Where’s the beef? How political strife is tearing our nation apart

According to the Roper Center for Public Opinion, Clinton and Trump are “historically disliked.” Studies show that both candidates are more disliked than any presidential nominee in the last 10 elections. With the country at a stalemate, voters are finding themselves supporting the lesser of two evils.

Edinboro University junior Shannon Rauterkus said, “Both candidates have good benefits, but I’m just not interested in either of them.”

Rauterkus doesn’t know who she’ll be voting for in November, but in what seems like a recurring uncertainty among voters, people like Rauterkus might be forced to look into a third party candidate such as Gary Johnson or Jill Stein. In fact, three of the seven students interviewed said they were undecided, and six of those seven interviewees didn’t even consider mentioning a third party candidate.

So, where’s the beef? Edinboro junior Christina Gilbert reluctantly spoke of her pick for the upcoming election, whispering softly, “I’m afraid to be harassed for saying I’m voting for Hillary, so I’ve never admitted it.”

She went on to say that she had never discussed her political beliefs with anyone up until the interview.

In comparison to Gilbert, Edinboro sophomore Richard Gibson described his situation similarly when asked if he had ever been belittled for his political views.

“I was walking with my friends through Pogue, and I was just talking about Donald Trump when someone interrupted me and called me a bigot and said that I didn’t care about my country.”

Gibson continued to speak of how he wasn’t truly in favor of Trump to begin with; he just wanted to keep Clinton out of office at all costs. When Gibson was asked about a third party, he recalled hearing the name Gary Johnson, but didn’t quite know who or what Johnson stood for.

Speaking freely about Trump or Hillary has proven itself dangerous these days, yet Americans are hesitant to opening themselves up to a third party. Perhaps it’s because people fear they’d be wasting a vote, but without adhering to a new approach, there may never lie the change that the eager reach for.

The backlash that correlates with whom supports whom in this election has distinctly separated the good people of America. Belittling someone’s mindset won’t sway their opinion; it’ll only lead to fist fights similar to the physical altercation at the Trump rally in Richmond, Virginia in June. Therefore, it’s important to research each possible outcome, because without an educated population, there can be no correct candidate.

When asked to go into detail why an employee at the Rose Dining facility was voting for Trump, Kayla Bullock stated, “I agree with his policies on letting people into America, [and] not necessarily building a wall, but just being cautious on who we let in.”

However, on Hillary Clinton’s official website, it’s specifically stated that, “immigration enforcement must be humane, targeted, and effective. Hillary will focus resources on detaining and deporting those individuals who pose a violent threat to public safety, and ensure refugees who seek asylum in the U.S. have a fair chance to tell their stories.”

Aren’t both democratic and republican candidates essentially striving for the same thing? Is immigration even an imminent issue though? According to Gary Johnson, “Undocumented workers crossing the border right now is at a 12-year low.” Current president Barack Obama also said the same in a press conference, shortly after the 2016 Republican National Convention.

It has become clear that voters on both ends of the spectrum are experiencing the same intimidation when speaking about politics. There’s also a misunderstanding of viewpoints in the United States. Is intimidation and misunderstanding perhaps a sign that people need to look further into every candidate with great depth? Voters shouldn’t have to live in fear of having their car windows smashed after applying a political sticker to the back of their car.

Regardless of whether or not someone votes for Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton, Gary Johnson or even Jill Stein is beyond the point. It does however cause an issue or create beef when voters side with candidates they know little about.

In fact, voters should be able to describe in great detail why it is they support their candidate. Credibility and experience are also very important when searching for candidates. Thus, Americans need to unify in their efforts to think beyond the realm of what is comfortable or else the elections to come may grow stale.

Rick Chernicky is a contributing writer for The Spectator. He can be reached at voices.spectator@gmail.com.