MOULTRIE, Ga. – As election year picks up, Moultrie residents prepare to make their voices heard for a myriad of different elections set to take place throughout the next months, but their opinions are not as black and white as you might think. 

Many of them don’t actually belong to a specific set party, for example, like 67-year-old Marine veteran Alen Morton. 

“I’ve generally been an independent. I’ve voted both Democratic and Republican. I try to vote for the person, not the party. In all honesty I have voted more Republican than Democrat, but I try to look at the person and their views and what their goals are and try to make a judgement based on that,” said Morton.

28-year-old PCOM student Tyler Dunn shares the same sentiments, at least as far as identifying as independent, but the similarities stop there.

“I would consider myself an independent, so I don’t really require that one candidate be a Republican or a Democrat. I don’t have fixed beliefs, but I would say that in the past twenty or so years, I’ve viewed Democrats as more favorable because they tend to be less extreme. Democratic candidates are less likely to go out and have expensive campaigns and their foreign policies are more manageable. The economy is important, but I feel like Republican candidates place all their emphasis on one thing, they don’t really consider the broader picture,” said Dunn.

Where Morton is more or less pleased with the integrity of the country, Dunn felt like it could work harder and do better, especially with glaring issues here on the homefront.

“Personally, I’m not happy with the direction the country is going,” Dunn said. “I feel like, when you’re looking at the debt ceiling, it’s getting higher and higher and that problem is continually ignored. 

“We haven’t taken into account the ridiculous war spending. We’ve had presidents in the past who have this obsession about trying to control other nations, and that is actually dug our heels a little bit deeper into the ground. I think it’s had more repercussions than good outcomes,” he said. 

“There’s plenty going on in our own country that we need to focus on, like school systems, where the funding hasn’t really panned out,” he said. “I feel like there are so many mentally ill people who aren’t getting the help the need and are forced to live on the street, or, if they’re lucky, in a halfway house. Things like that, I think, are continuously not being addressed.”

Morton was more pleased about certain things, though.

“There are certain things I like about the direction the country is going: defense build-up is one; I’m a retired Marine. I think Donald Trump is a good commander-in-chief,” he said. “I dislike giving people money for not working, other than that, I think the country is pulling along very well. I hope Trump gets elected for another four years. 

“It would devastate me to see a Democrat come aboard. I think they would dismantle and disrupt a lot of the good programs that we have going on right now. 

“I think he’s doing a good job,” Morton said. “I’d give him an A. Obviously, he has his hairballs; a lot of times it’s better to keep your mouth shut than to open it and let everyone know how ignorant you are. And sometimes I think he talks when he needs not to talk. But other than his big mouth, I kind of like him. I kind of like him.”

On the opposite end of the spectrum, Dunn doesn’t much care for Trump at all.

“I’m not majority opinion here, but I think the president shouldn’t be in office. He doesn’t have a strong political background and is very pushy about his own ideas without considering the majority population’s input. He also doesn’t appeal to lower and middle-income classes. He caters strictly to the rich,” Dunn said.

While their views oppose one another in every way, they still believe in the resilience of the country and that even in the face of the coronavirus epidemic, Americans will find a way to bounce back from it.

“I’m fairly confident in the way the economy is going,” said Morton. “Obviously I’m worried about the impact that this virus is having. I have stocks and I hate watching the stock market go down, but we are resilient, and I think we’ll bounce back, and the ‘bounce-backs’ bring dividends. I’m worried that this virus is causing the stocks to go down, but I think we’ll overcome that eventually, and things will rebound.”

Dunn disagrees.

“Currently, I’m not confident with the economy right now either,” he said. “I have stocks in various corporations and the coronavirus is definitely impacted people’s perceptions on their safety. I think it’s had a cascade effect; people are afraid to go out, people are afraid to travel, so all the crude oil prices have plunged. People are afraid that they’re going to contract this virus, when in reality, most people are just carriers and they’re not affected; it’s only the immunocompromised: the elderly, infants, kids below the age of five. 

“So to make a long story short, I don’t think the economy is doing super well right now but I think eventually it will rebound. We always do.”

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