While the outcome of the 2020 presidential election showed how divided the United States has become, politically active students at NMSU say that doesn’t stop them from showing respect for one another or having open discussions, even when they disagree.
“I think that one of the difficulties we’ve had in recent years is that people don’t really know how to disagree anymore,” said Race Cannedy, president of the NMSU College Republicans. “I think it’s great that we can have people who have completely opposing views, but we can sit, have a reasonable conversation, stand up and shake hands.”
Democrats and Republicans have been actively sharing their opinions on the riots at Capitol Hill and the second impeachment trial for former President Donald Trump. The trial started on Feb. 9 and ended Feb. 13, with the former president being acquitted by the U.S. Senate.
Dante Archibeque, president of NMSU College Democrats said he feels there is a need for accountability. Other than Trump, he said officials like Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) and Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) should be stripped of their positions.
“I would call them to resign,” Archibeque said. “Anyone who supported unsubstantiated claims of election fraud knowingly, just to support the president, which jazzed up his base to have the insurrection — I would vote to remove them from Congress.”
“I think it’s great that we can have people who have completely opposing views, but we can sit, have a reasonable conversation, stand up and shake hands.”
Cannedy, on the other hand, stressed the idea that having elected officials resign over the Capitol riot is undemocratic.
“I think it’s ridiculous to try and punish sitting representatives for doing those things,” Cannedy said. “If anything, that’s what conservatives are seeing as an attempted insurrection. [Liberals] are trying to purge and squash out their opposition.”
Cannedy said he believed the election wasn’t “entirely” rigged in favor of President Joe Biden, but blames the media for completely denouncing the possibility.
“I’m not convinced that there was enough fraud this time around to completely change the results of the election,” Cannedy said. “But I think it was inappropriate of the media to act as if voter fraud is impossible to occur.”
Archibeque said he feels the country is now in a much better position. He explained the emotions he was feeling on Jan. 20 when watching Biden’s inauguration ceremony.
“I’m drastically more hopeful than I was four year ago,” Archibeque said. “So much so, I cried during the inauguration.”
The Capitol riot and recent impeachment trial have sparked a debate about whether Trump and his inner circle incited the violence.
Cannedy said he thinks that it wasn’t Trump’s fault, but what happened at the Capitol was unacceptable and people should face the consequences. He said he felt the former president’s words were peaceful but interpreted incorrectly.
“I think if anyone had listened to his actual speech, they would know he didn’t incite it,” Cannedy said.
Archibeque, on the other hand, said he thinks the words from the former president should be taken seriously after years of incendiary behavior.
“We’re constantly told over and over again from the Republican Party to not believe him in a literal sense with everything he says and tweets,” Archibeque said. “I think after four years, we saw that wasn’t the case. People actually believe him, and we saw that culminating in the Capitol.”
With all the opposition there is between them, both student group presidents shared their respect for each other and their organizations.
Archibeque stated that the NMSU College Democrats organization is on friendly terms with NMSU College Republicans.
“We have a cordial relationship with them … I believe there is no animosity towards each other,” Archibeque said.
Students interested in joining NMSU College Democrats can email Archibeque personally at firstname.lastname@example.org. For people interested in joining NMSU College Republicans, they can email Cannedy at email@example.com.