My political awakening occurred during the 2016 presidential primaries when I became involved in my high school’s speech and debate team. I, like many others, did not take Donald Trump very seriously at the time. My teammates and I thought the wall was a joke, the travel ban was a twinkle in the then-candidate’s eye, and none of us could guess that the House would one day impeach Trump. But then, he started winning primaries, and later he became the Republican nominee and eventually won the presidency. Everyone in speech and debate turned into an anti-Trump machine. I stand by every word I spoke, but I made a mistake. I forgot to give President Trump credit when he deserved it.
I am afraid I have to disagree with almost everything the president does and says, but there are some issues where I think he is right. Let’s take his foreign policy, for example. I am not fond of our dealings with Saudi Arabia and detest the bombings we are conducting. But, there are situations in which Trump deserves praise. For instance, the president recently struck a deal with the Taliban to withdraw all troops from Afghanistan. There are plenty of issues that the administration still needs to overcome from ensuring the Taliban cuts ties with Al Qaeda to transitioning power to the Afghan government. However, the Afghanistan conflict has been the longest in America’s history. We have achieved very little and lost thousands of lives. It’s time to pull out and fulfill the promise made in 2016 to remove troops.
Let us end needless wars. There are many foreign policy decisions that Trump has made that are destructive. However ending the Afghanistan War is one of my highest priorities. Receiving my selective service card was the most critical wake-up call to adulthood. Every step that this country takes away from war is a step further from me having to put my life on the line for my home. I would serve without hesitation if the country called me to do so, but I hope that day never comes. Now that I’m old enough to serve the U.S., it has become far more critical to me that we avoid war (like with the Iran fiasco).
I’m afraid of death, like many people. I don’t want to die myself or kill anyone else. That’s why when Trump sat down in peace talks with Kim Jong Un, I genuinely hoped that he would be successful in beginning North Korea’s disarmament. Many in the media criticized Trump for sitting down with a brutal dictator. However, as Tulsi Gabbard pointed out in the democratic debates, our greatest leaders like FDR, JFK and Ronald Reagan engaged in diplomacy with the USSR. As president, one cannot afford to meet only with other democratic leaders. In essence, Trump needs to be prepared to meet with dictators as well. And the same people who were outraged about the president meeting with Kim Jong Un also conveniently forget about how we are providing military aid to Egypt and Saudi Arabia.
Likewise, as the COVID-19 situation develops, we should note that President Trump has made errors but that he has also implemented reasonable responses. Early on, he restricted travel from China and Europe, likely delaying the further spread of the virus to the U.S. The original European travel ban exempted travelers from the U.K. and Ireland, but the administration has corrected that oversight. Furthermore, his administration has been discussing providing a universal basic income for all Americans during the coronavirus pandemic. Before the epidemic broke out, I was going to be forced to look for a part-time job to help pay for tuition. However, with quarantines and a recession on the horizon, employment is looking less and less like an option. If my father’s workplace closes over coronavirus concerns, then we will need some form of income to pay the electric bill, our mortgage and for food.
When mainstream media doesn’t acknowledge Trump’s successes, people lose faith in reporters. While people’s trust in the institution isn’t at its lowest point, it has recently dropped to 41 percent. People aren’t dumb – we can see that CNN, MSNBC, Fox News and other outlets have agendas. They act like they call balls and strikes, but CNN jumps at every chance to demonize Trump and Fox News coddles him no matter what he says or does. If the media doesn’t praise the president when he deserves it, conservatives will brush off real outrage as another ploy from the left to delegitimize the president. When the media refuses to criticize Trump, liberals declare those reporters apologists and propagandists.
As a debater, I defended the left’s agenda tooth and nail. I will still defend my beliefs. But that doesn’t mean that I will ignore when conservatives do what I think is right. We love to talk about how, as a nation, we should be able to love one another while being able to disagree. In essence, the first step in making that world a reality is acknowledging when the other side is right.