As another tumultuous presidential election comes to a close, I am once again astonished by the type of things that have become politicized in this country instead of being common sense or simple facets of human life.
Regardless of political party affiliation, everyone agrees that the United States Constitution is the rule of law, the foundation for the government. However, over time interpretations of various sections have been hotly disputed.
The final draft of the Constitution shares this timeless line, “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”
It seems rather straight forward; every person should be treated equally and share the same rights to be who they are openly and freely. Science should be believed and as a country, we should unite to help those struggling. In practice though, it hasn’t always been so simple. For many years this simple passage seemingly didn’t apply to minorities, to immigrants, to people of color, to women, or to LGBTQ+ members. Long ago people thought that 2020 would bring flying cars, but instead, we as a country have denied facts and science and have not yet been able to figure out how to give every person equal opportunity.
This country led by Donald Trump has denied the facts of science again and again. Both regarding the coronavirus pandemic as well as climate change. Political views, taxation laws, and the economy are all things that can be up for debate but debating scientific facts is simply illogical. Since science has proved that climate change is real then it’s our responsibility to act accordingly in big and small ways to take care of this country and planet that we live on. Since doctors and scientists can attest that the coronavirus pandemic is real and has so far killed over 200,000 Americans and is currently increasing in cases as a nation, we should take that seriously. Science proves that wearing a mask helps so the logical next step is to wear a mask. It’s the least we can do out of simple care for our friends, our family, and our fellow Americans.
If you could save someone’s life, simply by wearing a mask why wouldn’t you?
Looking back on this year it’s hard to miss the racial turmoil that has been present. On May 25 the video of George Floyd being held by a police officer putting his knee to his neck spread like wildfire on the internet. Thus, ensued Black Lives Matter marches and protests fighting for justice and equal treatment for people of color. During this time news came to light of the fatal shooting of Breonna Taylor who had been sleeping in her apartment with her boyfriend when plainclothes cops entered. The cops ended up shooting 32 bullets, six of which hit Taylor. Much to the dismay of many, the officers weren’t charged in Taylor’s death.
“We need real change in America. I’ve got to still raise a little black boy here in the world we live in. … Nobody’s safe. If this can happen to Breonna, it can happen to anybody,” said Austin, Taylor’s aunt.
Due to the continued protests and calls for justice, for police reform, and for unity, racial issues became a huge aspect of the presidential candidate campaigns of Biden and Trump. During this time President Donald Trump repeatedly lashed out against the “thugs” and “terrorists” and even went so far as to share on Twitter that, “when the looting starts, the shooting starts.”
Immigration has long since been a key component of American heritage. I wouldn’t be here today if it weren’t for my grandmother’s immigration from the Netherlands. Some of my closest family friends are immigrants from Mexico. However, in recent years immigration has become more complicated. In his 2016 campaign, Trump was hugely focused on building a wall between Mexico and the United States. Instead of reforming a broken system or seeing the value immigrants add to our country he vowed to shut them out and generalized that all the immigrants were drug dealers and/or trafficking humans. Earlier this year President Trump tried to end DACA which is a program for youth who immigrated illegally to the United States to not be deported. In addition, many children were separated from their parents at the United States border and were held in poor conditions. Despite the uproar from the American people, the practice continued. Recently, the New York Times reported that 545 children separated at the border have not been able to locate their parents.
For the past 100 plus years, women’s rights have been a key issue. This year marks 100 years since women’s right to vote was legalized and the fight for women’s equality is still waging on. There is still a very real pay gap between men and women today. According to an equity analysis by PayScale, women make an average of $0.81 for every $1 that men make. In addition, Amy Coney Barrett who was recently appointed to the Supreme Court in place of the late Ruth Bater Ginsberg has become a concern to many regarding the rights of women. According to NPR, there is a lot of room for concern that Barrett may allow her Catholic faith to overshadow her interpretation of the law. Religiously she is against women’s access to abortion and birth control and women throughout the country wonder if she will vote against their right to either of these things.
Something that never ceases to amaze me is that it was only 2015 when gay marriage finally become legalized throughout the entire country. It seems strange it didn’t happen sooner because the primary reason it wasn’t allowed was for religious reasons and there is supposed to be a separation of church and state. Marriage legalization wasn’t the end of the fight for LGBTQ+ rights though. In fact, in some way’s things have gotten worse. In 2017 transgender individuals were no longer permitted to be in the military. According to NBC, the Trump administration submitted a brief to the Supreme Court saying that taxpayer-funded adoption agencies should be able to refuse same-sex couples. Although nothing has officially been passed there is much concern regarding the future of LGBTQ+ identifying individuals being able to adopt children.
All these things I’ve mentioned are considered political. Many were key parts of both Donald Trump and Joe Biden’s presidential campaigns; both having different plans and views. However, these things shouldn’t be political ideas up for debate. There is a big difference between the economy and fundamental human rights. This country, regardless of political leaning, should agree to believe in science and should see the value in every human regardless of race, sex, or gender.