Unity is the only way through


Quin Norris, Sports Editor

With only five days left until the 2020 Presidential Election, I felt it was important to examine the ideals held firm by presidents that would lead the nation through its darkest times to help citizens make up their minds on who to vote for on Nov. 3. 

The greatest value held among the most successful presidents in the history of the United States is that of unity. I do not believe it is a stretch for us to look back over what we know about the presidents to see this. Firstly, when looking at George Washington many point to his farewell address as the way to find his ideals. To be honest I completely agree with this approach. Throughout his time as the president, he would sit through lengthy debates between Alexander Hamilton and Thomas Jefferson before coming to a decision on any issue. He did this to ensure that his decisions were based on a collective best foot forward approach. 

Looking at the presidency of Lincoln, it is hard to say that this man was driven by anything other than the unity of the nation despite our disagreements. Despite some opposition to the continuation of the war, Lincoln held firm that the United States needed its southern states to remain a powerful nation. Any man who is dedicated to unity with someone who actively wants them gone is a strong believer in the ideal of unification. 

The final president I would like to highlight is Franklin Roosevelt. FDR would sit down during the great depression and communicate with the American people through fireside chats telling them how we were going to get through the depression and rallied the people all the way through his untimely demise during World War II. 

I say all this to look at the actions of the two presidents currently running for office. First, it is important to realize that the nation is currently experiencing a pandemic that is still going strong within the borders of our country. We are also experiencing a new form of the civil rights movement and early stages of an economic depression. 

Let us start by examining the actions of President Donald Trump. President Trump throughout the entirety of his 2016 campaign openly mocked and attacked his political opponents which is not abnormal for a candidate to do even though I would argue he has gone further than many candidates before him. This action then led to a division between the parties in Washington. What insured was the normal back and forth disputes between leaders in Washington. All of this is somewhat normal, but what is not are the actions the President has taken in response. Through the past four years he has often sent his Attorney General on wild chases that are based in internet conspiracy theories while letting many of his own staff members go unchecked while committing crimes against the country’s interest. This is quite similar to the actions of Warren G. Harding which is not a good thing for the current president. More disheartening then that is his use of the terms red state and blue state. I often hear many of my peers wishing for the country to not be so divided on all of our issues and if we could just hear each other out maybe things would be better. I agree with this sentiment, but it is incredibly difficult for the country to reach this goal when its leader does not actively preach it. To be fair to the president, he has been attacked by his opposition frequently but so where his predecessors. 

When looking at his opponent, former Vice President Joe Biden, you hear a message of unity. While yes Biden has often voted against bills and spoken against political opponents; however, this message does not extend to the citizens that he represents. Throughout his campaign he has spoken the message of unity and togetherness. I would argue that with Biden this is not just talk as he has often worked with Republican senators throughout his campaign. The most prominent of these people is former Arizona senator John McCain. The two have famously worked together and against one another throughout the entirety of their careers but both believed at the end of the day an American is an American and respected one another. 

At the end of the day the election, facing us in five days is not one of Republican vs Democrat but instead one of rage vs unity. I highly encourage you to go out and use your voice this year as many of us on campus will be voting for the first time and before you cast that ballot think about the grand context of the past four years, think about the words the two candidates have said and cast your ballot with an open heart because a nation divided can not stand.