Why We Must Vote – The Millennial Point of View

Why We Must Vote – The Millennial Point of View

Supreme Court Justice, Ruth Bader Ginsburg passed away on Friday, the 18th.  If I’m being completely honest, when the notification texts came through from my mom, aunt, and grandma, I didn’t understand what that meant for our country.  And if I’m being even more honest, I still don’t fully, but I have learned what the term ‘filibuster’ means. 

Politics has never been my “cup of tea,” which is not to say I don’t care about social issues or electing people into office that align with my beliefs, it’s just that I never dug deep into how our system works.  I grew up knowing what party my family was registered for, and I decided, ‘yes, that way of thinking makes sense to me… I’ll vote that way when I’m able. ‘

Unfortunately, I was still too young to vote in the 2008 election, which means this year will be my third time going to the polls.  I mean, I’ll mail in my ballot, but I did elect to work at a poll station if they’ll have me… don’t worry, if selected, I’ll be in a full-on hazmat suit. 

That said, I’m sure many millennials and gen-z(r’s?) aren’t watching news every day… or, if they are, it may be one-sided.  If you lean Democratic, chances are, you’re watching MSNBC or CNN; if you align with the Republican side, you’re more likely to get your news from Fox, both of which reaffirm whatever we already believe.

In ‘The Social Dilemma’ documentary on Netflix, one of the Silicon Valley men (also, ew, why were they almost all men?) put it perfectly when he said, “how the fuck are the (insert political party) not understanding this?!” then followed up with a confirmation that algorithms were in fact designed to make sure we see things that ratify our position.

Side note – the way a select handful of tech-savvy people can pull strings and work to aid in political bias is astounding – if you haven’t watched the doc, I’m adding it to your to-do list.  

With that and the upcoming election, I wanted to make it my responsibility to connect with two people roughly the same age, that hold contrasting political beliefs.

I was fortunate enough to have two very close friends that not only align with different parties but have a strong passion for politics. 

PRAISE BE. 

You’ll likely notice I am not divulging my stance, which is intentional, as I want to remain completely unbiased for this piece.

Alright, I’ve got three plus hours’ worth of transcribing to do… let’s dive in. 

Oh, also, one more thing before we get started… during interviews, I typically like to paint a picture of the person’s mannerisms – the way both of us react to questions or anecdotes, but today you won’t get too much of that… one, in part, so you’re not reading for days, and two, so you’re reading their point of views for what they are, not about how tidy their house is (very, by the way).

As I interviewed Jordan first, there is where we shall start.

“Jordan, I’d like to start by talking about your political upbringing; did you grow up in a mostly Republican family?” I asked. 

“Actually I didn’t really grow up in a Republican or Democratic household, but it was more conservative,” she responded, taking a moment before continuing, “I was raised to work hard, be accountable for my actions, and by the principle that everyone should make money for themselves… we went to church every Sunday, so a lot of our beliefs stem heavily from our morals,” Jordan concluded. 

Hannah, your turn!  Spill the poli-tea… like politics-tea?  Nevermind…

“My dad was a registered Republican until Obama, and actually he might’ve still been when he voted in 2008, but regardless of his affiliation, he always voted based on candidate, not on party” she recalled. 

“He had conservative values, but he was more aligned with what the Republican party used to look like.”  She smiled before trying to recall what her mom’s political views were growing up, “I guess she never talked about her political beliefs,” Hannah shrugged.

Perfect – clear and precise!

That brings us to our first candidate question, which is, “In your opinion, what are some of Trump’s greatest accomplishments as the President of the US?”

Something that weighs heavily on Jordan are the horrors of human trafficking, which many people have heard so much about in 2020, especially after the Epstein documentary.  Honestly, who wasn’t appalled? 

“[It’s] down 96% since he’s been in administration… what were our former Presidents doing?” she wondered aloud expressing sincere concern.

“Just this week, President Trump’s administration announced, ‘the largest investment for human trafficking support services in US history… over $100 million dollars’ is what Ivanka said,” she offered.

“This is something I really admire about Trump; he comes through when he says he will. He’s been one of the only presidents in modern-America that has accomplished almost 100% of the things he promised the American people.”

We briefly discussed the politics behind human trafficking, including the rally that took place in Phoenix, where the majority of attendees were Republican.  Jordan and her husband attended as this is something very serious to both of them.

Wrapping up, Jordan wanted to share one more Trump accomplishment that she commends the President for.

“He’s created 4 million new jobs in America, which has in turn given us the lowest unemployment rate amongst Hispanic Americans, African Americans, Asian Americans, and women in our country. Obviously, that was before the pandemic and I think the media likes to focus on how our economy has tanked since then, and to be honest, no President (or person) could have predicted a virus spreading around the world and slowing the economy, so we need to focus on where it was before this virus hit… that’s huge,” she took a breath before stating he’s placed a lot of his focus on making sure the American economy does well, in America.

Which brings us into immigration.

“He wanted to close the borders to ensure citizens have the opportunity to succeed through employment.  It’s not that he doesn’t want people of different nationalities in our country – I mean, Trump’s wife is an immigrant … he just wants it to be done legally,” she pleaded.   

Matt [Jordan’s husband] isn’t a citizen of the United States; he goes through lawyers every two years, renews his Visa, he pays taxes…

“There’s no concern that he’s not going to be allowed to live here anymore… Trump isn’t kicking people out that are living the legal way,” she affirmed. 

Without prompting, she expressed the importance of what he’s done for our military.

“He’s made it the strongest it’s ever been because, God forbid, if there does come a time where we have to go to war, we are prepared to do that. But I believe he and President Carter are the only two Presidents that haven’t sent troops into war or into war zones… definitely look that up, but I think that’s right,” she stated.

**Fact Check** she’s correct – President Carter is noted to be the only other President that falls into said category.

“Another huge accomplishment that was just made by President Trump was the joint announcement with FEMA that they’re giving Puerto Rico $13 Billion in Federal funding for new infrastructure,” she looked down at her paper, eager to share the recent news.  The funding will also be put towards repairing Puerto Rico’s electrical grid and aiding in their education system.” 

Jordan concluded by mentioning his defeat of ISIS. “For some reason, that victory gets overlooked all the time; it was such a big deal and I have so much admiration for his ability to get that done.”

Annnnnnd, over to you Miss Marcum – tell us what you believe Biden’s greatest accomplishments are:

I want to preface this candidly by saying I did not vote for him in the primary,” she started assuredly, “but we are where we are.  I feel very comfortable in the fact that he has a Vice Presidency under his belt since we’re experiencing a lot of the same things we were in 2009.” 

“It is a little tough to identify which were specifically Biden’s victories, so a lot of what I want to talk about are his plans for our future, but, I will say, he was in charge of maintaining transparency for the Recovery Act in 2009, having responsibility for $800 billion and in the end, I think there was a confirmed ‘waste’ of 1% which is incredible,” Hannah offered.

“He was also supportive of the Paris climate agreement which was designed to disperse $2 trillion over four years to shift jobs into clean energy,” she shook her head, “the fact that we left that is insane… it was going to create so many jobs.” 

“Biden and his wife, Jill, also founded the Biden Foundation which emphasized seven different issues, including foreign policy, community colleges, equality, and protecting children.”

“Oh, and he co-sponsored and championed the Violence Against Women Act in 1994.  The Act created the first U.S. federal legislation acknowledging domestic violence and sexual assault as crimes…” she smiled calmly to express her appreciation. 

IMMIGRATION

“I think the line of ‘they’re taking our jobs’ is a really sweet way to be racist and I actually read that the total annual contribution of foreign-born workers is roughly $2 trillion… so many important pieces of the economy, from agriculture to technology, rely on immigration.”

“Seriously, his obsession with building a wall does nothing to address security challenges while costing taxpayers billions of dollars. Also, most contraband comes in through our legal ports of entry,” she noted.

“Biden plans to reverse the Trump Administration’s cruel and senseless policies that separate parents from their children at our border, reassert our commitment to asylum-seekers and refugees, and tackle the root causes of irregular migration,” her back straightened with confidence. 

 “No life is worth more than another in my book,” she appealed, “and it’s clear we built a system that oppresses minorities and continues to demonstrate how people DO NOT have the same opportunities, so telling them to just ‘go and work for it’ does not sit well with me.” 

Again, for the sake of time and so you don’t want to kill me for making this thing four hours long, we’re going to make a sharp right (get it? Republicans lean right?) into the next question.

What is Trump doing for our future that Biden isn’t?

“I would say that his focus is on America. Over the last twenty years, there have been so many jobs exported to other countries, which of course, then takes jobs away from Americans,” she responded.

“So, what about the many businesses that would go under because they can’t afford to pay everyone minimum wage, so they have a portion of their operation conducted outside the US?” I asked.

“I’m not saying don’t outsource anything… it’s just that if we continue sending everything overseas, in twenty years, what will that look like for us? That’s something we all need to think about when voting in November,” she nodded confidently.

Before moving on, she noted that Trump may not be every Republican’s ideal candidate, but in her opinion, his policies are in the best interest of Americans. “It’s not as if you’re having him over for Thanksgiving… you’re voting for what you want your future to look like.”

Hannah, you’re up!  What can Biden do for our future that Trump can’t?

“Alright, here’s where we can really get into it,” Hannah smiled, “for me, right now, it’s like just pick a crisis you want to be most concerned about and you’ll see Biden’s detailed plan on how to tackle it.” 

“He intends to expand Obamacare, taking it a few steps further by giving Americans more choice with public health insurance like Medicare, reducing healthcare costs, and making the entire system easier to navigate,” a sense of ease washed over her. 

“I know the Biden-plan is to have net-zero emissions by 2050, which can certainly change based on future elections, meaning he obviously won’t be president until 2050, but that’s another thing we need to remember… that nothing changes overnight; policy implementation is a slow process, so we’re voting for what we want our future to look like.”

She took a sip of water before continuing, “this is where I see a huge division between modern-Republicans and Democrats… Democratic candidates tend to appreciate investing in policies that will benefit the country on a long-term basis, and I think Biden really aligns with that kind of vision.”

I nodded, as I recognized she had more in the tank. 

“I also really think he’ll make good choices as far as cabinet goes, which is another thing voters need to remember… the importance of a balanced house and senate… it doesn’t exactly apply to your question, but just go with it.  The appointees control the biggest departments in the federal government, and I’m sure Biden would make solid choices for these positions,” she paused. “Though, with the new supreme court nomination lingering, who knows what’s going to happen… rest in peace, RBG,” her hands pressed together.  

And with that, here we find ourselves, at yet another question. We’re more than halfway through, guys, we can do this, I promise!

Jordan, is there anything you dislike about Trump or his policies?

 “Well, let me start by saying, regardless of whether you have your ideal candidate running for office, there’s always going to be something you disagree with. It would be naïve to think otherwise,” she offered.

I nodded.

“Yeah, I think we can all agree with that – we’re humans, we’re flawed… but let me put it this way; if you were Trump’s advisor, what, if anything, would you tell him to do differently?”

She took a moment to consider… “Well, I definitely think his Twitter rants are a downfall for him, but I also agree in a way, because he tweets to make sure the news isn’t the only outlet sharing a narrative… honestly, I think more power to him for speaking his mind – freedom of speech. Seriously, one of the things I respect most about him is that he just is who he is. Sure, do I think he could adjust some of the things he says? Yes… but I do believe he’s well-intentioned,” she asserted.

“I have to address the ‘grab her by the pussy’ comment because it somehow became a staple of his, that people [on social media] have asked about, so if you had a child, what would you tell them if they asked you about it?” I questioned.

“I would say it’s the equivalent of Joe Biden saying ‘if you’re not voting for me, then you ain’t black… and to be perfectly honest, I don’t recall the context of Trump saying that but historically, there have almost always been sexual harassment allegations against Presidents, so I would redirect the focus onto what he’s done and what he’s doing for our country,” she suggested, following up with what he’s done to help women succeed.

“He’s kept women in very high paying jobs in all of his businesses, he’s had women as CEO’s, and he appoints many women to high-ranking positions…” she answered.

Hannah, what don’t you like about Biden or his policies?

“Biden’s definitely said some things… the difference for me is that he’s addressed them and taken ownership for his failings, which, let me remind you, he’s been serving the American people for over 50 years… that’s a lot of years!”

“But, back to the actual question… he told a guy that if he voted for Trump, he wasn’t black, which is obviously NOT okay, but he did address it head-on in an interview with Kamala, taking responsibility for his actions,” she acknowledged. 

“Also, back in the 70’s, he said they went too far with Roe v. Wade, which he has since rescinded.” 

“Lastly, I was on board with Bernie’s plan of Medicare for all, so I suppose you could say that’s the policy I don’t align with, but I do have faith his [Biden’s] expansion of Obamacare will be more beneficial than what’s currently happening,” Hannah concurred.

And with that, we’re on to our next question: Do you think the President’s actions are well-modeled for the future leaders of our nation?

“Yes. One of the things I really like about our party right now is the deep emphasis placed on family values… Trump signed an executive order to help working moms during the coronavirus. He has his daughter and sons working with him; he just shows how much he values family structure and that’s really important to me,” Jordan stated with dignity.

Hannah, do you think Biden’s actions are well-modeled for the future leaders of our nation?

“I do.  I see Biden as a caring, family-centered person. We’ve heard the stories of his wife and daughter passing away.  We’ve seen him being sworn into the senate in his sons’ hospital room.  During his Vice Presidency, he lost his son to cancer and I think his experience goes to show that he really understands human hardship. I think that’s a really important quality and not one thought about too often in politics. I truly believe him when he says that he will be an American President not a Democratic one and I think he will serve with the best interest of the entire nation, not just his supporters.”

Unnatural segue

Do you think Trump is capable of building bridges between people with differing ideas and opinions? If so, how?

“I do. He just signed the Abraham Accords Peace Agreement which is a treaty with Israel, and I believe, is the largest in the world. I know he [Trump] said the treaty could lead to real peace with the Middle East for the first time…” Jordan offered. “As for the divisiveness amongst Americans… I’m not sure; I think a lot of people have their minds made up about him, but if he wins, I hope he can work to bring people together.”

Do you think Biden is capable of building bridges between people with differing ideas and opinions?  If so, how?

“Yes, Biden has a history of doing that in the Senate and as Vice President, he was known as being the deal maker,” she recalled, “he had three Republicans that he was notorious for making deals with in order to pass bipartisan legislation; I’ll be curious to see what that looks like all these years later,” Hannah pondered aloud. 

“The divides are just so much greater now, so I’m not sure if that’s even what I want anymore.  Do I want someone to reach across or do I want someone who just says, ‘we’re not compromising anymore?’”

For anyone reading that hasn’t made their mind up yet, what would you say to convince them that Trump is the right choice?

“I would just reiterate the importance of considering what you want your future to look like; think critically. Small communities will grow and blossom… he’s helping mom & pop shops – not just allowing the huge corporations to continue to blow up. He wants schools in good communities, he wants police to protect people, he wants affordable healthcare, he wants to lower prescription drug costs, he doesn’t want to increase taxes,” she responded with poise before continuing. “He loves America and he’s fighting for the people who love America.”

She went on to say, “I keep saying to all my clients… It’s crazy how at this point the mainstream media has convinced countless people to hate Trump when he has done SO much good for our country and the world. The man could cure cancer, AIDS, leukemia and he still wouldn’t get a good report from CNN or any journalist for that matter. It’s sad and it’s sick that any man should be ridiculed and hated this much. It’s unfair and unjust in my opinion and I hope people can look past all the noise they see and hear, and truly see what he has done for this country and what he’ll continue to do for this country. “

“Oh, and he’s also doing it for free,” Jordan reiterated, “many people don’t know that Trump has never taken a paycheck as President…. he takes everything that’s thrown at him and his family for FREE. I loved it when he said, ‘they’re coming after me because I’m fighting for you!’ I admire anyone that can take that much heat and not get paid to do the hardest job in the world. So snaps for Trump!”

Vollying over to you, Hannah – how would you convince an undecided voter that Biden is the right selection?

“My perspective on it, is that you have this vote… this one vote.  If you place that vote in the hands of Trump, you’re telling your children that you don’t care about their education, you’re telling a friend or family member that might be gay, that their rights don’t matter as much,” she implored.

“You’re telling women that decisions about their reproductive system can’t be made by them, which I have such a big problem with.  If the republicans get their way, it deeply impacts all women.  If the democrats do, it doesn’t affect anyone but the female making the decision,” she urged to consider that more deeply. 

“Also, I’ve been a part of so many community sessions that talk about how we can support Biden getting elected into office and there’s always such an emphasis on the positive. He plans to raise minimum wage, forgive a portion of student loans, and increase money to families and small businesses in the midst of this continued pandemic.”

“Lastly, he proposed policies that would cut back on incarceration and formulated a plan that would address inequalities with race, gender, and income within the justice system… our prison numbers are insane, so I’m happy to know he’ll be incentivizing states that work on lowering their incarceration rates and removing minimum sentencing. Also, I’m sure a lot of people would be pleased with the proposal to decriminalize marijuana,” she gave a smirk.

Okay, [guys], as the moderator, it’s my job to let you have any last words… the “floor” is yours.

Jordan smiled like she was raring to go. “One of the reasons I stand conservative is because I think they really live by the constitution; the constitution protects the people from the government, and it protects the government from taking over which is huge. We can’t have [them] making every decision for us… that’s never how it was designed to work,” she implored.

“I also think we need to not make it so personal and really focus on the candidate’s values and what they’re offering for the future of our country. Seriously, to be fully confident that I’m voting for what I believe in, I watched every minute of the RNC and the DNC… that’s A LOT of television!” she widened her eyes. “I’ve just heard so many people say, I hate Trump, or I hate the way he talks, so I’m not voting for him which is so sad… I’ve taken the time to learn about each Presidential Candidate and everything they stand for; yes, it’s time-consuming, but it’s our right and responsibility to do so.”

Hannah – give us your final word, girl.

“There can be real danger in not taking the time to dig into the platforms of both candidates. Seriously, pick a topic that you’re passionate about or something that will personally impact your life and research,” she started. “Regardless of how I look at Trump as a human being, I’ve also taken the time to really understand his policies to know that I vehemently disagree with almost all of them.”

“I know it’s not perfect, but we don’t have time to wait for something to be perfect, so at this point, I would just plead for everyone to make their voice heard and vote… and vote for one of these two candidates, because doing otherwise, in such a critical election really is a waste.  Election turnout always hovers around 59% of eligible voters… I really hope this time, we break the record.” 

In other words, please don’t vote for Kanye.

#RidinwithBiden

PHEW!

Guys, we’ve made it through – let’s give both candidates… oops, interviewees a virtual round of applause.

I realize at this point, you probably want to stop reading… I get it – I want to stop too so I can get back to the podcast I’m listening to about conspiracy theories, but dear God, don’t let the time we all spent on this be for nothing.

Please, vote in this election, and urge everyone you know to do the same – pretend you’re winning a prize for most Girl Scout cookies sold… whatever that prize is – a new badge?

Okay, maybe not the best goal… pretend like the more people you urge to vote, the less likely it is that you’ll see someone you don’t want to at the grocery store, thus prompting the internal ‘do I say hi or do I walk the other way?’ conversation that will ensue.

We are the generation that will make a DIFFERENCE.

VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE

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