It is a refrain we hear every four years: “This is the most important election of our time.” Certainly, every election brings with it the opportunity to effect meaningful, positive change that will affect generations of Americans to come. But in 2020, the stakes are even higher; the future of our democracy rests on the results of this presidential election.
The UltraViolet has long been dedicated to informing the Marlborough community, but national politics always seemed outside our jurisdiction. Yet we understand that in these fraught times, we have an obligation to make our voices heard, with the first political endorsement in our history. The UltraViolet Editorial Board endorses Joe Biden and Kamala Harris in the 2020 presidential and vice presidential elections.
There are several reasons behind our decision. President Donald Trump has a decades-long history of racist policies, from his violations of the Fair Housing Act in the 1970s to his peddling of “birther” conspiracies against Former President Barack Obama and Senator Kamala Harris. His administration has separated families of asylum seekers and imprisoned them at detention centers, a practice experts have said not only has caused acute mental and physical harm to the children, but also puts those in detention centers dangerously vulnerable to COVID-19. Kenneth Roth of Human Rights Watch claimed the administration is “complicit in systemic war crimes” as it supplies the intelligence and weapons that has made it possible for Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates to bomb and starve millions of Yemeni civilians. Both Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International have accused the administration of consistent rollbacks and violations of human rights, both domestically and abroad. As president, Donald Trump has shown to be incredibly divisive, endorsing policies that increase inequality and harm the most vulnerable. The UltraViolet Editorial Board stands against these inhumane policies that the president supports.
Vice President Biden, meanwhile, has committed his administration to the pursuit of equity. His platform calls for the expansion of the Minority Business Development Agency, which supports the growth of minority-owned businesses, as well as the creation of a 20 billion dollar grant to motivate states and municipalities to shift their criminal justice systems from focusing on incarceration to focusing on prevention. Further, he has pledged to stop family separation at the border in his first 100 days in office, and to end American support for Saudi Arabia’s war in Yemen.
Additionally, the UltraViolet realizes how crucial an independent press is to a free country. According to the Washington Post, President Trump has made over 20,000 false claims while in office (on average 15.8 per day), from overstating his successes to spreading harmful untruths about the COVID-19 pandemic. As a staff dedicated to honest and objective reporting, we condemn his dangerous attempts to misinform his constituents.
And beyond his misleading statements, President Trump has attacked the institutions meant to provide a check against his administration. His allegations that the media is “fake news” and that journalists are “the enemy of the people” has material impacts on the ability of journalists to provide accurate reporting. He has barred some reporters from press briefings, before suspending briefings altogether for well over a year, until the pandemic forced the administration to resume them. That antagonism has had spillover effects, sowing doubt and resentment towards the media. In March, a Pew Research Center survey found 62% of Americans believed the media was exaggerating the risks of COVID-19 at the same time that Trump was falsely claiming the virus was under control. This was during the same time that Marlborough, along with other schools across the nation, was in the initial phase of shutting down.
That anti-press sentiment has also stifled press freedom abroad. According to a report from the Committee to Protect Journalists, 26 countries including the Philippines, China, Turkey and Hungary have introduced legislation to repress the media under the guise of limiting “fake news.”
In contrast, former Vice President Joe Biden has proven himself a passionate ally of the press, lauding journalists for “upholding free and open democracies.” He has received endorsements from major publications like the Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune and Washington Post, in part due to his defense of the press as a critical check on the government.
Come November, we have an opportunity to fundamentally shift the direction of our country. In endorsing Joe Biden, the Ultraviolet is reaffirming our dedication to a free, independent and objective press, as well as an administration that stands for all its citizens.