Loyola Students Share Their Stakes and Hot Takes on the Election

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Our Loyola staff has been busy covering a variety of neighborhood issues. But how do they feel about today’s election? With many voting for their first time, they all agreed this election is high stakes.

Read below for their insights into what election issues are most crucial and what their “hot takes” are on the process as a whole.

Rachel Amegatcher (Sophomore)

There are two United States. The one people preach we are and the one we actually live in. The one that guarantees freedom and the one that tries to take it away. There’s one that promotes diversity, and there’s one that merely showcases it. One of them cannot exist without the truth, and the other will crumble without its lies.

It surprises me to hear people insist that we once were the greatest and still are. People trying to convince themselves that an America that works for a few, is one to be lived in and enjoyed by all. These last four years have highlighted the problem of assuming one’s privileged life is equally available to everyone. Concluding that we all have access to the same things like medical treatment or education from certain universities.

The America I hope for isn’t a place bent on such fantasy. It isn’t one that sugarcoats its past, but, instead, can acknowledge and confront it. Not one that solely boasts progress but can always admit there’s more to be done.

This election determines what America we desire to be. A country that wants to change for the better, or a country designed to prosper through staying exactly the same.

There are many reasons I am anxious this election. All our lives are on the line. There are decisions to be made about our health, well-being, bodies, sustainability, success, and peace of mind.

There is a fear in the possibility of having to relive these last four years all over again; filled with new pains and unpredictability. I worry how the results of the election could affect generations to come.

That future is what’s at stake this election. I’ll just keep hoping it’s not something we look back on and regret but instead proves we can change America to be all it has promised.

Nicky Andrews (Sophomore)

Being a recently naturalized citizen, I felt extremely empowered to complete my ballot this year. After living in the U.S. since I was 8, I’m still coming to the realization that finally I am not just

Nicky (middle) with her sister Megan (left) and Chloe (right)

socially, but legally an American. I’m grateful that of all elections, I was able to vote in this one as I believe it will have a huge influence on future legislation. So much is at stake. For my family in particular we are terrified of losing certain healthcare provisions. My dad has a stable job with decent healthcare coverage but if the Affordable Care Act is overturned it is uncertain if I would be able to stay on my parents’ insurance until I’m 26 which Obamacare currently allows.

My two sisters and I all have Crohn’s disease, which is a pre-existing condition that we’ll have for the rest of our lives. I am on my third biologic now, and my sisters have both had major surgeries. All three of us depend on medication that costs thousands of dollars every month. If the ACA is overturned, we may lose all Crohn’s related coverage in the future, and I will be unable to afford my medical bills leaving me without medication. This will lead me to be unable to hold a job, complete schoolwork, and I may need to drop out of college and move back to England (where I only lived until I was four).

I understand the privilege conveyed in my concerns, I have the safety net of having dual citizenship and family in a country with a national health service. My father didn’t lose his job during the pandemic like so many others did, but I still shouldn’t have to worry about whether I’ll have to drop out of college and move abroad simply because the government doesn’t see healthcare as a right. I am worried what the next few years will look like, not just for me but for the country. I hope fellow Americans understand the weight of this election and what is really at stake for millions of people.

All I ask is for people to do their research and exercise their right to vote.

William Brady (Junior) 

Usually when people say things along the lines of “this is the most important election of our lifetime,” I roll my eyes. I think phrases like this are hyperbolic, and we have too many hyperbolic people in this country already. Those who think the world will end if Trump wins the election, in the same way they thought the world would end in 2016, are hyperbolic. What this election appears to be is the culmination of decades of brainwashing and indoctrination in the American education system.

I am a student at Loyola University Chicago, and I am also a Soldier in the Army National Guard. I have completed one overseas deployment in the Sinai Peninsula as a Multinational Force and Observers Peacekeeper and was also activated during the riots over the summer. In both of these missions we received live ammunition, so in the event our lives are in danger we have the ability to defend ourselves. In the Middle East, this is nothing out of the ordinary for a soldier. But receiving live ammo to potentially fight on the streets of an American city? It created a great sense of unease within me, one that I haven’t felt before. But at the same time, I wasn’t surprised it had come to this.

At Loyola University Chicago, there exist professors that are blinded by their vehement hatred for the United States. They also possess a cult-like infatuation with Socialism, Marxism, and Communism. I have had a professor say to the class, “America is a shitty country, sorry if that offends you, but it is a shitty country.” One professor agreed with a student’s statement that white families in the north suburbs should be killed and their wealth redistributed. My U.S. History professor compared modern America to Nazi Germany, while also making sure students understood that America is actually worse than the Third Reich!

The students of Loyola University Chicago, as I am sure is happening around the country, are being brainwashed and indoctrinated into hating their peers because of their race, their own families for having birthed them in America, and their country for its freedom.

As I write this, the Army National Guard is on standby for activation in the wake of a Trump victory, as the Democrat voters and supporters are expected to riot if they lose. The Army National Guard will once again draw arms and ammo, and be sent into the streets to try and quell the unrest.

I do not know if this is the most important election of our lifetime. But I do know that the violence and destruction that may be brought on by it, is because of the American education system brainwashing and indoctrinating students into radical beliefs that demand violence against the American people.

Crystal Cervantes (Senior)

As children we read about the most historical moments in this country from history books, but rarely do we imagine ourselves living through those moments. The COVID-19 pandemic is one of the many unimaginable experiences so far, and the hectic environment surrounding this presidential election seems to be the cherry on top of a frightful year.

Although I had never voted in a presidential election, from what I can recall no other election had made the importance of voting so evident. As a student majoring in criminal justice, I pay close attention to how each candidate addresses issues regarding the criminal justice system but also look at the simple, yet crucial, characteristics important in a leader. Overall, there is simply too much at stake in this election to ignore its significance.

For me, the most important issue at stake is unity. Over the last few years the divide among the American people has only grown as well as the apparent acceptance of hatred and racism. This is concerning for me because a lack of unity and a growing divide allows other problems to rise easily. This also means that the events and issues we see today may only get worse without a leader who values unity.

An important concept discussed in one of my criminal justice classes is the influence of a president specifically, through what a president says. A few simple words can have a lasting impact on the citizens of a country. It is up to the president to decide whether this impact is positive or negative. So, a leader who can unite and guide the country towards progress is what’s at stake here.

Ananya Chandhok (Sophomore)

I feel as though one of the most crucial things at stake for me is acceptance at large within the U.S.

Speaking solely from personal experience, over the course of the last four years, I’ve seen an upward trend in discrimination towards myself, as I am an American woman of Indian descent. It is honestly beyond disheartening to be a first hand witness to how an individual, Trump, who was sworn in to one of the highest positions of leadership became the catalyst for propelling deep rooted hatred for minorities through his xenophobic and homophobic rhetoric and policies.

Ultimately, despite claiming to be one of the “least racist” and highly accepting presidents, his sheer disregard for anyone who is not a cis white male of legal status has allowed tensions, which were always bubbling under the surface, to become ever- prevalent. It is most definitely high time for change as we look to the next four years.

Additionally, while it is quite obvious that there are cons to both candidates, it is in the country’s best interest to experience a shift in leadership so as to begin to finally target the deep rooted hatred that the country has built. At the end of the day, American politics at its root is like public transportation: if neither candidate can get you to your final destination, go with the one that will get you closest to it.

Kurt Danner (Senior)

When I think of the election, I think of the different realities that depend on who becomes president. In truth I don’t really like any of the realities.

I don’t trust either candidate, I’m only 21 and I feel like I’ve already experienced a lifetime of undelivered campaign promises. I also don’t like either candidate; I truly believe both of them have a long history of unsavory behavior, including sexual assault and racism, and when I think of all the people I know who have been victims of these things it makes me really angry. I hate that this is the first election I’m able to vote; I hate that now I don’t even know if my vote will count since I voted by mail; I hate that things have gotten so bad that I can’t, in good conscience, vote for a third party candidate.

I watch myself and my family worry about money; I watch my friends struggle with paying rent and medical bills; I watch my roommate worry about if he’ll have to return to Mexico after living here for 8 years because the US government has stopped giving work visas; and I watched my friends get beaten and arrested by police for peacefully protesting.

All of those things are at stake for me during this election. I don’t want to live in a reality where all of these things continue to happen. The saddest part is that the skeptical side of me doesn’t believe either candidate will fix these problems, but it makes me feel better to vote and hope I’ll be wrong.

I think a lot of people feel the same way I do, they’ve been pushed past the point of hoping for prosperity; they just hope for fairness.

Jack Eisenhuth (Sophomore)

This election is a culmination of all the issues that have been afflicting our nation since the Nixon administration. If these problems are not new and are not specific to this election, then why is this election different? What makes it important? Simply put: a loss of hope.

For two elections in a row, real candidates, in both parties, were prevented from gaining serious traction as viable candidates by their own parties. Bernie Sanders, Andrew Yang, John Kasich, Marco Rubio. The latter two stand now like distant ghosts of a somewhat respectable Republican party, and the former are the political embodiments of the road less-traveled. Branches crowd our eye line, ivy and buckthorn bite at our heels. To the voter, it doesn’t look like a path, just an impenetrable thicket. When in actuality, all that is needed is one person with a machete, or some kind of cutlass, to clear a path for others to follow.

But in America, we take the road more-worn and there has been no difference.

Joe Biden may be the best metaphor for the Democratic party, and possibly America as a whole. He is a face left over from Obama’s two terms, a suit greying and moth-eaten, and words that fall out the same way without anyone believing them. The “Noble Opposition.” Was it Jefferson who coined that term? Perhaps it was Ed Muskie. At least Biden was Vice President.

What is there to say about Trump? He is a monster of our own making, the bastard child of our gluttonous media consumption and equally-sinful idolatry of celebrity. He is our President.

What is at stake isn’t COVID or racism or healthcare. It’s not women’s rights, Supreme Court seats, or war. Nor is it the environment, economy, collusion, contradiction, division, or dysentery of the mouth. It is not even the two-party system.

It is our hope that is on the line. No matter what you thought of his time in office, Obama gave us that. There was a feeling that we were doing good, or in the words of Thompson, “We were riding the crest of a high and beautiful wave.” He wrote that almost fifty years ago, and the wave had already broken by then. Where does that leave us? Drowned?

I don’t like thinking about it because I know the result for Tuesday: the stakes were high, what’s done is done, and we lost.

Seth George (Senior)

As the 2020 election nears to an end, tensions run high as I wait for the announcement of our next president. Considering I am a first time voter, identify with the LGBTQ+ community, and a person of color, I have been eager to make my voice heard since Donald Trump’s election in 2016. There are many things at stake, not the least of which are climate change and LGBTQ+ rights.

Throughout my life, I have had to overcome obstacles due to my sexuality. I do not want a president who is actively against the LGBTQ+ community. If Donald Trump is reelected, his second term will be a major setback for the LGBTQ+ community. As we know, Trump is not pro-LGBTQ+, based on his actions and new policies during his first term. For example, Trump banned transgender individuals from openly serving in the military and has pushed for exemptions that would allow health care workers to refuse care for those with HIV/AIDS and transgenders. He even has barred U.S. embassies from flying Pride flags during the month of June. If Trump is granted a second term, I believe we will see more anti-LGBTQ+ federal judges elected in the court system. I am greatly concerned the conservatives in office will attempt to chip away more LGBTQ+ rights.

In addition to LGBTQ+ rights, climate change is an important issue for me. As a 21 year old, I have many, many more years left on this planet. And for the years to come, I desire to live on a healthy, clean planet. I need a President who takes this issue to heart, and Trump is not that President. Trump has called climate change, “mythical”, “non-existent”, and “an expensive hoax”. He even decided to remove the US from the Paris climate agreement. Being 21 years old, I have hopes and dreams, but I am unable to reach or accomplish them if we don’t have a planet to live on. That being said, Joe Biden needs to be elected since he has voiced his opinions on the importance of climate change.

This election holds a great amount of power for our and the Earth’s future. I fear if Donald Trump is reelected, it could cause some great regression in the US for the years to come.

Owen Haight (Junior) 

This is the most important election of our lives, or so I have been told. Sure, the last election was also the most important of our lives. So was the one before that. And the one before that. But this time we mean it.

It seems every single election is the most important of our lifetime, only eclipsed in importance by the election that comes after it.

I am not bringing this up because I think it is incorrect. The idea that every single election has been the “most important” one has not necessarily ever been false. The reason is that, at least within my (admittedly pretty short) lifetime, things seem to be worse than they were in the last election.

It is hard to come to any conclusion from this other than the election itself is not the really important part.

Certainly you should vote for your preferred candidate and encourage others to do so. However, if we are to accept the feeling that many Americans seem to have that things have steadily gotten worse, and that this is the most important election of our lifetimes (just like the last one was) then we can also conclude that our presidents have either not done enough to stop that downward spiral or have actively worked to hasten it.

Which is why I have found it counterproductive that we seem to be placing more and more responsibility on the voter and less and less on the candidates themselves. For example, I have been seeing a lot of talk from people who are excited to stop caring about politics after this election is over.

But I think those people have it all wrong. It is not really the election itself that matters. What matters is what the candidates themselves do after they are elected.

Before they cast their ballot for a candidate, every voter should ask themselves: Will this candidate break the pattern? Will they enact policy to stop this downward spiral? And if the answer is no, the question should become: What can I do to make them?

Because if we don’t, the next election will be the most important of our lives.

Jimmy Lynch (Sophomore)

What is not at stake this election?  More so than ever before, the United States faces an election that seems to be causing millions of Americans to stop and hold their breath.

We are not merely voting for Biden or Trump. We are voting for the chance at acceptance, liberty, growth, and, hopefully equality. When voting for a president, I look for their morals and someone who can represent all the people of our country, including myself. In the past, the responses to different events in our country have been a refusal to accept an issue and instead put more wood on the fire hypothetically.

The lives of every American are at stake with this vote as we try to fix a country hindered by itself during our handling of COVID-19, racial inequality, and so much more. We can no longer walk out the door without being impacted by our government. It is not something we can ignore anymore. Our country’s handling of COVID-19 and so much more has been laughable at best, and it is time for a change.

When addressing the fires in California and global warming, our President’s answer was, it will get colder. The world seems worse than it was four years ago. We are angrier, meaner, and more divided than ever before. The United States of America can be a beautiful place. We can be so much more than we are right now, and it starts with this election.

This will be my first presidential election, yet it already feels like the most important election I will ever take part in. Everyone’s vote counts as we vote for a president that will serve the people and not themselves. Everything is at stake this year, and it is not a tough decision.

Christopher McDonald (Senior)

In this election, I’m looking at more than the next four years. I am looking at the start of my adulthood. The quality of the foundation of the rest of my life depends of questions like whether or not I will have health insurance, help paying off my student loans or assistance getting a job in an economy recovering from a pandemic. These could all determine the trajectory of my life.

Right now, it’s a real question whether or not I’ll be able to live a better life than my parents are right now. I only think of it since we’re told that is what we’re striving for. It didn’t seem likely before the pandemic, and it seems even less likely now.

I don’t think Joe Biden is going to usher in the status quo that satisfies my sensibilities, but I know what I dislike about Trump, and it mostly has to do with the groups he excites.

That said, I don’t think a lot of people in my generation realize how similar the hypothetical succeeding administration will be. We’ll still have wars, pollution, low corporate taxes, and a reactionary immigration policy. But I also empathize with their hope to mitigate the excesses of these issues any way possible.

In our culture that means voting for someone you wouldn’t otherwise support. The problem is the only power we seem to have is voting once every few years and consuming specific media.

I’d be more accepting of Dulvergers law if these arbitrary rituals were simply held more often and thus had less impact. Ideally we would vote more often on less polarized, more pertinent issues. Maybe that would help bridge our cultural divide as well. Ultimately, the idea of a Biden presidency frightens me but not as much as a Trump Presidency.

Dominick Pechous (Senior)

This was a pretty difficult question for me to answer because I don’t share my political views with anyone.

Whenever I do say something in favor of one party I balance the first comment out with something favorable about the other party.

So you might be wondering why I never talk about politics. Well, you are in luck because I’m going to tell you exactly why. A couple of years ago I was like most people, sharing my opinions with the world in hopes that someone with a dissenting opinion would challenge me. Until, one day, I realized that I was stressed out and angry about everything because I never completely supported one political ideology.

I realized that constantly researching political arguments/ counter-arguments and then making those arguments was making me miserable. I decided to completely remove myself from the toxic political discourse, and I’ve never been happier. I still pay attention to what’s happening in our country, and when asked my opinion, I just bite my tongue. I may be one of the best people to have at a party because I probably won’t start any drunken political arguments that make people uncomfortable.

So, to answer the question about what’s at stake for me in this election, I am going to say my peace and quiet.

Olivia Price (Sophomore) 

2020 was an interesting year that began with the spread of a virus creating a global pandemic. The world was thrown into “unprecedented times,” and America is still dealing with the chaos and division that ensued.

To close out 2020, November 3rd is election day. This is the first time I will vote in a presidential election and take part in an institutional tradition that I used to believe was built on democracy and opportunity. It does not seem all that honorable of a system after this year.

2020 has eroded the hopeful outlook many Americans have for the future of their country and has exposed how little their lives are valued by their country’s executives and leaders. Each day we near the 3rd you can feel the tension and anxieties about the future heighten. While I feel like the contemporary institutions cannot and will not serve the diverse population America has and had. There is a lack of representation in leadership here, with elections depending on POC and women voters, these people should equally constitute the organizations that make laws for them.

This year I and millions of others will vote for a step in the right direction. This election will not define the future of our nation but it can mold it, vote accordingly.

Kamdyn Rhodes (Sophomore) 

What’s at stake for me is my quality of life. The past four years have awakened a special type of racism. A type of hatred that leaves you thinking it doesn’t exist.

Racism never left it was just hidden. It wasn’t ‘cool’ or ‘popular’ to be prejudice; however, the current administration has made it acceptable again. With the help of technology, we have seen everything from black, unarmed men getting shot by police to erratic “Karens” deciding that my brother’s dark skin is a weapon that needs to be regulated.

My people are dying both metaphorically and in reality.  Lynchings ruled as suicides put fear in the hearts that 21st-century Black people have never known. I’m scared. My brothers and sisters are scared. My parents are scared. We are scared that another four years means a regression in human rights like we have never seen before.

It’s even scarier that the election is so close in numbers because for something that seems so cut and dry there is a lot of divisiveness. It has shown that this country hasn’t come as far as we thought.

Watching this election unfold has changed my outlook on life. I have lost friends and family, not over politics, but our definition of human rights and safety. Now, I know that even if the election goes my way, there is still a ton of work left to do. No political party is perfect, and this world is controlled by money, not morality. However, we can’t even start the healing process if there are another four years. As a gay Black woman, I am scared.

This election is holding my future above my head. That’s what is at stake for me: my future.

Abby Utley (Sophomore)

During this election, the livelihood of minorities is at stake. A woman’s right to her own body is at stake. People’s right to marry whom they love is at stake. Even my familial relationships are at stake. Throughout the past couple of months of the voting season, I have been aware that most of my family members are adamantly against pro-choice policies, gay marriage, and the BLM movement because they are a part of what they see as a toxic liberal agenda. However, basic human rights should not be a political question. I can hardly scroll through Facebook without being bombarded by relatives who support policies that deny people of their right to be their authentic selves. It is therefore difficult for me to view them with any respect. Would they turn their back to me if they knew I have a girlfriend? No, I do not think politics should interfere in relationships, but when basic human rights are in question, political choices are no longer something I can set aside.

Bina Willens (Sophomore)

More than ever, this election cycle has exposed the deep and tumultuous divide in U.S. politics. There are extreme disagreements plaguing our country, and every day, these disputes grow bigger and more unpleasant. The two sides continue to throw nails in one another’s trails, hoping to sabotage campaign efforts. And the narrative surrounding each party is the polar opposite depending on who you ask.

Thus, the stakes this election seem exceptionally high. Especially with the uptick of COVID cases, voters must consider which administration will offer the most leadership. Who will most effectively guide us in this unusual time?

Will one candidate magically be able to eradicate COVID? Of course not, but think critically: Who will encourage the right safety measures without locking down the entire country? We cannot afford to fold in fear again, our economy needs a chance for a comeback. Small business owners need the opportunity to restore what they have lost since March.

At the same time, who will be compassionate to those at a heightened risk? Imposing a national mask mandate and making better healthcare accessible for those in need is essential. Ultimately, who understands the severity of this pandemic for those it truly threatens?

We need to genuinely consider both sides equally because livelihood and health are both consequential issues, and the current presidency has not taken the pandemic seriously enough to be of help to anyone.

And what about us students? Who is going to look out for the quality and value of our education during the pandemic? When will we be able to return to in person classes? We are missing out on a critical period in our lives. One where we should be maturing, learning the ropes of independence, and beginning to navigate the big, bad world.

This is a small issue compared to the previous ones but awaiting permission to re-enter the world has left an empty feeling in many students. These times are lonesome, and as the weather turns colder, isolation will become inevitable.

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