Gen Z on the Election

This year has been a tumultuous one for sure. Students have learned to adapt to a new normal, a life of uncertainty and stress. College applications are coinciding with the election cycle, and tension is running high.

We launched a VOTE 2020 initiative in early October, hoping to gauge the political climate at school. We wanted to hear what was on our readers' minds and give them the means to speak out. Many emphasized the importance and value of voting, especially because most of our generation can't yet, so we have to rely on older voters to convey our priorities to the ballot. Another common concern was women's rights, with growing emphasis on Roe v. Wade. Perhaps a defining issue for Gen Z is climate change. Thousands of young people took to the streets last year, worried for their immediate future. More conservative responses focused on misinformation and polling, mirroring the "fake news" mantra of the President. This article features the responses we gathered over Instagram, where we asked students to submit short paragraphs on the issues that are most important to them this year, as well as their thoughts on the election in general. We also reached out to student artists who designed graphics and posters emphasizing the critical importance of civil duty in this election.

Responses have been condensed and edited for clarity.

Just Vote

Fallon Broyles, Junior
The right for everyone to vote was fought for for years to ensure that all American people have an equal opportunity to vote for who they believe should lead our nation. This means that YOU now have the right to vote! Make sure to exercise your right this November...every single vote counts!"

-Hailey Hearney, Senior

Lane Lofaso, Senior
Voting is so important, especially in this year's election, because both candidates have very opposing views. Therefore, whoever is elected will administer policies that greatly impact our country whether it's for better or worse."

-Sierra Welsch, Junior

Read her full article here

It’s important to take action in the 2020 presidential election however you can. The next presidential term will impact our personal futures and the future of America. For those of us that aren’t eligible to vote, it can be tricky figuring out how to take action and what we’re actually able to do. However, we’re more capable than we think, and yes, our voices can actually make a difference."

-Paige Braile, Freshman

Read her full article here

Gender Equality

Lucy Kwon, Freshman
Women's rights and Roe v. Wade are important to me this election. Although I might not have an abortion personally, it's not my choice since it's not my body. I think women need more of a say on their own rights. Right now it's mostly men who are deciding what we can do with our bodies. It's sickening to think that I don't have a say.

-Emilia Guzzetta, Senior

I am pro choice. Men shouldn't be allowed to make decisions about a woman's body, especially when it comes to defunding Planned Parenthood or banning abortions – it's extremely disrespectful and unfair to females. Abortions should be allowed up until the heart and brain are developed – by that time the fetus is able to feel and is considered human. I also believe that transgenders should be allowed in the military, and that gay couples should be allowed to adopt children."

-Lily Russell, Senior

Poll Speculation and the Media

My main issue is that people are very uneducated and because of that we are in trouble. It seems like our youth is being brainwashed by the media and the news, and it's not okay. People could become more educated by not watching [the news] and letting the media persuade their stupid opinions."

-Anonymous, Sophomore

I think Biden is going to win – but don't count Trump out, because the polls were wrong last time and Biden can't draw many crowds. There's much more enthusiasm for Trump and Biden's fundraising is sort of an illusion as he is using third parties to funnel in money from other organizations. Trump on the other hand, is having good fundraising but due to Biden's advantage among celebrities it will make the difference in that department. Overall, I think Biden is going to win, but it could be closer than we think.

-Anonymous, Sophomore

To read more about polls and how they differ from 2016, click here

Climate Change

Viviane Kim & Iris He, Freshmen 
Climate change is one of the most pressing issues today. With greenhouse gas emissions rapidly increasing, pollutants have been collecting in the atmosphere, leading to a heating effect. This warming has led to increased natural disasters and melting arctic ice caps. Melting has led to sea level rise – at our our current pace, many regions, including LI, will soon be underwater. This is just one side effect of greenhouse gas pollution, and if nothing is done soon, the Earth will cease to exist as we know it.
In not reducing GHG emissions, we are actively allowing our earth to be destroyed. Although our economy and environmental policies are closely correlated, it is necessary for us to look at the bigger picture and take note of the fact that these environmental issues are urgent. While fracking provides many jobs, it also causes surface water pollution, groundwater poisoning, and poses a threat to wildlife. While neither candidate directly condemns it. it's necessary to take action against this practice, which is a key cause for overall pollution.
The Arctic National Wildlife Refuge is on of the last untouched landscapes in the world. The Trump administration aims to open this land up for drilling of oil and gas and undo years of protection. Humans have single handedly destroyed countless ecosystems and species. For us to take this precious land and use it for monetary gain is beyond disturbing.

-Faye Held, Senior

All Around Disappointment

We need younger candidates and people who believe in equality and aren't just saying what people want to hear."

-Emilia Guzzetta, Senior

I believe that you shouldn't be allowed to run for president with any criminal charges, and that you must be a morally good role model for our country. It's important for our children to be taught that rape, racism, sexism, homophobia, and white supremacy are not okay and the president should lead by example. A president or any politician who makes decisions for our country should be accepting of everyone, see and treat everyone as equals, and be honest with everyone they are claiming to serve and care about. I am extremely disappointed in our country. Both candidates have demonstrated racist, homophobic, and sexist ideas, and are just embarrassingly old. I guess you must pick the better of two evils – 8 sexual assault allegations or 46?

-Lily Russell, Senior

Polls show that young people are much more likely to vote blue. This is certainly evident in vocal activity on social media. While Suffolk County is generally right-leaning, more liberal students are making up for the gap in the consistency and spread of their activism. Many students are frustrated by the partisanship of the election, and even more are peeved at the astounding age of the candidates. One thing both sides can agree on?

This election is very stressful and has a lot of emotions attached to it since a lot of what's at stake will affect us down the line.
-Emilia Guzzetta, Senior

An Instagram poll conducted on our Instagram confirms that:

Featured image by Viviane Kim

Viviane E. Kim

Viviane, a sophomore, is Editor-in-Chief of The Current. She's an aspiring pianist, flutist, artist, and activist. She has won several writing competitions and performed with the SBU Orchestra.

Natalie McGuigan

Natalie, a senior, is The Current’s Communications Director. She started our podcast and works on video content. In addition, she's a chef, baker, artist, and plays tennis and flute.

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