All posts by Chloe Burdette

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Get involved to help your candidate win

Carly McWilliams

Contributing Writer

 

Wooster students have a lot of opinions. I’m sure this is not news to anyone, considering you’re reading this on the Viewpoints page of the Voice, likely next to some hot takes about U.S. politics and Lowry food. I’m grateful to be in an environment where opinions are freely expressed and discussed among the community, but something distressing I noticed lately is how cynical and hopeless the opinions I’m hearing have become, especially in regard to politics and the upcoming general election.

Let me just say — I understand. I’m certainly guilty of feeling hopeless, too. The 2020 presidential primary season was intense, and the day my top-choice candidate announced she was dropping out — not too long after I’d voted for her in the Ohio primary — I felt like all the optimism I held for this election was carelessly wrung out of my body. But then I started thinking, what had I actually done in order to help this candidate succeed in the first place? Sure, I took an hour to go around and knock on some doors for her over the weekend, with limited success. I tried out phone banking once on a free afternoon — with extreme frustration at the auto-dialer, so that didn’t last very long. And, of course, I voted in a pretty inconsequential primary in which the ballots weren’t even counted until after my candidate had dropped out.

In retrospect, I was mostly talk and little action, and I knew I needed to do more. Elizabeth Warren’s campaign was the spark that led me to sign up as a volunteer on a local Congressional candidate’s website this May. I figured that clicking “Join the Team!” was a step in the right direction, and I was correct. I earned a spot as a campaign fellow on the field team. Since then I’ve been working to elect a Democratic woman to Congress in the most competitive Red-to-Blue district in the country. It’s not easy work by any means — calling up random voters on weekday afternoons means you’ll hear some interesting things on the phone — but it’s definitely gratifying work. After the calls and conversations are done for the day, I know I made a tangible difference in a race that’s important to me and my community, and I feel hopeful.

All that being said, here is my advice to anyone who’s feeling especially downtrodden at this point in the election cycle — whether it’s from staring into the soulless, bloodshot eyes of Mike Pence during the VP debate, reading careless opinion pieces that label Trump as “resolute” while failing to mention his racist dogwhistling and lack of regard for human life or just from the downpour of mind-boggling headlines that never seem to end this month — pick a race. Any race. Find a candidate you support who’s running for Congress, senate, governor, state legislature, or even president, and peel yourself away from Twitter or TikTok for two hours to make calls for them. I’ve met so many avid volunteers these past few months, and they all tell me that they’ve kept coming back for the same reason — using their time and effort for good makes them feel calmer, happier or just more optimistic for our country.

As my field director always says — democracy is not a noun, it’s a verb. If you want to feel better about your democracy, start putting those opinions into action and working for it. The moment you inform someone of their choices in this election, or help them find their polling place or even just motivate them to vote this year, you’re doing democracy. And it’s a worthwhile fight.

Donald Trump is the worst possible option for president

Shelby Jones

Contributing Writer

 

It is not news to anyone that this is the most vital and divisive election of our young 18-to-20-something lives. This is the first presidential election in which most of us can vote, and wow, what a way to start off. I miss the days when the biggest scandal of the election season was Richard Nixon looking sickly on camera simply because he didn’t know how to use makeup for television. Oh, what a simpler time. Regardless of how dramatic this election season is, one thing is for sure: we as a generation cannot idly sit back and let Donald Trump win a second term. Unlike what some would want you to believe, Donald Trump is the worst possible option for president.

However, I am also not arguing that Joe Biden is the best possible option. He also has incredible downfalls. As Senator Kamala Harris said multiple times during the vice presidential debate, Joe Biden does not want to ban fracking. Fracking is causing incredible environmental damage and is actively impacting Native American lands. In 1996, he voted for the Defense of Marriage Act, which banned any federal recognition of gay marriage. (His views on gay marriage did change during his time with the Obama administration. According to his campaign website, he is actively campaigning for the protection of the LGBTQIA+ community on multiple fronts). He was also an avid supporter of the War on Drugs during the 1980s and 1990s. These are not small things to overlook.

In his three and a half years as president, Donald Trump has done little good for this country. Rather, he has rolled back environmental protections, actively worked to cut Social Security and other forms of governmental financial assistance, created immensely harmful immigration policies, enacted travel bans for Muslim countries and his administration continually attempts to roll back or outright remove existing LGBTQIA+ protections. He has attacked every single gender, race, ethnicity and sexuality besides the cisgender, heterosexual white man. Also, he’s just a huge jerk.

However, Joe Biden believes scientists. He, unlike Mr. Trump, does not tell his supporters that COVID-19 is a hoax. He recognizes that climate change is real, and not some lie made up by the liberal media. People can criticize the lack of numbers at his rallies, but that is because he understands the real and dangerous risks of COVID-19. His seats aren’t filled because his supporters understand that we’re in a pandemic. Mr. Trump’s do not.

Truly, who you vote for lies in your morality. Do you want to vote for someone who actively works against BIPOC and LGBTQIA+ individuals? Or do you want to vote for someone who still isn’t the best, but at least is sort of better? It is impossible to even claim that Joe Biden works for the “extreme left” like his critics say. His campaign actively panders to moderates and undecided voters. But he’s also not openly fascist. It breaks my heart to say that it really comes down to the lesser of two evils. Joe Biden is that lesser. This election season can be summed up with just four words that I have lived by since Joe accepted the Democratic nomination: settle for Biden 2020.

Scotlight on Veda Massanari-Thatcher ’23

Lark Pinney

Features Editor

 

Where are you from?

I am from a small town in Michigan called Tecumseh which is around 30 minutes from the Ohio border and about three hours from Wooster.

How did you settle on Wooster?

My grandpa knew about the school because he was a college professor, so he suggested it to me. I went on a bunch of tours, and when I visited Wooster I just felt like I fit here. It was definitely the people and the energy; I was like, ‘This is it!’ I think I came back one more time and then I only applied here and one other place, and once I got in I was like, ‘Alright, we’ve done it.’

Have you declared a major?

Yes, I’m a double major in philosophy and women’s, gender and sexuality studies (WGSS).

Tell me a little more about your choice to double major.

I came into college thinking I was going to major in political science because I knew I wanted to go to law school, and I had heard that political science or philosophy was the route to go for that. But once I took a philosophy class, I was hooked. I took Intro to WGSS my first semester, and I fell in love. It was everything I wanted to talk about and more, and the professors are wonderful.

Do you still want to go to law school?

Yes, that’s the plan! I would love to do some type of social justice advocacy; I don’t know whether that’s environmental or reproductive rights, but something along those lines. 

You’ve been going to the protests downtown, right? Tell me a little more about that!

I actually didn’t find out about them until I went to the CDI event about racial justice earlier this fall. I attended the breakout room that Professor Désirée Weber was running, and that’s how I found out about the protests. A few friends and I started going a few times a week, and now we’ve gotten to know the people pretty well. It’s a consistent few people who come; there’s normally at least three or four professors who are always there and then about the same number of community members who are also there every day. We don’t really do any official organizing, but if Dr. Weber wants to reach out to students at the College, she’ll ask us to be a liaison. For the Trump parade, she asked us to get input on what the college students would like, so I organized a virtual conversation between the heads of a bunch of clubs, and then a bunch of people from CDI ended up showing up so it was actually a super productive conversation. They decided that counter-protesting wasn’t a good idea. But that’s the extent of any organizing  we’ve done. It’s very much a community-based thing that we’re just going to to support. They’ve been doing it for a long time, so I definitely want to give them all the credit. They’ve been doing it for so long and are so prepared. 

What did the community members think about that one Saturday protest when tons and tons of students showed up?

Yes, the community members loved that. They were pumped that so many people showed up. They were hoping that it would lead to more people coming in the future, which I’m not sure if it has, but more people know about it now. They really want students to get involved. It’s 12-1 p.m. every day downtown. 

What other things are you involved in on campus?

I am in four clubs! I am the social media chair of the Sexual Respect Coalition, I attend Greenhouse, I am co-treasurer of the Environmental Justice Coalition and I’m in Leftists of Wooster. 

What is a fun fact or secret hobby you want to share?

I make earrings! Over quarantine I made an instagram page called @funkydoodads and ended up selling a bunch of earrings and donating some of the profits towards different organizations. 

COVID narrative puts high-risk groups in jeopardy

Hannah Groetsch

Contributing Writer

 

I have asthma and my dad is an immunosuppressed doctor, so the past seven months have been stressful to say the least. While I’m very privileged that my family hasn’t felt the worst effects of this pandemic, I’m in a higher risk category for COVID-19 which is why I’m writing this from my bedroom in Washington State instead of Old Main.

I miss Old Main. I miss many things about Wooster — the people mostly, and I might even miss the bats. When I flew home for spring break, Seattle was still ground zero of the pandemic and I joked that I would somehow get stuck in Washington while everyone else returned to campus. In a very roundabout way, I was correct. I have been very much stuck at home, which I say not for pity, but to highlight that for many people there is no “return to normal” until the pandemic is controlled, which right now it’s not. As I write this, case counts are climbing, campus is locking down for a week and those in the White House who are supposed to be helping us are battling their own outbreak caused by their negligence.

That hurts. The isolation and disruption COVID-19 has caused has been as difficult for me as it has been for others, but something I wasn’t prepared for was the hurt and anger I have toward other people and our leaders for being so cavalier about this virus and those at highest risk. This spring, people in high-risk categories had to listen to a discussion about whether we should be sacrificed for the stock market — whether our deaths were really that big of a loss. How we should just stay home while everyone else completely “returns to normal,” neglecting the fact that high-risk people are also essential workers and that other household members can spread it to them.

These past months I’ve been reminded of a quote from a Philip Larkin poem that goes, “We should be careful/ Of each other, we should be kind/ While there is still time.” Don’t get me wrong, I have seen immense care displayed during this time both personally and generally, but the lack of care I’ve also seen puts me and the people I love at risk. I’ve seen too many people who are either ignorant or unbothered about the fact that their actions impact others. I’ve seen too many bad excuses and people arguing that they’re not high-risk, so why should they care.

Whenever I hear about a big party or news of a state reopening even as cases rise, I get angrier. When I see articles like the one describing a Maine wedding that caused the deaths of seven people not even in attendance, I get a bit sadder. This desperate quest to pretend things are fine is killing people. I don’t have the luxury of pretending everything is fine when my lungs are already bad at breathing. Instead, I grow increasingly tired of staying home and hearing that high-risk people are expendable. I’m tired of people flaunting rules that I don’t have the privilege of breaking while my family makes plans for what to do if my dad’s clinic has an outbreak.  

I can’t wait to come back to Wooster, hug my friends, sit in Old Main and get back to a normal that everyone can safely participate in. But to do that, Wooster needs to do its best to stop the spread of the virus, and our government and all Americans need to take this more seriously and be more mindful of how we talk about at-risk groups. Above all, we must be careful for each other. We must be kind while there is still time.

Sportlight

Matt Olszewski

Senior Sports Writer

 

On Saturday, Oct. 17, President Sarah Bolton announced that the College would be changing to remote learning for the rest of the semester, and that all athletic practices would be cancelled. Amidst all of this stress and chaos on and off campus regarding COVID-19, it is important to remember the accomplishments of athletes that have excelled on and off the field. Ashley Boersma ’21, a women’s lacrosse player, is one of those athletes. Boersma is from Ada, Mich., and plays midfielder for the College’s women’s lacrosse team.

Before entering college, Boersma was selected as an United States Lacrosse All-Academic as a junior and senior in high school. She also earned a varsity letter in basketball, cross country, lacrosse and volleyball. As a first year, Boersma played in fifteen games, starting in seven of them. She was one of the nine Fighting Scots to score goals in the double digits.

As a sophomore, she ranked in the top fifteen in the whole NCAC for goals (41), points (57) and draw controls (46). She was one of eight Scots with at least 20 goals, and she was also named to the NCAC Academic Honor Roll.

Last season — her junior year — all spring sports teams had their season cut short in March due to COVID-19, but Boersma still thrived on and off the field. She started in all five games for the Fighting Scots, led the team with 20 points, eight assists and scored twelve goals throughout the brief season. She was also named to the NCAC Academic Honor Roll for a third time in her college career.

This past summer, Boersma, like many others, unfortunately experienced a change in her original plans. “I had an internship lined up at a neuro rehabilitation center, but mine, like many others, got canceled so I helped my family with many home renovations that have been on our “to-do” list,” she said.

Now, as a senior, she is currently working on her Independent Study (I.S.). “My I.S. investigates whether there are differences in first and second language working memory capacities and if there is a correlation between working memory capacity and the developmental period in which one acquires a second language,” she said. “In school, I grew up learning Spanish and English at the same time, and I have always been interested in the advantages of bilingualism.”

Boersma was also asked about a few things Wooster-related. Her favorite place on campus is Knowlton Café, as she loves hanging with friends, getting something to eat or drink and doing homework there. She was also asked about her favorite thing at Wooster,. “I love the people and the feeling of community I get while walking through campus. I am thankful for having a strong support system on and off the field.”

Lastly, a fun fact about Boersma is that she has a twin sister, and her younger brothers are also twins!

Friends can’t disagree over human rights

James Dwyer

Contributing Writer

 

The United States presidential election is in less than a month. This is one of the most tumultuous and irritating election seasons in decades. If we are truly honest with ourselves, I doubt any of us anticipated it being anything other than downright hostile. 

This election cycle involves two extremely polarizing figures: Donald J. Trump and Joe Biden. Neither has a very honorable record. One candidate holds his history over his head like a prize, leering at everyone over his “victory.” The other candidate acknowledges his history, and has built his platform on improving. Which candidate is which depends on with whom you are talking. 

The recent debate consisted of Biden and Trump attempting to make their political arguments. This is a key part of debating, and the reason most people tune in. What is not a key part of debating was Trump interrupting whenever Biden opened his mouth. The frustration felt by debate viewers as it slowly devolved into sandbox insults was universal. I watched it live, sitting with my friends in front of a small TV in a hot dorm room. We felt the tension in the room as we held hands, eyes glued to the screen, stress-eating gummy worms from the C-Store. This was not just a debate. This was not just the future of our country. This was the future of us. What will happen to us is contingent on these debates — and who ends up victorious. 

I am a member of the LGBTQIA+ community. Many of my friends are as well. I have friends from many diverse backgrounds. Several of my friends belong to racial and ethnic minority groups. This debate blatantly yelled at us that not only are we so undervalued that we’re demoted to topics in a shoddily-moderated debate, but that we are not even worth defending  when our livelihoods are hanging in the balance. Donald Trump is clearly not on our side. He isn’t even on his own supporters’ sides. This debate only reinforced that with his lies. We know you don’t care, President Trump. At least acknowledge our dignity and give us the truth. But I know he won’t, and so do the people who see him for what he is. 

Most people used to claim that politics were not something to lose friends over. They would claim politics weren’t a deciding factor in relationships, and that it wasn’t an important thing to focus on. I highly disagree. The first debate between Biden and Trump has shown one thing to be abundantly clear: this was not a debate over politics. It was an argument over human rights. I do not care what your definition of politics is; the American political landscape is a thinly-veiled fight over who is entitled to constitutional rights listed in the document that is the backbone of our nation. At this point, everyone knows what Trump has done while in office. The question is not, “Can he save our nation?” as posed in the debate. The question is, “Who will make excuses four years later?”