If You Had the Chance to Interview the Incoming President, What Topics Would You Discuss with Him?

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Paul Dower, 20, junior, Oklahoma City University, Oklahoma City, Okla.

Dower is the editor-in-chief for The Campus. He is studying film production, and started in journalism his freshman year and has developed a passion for it ever since.

If I had the chance to interview the incoming president, I’m not exactly sure what I wouldn’t ask him. The choice between the current president and Republican candidate Donald Trump and former vice president and Democratic candidate Joe Biden left me with a sense of dread for the upcoming election. I honestly had no drive to vote at all. I wanted no part in deciding between two options that revolted me.

That was until I heard the first presidential debate. It was one of most embarrassing things I have witnessed in a long time, but it made me realize how alarming the situation we find ourselves in truly is. Over the past four years, America has become more divided than I have ever seen in my lifetime, which I will admit has not been a very long time, and, whether his fault or not, our president has done little to nothing to try to relieve the tensions in our country.

The first and most important thing I have to ask the incoming president is what will he do to stop the political divide happening in our country. I would want to know what he thinks of the divide and what the root causes of the divide is.

Another topic I would like to discuss with the incoming president is the rising skepticism for our institutions in our country. A healthy amount of skepticism is beneficial to any system, especially in America, but there is a difference between healthy skepticism and general mistrust for informative institutions. We have seen a number of people that believe scientific institutes are actively lying to support some kind of political agenda, or that journalists are purposefully lying and misleading the public to support or demonize certain candidates. I’m not doubting this sort of thing is happening, there are several cases where it has, but those cases are few and far between. I would love to talk to the future president about ways these institutions can regain the trust of the civilians and what might have caused it to be that way in the first place.

Katrice Hardy, 46, executive editor, IndyStar, Indianapolis, Ind.

As executive editor of the IndyStar and Midwest regional editor for USA Today Network, Hardy oversees more than 20 editors and newsrooms in Kentucky, Illinois and Indiana. Before that, she was the editor of the Greenville News in South Carolina and the South Regional editor for the Network. She is and was the first female and African American leader at both news organizations. 

Wow, where do I start? Top of mind is the freedom of the press. How will the president ensure that the liberties afforded to all Americans in regard to freedom of speech and expression are respected and valued? And how will those policies be applied to journalists and all Americans? That conversation would involve a detailed discussion on specific examples of what kind of information the president will make transparent and what does he feel should be kept away from the public.

Will there be laws that demand that the president release his personal tax returns, for example, and information about his health status? What in particular would he change or keep in federal freedom of information act laws and what types of information would he insist those laws protect? In that conversation, I would highlight a number of significant and impactful stories that journalists from around the nation have written that have changed lives and spotlighted significant issues that were later addressed.

I would also ask the president his views on the thousands in this country who feel disenfranchised as evidenced by the hundreds of protests in some cases that are still ongoing across our nation. What will the president do to ensure that America addresses the concerns raised by people from all walks of life who during a pandemic have been stating through those protests that they feel disenfranchised and have felt that way for years or decades? What policies and significant efforts will the president embark on, if any, to listen and possibly act on issues raised by these groups?

My last question would focus on COVID-19. This past year, every single person in this country has been affected by it. It’s uprooted how we work, how we shop, how we communicate. What steps would the incoming president take immediately, and in the long-term, to wipe away COVID-19 and to prepare America for the next pandemic that comes our way so that it doesn’t completely uproot our country in every tangible way that I can think of, including economically, medically, culturally and emotionally?

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