By Phillip Sharp
This current election marks a pivotal moment for our future as a country. For the past eight years our country has been run by President Obama who promised hope and change, but was unable to deliver it. The President chose to follow in the footsteps of Presidents like FDR and George W. Bush and expand social programs. This has not worked as effectively as was hoped.
Now with this new election we are facing unparalleled partisan loyalty and hostility. A choice must be made, and it will be a hard one. I think that most people would agree that the crop of candidates in this race is less than appealing. The Democrat side of the campaign trail is a side that seeks to increase the size and scope of the government in an attempt to provide more benefits for the people of this country. They are trying to expand the government to proportions that it has never seen before. They seek a political revolution with Bernie Sanders, and that means a whole new purposing for the government. The problem with this is that we have no way to finance it, it ignores many current problems, and it changes the role of the government in American society at every level.
On the Republican side of this campaign, the front-runner is (sigh) Donald Trump, a fairly horrible person all around. Unfortunately, Trump is more comparable to the kid who didn’t do the readings in class and is just winging it when the teacher asks him a question. To further this, Trump is not a conservative but rather a progressive economist with a bigoted social outlook. Donald’s plan involves increasing the size of the government, like the Democrats, but use that increased size to accomplish things like securing the border and insulating ourselves from the problems of the world. In stark contrast to that the conservative Republican candidates like Cruz, Rubio and Kasich are of the mindset that we must decrease the size of the government so that our people can live and exercise themselves freely. It recognizes the failures of the government that so often plague its attempt to commit to a helpful cause.
This is why it is vitally important for us at Sewanee to pay attention to this election. Taking away all of the rhetoric and the bluster of these candidates the key difference in political ideology is whether or not we should be a country based on liberty or dependency. Whether we should be a country that recognizes the failures and dangers of a big central government, or whether we should continue to expand without regard for the damage that large governments cause and deny the potential of a private market; that is the key difference between the two parties. I won’t tell you that the Republican Party is perfect or without faults (heck they very rarely adhere to this policy fully), but they are at least willing to work within the current system that we have to fix the problems that we face; rather than establish a whole new role for government that involves it in the everyday lives of the people of this country. Our little community here in Sewanee has recently felt the expansion of a big government with the recent rush of police activity throughout the campus, the increasing number of Honor Council hearings, and the overall changes in policy to shift greater control to the administration in an effort to create a uniformed goal for the future of the campus. Oversized bodies of governance, in any form, lead to disrespect for the individual, especially for a person with dissenting views. Therefore, vote Republican to support the individual and liberty that this country was founded to support, protect and affirm for everyone… just don’t vote for Trump.
By Bess Pearson
The election – where do I begin? I guess it’s first important to note that I feel this election more deeply than any before. Maybe it’s because I’m finally at an age that puts me in a position to have a say in who we elect as our next president, but mostly it’s because I am astounded by how truly scary the race has become. Feel free to disagree – I’m sure many will, but I fundamentally believe that within the span of a few short months America has entered this “danger zone” in which it is possible our next president will be both overwhelmingly racist and classist. Potentially experiencing the huge cultural shift in going from a black president to one who consistently marginalizes the black community is equally ironic and frightening.
Aside from the looming fear of Trump ending up in office (#MakeAmericaDrumpfAgain), this race has magnified some interesting divides, specifically within the democratic party. I can’t remember the last time I saw so many liberals attacking other liberals, whether it be on my Facebook feed, in the comment section below a New York Times article, or just talking with friends. Sexist Hillary memes are circled around by Bernie supporters and claims that we must elect a woman are published by Hillary supporters. In some ways it has become this competition not only between candidates, but between voters in the democratic party to see who can be the most liberal. And while it’s frustrating to me to see so much conflict within the party before such a critical election, my hope is that people will feel passionate enough about their chosen candidate to bring their opinions to the polls.
At the end of the day, whether it be Bernie Sanders or Hillary Clinton who receives the democratic nomination, the party must reunite and be truly proud of the candidate we put forward. One, a powerful female who has both raised an incredible family and served as secretary of state. The other, a Jewish, socialist-leaning former congressman. Both represent a way to continue the upward trajectory of social progress within the presidency and that’s something to fight for. These are two radically liberal candidates who each have the power to create a better America for all of us, and it is up to us to give them the opportunity to prove themselves.
It is important to note that the democratic party has historically suffered not because it lacks in popular support, but because the support within communities does not translate to support at the polls. Therefore, I encourage all voters – especially Sewanee students – to not only to help caucus for your party before the election, but to get yourself and your friends to the polls on election day. It’s so easy to get caught up in the Sewanee bubble and forget the impact the outside world can have on us and vice versa. At the end of the day, who we elect to lead our country can impact crucial issues regarding student loans, reproductive rights, tax laws, and immigration. Each vote matters, so make sure you make it out there to cast your ballot and put your party in the best position to win the 2016 election.