Illustration by Callie Pruitt
2020 has been quite an unusual year. With the outbreak of a pandemic, fires raging throughout California, and a massive rise in unemployment, it seems completely appropriate for us to be headed towards a historically unorthodox election. Among other things, an increasing number of people voting in advance or via mail-in ballots has led the media to suggest that we could be headed towards a very divisive election — an election where the validity of the outcome itself could be questioned.
So in light of all this, The Perennial interviewed 22 Pinewood students regarding how they feel about the election, what issues are important to them, and who they would hypothetically vote for.
The majority of Pinewood students leaned more to the left and said that if they could vote, they’d vote for Democratic nominee Joe Biden. What was somewhat surprising, however, was the fact that beyond just political reasons, many cited personal issues to justify voting against a candidate.
Eighth grader Christina Tanase said she hopes that Donald Trump gets voted out of office.
“Trump is...racist, sexist, homophobic, a rapist and so much more,” Tanase said.
Still, others aren’t so sure about Trump’s opponent either.
“Biden just doesn’t seem like the right guy for the job,” freshman Brandon Ge said.
With the exception of COVID-19, many of the issues that concerned Pinewood students were generational ones, such as social injustice.
“One of the biggest issues right now is racial injustice because our country [has] tried so hard to strive for social justice [but efforts have] dissolved into a mass of [chaos],” seventh grader Lia Payne said.
Another issue important to students was climate change.
“Climate change is one of the most basic yet important issues that we as a society need to address. Climate change is a threat to humanity,” senior Drew Mahlmeister said.
Others are concerned about affordable healthcare.
“If someone is in bad health, money shouldn’t be what holds them back from getting better,” senior Sophie Ashley said.
Most students cared about issues that required long-term commitments and investments. They were interested in addressing these monumental, institutional challenges of the type that might not be resolved in their lifetimes. However, even the possibility of change will undoubtedly greatly impact future generations.
Looking at more short-term issues, nearly every student agreed that the handling of the COVID-19 crisis was of great importance. The majority of students placed a strong emphasis on safety, valuing public health over the health of the economy, and many voiced their dissatisfaction with the current response to this crisis.
“I think [COVID-19] could have been handled a lot better, and it seems as though Trump only cares about money, rather than the [well-being] of our country,” Ashley said.
Pinewood students interviewed were largely in agreement that the debates were quite far from being ‘presidential.’
“I’m just hoping that...[Trump and Biden] will stop insulting each other like elementary schoolers,” sophomore Robert Cui said.
With the dissatisfaction with the presidential debates and the future of our country seemingly at stake, it should come as no surprise that this election is nerve-wracking for many students.
“I’m feeling very nervous about the upcoming election because there are a lot of issues at stake,” Ashley said. “[T]he outcome completely affects what is going to happen in our future.”