We once again have the opportunity April 5 to exercise our constitutional right to vote.
We will be making some big decisions including who to nominate for president of the United States, who will serve us on the Wisconsin Supreme Court and who will represent us on the Dane County Board. Student turnout in elections is typically abysmal. With so much at stake this year, I hope you all decide to take a role in deciding who governs you. There have been incredibly dangerous trends in U.S. and Wisconsin politics as of late, and we need to vote to reject them.
If for no other reason, you should turn out to vote to spite the Republican legislators in the Capitol who have made voting nearly impossible for students. From the absurd requirement that out-of-state students must obtain a Wisconsin-issued voter ID to the elimination of special registration deputies, the primary way we students register each other to vote, it has become clear Republican legislators are not interested in encouraging student voter turnout.
Now the scary stuff. First up in the parade of ignorance is Wisconsin Supreme Court candidate Rebecca Bradley. She has been appointed to three positions in three years by our very own Gov. Scott Walker. All politics aside (as they should be in Supreme Court races), one can only be judged on their character and integrity in these races. In recently unearthed articles Bradley penned while in college at Marquette, it has become clear her character and integrity are woefully lacking.
In one article, Bradley called AIDS victims, “degenerate drug addicts and queers.” In another, she equated abortion to the Holocaust and slavery. In yet another, she suggested women are somewhat at fault when they are date raped. Bradley has said she should not be judged on what she wrote when she was a young college student.
Let me boldly say I stand behind all the articles I have written in college. None of them are abhorrent hate speech, so I think I am making a safe bet.
We also need to turn out to ensure students’ voices are represented in the decision of who may become the leader of the free world. This presidential election cycle has brought out some of the most terrifying aspects of the American conscience.
The demagogic, dystopian Donald Trump has exploited the anger of the American electorate and used it to encourage citizens to express ignorance and hatred.
Unfortunately, this regrettable chapter in American politics has begun to hit close to home. Incidents of hate and bias have been springing up all over our own campus in recent weeks — so many it is difficult to keep up.
A First Wave scholar was spat on and called racial slurs, someone crudely drew a black lynching in a campus bathroom stall, pictures of swastikas were taped on a Jewish student’s dorm door and students yelled racist war cries at a Wunk Sheek event honoring Native American victims of sexual assault. These are just a few examples of the most recent aggressions.
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We need to turn out to vote April 5 to reject candidates like Trump and Bradley, who spew this bigotry. While there is a lot of work to do here on campus to deal with these assaults stemming from systemic racism, ensuring Trump never has the opportunity to influence Americans’ thoughts or actions again is a damn good place to start.
Even Republicans have been lining up to defeat Trump. While they are concerned about the damage to their own party, many of them seem to be genuinely concerned about the damage Trump could do to our country. In a strange twist of irony, Trump could end up being the one thing that unites both parties.
August McGinnity-Wake ([email protected]) is a sophomore majoring in political science and economics.