This year’s presidential election has evoked such an array of emotions for citizens across America, regardless of partisanship, that it can only be described as one of the most unprecedented political phenomena in the 21st century. President-elect Joseph Biden will be inaugurated into the White House in January. The stressful battle that has been this year’s election has finally come to an end.I documented the thoughts, perspectives and mindsets from four UCLA undergraduates about their feelings about the election, how their vote is meaningful, and how they think this election will affect our generation and the country as a whole moving forward. Here are their thoughts:
Hannah is a third-year undergraduate from San Francisco who is majoring in Political Science and Philosophy. Here are her thoughts about the election and its effects on government and the country at large:
“I am extremely concerned about the longevity of our government. The Republican Party has dedicated all of their attention to the deterioration of government function, while simultaneously gerrymandering and making efforts to suppress votes and spread misinformation in order to maintain power. This election was important because government function is imperative to combat things like climate change and the COVID-19 pandemic. We do not have a future if Congress continues to refuse to do its job.”
For some background on Hannah’s impassioned statement, legislation on healthcare and COVID-19-related measures have been continuously opposed or rejected by Republicans in Congress. Furthermore, the President’s lack of support or acknowledgment for the severity of the pandemic is astounding, as he did not even assemble a COVID-19 task force until March, well after he knew of its potentially deathly effects.
Sasha is a third-year undergraduate from the Bay Area who is majoring in Applied Mathematics Bioinformatics and minoring in Religion. Here are her personal thoughts on the election as it relates to relationships and the democratic system as a whole:
“The election this year made me feel very passionate yet divided. I felt strongly about my stance, yet very distant from my family as they had very different political beliefs. But, this election was important to me as I was able to firmly stand with the democratic system I believe in. Going forward, I am excited to see how my generation’s political activism continues to make an impact on America.
Dina is a second-year undergraduate from Los Angeles who is majoring in Biology and Economics. Here she voices her thoughts and emotions on the possible outcomes and realities of our democracy due to this election:
“One of the greatest sources of stress is the mentality that some event is the end of the world, and that there is no recovery from it. I spent most of the election night convincing myself that, even if my candidate didn’t win, this was not the end of the world and my country would recover. In a way, it felt like denial since this election is such a defining event for democracy and since there are so many issues that are time-sensitive and require immediate action, such as climate change, racial injustice and a worsening pandemic. In the end, even with the tides turning in favor of my candidate, I reminded myself that, no matter the makeup of the government after this election, the future of this country is in the hands of this country as a whole, not a single individual.”
Many college students at this time can probably relate to Sasha and Dina’s statements and mixed feelings about the election. Our generation has been coming out in huge numbers in support of the democratic system and the fight for basic human rights. It can be discouraging to live in a state of political upheaval and unrest with a President that seems unphased by the unfair and inhumane treatment of American lives, health and rights. Within his first 100 days in office, Donald Trump passed executive orders and legislation against immigrants, women and the LGBT+ community. He continued his term with even more racist, sexist and self-serving tendencies that did anything but help the larger American constituency.
Ali is a third-year undergraduate from Ohio who is majoring in Public Affairs and minoring in Education. Here are her thoughts on the state of our nation and how this election could affect us going forward:
“Personally, this election was important to me because I believed going into it that it would be a good indicator of what the United States’ values are as a country. I was also very nervous for another four years of Donald Trump because of the destruction that he has already caused to our environment, our human rights and our political institutions. I want to start moving past the Trump era of government and start attempting to rebuild our country and prioritize progressive agendas that benefit historically marginalized communities. However, to do that, we need Trump out of office, which is why I cared so much about the outcome of this election.”
While this was a critical election, a hard-fought battle and an emotionally draining year in general, the message now must be one of unity. Drawing enemy lines will get our country nowhere in the long run and will only leave us with a divided country and a broken democracy. The outcome of this election should be, and hopefully will be, the starting point to building an America on the foundations of equity and basic human freedoms and dignity for every person. Let us not permit politics to be the polarizing force that it has too often been, but instead encourage unity, where all voices are allowed to be heard and all people are accounted for. Let democracy reign.