Clinton supporters (senior Alexa Mathisen and freshman Héloïse Schep) and Trump supporters (sophomore Blake Lincoln and freshman Garrett Shonkwiler) met on Feb. 10 to discuss the current political climate.
What’s your opinion on Trump’s presidency?
Mathisen: I am very discouraged. He’s doing things I really thought he wouldn’t.
I didn’t think he’d actually take tax resources that he says are so precious and put them toward a wall.
I didn’t think he would work this hard to defund Planned Parenthood.
I feel uncomfortable (with) the fact that he’s checking boxes that are going to have many consequences.
He’s just trying to prove a point, but it’s showing me that the path he’s going down isn’t good. It’s worse than I thought.
Schep: If I could give him one thing, it’s that he did do a lot of the things he said he would. I think the wall idea is completely ridiculous, though. It’s not going to work.
Mathisen: It’s a waste of money.
Schep: With that money we could help so many people in need fund their education, get into college or improve public health.
Mathisen: We could just get more border security. (He’s) already isolating (this) country. Look at his discussions with Taiwan and Australia!
Schep: Yeah, he’s already making so many enemies.
Shonkwiler: I already decided during the campaign that I supported him on most of the issues, so nothing has come as a surprise. He has done exactly what he said he would; nothing has come out of the blue.
I wasn’t sure if he was going to build the wall, but he said he was going to do it. Now he’s signed the executive order.
He didn’t campaign as a nice president; it certainly wasn’t kind to block the refugees from coming in. But he said he was going to put America first, and that’s what he’s doing.
Lincoln: He just has PR problems.
He doesn’t communicate very well, like (with) the travel moratorium. That was one of the worst roll-outs I have ever seen in my life.
He’s doing good, a lot of hard work. But the media is too ready to pounce on him. (“Saturday Night Live”), even though I love the Sean Spicer imitation, is too eager to destroy Trump.
What do you think about Trump’s cabinet?
Mathisen: The majority aren’t qualified. Betsy DeVos is the worst.
I thought he would at least surround himself with people that knew what they were doing. And it appears that he hasn’t. Instead, he’s surrounded himself with people who look like they’ll make him feel better or benefit his personal business needs.
It’s a business-oriented cabinet.
Schep: I definitely don’t think the majority of them are qualified, especially Betsy DeVos. It seems random. Most haven’t had much experience in the matter that they are chosen for.
Shonkwiler: I like Ben Carson for the HUD director. I also like Betsy DeVos; she supports (school) choice.
Lincoln: I think they are good. I think (DeVos) is good. I think she understands where Trump wants to go with education and school choice.
I know (Secretary of State Rex) Tillerson is not a very conventional pick, but he’s a good pick. He was the CEO of a company that does business around the world. He knows these world leaders better, and he knows how to make deals because he’s done them for billions of dollars.
What is your opinion on Trump’s stance on climate change?
Mathisen: He’s pretending that it doesn’t even exist.
He wants to get rid of the EPA. He hasn’t shown any evidence of wanting to better the environment or put resources to that. I think that if he were really saying “America First,” then part of “America First” is protecting our land, and we are not protecting our land by destroying it.
Schep: I completely agree.
Shonkwiler: Let’s consider the scale of this. First of all, we are talking about greenhouse gases, but water vapor is by far the biggest greenhouse gas. Humans affect only a tiny bit of carbon dioxide, which is only 5 percent of greenhouse gases. What Obama has done to improve the environment has had a very small impact on the climate, but it has had a huge impact on the economy. It’s caused coal miners to lose jobs, and it’s shut down the Keystone Pipeline in the name of climate change.
So Trump is not anti-environment but pro-economy.
Schep: You can make more money, but you can’t make another Earth. We only have one.
Lincoln: My argument against climate change is not anti-science. I think science is important.
The problem I have is the left has already decided their answer. They have decided it’s real and there should be no more science put into the idea against climate change. It’s anti-freedom-of-speech (and) anti-discovery. Just like how schools and academic areas in the South were stopped from speaking (about) evolution. The same thing is happening here.
Many scientists who researched climate change are funded by the federal government and left-wing groups. Now these scientists want to continue (being funded), so they’ll say whatever (left-wing groups) want to continue being funded.
The scientists who come out against the idea of climate change are immediately torn to pieces; the rest of the science community on the left hammer them, and their funding is cut. Eventually, society will deem them as deplorable.
I personally have a problem with climate change – you can’t just wipe off half the country in the name of climate change. The government won’t be able to stop climate change, in my opinion.
The only way to do it is through the economy and the free market. The government did not get us off whale oil – the free market did. The market has a way of changing our minds – the government does not.
How do you feel about Women’s Marches?
Mathisen: It’s awesome. The only issue was: there’re ways to do it better.
It was a little white-oriented. It was a little higher-income-oriented; however, I was impressed (by) how many people came out and how widespread it was all over the world.
I think it really showed who was ready to fight and how many people really did vote for Hillary, and I really enjoyed it as an experience.
I was there with my sign and my hat. I had my reservations about whether it would work, and it really did. I was impressed.
Schep: I really liked it. I agree with Alexa. It was a little white-oriented (and) upper-class, but I feel like it really unified people around the world, and that is what we need right now.
We need to be unified against a president that we don’t believe is good for our country. So I liked how (the Women’s Marches) unified us.
Shonkwiler: I have nothing against the Women’s Marches; I support women’s rights.
Lincoln: I support the right to protest, (as) it is the bedrock of the First Amendment. But the protests that broke out during the inauguration and the Women’s March included throwing rocks at police and burning limos, which should never be tolerated. I know it’s less than 1 percent of the people, but the tea party was blamed when a few of their members said Obama was the n-word.
—By Spencer Scott