• Julian Crosby

The Divide on the Debate Stage Mirrors the Divide in our Country

Amongst all the significant events and important conversations currently happening in the world, America's fight for president has gained a lot of attention. The presidential and vice-presidential debates have received worldwide criticism, and many students at the University of Miami had further comments. University of Miami students are so overzealous about politics now that debate analyses have made its way to The Miami Hurricane, the university’s student newspaper.

To start, the opinion article written in direct response to the debates ‘The Derailed Train Gets Back on Track’, suggests that Biden’s election strategy is to “woo republican voters apprehensive towards Trump”.

Realistically, it seems Bidens’ strategy is to identify the flaws President Trump has made – which is a typical tactic against any incumbent. On the other hand, Trump's main political strategy is to ensure the country that his administration has done better than any other while putting distrust in mail-in voting.

Trump highly discourages mail-in voting, although many would argue it’s the safest option considering the world is enduring a global pandemic. As a scare tactic, it may work on some, but both parties need to fight to gain trust in a lot of voters.

Even though most voters already know who they’re voting for, some citizens rely on the vice-presidential nominees to sway their opinion. Vice President Mike Pence and Senator Kamala Harris went head to head on the first and only vice-presidential debate this year. Pence and Harris restored traditional debate values by having a mainly uninterrupted and knowledgeable discussion, but this does not take away from the belligerent exchanges.

The debate kicked off on the COVID-19 topic and Senator Harris was quick to critique the administration’s response to the pandemic. While some were disappointed to see Harris undermine confidence in public health institutions, others pointed out the blatant disregard of Dr. Fauci’s precautions by the Trump administration cannot be ignored.

CNN Politics states, “Trump ridiculed Fauci as a disaster and an ‘idiot’, trashing one of the nation's best hopes of easing the pandemic along with his recommendations to quell an alarming Covid-19 surge.”

As the debate continued, an issue was brought up about higher taxes. Previous news footage of Biden and Harris gave the impression that taxes will rise for everyone. On the debate stage, Harris ensured everyone that taxes will only increase if individuals make more than $400,000. Seems reasonable for the average American household making $63,179 a year, but I am certain the ones that do are not so thrilled. Clearly, Trump would disagree with that option considering the multi-billionaire paid only $750 in taxes during 2020. We have heard the saying, “tax the rich”, but President Trump said.... not I.

After, the candidates discussed issues regarding the environment. President Trump and Vice President Pence have made their stances on climate change clear, with Trump previously tweeting that climate change was “created by the Chinese in order to make U.S manufacturing non-competitive”.

A big concern was fracking, which is controversial because it requires drilling into the earth with high-pressure materials that can contaminate and use massive amounts of water, which can seriously harm the environment. Fracking harms the environment, but also gives people jobs and helps us compete against foreign competitors. Senator Harris says they would not ban fracking but would ban offshore drilling and permits on public lands, while Trump and Pence support unrestricted fracking.

As the debate continued, Harris and Pence discusses topics concerning abortion and appointing Supreme Court justices. The particular topic of the Supreme Court has become very pertinent in recent news, following the death of Ruth Bader Ginsburg and the potential installment of Amy Coney Barrett to the Court.

Finally, the debate comes to a conversation about race and criminal justice. America has witnessed a huge divide from the tragedies faced within Black communities. The system has failed to get justice for people such as Breonna Taylor. It is important to note that victims like Breonna Taylor, are people first before they are a debate topic.

Pence denies that the United States is systemically racist, which I am not surprised to hear coming from a privileged, rich, white male. Black Americans have been affected most drastically from the issues related to the pandemic, yet we are expected to suppress our feelings and continue to contribute to the overall well-being of America. The current administration must stop overlooking the issues.

Instead of denying systemic racism altogether, I say we fix the relationship between law enforcement and the people they intend to serve.

What makes the ‘The Derailed Train Gets Back on Track’, article even more entertaining are statements such as, “Harris was put on the ticket to make white liberals feel good”. Why is it an automatic assumption things are done to please the white masses? Why couldn’t Harris stand for the Indian activist who wants a solid environmental plan? Or the Asian American who is pro-choice and doesn’t think the government should regulate a women's body? Or maybe even the Black man who wants their future Black children to feel safe when running into law enforcement?

I guess at the end, one thing can be agreed on.... politicians work hard but the fly on Mike Pence’s head works harder.

REPORTER: Treasure Wilson

THE VOICE, Gravity Magazine, 2020

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