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VALDEZ: Clear, rational thinking key to voting decisions


On the Front Lines

Joshua Valdez is the Sports editor for The Daily Targum.
Joshua Valdez is the Sports editor for The Daily Targum.

I find that the saying “art imitates life” becomes truer as I get older.

One of my new quarantine traditions is watching movies several nights a week with my parents. I find it to be a therapeutic and a welcome distraction to the madness going on around the world at the moment.

One of the films we watched was the 1957 classic “12 Angry Men.” I found that it is not only a well made film, but also a timeless commentary on human behavior.

The premise is that a jury of 12 men have to come to a unanimous verdict on a murder trial. If they declare the defendant guilty, he will get the death penalty. At first, 11 of them voted guilty. In a surprising twist, though, the one juror that voted innocent was able to eventually change all of their minds, resulting in a unanimous vote to let the defendant walk.

The way the man was able to do this was with calm, rational thinking. His reasoning was that they could not definitively prove that the defendant was guilty without reasonable doubt. He did not necessarily think the guy was innocent, but he did not have enough concrete information to send him to the electric chair.

When he grilled other jurors for their reasoning, he ended up exposing them for simply agreeing with each other to have a mob mentality and not basing their decision off of the facts at hand. One juror in particular admitted at the end that his own emotional issues were the reason behind his irrational thinking. 

What I took from this was that clear-headed and rational thinking will always be superior to knee-jerk, impulsive reactions. For example, many people nowadays will hop on social media and get temporarily outraged over just about anything, only to forget about it the next day and move on with their lives.

“Cancel culture” might be my least favorite trend of the past few years. I feel that people will follow a trend of “cancelling” someone on Twitter just to fit in and get their own clout online. It is a mixture of being impulsive, irrational and disingenuous.

Do not get me wrong — some people deserve to be excommunicated from society. Public figures such as Bill Cosby, R. Kelly and Harvey Weinstein all are disgusting abusers and they deserve to be the recipient of online rage.

With that being said, another public figure has been put in the crosshairs recently for a sexual misconduct allegation. You know him, I know him: Democratic presidential candidate and former Vice President Joe Biden.

I am the first one to say that Biden has made some tone-deaf and off-putting remarks. His “poor kids are just as smart as white kids” line comes to mind. I am not a passionate supporter of the man at all. At the same time, I am not jumping to call him a rapist.

Could he be guilty of raping or sexually abusing Tara Reade? Absolutely. Do I know for sure what happened? Absolutely not. I am not qualified to say whether he did or did not do it. Since I do not know, I would rather wait until more information gets revealed before I jump to a conclusion.

It sucks that we are in a time where both candidates in the upcoming election have these allegations. I will admit that I am biased as a Democrat, but I tend to think that people who are caught on tape saying “grab them by the p*ssy” are pretty likely to commit misconduct. I am not telling you who to vote for, but you should take another look at that infamous video clip if you are debating it.

Personally, I despise politics and do not care for the majority of politicians, but I suck it up and vote anyway. I was not a fan of Hillary Clinton, but I voted for her in 2016 because I saw her as the lesser of two evils. I feel the same about Biden.

I have seen a lot of Sen. Bernie Sanders's (I-Vt.) supporters online declaring their refusal to vote in light of him dropping out of the race. To this group of people, I would like to ask: Why? An unfortunate part of life is the necessity to move on when you do not get what you want. It can be emotionally traumatizing, but there is no benefit of being sour about the past.

I am not an expert, but I am pretty sure Biden’s ideals and policy proposals are much closer to Sanders's than he who shall not be named. Say what you want about “Sleepy Joe,” but he never suggested anyone inject themselves with Lysol, or a Muslim ban or a border wall. But that is neither here nor there.

If you take time, breathe, think everything over and still do not change your mind, that is cool with me. All I suggest is that you reconsider.

Joshua Valdez is the Sports editor for The Daily Targum.

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*Columns, cartoons and letters do not necessarily reflect the views of the Targum Publishing Company or its staff.

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