Students discuss post-election anxieties, hopes

Elizabeth Taylor, Associate News Editor

As election day approaches, Americans have expressed feeling everything from stressed and exhausted to excited and eager to see the results.  

In the midst of a pandemic, with a remarkably controversial Presidential election underway, many students have found it difficult to focus on all the news on top of their classwork. 

However, with early voting locations as close as the Union, Eastern students and Charleston residents could make time to vote and try to participate in the election.  

Kamauri King, freshman psychology major, said she didn’t originally plan on voting, but once she had turned in her ballot, she felt like she made the right choice.  

“There was speculation about both candidates so I was unsure, but then my friends and literally everybody on social media convinced me that my vote counts no matter what, so I decided to vote and I’m super happy I did,” King said.  

Rather than being anxious for the results, King said she was more excited to find out what will happen after the election.  

“I feel like whenever a new president is elected, it’s a fresh start,” King said. “Even though we are in a pandemic, I’m excited to see what Biden does if he’s elected, and if he’s not, I’m curious to see if Trump will make changes. I doubt he will, but I’m always curious to find out.” 

Danae Ledbetter, a Charleston community member, said that she was upset she didn’t get the chance to vote in this election.  

“Unfortunately, due to my job and work hours, I was unable to, and I didn’t have the proper information for a mail-in vote either,” Ledbetter said. “I’ve honestly never felt more disappointed and responsible should there be a negative outcome to the election.” 

Whether they had the opportunity to vote or not, a lot of people feel that the stakes are especially high in this election.  

Max Zumpano, a theater and psychology major in his third year, said that the historical significance of this election was at the forefront of his mind. 

“This election carries an extreme amount of historical weight and the outcome is going to cause a lot of commotion regardless of the victor,” Zumpano said. “Just like many things, it’s the not knowing that is so difficult, and mixing in the delays because of mail-in ballots. Considering I’m worried about this election, I literally couldn’t imagine how victims of systemic racism in our country must be feeling.” 

Maddin Herberger, junior sociology major, got to vote for his second time this year, and while he expressed happiness at the short lines at the polling station, he said he was very stressed about the election.  

“It’s important to me because my basic human rights are at stake,” Herberger said. “I am transgender, and trans rights are basically a political debate at this point.” 

Herberger said he wasn’t only concerned about the political debates between politicians, but that he feared violence from other citizens as well. 

“I think no matter who wins, there will be protests because I know most major cities are boarding up buildings just in case,” Herberger said.  

Ledbetter shared the same sentiment and said she was nervous about what will happen in the days after the election.   

“It’ll be chaotic to say the least. I have a friend in Terre Haute right now who told me that the area hospitals are on high call alert in that area, so besides everyone needing to be more safe, I can confidently say things are going to be drastically different.” 

Across social media and personal conversations, many young people are talking about their concerns about the state of the country after this election. 

Some claim that the country will fall into a civil war, while others say that nothing will happen at all. The most common sentiment seems to be that protests will begin across the nation for the second time this year.  

As 2020 draws on, everything seems to be less and less predictable, especially for young people who are truly experiencing politics for the first time.  

“After the election, it will either be complete happiness or complete chaos,” King said. “It literally just depends on who gets elected and how their supporters react.” 

Zumpano, on the other hand, felt pretty confident about what possible outcomes could happen after the election.  

“If Trump is elected again, there could possibly be more rioting, which would be understandable,” Zumpano said. “If Biden wins, I’m not really sure, and almost more scared, not because of what’s to come in the presidency, but because of the uncertainty regarding the motivations and intentions of people like the Proud Boys and other radical minded people like that.” 

The final results of the election may take some days to be confirmed, but people on every part of the political spectrum are bracing themselves to see what happens.  

Elizabeth Taylor can be reached at 581-2812 or at [email protected]