Will Students Take A Stand?

In the 2014 election, only 19.9 percent of 18-to 29-years old cast ballots

News Writer Lexi Smiley

Graphic Designer Kapua Arsiga

“Some people may even say they are just voting for the lesser of two evils.”

When choosing who to vote for in this year’s presidential election, many voters might say they would rather vote for a rock. Some may feel that Hillary Clinton is a liar, but Donald Trump is a racist. Others just shrug, saying they are just voting for the lesser of two evils. Whatever the case, many students at UH Hilo have very strong opinions about who they want to see elected as the next president of the United States. Ke Kalahea asked students to discuss their opinions about the election, to which there were a variety of responses.

“I think Trump gets a lot of heat simply because of what people see on the media,” said Mike Jenks, a junior who plays baseball for the Vulcans. “People demonize him for racism and irrelevant things, but people don't realize that Clinton is just as bad if not worse. Clinton has killed many people in Libya for personal interests like oil, but people are uneducated on these types of things. Yes, Trump seems incompetent and makes remarks that would upset the majority of Democrats and minorities, but I know he has not killed anyone and is a businessman. He would do his best to bring America out of its financial problems.”

When asked who he was voting for, Jenks said, “Frankly, I have no interest in politics, because I believe no matter how hard we try people of power will find a way to manipulate the system anyways, which is why I don't vote. I believe America as a whole, and more particularly our generation, is too distracted with social media. We get distracted by stupid things like clown sightings and dance trends, and don't realize that our state and world is going downhill, environmentally and socially. So therefore, I figure if I'm going to make a difference, I will do so by pursuing my own interests and goals. If I accomplish this, I will find a way to better the things around me like my community, my friends, and my family. The reason we choose a president is because we believe they can make a difference. Why not make a difference amongst ourselves? It has to start somewhere, no matter how small.”

Jennifer Mendez, a senior whose studies focus on environmental science, feels quite differently about Clinton:

“The candidates are historically the two most disliked out of any election thus far, that’s something I would agree with. However, I believe there is a dislike for two very different reasons. Hillary is disliked for the fact that she’s untrustworthy and has made some debatable calls, but I think it’s bullsh*t that people get on her for the Benghazi [attack.] In the position she was in, every decision you make involves collateral damage. There is no way to predict things, you do the best you can do with the information you have.”

Mendez explained by saying, “I specifically feel this way after watching a documentary about 9/11 and the calls that were made by our government - the CIA, FBI…” Referring back to Clinton, Mendez believes “she is far from the ideal candidate, but she’s not as awful as people think. It irritates me that people have focused on all the negative thorough this election and not the tremendous amount she has done for this country. This election, it has proved to be nothing but easy.”

Mendez then turned her attention to Clinton’s opponent: “Trump, on the other hand, is much more untrustworthy in my opinion. He’s flip-flopped his whole life and does whatever it takes to make money for the worst reasons. Trump has had capital and the means behind him since he was born. He didn’t work for anything, he’s failed; but through diverse projects, he was bound to make money and figure out how it works. Anyone could do the same thing with the opportunities he was given. So when people say “Our country needs a good businessman,” it pisses me off to no end.”

When asked if she was voting, Mendez said, “I am voting, of course, and I’m voting for Hillary, although I wish it was Joe Biden and Paul Ryan running. As for the policies, I believe that women should have the power to have a say with what happens with their bodies.” When asked about her stance on women’s health issues, Mendez said, “I’m for Planned Parenthood. My best friend’s mother was an immigrant with no health insurance and no where to go. They helped her have her baby and I couldn’t be more grateful for that. So many of my [relatives], friends, and myself have benefited from Planned Parenthood.”

Mendez concluded by saying, “I believe in investing in the world we live in, the planet, saving our planet, investing in education and equalization. I understand that globalization is the future and I think Hillary’s policies will benefit the global economy. The gun laws in our country do not make any sense…I could go on and on. Trump threatens more than just our country.”

Meanwhile, Madison Shaw, a philosophy major, has no plans to vote in the presidential race. “I'm not voting this year to help be the change,” Shaw said. “To substitute a new leader for old is not the answer to our problems. The solution to the problem lies in the creator of the problem.”

For Shaw, “The problem is the individual. Not the world that we think of it. In order to make a change, it has to begin with inner psychological transformation. Through transformation we can see the causes to the problem of society. The reason there is social conflict is because nothing has ever been changed. Everything has been a cycle imitating the past. Our education, social structures and religion. We have become a repetitive machine with certain conditioned responses.”

In the 2014 election, only 19.9 percent of 18- to 29-year olds cast ballots; this was the lowest youth turnout rate ever measured in a federal election cycle. Young voters who did cast ballots, however, favored Democratic candidates by a clear margin.

Seeing how passionate some college students are about making a difference in 2016, most pundits think - and hope - voter turnout among Millennials will have to increase in future elections.