- Around Campus
- Around the Hub
- Opinions & Editorials
- The Week’s End
A group of college students sit in a circle for Spanish class. It’s an early “Super Tuesday” morning and looking
around, it easy to see people are starting to pick sides. They wear their “Feel the Bern” hats repping blue like Crips.
While others wear “Make America Great Again Hoodies” that are redder than any blood you would ever see.
The “occasional” Cruz, Rubio and Clinton supporter is spotted, but they’re harder to find than Waldo.
As the teacher speaks, trying to teach her students about what is means to be Hispanic, the students have their own conversations on what it means to be American.
The conversations turn into debates that become heated like wildfire and spread across the
entire room, causing the whole class to get involved. The teacher takes control over the situation and
says, “Okay…okay…that’s enough.”
The class quiets down, giving her their attention. She says, “So it looks like we’re not gonna learn
“If it’s up to Trump, we won’t even need it,” yells a student. “He’ll just deport everyone!”
Everyone is in hysterics reacting to his statement.
Another student responds by saying, “Do you know how stupid you sound? He’s deporting illegal
immigrants! You know, the people ruining our country, with gang violence, drugs, and taking the jobs
from hard working Americans!”
“Do you know how ignorant you sound,” yells a student. “You can’t just assume every illegal immigrant
is bad. There are good and bad people everywhere you go, grouping everyone together and making
everyone suffer is unfair, how would you like it, huh?”
Once again the class gets heated and words are thrown around the room. But they miss their targets,
and it becomes a mess of commotion where everyone speaks, but no one listens. The teacher wants to
finish her lesson, but understands that these students are passionate about this discussion and decides to let them debate in a controlled way.
“Okay class, listen up,” she says. “If this class is going to debate, we’re going to do it right. It appears most
of the class is either favoring Donald Trump or Bernie Sanders. So let’s split the class into two, Trump
supporters go to the right and Bernie supporters go to the left.”
The class excitedly gets up and into position. The teacher, along with a few other students, takes
seats in the front, wanting to be unbiased in the debate.
“Alright,” she says. “Let me lay out some rules; no name calling, swearing or any results for that matter.
Keep screaming to a minimum and respect each other’s opinions. Is that clear?”
The class argues and she says, “Good. Now to get you guys started, answer this for me. Why do you
support Trump/Bernie? Trump supporters you can go first.”
One of the Trump supporters quickly says, “To Make America Great Again!”
The teacher nods and asks, “But what does that mean?”
He becomes quiet, unsure on how to answer the question. However another supporter answers for him.
“Trump is ProLife,” says the other student. “He believes that late abortions are wrong, with the
exception of rape, incest, or health. He wants to take back jobs from Mexico and China. And believes
police are the most mistreated people in America. Trump believes we shouldn’t legalize weed, a drug, and we need to show Putin who’s in charge and to stop being China’s bitch!”
“Language,” says the teacher.
“Sorry,” says the supporter. “But to continue, Trump believes mass shootings are due to mental illness.
People kill people, don’t blame it in the gun. He also believes “Obamacare” is a joke and is not
working. Trump believes it’s too risky to have Muslims entering our country and we should have a ban
on them. And for the ones in our country, they should be “tagged” with a special ID so people know
who they are and should be kept in a database. Also, Trump wants to deport those who came illegally
and build a border or a “wall” across the Mexican border and have the Mexican government pay for it.”
She pauses and says sternly, “Immigrants don’t deserve to be here and should go back to where they
come from, I agree with everything he does which is why I support him.”
The class goes silent when a fellow supporter says, “Wow, to be honest…I just support Trump because
my parents do.”
Some people laugh, trying to release the tension that was just created, but it’s returned when a Bernie
“What a dumbass.”
“Language,” yells the teacher. The supporter sighs and says, “I’m sorry but he’s clearly racist, ignorant
and just out right stupid.”
The class starts to argue again, but the teacher keeps it under control.
“Okay, that’s enough. Now for the Bernie supporters, why do you disagree with Trump policies?”
“Because he’s going to get us all killed!” yells a supporter.
“That’s impossible,” yells a Trump supporter. “He’s going to make our military so strong that no one
will mess with us, and he’s going to bomb the sh…” he pauses, catching himself, “crap out of
anyone who does, including ISIS.”
“Please don’t interrupt,” says the teacher. “You’ve already spoken.”
The Trump supporter listens to her while the Bernie supporter continues.
“What I mean by that is that,” he pauses to collect his thoughts and says, “Trump is the type of man that
believes it’s either his way, or there’s no way. And by that I mean he doesn’t care about other people or
their opinions, which is why I can’t support him.”
Another supporter yells, “EXACTLY. I mean…he’s basically a modern day Hitler!”
“Whoa, whoa, whoa, hold on there,” says a Trump supporter. “Sorry for interrupting but that’s a bold
“Well look at this,” says the Bernie supporter rationally. “He uses racism to gain support, calling Mexicans
animals and saying Muslims are terrorists. Hitler did a similar thing with the Jewish people. He also plans
on mass deportations, and “branding” a certain religious group with special IDs, Hitler did both of these
things. And the final thing they have in common is that they both promised to make their country great
again. Don’t you see, he’s our modern day Hitler.”
“How could you say that,” yells a Trump supporter as he stands up in outrage. “Hitler was responsible
for genocide and WW2, America would never allow that.”
“Please stop interrupting,” says the teacher, visibly annoyed.
He stares at her but stops his rant and sits down.
The teacher then says to Bernie supporters, “You’ve made a lot of claims about Donald Trump, but
what really makes his policies wrong and what makes Bernie Sanders better?”
A Bernie supporter quickly yells out, “I can answer that.”
She smirks and says, “The floor is yours.”
He nods and says, “First, Bernie and I do not believe in “ProLife” but in Planned Parenthood. People
need it. If a woman believes she won’t be able to raise her child, for whatever reason, no one should
make her. For it is not the mother who suffers, but the child. Trump wants to take back jobs from
Mexico right? Believing Mexicans have taken the “good” jobs from the hard working Americans.”
He sighs in disappointment and says, “Como?”
The teacher laughs while a few students chuckle and he continues.
“Have you really seen Hispanics have high standard jobs, like 60k plus jobs? No you don’t, you see
them as maids or janitors or nannies or whoever media portrays them as. And that’s because when
immigrants, specifically Mexicans, come to America…..they have nothing. Think about it, they leave
everything; their families, their homes, everything they know to come to America. Because they believe it has to be better than where they come from. And when they get here, they take any job they can, the jobs that no one wants and still believe it’s better than where they come from. The “American Dream,” the thing only giving them motivation and Trump is trying to take that way. He’s trying to “make America great
again” while immigrants look at it as the promised land.”
He laughs as he says, “We all can’t get a loan for a million dollars, we gotta start with a dream and work
out way up. So we don’t need to take “take back” the jobs, but create new ones. And that’s exactly
what Bernie wants to do.”
He sits down believing he has made their point, but another supporter gets up right after and says, “I’d
like to add to that.”
The teacher smiles and says, “Go ahead.”
“Trump believes police are the most mistreated people in America,” says the supporter. “As a black
Muslim… I…politely disagree. Police do have a huge stigma on them and are judged, but so are the
people they’re shooting. Do you know what it’s like to be Black in America, I’ll give you a small peek.
Imagine, everyone is your enemy. You got white people judging and hating you basing everything you
are from TV and social media. You got police shooting you, believing you’re starting troubling or you
have or you will, so might as well get rid of him. And then there’s black people doing a combination of
both and believing I got to get him before he gets me. So overall, being black ain’t a cake walk. But
that’s just one side, to be Muslim is a whole other story. People actually believe I agree with terrorists!
And that all terrorists are Muslim! Like what? Just because I believe in the same religion doesn’t mean
I have the same mindset. Does Trump have the mindset as the Pope? So forgive me when I say
believing that cops are the most mistreated people in America is BULLSHIT.”
“He swore,” says a Trump supporter.
“I’ll allow it,” says the teacher, smiling.
“Bernie Sanders understands this struggle way more than Trump ever will,” says the Bernie supporter.
“And that’s why I support Bernie Sanders.”
There’s a pause and the teacher is about to speak but it interrupted by an unbiased student next to her.
“I have a question for the Trump supporters.”
“Go ahead,” says the teacher.
He nods and says, “Earlier, you said immigrants don’t deserve to be here, what did you mean by that?”
“Simple,” says the Trump supporter. “If you’re not from America or if you weren’t born here, you don’t
technically deserve to be here, it’s a privilege.”
The student nods and says, “Okay, okay, another question, whose man is this?”
“I’m sorry?” says the Trump supporter in confusion.
“Let me rephrase that, who do you think you are?”
Astonished the Trump supporter tries to reply but never gets the chance.
“You do realize America was literally created immigration! Irish, Italian, English, Scottish, Polish, French
or whatever paled skin race, is doesn’t matter! None of the races that claim America, were from
America, the Native Americans were! And races like Africans, Asians and Mexicans built and made it
powerful. With slavery, the creation of the railroads and providing cheap labor, while the “white” races
took all the credit and either killed , drove out or oppressed the others. I mean do you even see Native
Americans anymore, they’re almost extinct!!! America, a melting pot of culture, the home of
immigration, where basically everyone is a descent from a immigrant and you’re telling me immigrants
don’t deserve to be here? WHO’S MAN IS THIS?!”
A Bernie supporter jumps on this momentum and says, “This why you can’t vote for Trump, Bernie wants to
create jobs, challenging the 1%, raises medium wages, protect the environment and provide healthcare
for everyone. How could you not vote for him?”
As the class takes in this question, with Trump supporters looking at each other for answers and Bernie
supporters waiting for their response.
Another unbiased student asks, “What if he’s lying?”
The Bernie supporters are stunned by this and causes some of them to say, “Why would he lie?”
“Well,” replys the student. “To get your vote. What if….and it’s a strong what if…but….what if he’s just
trying to appeal to younger voters, telling us what he wants to hear. When in reality he won’t do or will
even be able to do any of the things he promises. What if we’re just picking the lesser of evils and no
matter who we chose, they’re not the person we thought they would be.”
The class becomes silent by his theory. Everyone is frozen, trying answer his question. It seems
so…simple, so unbelievable, so out there. But as they think, they can’t stop the doubt that creeps up
in the back of their mind, their own “what if” questions. That everything they thought was wrong and
change won’t come just from voting, but from reforming the way society thinks and lives.
Everyone jumps as the bell rings, even the teacher. She says, “Okay class, that was….interesting. I hope
you all learned something today. And I hope you all have a “Super Tuesday.”
She laughs to herself, while a few students chuckle out of pity and they all pack up their things to leave.
As they leave, they talk about who “won” the debate and how they were able to avoid a Don Quijote
lecture. And each student left with the realization, that they have to be the change they want to see in the world.
Shumon Jenkins ’18