First-time Fil-Am voter weighs in on Trump, Clinton
Why is it important for Seton Hall freshman Ellie Velez to vote in the November 8 presidential election?
Ellie Velez: 'This election is attracting a lot of attention because of who Trump is and because Hillary is a woman.' The FilAm photo
First, she is first generation on her mother’s side of the family to vote. Thus, she and her older sister Elena are ready to join some 200 million registered voters in choosing the next US president. Second, her conscience says it’s the right thing to do. Third, one of her teachers said that by not voting the country will become a dictatorship.
“It’s true,” laughed Ellie, 18. “My AP Government teacher said that if we don’t vote our democracy is going to die. He told our whole class to vote to prevent a dictatorship.”
The last reason stunned her so she turned to her mother, Ledy Almadin, the president of PAFCOM (Philippine American Friendship Committee), who urged her to learn as much as she can on the issues and from there make her informed decision.
Ellie has been doing just that. She may not be listening to all those TV talking heads but she’s watched all three debates between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump and was taking notes. She’s been reading up on controversial allegations – email scandal for Clinton and sexual impropriety for Trump – and weighing which candidate earns her vote.
“Yes. I’ve watched all three debates. I think Hillary did great in the first one, she was very strong. But in the last two, she still won but I think she could have done better. To me it became like a fight between brother and sister,” she said, pointing out how Clinton should have focused more on issues and not be distracted by Trump’s taunting behavior.
In her class, she learned that the last two presidential elections had low voter turnout.
“No one was paying attention,” she said. “Now it’s attracting a lot of people especially among young voters because of Trump’s background and Hillary being a woman.” What she’s hearing in class is being validated by her friends and what she’s seeing on social media.
For Ellie, Trump’s abrasive personality is not a turn-off.
“It doesn’t bother me,” she said. “As a businessman he only tells the truth about the economy and doesn’t hold back. I don’t see anything wrong with that.”
In the same way, she does not make much of the email scandal surrounding Clinton, but finds it especially disconcerting that the former Secretary of State is being called an “evil” woman by her opponent.
“Where did that come from? To me, that is such a strong word. What has she done? I don’t think it’s worth calling her that over the email (scandal). I would question that,” she said.
Trump used the word “evil” to describe Clinton in February. He said she is “in a certain way, evil.” In the third and last debate on October 19, he called Clinton a “nasty woman,” which became so popular it launched an avalanche of slogans and trademarks equating the concept to progressive, militant women.
Ellie likewise found puzzling all the so-called “leaks” getting out in the press. All the women coming forward alleging sexual assault against Trump, Ellie said, “it’s either they were being paid, or they (allegations) are true.” In this case, she said she believes the women.
She may be a registered Democrat, but Ellie said she is not a rabid follower.
“I’ve made up my mind at this point. But I’m not saying that because I’m a registered Democrat I truly believe everything they say. I’m looking at both sides. I’m not like those who side with Democrats fully or the Republicans fully,” she said. —The FilAm