Story co-written with Nicole Ellison and Nate Hadley
In late August, WCJ surveyed around 40 WCU students on their views surrounding the 2020 Presidential Election, where it was found that human rights is the most pressing issue facing them today.
WCJ interviewed select students to dive deeper into what human rights issue matters the most to them and how President Trump’s possible re-election could affect it and more.
Overall, many students surveyed made sure to express their frustrations towards the government in general, regardless of who is in power.
Jonathan Bost, a senior at WCU, expressed some grievances with how the country has been ran historically. Bost explained how The U.S. has been a champion for human rights around the globe, yet it has left some people living within the country unprotected. This view was common among those surveyed.
“America is founded on this idea that everybody deserves certain human rights, yet it has this long history of not providing them and not believing that certain people are even human,” senior Bost said.
While their frustrations have grown over the past four years, they expressed their displeasure on what could happen within another 4 years of a Trump presidency.
“[Trump] is a president whose administration stands accused of forcibly ripping out the uteruses of immigrants,” Bost said. “He has a Supreme Court nominee who will vote against Roe vs. Wade, probably, who won’t acknowledge that an LGBT identity is not something that you choose, it’s something that you’re born with.”
Burgin Mackey, a transgender female, finds the re-election of Donald Trump to be disturbing not just for her but the entire LBGT community.
“Honestly, I think we’ve only gotten a taste of what Donald Trump is capable of, which is something that’s really terrifying to say,” Mackey said. “We saw it with the banning of transgender people in the military. We’ve seen it with the continued discrimination against the Black Lives Matter movement. We’ve seen it with the environmental injustices that have been surfacing over the past four years. There’s just so many things that this administration is capable of, and I fear it’s only going to get worse if Donald Trump is re-elected.”
Other students explained that it isn’t just Trump himself that poses a threat. Rather, he has uncovered a deep-seated sentiment within American politics that is shared among his administration and supporters.
“It’s clear to me that [Trump] doesn’t necessarily have as many issues when it comes to the LGBT community, and I really don’t think that’s his priority,” senior and transgender male Finn Alford said. “However, his Vice President Mike Pence clearly is homophobic. He does donate to organizations that do, I believe, conversion therapy and whatnot. So I believe a lot what’s happening with the Trump administration when it comes to a lot of anti-LGBT is of Mike Pence.”
Another grievance among those concerned about another four-years of Trump isn’t necessarily policy-related. His influence on the American people, according to some students, has led to more and more hate groups and open racism, homophobia, sexism and transphobia.
“Before Trump was elected, you didn’t see the country be so divided on racial issues and basic human decency but now that after he’s come into office, he just enabled every white person to act like more of an asshole and more entitled when everybody else is trying to mind their business and get through corona,” senior Lexi Quattlebaum said. “They’re just making it worse because Trump has enabled them.”
Some students even expressed feeling unsafe under the Trump presidency.
“It’s gotten more dangerous since he’s been in office,” senior Isaiah Hanna said. “The people who were, like, racist beforehand were just sort of concealing themselves, staying to themselves. But now that our president is just blatantly racist and, like, all this other stuff, they’re all just coming out of the woodwork. It’s gotten more dangerous now because they feel like their president supports them.”
While many are frustrated with the Trump administration, many also do not appear to be very happy with the options to have come out of the presidential primaries. However, a desire to prevent a second term for the Trump presidency has caused many people to cut their losses.
“I am settling for Joe Biden,” senior Brittney Hormel said.
“I just think [Joe Biden] is the last hope,” Quattlebaum said. “If we don’t vote for Joe Biden, it’s gonna get worse, but if we do vote for Joe Biden, it could possibly get better.”