When democracy functions as it was intended, the laws and representatives the majority of people want are voted into action. And, by that logic, the laws and representatives nobody wants are not.

So, how can we explain this election? More than we’ve heard anyone say they support Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump, we’ve heard the majority of Americans say they despise both candidates. We’re about to vote in our 45th president, a president who for four years will represent this nation and determine crucial policy changes, but it seems like most Americans are just choosing a candidate who they feel like won’t make things any worse than they already are. Americans should feel empowered when they cast their vote, not ashamed.

What’s even more troubling, however, is how we’re starting to treat each other when one of us decides to support a certain candidate. As soon as someone declares their backing for Trump or Clinton, they’re suddenly regarded as somehow morally bankrupt, ignorant, sexist, corrupt or soft, like aligning yourself with either candidate equates to subscribing to an entire social doctrine. The current political climate has become so divisive it’s impossible to have any kind of reasonable debate about the issues plaguing America today.

For these reasons, The Daily Beacon Editorial Board has decided not to endorse either Trump or Clinton for president. Instead, we’ve decided to use this space and our voice to expand on the many issues not being properly debated by our leaders today.

On The Supreme Court

The Supreme Court should never be filled with a majority of Democratic, liberal judges or by a majority of Republican, conservative judges. Intentionally swaying the court system to either political pole will be detrimental to our current democratic system overall. Our courts act as an impartial system of checks and balances, and the president should always select justices with that in mind. Maintaining the integrity of the court through moderate, unbiased selections is the only way to uphold fair and just laws.

On Climate Change

Climate change and environmental issues have not been focused on enough in this election cycle. Candidates need to talk about the real, scientific threat of climate change, which, according to NASA, "is of particular significance because most of it is very likely human-induced and proceeding at a rate that is unprecedented in the past 1,300 years." We urge our next president to invest in renewable energy and cut the United States' use of fossil fuels as both a means to combat climate change and create new jobs through the growing field of "green" energy. Our next president also needs to ensure clean, accessible water and put basic human rights before profit, as with the Dakota Access Pipeline.

On Racial Tensions & Police Brutality

The Daily Beacon supports the Black Lives Matter movement and the demands presented by The Movement for Black Lives platform. Multiple Department of Justice reports, criminal justice studies and years of data collected about the death penalty, imprisonment demographics and police brutality show that the U.S. criminal justice system is inherently racialized. Our next president should promote policy that requires more education and training of the police, while also encouraging more community involvement by the police. While a mutual attitude of fear exists between minority populations and the police, there is little hope for the betterment of an increasingly militarized police force.

On Immigration

Although we stand by those hoping to build a new life in the U.S. and think building a wall is extreme, the borders should be more effectively regulated. Biometric identifications have already been developed for immigration, but adding another program to control internal enforcement is essential. If migrants are here illegally, they should be required to leave but should also be allowed a more streamlined and efficient way to enter the country legally under proper documentation and compliance with the law. Further, allowing Syrian refugees into the country may be helpful in dissolving terrorist groups abroad. Syrian refugees who remain in terrorist-held camps are more likely to be recruited by those groups. Proper documentation, compliance with U.S. law and background checks are essential to keeping America unified.

On The Economy

When minimum wage became law in 1938, it was 25 cents, equating to $4.13 today. By 1968, the minimum wage was raised to $1.60, or $10.80 today. Meanwhile, today’s minimum wage currently sits at $7.25. Raising the minimum to at least $10.80 could be the solution to ensuring every working American receives a livable wage. Purchasing power was at its highest in the 1960’s, so raising the minimum wage to somewhere between $10 and $11 would be beneficial to making minimum wage relative to other wages. Whatever the decided amount, an increase in minimum wage is essential to closing the gap in income inequality.

On Women’s Reproductive Health & Rights

The question of abortion, or pro-life vs. pro-choice has become a main point in this election. The right to control your own reproduction is a fundamental right, which is protected under our Constitution in the United States. The Guttmacher Institute reported in 2013 that, “Abortion rates are no lower overall in areas where abortion is generally restricted by law (and where many abortions are performed under unsafe conditions) than in areas where abortion is legally permitted.” According to the CDC, the abortion rate for 2012 was 13.2 abortions per 1,000 women aged 15–44 years, and the abortion ratio was 210 abortions per 1,000 live births. Women are not going to stop having abortions, but we can make sure that every woman is given the procedure at a clean and mandated medical facility where her needs can be put first. Reversing the supreme court ruling in Roe vs. Wade would only increase the number of illegal abortions in our country and put a woman’s health and life at risk in doing so. If a woman’s health is at risk in a pregnancy, she should not be legally prohibited from obtaining an abortion.

On College Tuition & Education

Higher education should be viewed as a right, not a privilege and should therefore be accessible and affordable to all. According to Student Loan Hero, in 2016 Americans owe nearly $1.3 trillion in student debt, which is spread out amongst approximately 44 million borrowers. Of these borrowers, 30.5 million of them have accumulated student debt with direct loans. College in our country should be affordable and accessible for everyone. There are few factors that support a strong culture and a dynamic economy more than a well-educated work force. Education can also be seen as a solution to many social issues, such as homelessness and mass incarceration of our youth.

On Gun Rights

The Second Amendment to the Constitution protects the right of the people to “keep and bear arms.” The amendment was originally put in place to encourage the idea of self-defense in 1791. But what was plausibly self-defense in 1791 is not the same as civilians carrying military grade weapons. While the right to self-defense should not be argued, there should be more strict regulations on who can get a gun and what type of gun civilians should be allowed to obtain. When more than 80 percent of guns used in mass shootings were obtained legally, according to a database compiled by Mother Jones magazine, the argument then changes from “who should have guns” to “who shouldn’t have guns.” With more than 54,026 federally licensed firearms dealers in the U.S., it’s not a stretch to say guns are “easily available. To protect our fellow citizens and us, guns should become harder to obtain. To get a gun, it should take more than a couple of minutes on a computer database to decide who has the power to save or take a life. It should take required and standardized training, and there should be more regulation on the options of firearms available to those who pass background checks and training.

On Marijuana Legalization

The Daily Beacon is for the legalization and decriminalization of marijuana. The War on Drugs has led to mass incarceration of individuals whose only crime is the possession of marijuana. In 2013, The American Civil Liberties Union found that the enforcement of marijuana prohibition costs the U.S. approximately $3.6 billion annually. The time and money invested in marijuana prohibition could instead be put toward preventing and addressing violent crimes like sexual assault and armed robbery. Not only would decriminalizing marijuana eliminate unnecessary arrests, it has also been shown in U.S. states that have legalized marijuana that crime rates, in general, decrease. In 2014, the city of Denver published a crime report focusing on the first two years of marijuana legalization and found that crime decreased by 2.2 percent during the first 11 months of 2014 compared to the first 11 months of 2013. Marijuana is also comparatively less toxic than alcohol or tobacco, and studies have been released showing that marijuana has the potential to shrink cancerous tumors as well as reduce seizures, anxiety and depression.

On Healthcare

Healthcare should be easily accessible and affordable for all Americans. In 2015, however, 28.5 million Americans were uninsured. This is due to the hybrid healthcare system the U.S. currently has where healthcare spending comes from private funds as well as the federal government. The United State’s healthcare system differs from any other industrialized nation where there are universal healthcare systems in place. The Daily Beacon stands with the belief that healthcare is a fundamental human right. A system of universal healthcare should be in place to insure that even citizens who cannot afford insurance are still covered. Citizens who can afford to insure themselves should be able to shop around with private insurance companies.

On Bipartisanship

This election has shown just how divided our nation is because of the two main political parties. It has been hard to like either side when both are so polarized from what U.S. citizens actually want. Instead, our next president needs to build a bridge to create a Congress that will work together, focus on more moderate policies that make sense and actually work for more Americans, and work to diffuse the growing hostilities between parties. At this point, it feels more like picking a party than a candidate, and neither party accurately works with the American people to truly meet their needs.

The Editorial Board:

Bradi Musil, Editor-in-Chief

Megan Patterson, Managing Editor

Hannah Moulton, Copy Chief

Presley Smith, Opinions Editor

Jenna Butz, Special Projects Editor

Bryanne Brewer, Arts & Culture Editor

Trenton Duffer, Sports Editor

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