsed Joe Biden for the United States President. Both my Co-Editor Amber and I agreed with his policies on LGBTQ+ and women’s rights, immigration, reproductive rights, and climate change. When you believe in the majority of a candidate’s policies, it makes sense to vote for them. But one aspect that has presented itself so plainly in this election especially is character. If the character, personality, and morality of the candidate is unappealing, but his policies are agreeable, does that make them the right choice?

Take Joe Biden for example. He has great plans for police brutality response, clean energy, and feminism. Now take in mind Donald Trump. To many people, one thing that stands out to them is his abominable comments against women, minorities, immigrants, and veterans, as well as over twenty sexual assault allegations. The thing is, Joe Biden is guilty of similar sins. He has said multiple ignorant and judgemental remarks about minority communities, such as “if you have a problem figuring out whether you’re for me or Trump, then you ain’t black,” and “you cannot go to a 7-Eleven or a Dunkin Donuts unless you have a slight Indian accent. I’m not joking!” He has been called “creepy Uncle Joe” for sniffing women’s hair, such as the case with former Nevada Representative Lucy Flores. Flores stated that when Biden sniffed her hair and kissed the back of her head, it wasn’t inherently sexual, but it made her extremely uncomfortable. Republicans have brought up the multiple times Biden has weirdly touched women and girls, smelled their hair, or whispered into their ear.

What I’m getting at is that both candidates, Trump and Biden, are creepy older men with outdated perspectives, especially on the patriarchy. This isn’t a good situation when you’re trying to vote for president. And as a feminist myself, it’s incredibly disheartening and worrisome that either option does not have a good reputation of respecting women. So who should I choose?

I am 17, so I am not quite eligible to vote yet. But as a Co-Editor-in-Chief of a public news site, I have the position to be able to sway people in one of the most contended debates yet. This is a huge amount of responsibility, which I gladly accept because I want to use my position of influence to better the world in any way I can. But how can I better the world when I cannot decide between the means of bettering it? I’m terrified of persuading our readers in one direction and having that direction blow up in our faces. And to be completely honest, there’s a viable risk of explosion with either party. Joe Biden is threatening to raise taxes, which could affect me and my family considerably, and Donald Trump might not be able to get the coronavirus pandemic under control.

Writing this editorial has truly exposed me to how our political system in America works: “choosing the lesser of the two evils.” As I researched more and more into each candidate, I had more and more information, opinions, statistics, and stances to balance. My thought process sounded a bit like this:

“Okay, I like the sound of Biden’s Violence Against Women Act renewal.”

“But his tax policies could really harm my family and other families.”

“Oh, look at how Trump helped the economy grow after he adopted it from Obama. That looks alright…”

“But look at all the sexual assault allegations and disgusting comments he’s made!”

“Oh my God, that’s horrible. Don’t vote for Trump; vote for Biden.”

“Well, now look at all the weird and rude things Biden has said and done. Don’t ignore those!”

And this isn’t even including pressure from social media, my peers, my family, and the dozens of news sources I’ve looked at. (On that note, as a journalist myself, it’s so disappointing to find that the news organization you follow must align with your political views; if you are a Democrat, you typically watch CNN and curse the name of Fox News; if you are a Republican, its the other way around. We need a completely unbiased, central view on news events that both parties can watch to see all sides of the story- not just the sides they want to see.)

When I first agreed to write a presidential endorsement editorial, I had no idea the amount of stress and overwhelming indecisiveness that was packaged with it. I’m caught in the middle, unable to understand which choice is correct, and to be honest, I’ve come to the conclusion that neither Biden nor Trump is the right choice for America. What now, though? Third parties never win, and there’s less than a month until the election. The people of America must choose between these two very much imperfect choices to elect who will be the next leader of our country for four years.

If you aren’t staunchly Democrat or Republican, liberal or conservative, left-wing or right-wing, you might be feeling what I’m feeling: caught in between. The pressure on either side of you feels like they’re crushing your mental health and basic functioning thought into oblivion. You agree with some of each side but disagree with another part. When it comes to checking the box on that ballot, you’ve had actual nightmares. You constantly have the song “This Is Hell” by Elvis Costello running through your mind.

It seems too often we hear the colloquialism “lesser of the two evils,” but I find it to be a perfect descriptor of the situation we’ve been put in. Both candidates have their faults, but in the end, you must choose one. You must vote. If I could vote, yes, I’d vote for Biden. It takes a lot of time and work to properly weigh out each candidate’s strengths and faults, but to be a properly educated voter, it is completely worth it. When you vote, you may not be 100% confident in your decision- if you are, I envy you- but you can be 100% sure you have balanced out the information and made an educated decision that you agree with. I’ve done the necessary research, and quite a bit extra, for this editorial, and I’m glad for the results. I may not love all of Biden’s qualities, but at least I know that I have thoroughly analyzed each candidate and made my decision based on it.

I think Lemony Snicket said it best:

“In a world too often governed by corruption and arrogance, it can be difficult to stay true to one’s literary and philosophical principles.”

I’m writing this to let you know that you are not alone. Being someone who is coauthoring an editorial endorsing one of the candidates, it seems reasonable that I should probably know what I think. But I think we all need to learn that it’s okay not to know what to think. This society is overrun with the idea that you must have a strong opinion on every topic, from abortion to gun rights to taxation, and if someone does not agree with you, they are wrong. For goodness sake, learn to respectfully disagree with someone and still like them afterward. Do not let political parties and views tear your family, friend group, neighborhood, or any relationship in two. Learn to become an independent thinker. Research both sides and form your own opinion. Take other people’s opinions into account, but do not let them dictate over yours. Learn to be okay with not being able to decide and not wanting to decide. Learn to prioritize your mental and emotional health when you get overwhelmed.

And most importantly, learn to love your neighbor, even when they do not share the same opinions as you.

Sincerely,

Luxe Palmer

Co-Editor-in-Chief of the PRHS Bear Truth