OP-ED: The Lesser of Two Evils

An OP-Ed about the current status of the U.S and the presidency during COVID-19.

I took a drive the other night to break up the monotony of staying home and social distancing; a silent drive where I began to reflect on a year that’s nearly half over. 

My fuel gauge chimed with the sound that reminded me that driving a car as old as myself hurts the wallet, so I pulled into a gas station that flew the American flag. I watched the flag as I pumped my gas, waving and billowing at half-mast in the warm spring breeze. 

Realizing why the flag was at half-mast, I became angry with the country that I live in. Currently, the number of American citizens who have died of COVID-19 has reached 97,000. As we creep closer and closer to the 100,000 death benchmark, we also creep closer and closer to the unavoidable 2020 election in which the American people will vote to either keep President Donald Trump or elect Former Vice President Joe Biden.

Akin to the election of 2016, the 2020 election will offer two unlikeable candidates who don’t appeal to a majority of youth voters. On one side, Americans have the Trump Administration who have time and again proven to be inept in the face of conflict. The last four years have been a debacle to watch as the country has become the laughing stock of the world. The Trump Administration’s handling of the pandemic has been close to nothing as the virus has now become a state-by-state issue that governors can’t agree on. 

Always against the idea of closing the country and fighting with credited scientists, Trump’s inaction and foolish demands have added unnecessary stress to hospital staff who’ve already been overwhelmed by the pandemic. From wanting to open by the end of April, to suggesting doctors find a way to inject bleach into patients and demanding governors open houses of worship; Trump has ignored science and logic in an effort to bring a struggling country back to normalcy before it’s ready. 

It hasn’t just been his handling of the recent pandemic either. In an eventful four years, Trump has been impeached, had the caged children at the border scandal, shut down the federal government at the end of 2018 for money to build his border wall and has increased tensions with numerous foreign countries. To put it bluntly, the last four years have been a disaster for the country as Trump will cap off his first term as President in the midst of a pandemic that’s cost Americans their jobs, money and, worst of all, their lives. 

Considering the track record Trump has had in office, it would be fair to say that his competition in November will have a lot of ammo to debate the presidency. Although, in the case of Former Vice President Joe Biden, shots can be fired his way as well. 

As the likely nominee for the Democrats, Joe Biden will have to defend a number of past actions while making his case on why progressive voters who supported candidates like Bernie Sanders or Elizabeth Warren should vote for a moderate Democrat. Whether it’s the awkward hair smelling, the inability to speak on stage or in live interviews, or his past support of the Iraq war and support of senators against busing, Biden has a lot to prove to undecided voters. 

Biden’s most glaring scandal is the alleged rape of a former staffer, Tara Reade, in 1993 when the Former Vice President was a Senator. Though Reade has a number of friends and family members who corroborate that Reade had told them about the attack in the 90s, Biden has admittedly denied the claims and told MSNBC that people who believe Reade “probably shouldn’t vote for me”. 

But therein lies the problem; we might have no other choice.

Biden is not charismatic, his major accomplishment in life was being picked by a man who needed an old white guy to appeal to old moderates. He’s continuously shamed the youth of the nation he wishes to run. 

With accusations of a major rape scandal and a checkered past, Joe Biden should’ve never been the Democratic nominee for President but he is and we have to live with that.

My problem is this; I’ve been able to vote since 2016 and in that time I’ve had to choose the lesser of two evils twice.

Biden feels like a horrific case of Deja vu as he’s comparable to Hillary Clinton in 2016. Both Biden and Clinton are moderate old white Democrats who haven’t yet proven to voters why they deserve to be elected president, just that their opponent doesn’t deserve it.

Biden has bungled and ridden the coattails of a president and man who, though made harmful decisions when it came to drone strikes and immigration, left office with a favorable reputation. Biden is inept and has been on the wrong side of history in a number of cases. He’s also simply not as charismatic as some of the opponents he has in the primaries. 

With his lack of charisma and support, Biden may increase the odds of a Trump reelection if he doesn’t begin damage control immediately. Biden must show voters not only why Trump shouldn’t be president, but why he himself should be. 

My fear is that it’s far too late for these actions to be made and that the chance for Biden to gain the support and steam he needs for November may have passed. 

Trump shouldn’t be president and this pandemic has all but stamped the seal on that opinion, but neither should Biden. Both men are examples of why the two-party system in America is broken and usually leaves American citizens to choose the lesser of two evils when it comes to November.

As I drove away from the gas station that day, no destination in mind, I looked back at the American flag as it continued its dance in the wind, saddened by the prospects of the country I live in. As I look through social media and see peers at the beach, protesters at the capital, and people disrespecting social distancing orders, I question if the lesser of two evils is deserved. Is this what we deserve?

The Puyallup Post is the award-winning news media of Pierce College Puyallup in Puyallup, Washington. Copyright The Puyallup Post 2018. Find us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Youtube @thepuyalluppost

Alec Jensen

OP-ED: The Lesser of Two Evils

by Alec Jensen time to read: 4 min