COMMENTARY: Voters should consider logic rather than fear


Let's play taboo: I cuff the bottom of my pants, I paint two of my finger nails because I love punk rock, I live on my phone but more importantly the Internet, I'm going to college, I'm broke and finally, I love Bernie Sanders. Who am I?

I’m a millennial.

Like many of my peers I'm disappointed with the options in front of me. I don't see much appeal in choosing between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trumpbut unlike my peers I'm going to try my best.

Another thing that sets me apart from my peers is my obsession with social policy, more specifically the sinister side of social policy.

My morbid fascination with genocide amongst other human rights violations probably stems from my days in Hebrew school learning about the horrors of the Holocaust from a very young age.

With this in mind, it isn't — or it shouldn't — be surprising that when I look on one side of the aisle the rhetoric has me crapping my pants.

Anyone who wants to argue that words don't have power need not look any further than the Rwandan genocide to be stumped. A radio station was able to mobilize an army of butchers. I'd be willing to bet a presidential candidate could do far worse. However, the purpose of my writing is not to draw parallels between world leaders from past and present. My purpose here instead is to draw parallels between the people these leaders inspired and what circumstances gave them that ability.

Weimar Germany was facing economic depression coupled with a sense of national embarrassment. The leaders of the Nazi Party successfully prayed on the weakness of the human condition and the parts of the brain that make us envious of our neighbor and hate those different from us. Creating an “us vs. them” mentality was essential to the Nazi campaign. This is not saying that every German participated in the Holocaust, but none the less the leading party used fear and anger to inspire its supporters.

The United States of America is in a state of unrest. Police brutality and the lack of prison reform, for starters -- not to mention the frustration surrounding our do-nothing Congress. Furthermore, many parts of this country are facing massive job losses to overseas competitors, as well as an ever increasing education requirement to be successful in today's workplace. For many, it feels as though the opportunities afforded to our parents will not be allotted to us. Couple this in with a lack of immigration reform and slowly the “us vs. them” starts to take shape. Xenophobia isn't new to this country, nor is racism. What is new to this country is the sense of resentment that political supporters feel towards one another. Pardon my ignorance (age) but it seems to me that at no point prior to 2016 did people with differing political ideologies hold each other in such contempt. The “us vs. them” continues. The last time our nation was this divisive it meant Civil War.

Our nation is clearly at a crossroad. The two roads that stretch before lead to entirely different places, and the only thing that is certain is that we cannot go down both.

The decision that rests on the voters this November is a hefty one. We must choose whether we allow ourselves to be swayed by appeals to logic and reasoning, or to be swayed by appeals to our fear.

The consequences of this decision pale in comparison to the message we send to future generations about our ability to make this decision, and most importantly what inspired us to do so. Just remember folks, we don't need to make anything great again, this nation is already great and I’m with her because she can make it even better (or at least not screw the whole thing up ... the book on the United States does not end in chapter 11). 

Evan Klein is a School of Arts and Sciences first-year student majoring in philosophy.

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