All throughout our high school studies of history, a major focus seems to be on turning points. We like to hone in on the catalyst, the spark that insights a change in the way that we view our world. Friday the 13th of November, 2015 was one of those dates that (as Franklin Roosevelt once described the bombing of Pearl Harbor) will “live in infamy.”
Similar to the aftermath of the September 11 attacks, we are left with a pervasive sense of fear and uncertainty in our everyday world. This is to be expected, as our way of life and sense of security was directly targeted that day. Not only does this date mark a change in national and international security both personally and domestically, its effects are shaping up to impact the 2016 Presidential Election itself.
We live in a world in which everything is politicized. Not to say if that is good or bad but, in a case like the Paris attacks, it seemed necessary. With the Primary Election ever approaching, the candidates are grasping at every opportunity to prove themselves and their policies to the American public. As is expected, from the fallout of the massacre, arose the strong opinions of powerful people such as Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton, Marco Rubio, and Bernie Sanders.
Just by analyzing the verbalization of the candidate’ statements on the attacks, you can see a clear picture of what they plan for their presidency. By only comparing the two frontrunners (Donald Trump for the Republicans and Hillary Clinton for the Democrats), you have two completely opposing points of view.
Republican frontrunner Donald Trump believes that the attacks in Paris were a direct result of France taking in refugees from Syria. The terrorist organization that committed this crime, ISIS, disguised members as refugees to allow them access to the country and carry out their atrocious plan. In a recent statement following the November 13th slaughter, Donald Trump said:
“We must address Islamic terrorism and protect our country first. I will lead by example, as I always have, by vowing to defeat ISIS, stop illegal immigration and the Syrian refugee program, secure our border and bring real change to Washington.”
Marco Rubio, another Republican contender for the next President of the Unites States, agrees with Trump that this attack should bring American national security into light.
“I obviously am not happy about the events that happened last week in Paris. But I think it’s a positive development that it suddenly has forced Americans to confront more carefully the issue of national security because it is the most important thing a President will do and it is the most important function of the federal government.”
On the other side of the isle is Hillary Clinton, who believes that the term “Islamic Terrorism” is in and of itself offensive. She is of the opinion that America should, in fact, take in Syrian refugees in order to give asylum to those caught in the crossfires. Clinton remarked:
“I think the United States has to do more, and I’d like to see us move from what is a good start with 10,000 to 65,000.”
Meanwhile, Bernie Sanders, the Democratic candidate trailing behind Hillary Clinton, is taking a stance of his very own. He believes that the Paris attacks are a product of climate change, and that climate change is, in and of itself, a bigger threat to the world that terrorism. In a recent interview with CBS News’s John Dickerson he expressed this belief:
“When you have drought, when people can’t grow their crops, they’re going to migrate into cities, and when people migrate into cities and they don’t have jobs, there’s going to be a lot more instability, a lot more unemployment and people will be subject to the types of propaganda that al-Qaeda and ISIS are using right now. So where you have discontent, where you have instability, that’s where problems arise, and certainly, without a doubt, climate change will lead to that.”
So here we have two conflicting viewpoints and plans of action. What we are now faced with is, perhaps, the most crucial matter of all… Who should we follow? That is a question that will be answered by voters on November 8, 2016 when the next President of the United States of America is elected. For now, we as a country, as the free world, as the defenders of freedom, justice, and the rights of the individual, must stand in solidarity with our allies in France, and defend our way of life. Republican or Democrat, Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton, Fox News or CNN; we all can agree that the proper response to the unthinkable events of 11/13 is to go after those responsible. Until they are gone, we cannot live in fear, as that is the goal of a terrorist: to elicit fear in the hearts of those that they are after; to make us afraid and change our daily routine. We cannot let them win. Though it may have changed our world, we cannot let it change our lives.