Decision 2016: Chimes endorses presidential candidate

Editorial

The United States finds itself at a crossroads.

The Democratic and Republican Parties have nominated two of the most disliked and distrusted presidential candidates.

While the choice between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump is not ideal, it is one of immense consequence.

For many college students across the country, this is the first presidential election for which they are eligible to vote.

Turnout among 18- to 24-year-olds has historically been the lowest, and the constant bombardment of attack ads and empty rhetoric from both candidates threatens to drive this number even lower.

While the temptation is certainly strong, the Chimes urges the campus community not to give up on this election.

Voting for a third party may seem like a convenient exit from the problems of the two party system, and in an ordinary election, such a principled stand would be welcomed. But this is no ordinary election.

As the nation has transitioned from the primary season to the general election, our discussion has shifted from the issues to the candidates themselves.

Make no mistake, this election is not about Republican or Democrat, liberal or conservative, it is about who has the appropriate temperament to be president.

Clinton has spent decades in the national political realm, from first lady, to senator, to Secretary of State. No other candidate in this election is more familiar with the art of politics than she.

Trump has a mixed record as a businessman and has made a household name of himself as an entertainer. He prides himself on his ability to make deals.

The contrast between the two candidates is quite visible in terms of foreign policy.

Clinton is familiar with world leaders, she values diplomacy and she understands the impacts of U.S. foreign policy, both at home and abroad.

Trump disrespects U.S. allies, sees no problem with nuclear proliferation and would hold an entire religion responsible for the actions of a few.

While Clinton has certainly been a war hawk, she is no fool.

The difference between their respective qualifications may not be enough to sway many Republican hardliners, but the real danger of a Trump presidency is not his inexperience, but his demagoguery.

He has attacked Muslims, immigrants, blacks, Latinos, women and even people with disabilities. He appeals to fear and emotion rather than fact or reason.

Nations are bound to change, be it demographically, technologically, or economically, and those displaced by such change often feel that their country has left them behind. This is the fear upon which Trump preys. He is nothing more than an opportunist.

Many of Trump’s supporters praise him for “speaking his mind” and “telling it like it is.” They admire him because he says the things they are too afraid to say.

To be clear, the censorship of ideas is never good, even categorically false ones, but the purpose of a democratic system is to allow ideas to conflict so that the best ones can advance to the top. Trumps very candidacy perverts this pursuit.

If we elect a man who espouses such deep hatred and prejudice, the effect will be catastrophic.

Women, disabled individuals, and minorities both ethnic and religious will experience widespread dehumanization. Children will learn who to value and who disregard, who to treat as persons and who to treat as objects.

By no means do we live in a utopia with full social equality, but we have made progress, and we must not throw it away in a single election.

Clinton is not free of controversy. No politician is. She has lied, misremembered, bent the truth, and exercised poor judgment. Her use of a private email server and attempted cover-up was reckless.

But to equate her past mistakes with the very current transgressions of her opponent is a gross miscalculation.

We must ask ourselves who is more dangerous. Of course, no one wants to vote for the lesser of two evils, but it is far too late to change this reality, and the consequences of a Trump presidency far outweigh concerns of party or platform.

This election is not about the issues upon which Republicans and Democrats disagree, it is about the values of our nation, the education of our children, and our place in the world.

If Trump is elected to the nation’s highest office, the subsequent sociopolitical stratification will root itself deep, and it will take generations for the nation to recover.  

For these reasons, the Chimes endorses Hillary Clinton for president and urges the campus community to stand up for the values of freedom and equality that our nation so often preaches.

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