This story was produced for the ear, and is meant to be listened to. To read more of these voters’ thoughts, visit explore.thepublicsradio.org/2020-elections, and scroll down to the “Viewpoints” section. 

TRANSCRIPT

Brittany: Listen, this is a big election. My Black and brown people, our lives depend on this 

Alexander Diwan: I just think my vote is really important this year. This is such a crucial election.

Tadeusz Klas: I think this is a very important right to exercise. It kind of goes back to my young age when I lived in a communist country. I lived in Poland, which didn’t have real elections. And I came here and became a citizen in the early 80s, and since then I’ve voted in every election. 

Arlett Johnson: I always have been educated - since I was a little girl - on the importance of voting. And now, more than ever, it’s becoming more and more personal to me.

This year, this election, I’m considering it life or death, believe it or not. That’s how serious this is. I’ve never been so passionate about voting like this term. The pandemic hit us, and it affected my family. I lost two loved ones, okay? 

And also, you know, I think there’s a lot of people that died unnecessarily because of our leader [President Donald Trump], because a lot of people have faith in him. So I think, him as a leader,  if he would have handled this differently, I think that we would have avoided a lot of unnecessary deaths.

Jon Badway: I think the guy mishandled the pandemic from the get-go. My friends say, 'What else could he have done?' But his own buddy, Mr. Azar, sent him a memo in January. He was warned. He's on the Woodward tapes. I mean, what else do people need?

Dina Vendituoli: I think the Democrats are so strung up on Donald Trump. It trickles down to the state level. No matter what he does. I mean, he could cure cancer and he'd still be wrong. It's just -- I don't know. And I'm not saying I like him or I dislike him. I think I like his policies and I align more towards him.

Saaid Mendoza: For us, it’s been a really difficult four years seeing Trump in office, and seeing his lack of empathy and humility. You know, I’m a Mexican immigrant and someone who has done a lot with his life, and don’t appreciate the rhetoric that’s been put forth regarding the value of immigrants to this country.  And I think he thrives on division in  a way that is not conducive to leadership, in a way that is sending this country backwards, and something that we’ve seen a lot of people get hurt by. 

In many respects the friendships that we would have had for those who voted for Trump four years ago have kind of ended. And for us, it's not an issue of differences in ideology. It's a difference in morality. 

Jon Badway: We're at a crisis in this country. There's divisions among people across the board, financially, economically, in ideology, racism. There are divisions across the board. I mean, every facet of life, even been standing here, there are divisions.  

Arlett Johnson: I feel that every day. I feel it with my neighbors. I have neighbors that, because of differences of opinions, they don't speak to me now. And I've been in my neighborhood for about ten, twelve years. You know, in my gym, people at my job, people that I used to have conversations with and have coffee with, now, all of a sudden you see the division. You see the division, and the division comes from the head. And it's affecting not only the city of Cranston, it's affecting the state of Rhode Island. I have family Maryland and Massachusetts, and they say the same thing. You feel the division.

Dina Vendituoli: If you watch anything on TV, you see, you know, how against everyone is against everyone. I think in the long run, it's your political belief. I don't think that anyone should not be friends because of their political beliefs. I mean, if it boils down to pro-life, pro-choice, and you're not going to talk to me anymore because I'm either pro-life or pro-choice, well so be it. I mean, you're obviously not a friend anyway. 

Brittany: I think that if we study our differences and if we look just at our differences, so we're going to be is different. But if we look at our similarities and what we do have in common and we embrace that and we allow that to bring us tighter, not only will we be different, but we'll be able to work together.

Tadeusz Klas: People that I talk to, they're all gonna vote. There's not even one person from my friends that said, no, I don't care. You know, I think there's very important debate going on, which is the direction this country is going to turn.

This year, in our One Square Mile project, we go to Cranston, to explore the issues driving this particularly polarized election year through the stories and experiences of the voters. Read more...