This time last year, people looked back at 2019 and shook their heads, saying to themselves that 2020 would be better, but come December, Americans are not only in the midst of a pandemic that’s now taken thousands of lives and caused extreme economic damage, but Americans have also gone through one of the most turbulent election cycles in recent history.
Junior Erica Popa said that she thought that the results of the election were impacted more by bias and candidates’ personal lives than their political agendas.
“Not just in the debates, but in politics in general, especially in this election, a lot of people were focusing on attacking the personality of the presidential candidates instead of what they stood for,” Popa said.
Sophomore Alex Nelson said that he was unsurprised by the amount of controversy around the 2020 election.
“I don’t really think there was anything that special about this one besides that people were more engaged than they were usually,” Nelson said.
Being engaged in politics and efforts to increase voting were both important developments made during this election year, he explained. Nelson added that he wished he could have voted in the previous election year.
“I think it’s a good thing [to vote],” Nelson said. “At this current point, I’m kind of just shouting out into the void and hoping someone will listen, without being able to make a direct impact.”
While facing COVID-19 was an unexpected obstacle, senior Stephanie Lehman said that the government could have done better to manage the spread of the virus and felt the government mishandled the pandemic early on.
“When it was released that some of the people in charge of our government were aware of the virus before most people were and could have taken earlier action, I was disappointed,” Lehman said.
Lehman added that she felt the government’s response crippled later attempts to stop the virus’ spread.
“If we were more strict early on with masks and curfews and leaving the house and everything, we would be more adjusted to a quarantine lifestyle now,” she said.
The Black Lives Matter movement was another important political development during the year. Though Lehman didn’t get involved herself, she supported the movements and other people who went to them.
“I think the Black Lives Matter protests…put attention on an issue that has been in our country for a long time,” Lehman said.
Senior Andrew Morton participated in the march from Bexley to Columbus in the summer and found that the chance to get involved with this movement was invigorating.
“I didn’t live through the Civil Rights era or anything, but it just felt, to me, from what I’ve learned about it in history classes, it felt like it was a very, very similar thing,” Morton said. “And it’s shameful that it’s so similar to an event that happened 60 years ago.”
Nelson said that while he fully supported the movement, he couldn’t directly get involved because of the fear of coronavirus.
“We’re finally making progress as a country towards bettering… the country as a whole, because we still have a lot of problems we need to fix, and I think we’re finally on the way to fixing them,” Nelson said.