Why I Voted for Biden

Cael Baumgarten, Copy Editor

Two weeks before the Presidential Election, I voted for the first time in my life. The line leading into the Indian Creek Library was thankfully short, as I had hoped. My sister and I shared a few laughs intermingled with self-fulfilling political discussion; eight minutes later, it was our turn. I walked up to an old man with kind eyes. I gave him my driver’s license, but it was oriented incorrectly, so I had to try again. He scrutinized the information on my plastic rectangle, and those kind eyes lit up when they eventually reached my birthdate. “First time voting?” he asked. 

“Yes,” I said. 

“First time voter here, folks!” The whole of the library turned my way and offered obligatory applause, though their discomfort couldn’t hope to rival mine. I chuckled when they did the same thing to my sister two minutes later. Those poor old suburban conservative white folks; if only they knew that she and I would not be voting inside Kansas party lines.

I voted for Biden to get Trump out of office. After Bernie dropped out of the race, my dreams of a happy ending to this accursed year were expunged, replaced with pessimism and dread. The only good outcome I can envision now is damage control. I did not endure the hardships of online registration nor the Herculean trial of waiting outside of Indian Creek Library in the hopes that a Biden-Harris Administration would equate to progress. 

That being said, I do agree with a good few of Biden’s talking points: taxes for those who make more than $400,000, pro-choice, environmental responsibility, etc. He is a democrat, so naturally he and I have some common ground. His critics, however, (occasionally) make valid points. While Joe can still walk and talk on his own, he shows signs of aging. As Trump has pointed out repeatedly, Biden has been a politician for decades, making his promises sound empty. Harris has made several contradictory statements and decisions on the topic of criminal justice reform. I expect, if the election goes the way the polls appear now, a few of Trump’s actions will be repealed, the status quo will be reinforced as it always is when a moderate is elected, and an influx of refugees will enter the country straight from the frontlines of Twitter. Certainly not a perfect outcome, but it is the best we can hope for.

All of what I just said about Biden and Harris really does not matter in the face of all that President Trump has done to this nation. My ballot was not decided based on the comparing and contrasting of policies or pretty speaking contests. It was decided based on character. Normally, I would argue that voting for whichever candidate you’d rather “get a beer with” is an atrocious misuse of a civilian’s power and responsibility, but this year has posed questions of the importance of character. I don’t believe it to be so insane to think that the values, priorities, and behaviors should all be factors when deciding who shall become the leader of the free world – the most significant man on the planet. My issue with Trump’s behavior does not boil down to “he is impolite sometimes.” The Dalai Lama has certainly let slip a crude comment once or twice. Though the Dalai Lama never mocked a handicapped reporter, nor boasted of his nonconsensual sexual exploits, nor thought the economy of greater value than the lives of the very country he leads. 

Any single issue I have with Biden is one-upped by Trump. Biden touches women on the shoulders creepily. Yeah, I’d definitely prefer he didn’t do that, but at least he didn’t pay off a sex worker for her silence or engage in “locker room talk.” Yes, Biden has made some racially insensitive comments, and in an ideal world, I would vote for a candidate with nothing of the sort on their track record. But, at least he didn’t refer to nonviolent BLM protestors as “thugs” or far right extremists as “very fine people.” I am in no way saying that President Trump is a white supremecist. That is far too outlandish a claim. However, his words should still be taken into account. Trump has made it clear that he believes ANTIFA to be a larger issue than the KKK, and this flaw in his priorities cannot be ignored. I have heard the argument that these are just words. Again, I would normally agree that words can only mean so much, and that policies and historical examples are a much better way to create a profile for a candidate. But words come from somewhere inside, and Trump’s repeated slandering of the BLM movement, Colin Kaepernick, Breonna Taylor, and more do not paint a pretty picture of his true feelings. 

Trump’s rejection of science was the other reason I voted for Biden. In his first year, the 45th POTUS portentously removed Climate Change from the official White House website. Since then, he backed out of the Paris accord, removed over 70 environmental regulations, and refused to maintain a clear position on whether climate change is an existential threat or a “hoax.” All of the top scientists globally agree that the doomsday clock is ticking; while it cannot be said how long we have before the point of no return, I see no reason to delay action yet another four years. And while Biden does not have a comprehensive plan to thwart the oncoming environmental crisis, I believe that he is at least more likely than Trump to do something about it, or even try to do something about it. In the most recent and final debate of this year’s election, a key difference between the two candidates was outlined when Biden said that humanity would be forced to transition away from oil companies, a statement that I agree with wholeheartedly. Trump took this opportunity as a way to gain favor from voters, suggesting that it would be absurd to value the environment over the economic benefits of oil.

Reports and advice from the CDC, too, have been neglected by the current administration. First, Trump called Covid-19 a hoax. Then, he said it was under control. Somehow, he still believes it to be under control after over 200,000 deaths. Dr. Anthony Fauci has discussed countless times the virtues of a mask mandate, yet Trump refuses to take action because, allegedly, some data shows that masks don’t help. Amidst his mask indifference rhetoric lies his un-socially distanced rallies that, basically without fail, cause Covid surges in whatever area he hosts. I can understand President Trump’s desire to open the country back up; the economy is too frail to shut down for an extended period of time, and mental health issues pose threats to the mortality of many an isolated American. However, there is no justifying a laze on mask laws, and there is no justifying his 1,000+ attendee-scientist-defying ego-stroking rallies that accomplish nothing. 

A vote for Biden is a vote to restore a semblance of grace and character to the Oval Office, and a vote for what has guided and protected humanity through millennia of violence and catastrophe and strife: science.

To see the Eyrie’s coverage of Biden’s opponent, Donald Trump, click here.