Politics

Planned Parenthood VS. the Trump Administration

September 16th, 2020   admin  Politics   No Comments »

There is no question that the Trump administration is against abortion and various forms of contraception. While the country is currently debating many policies, many are speaking out about whether abortion is ethical. There are the pro-choice and pro-life sides, but recently Trump’s efforts to defund Planned Parenthood have made major news outlets and headlines. His efforts to limit women’s access to birth control and abortions have sparked controversy. Despite this backlash, there is no sign of Trump stopping his efforts to defund this major organization.

Planned Parenthood was first founded in 1916 by Margaret Sanger and still has the main purpose of providing essential care to both women and men from all walks of life. The fight for women to have the choice of abortion, as well as access to birth control and other services Planned Parenthood provides, is a battle that has lasted for years now. The blocking of this program means a lack of access to over 600 centers that provide STI testing, sex education, legal abortions, and cancer screenings. Because Planned Parenthood does not discriminate against who can get access to their services, underprivileged communities could be without important healthcare.

It is important to note that the term “defunding Planned Parenthood” essentially means the blocking of patients from this specific public healthcare program. It does not mean that the money will stop coming from the federal budget, but instead means that individuals who are already struggling financially will not have access to these benefits.

One of the major ways of defunding Planned Parenthood is ending Title X, which allows women to access affordable birth control. Countering the battle against Title X has involved protests from supporters and members of Planned Parenthood. From in-person protests to social media campaigns, many people are outraged by Trump’s policies. On the other hand, people who do not agree with the message of Planned Parenthood are also doing their part to voice their opinions. No matter what your position is, it is important to recognize that everyone is entitled to their own opinion and has the right to express how they feel. Although there is turmoil in the United States, there is beauty in the fact that we have the right to freely debate about topics like this.

By: Madison Clark

Rage by Bob Woodward Stirs Controversy By Pulling Back The Curtain

September 15th, 2020   admin  Politics   No Comments »

Rage is a book by US journalist Robert “Bob” Woodward regarding the Trump presidency.  It is due for publication on September 15, 2020.  The book seems to have found its origins when Trump expressed that he wished he’d been able to speak with Woodward for Woodward’s 2018 book on Trump titled Fear: Trump in the White House

Woodward’s career in investigative journalism is long and storied.  He, along with fellow journalist Carl Bernstein, are regarded as two of the figures that helped expose the Watergate scandal after being assigned to report on the June 17, 1972 burglary of the headquarters of the Democratic National Committee. 

Woodward also has a long history of reporting on presidents, writing books on presidents such as Bill Clinton, George W. Bush (whom he interviewed for nearly 11 hours total over several meetings), and Barack Obama.  For Woodward’s newest book, Rage, Trump gave Woodward 18 interviews ultimately spanning nine hours. 

These published interviews, as detailed both in the book and online, reveal a glimpse into the ongoings of the Trump administration just as the last stretch of the 2020 US presidential election begins. 

Audio from these interviews reveals, for instance, that Trump knew early on that the COVID-19 virus was airborne and, as Trump himself phrased it, “more deadly than even your strenuous flus.”  He reportedly said this to Woodward on February 7, 2020.  Yet well after admitting this in private, he continued to downplay the coronavirus as being similar to the flu, tweeting on March 9, over a month after his initial discussion with Woodward, “So last year 37,000 Americans died from the common Flu.  It averages between 27,000 and 70,000 per year.  Nothing is shut down, life & the economy go on. At this moment there are 546 confirmed cases of CoronaVirus, with 22 deaths. Think about that!”

Now, months later, there have been about 194,000 deaths from the coronavirus in the United States so far.  Globally, the death count currently lingers at about 925,284. 

Trump explained to Woodward later that he deliberately downplayed the pandemic, expressing that he didn’t want to cause a “panic.” 

Woodward, though, critiques this choice: “There was a duty to warn. To listen, to plan, and to take care,” he wrote according to CNN.  This is one among many things in Woodward’s book that seems to level a heavily critical eye at the work of the Trump administration.

Business Insider also reported that in Rage, Woodward pressed Trump on the murder of Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi, who was brutally assassinated in October of 2018. After his murder, outrage spread in the United States when the CIA concluded that Saudi Arabian prince Mohammed bin Salman had likely ordered Khashoggi’s death.

Trump purportedly told Woodward that he doesn’t believe that Prince Mohammed is guilty.

As the United States simmered with frustration over Khashoggi’s death, Trump is reported as having said, in regards to Prince Mohammed, “I saved his ass…I was able to get Congress to leave him alone.  I was able to get them to stop.”

Woodward also reportedly obtained several other important documents, such as correspondence between Trump and Kim Jong Un, in which Kim Jong Un refers to Trump as “Your Excellency,” and classified evidence that Russia placed malware in the election registration systems of two counties that, while seemingly not activated, had the capability to “erase voters.”

Ultimately, Woodward uses his book to conclude that Trump is “the wrong man for the job.”  According to an interview with 60 Minutes, Woodward warned Trump on August 14 that, “It’s a tough book.  There are going to be things that you are not gonna like, judgements that I made.”

“…It looks like I don’t have it on this book, but we’ll get you sometime later, I guess,” Trump reportedly responded.

And on August 14 (an hour and a half after they spoke, Woodward claimed on 60 Minutes), Trump tweeted, “The Bob Woodward book will be a FAKE.”

By Leslie Williams

Sources:

The Guardian, Woodward: Trump raged when told Israel-UAE deal wouldn’t make book:  https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2020/sep/14/woodward-trump-rage-book-israel-uae-deal

CBS 60 Minutes, Donald Trump’s conversations with Bob Woodward about coronavirus, Black Lives Matter and nuclear war: https://www.cbsnews.com/news/donald-trump-bob-woodward-rage-60-minutes-2020-09-13/

CNN, Play it down’: Trump admits to concealing the true threat of coronavirus in new Woodward book: https://www.cnn.com/2020/09/09/politics/bob-woodward-rage-book-trump-coronavirus/index.html

Business Insider, ‘I saved his a–‘: Trump boasted that he protected Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman after Jamal Khashoggi’s brutal murder, Woodward’s new book says: https://www.businessinsider.com/trump-woodward-i-saved-his-ass-mbs-khashoggi-rage-2020-9

How mail-in voting will affect this year’s election

September 11th, 2020   admin  Politics   No Comments »

While it is still up for debate, it’s becoming pretty clear that 2020 is the most interesting election year in recent memory. With the presence of a pandemic, civil rights protests, natural disasters, and an extreme divide between the left and right, it is imperative that you vote if you are 18 or older. As November rapidly approaches, no matter what party or candidate you support, do some research on the policies that align with your own beliefs as you make your choice.


That being said, the actual process of voting this year will be different than any year in the past. Nine states—Washington, Oregon, California, Colorado, Nevada, Utah, Hawaii, New Jersey, and Vermont—as well as the District of Columbia are primarily conducting a “vote-by-mail election,” meaning that these states will automatically send out ballots to registered voters. On the opposite end of the spectrum, in six states, including Texas, Tennessee, South Carolina, Mississippi, Indiana, and Louisiana, voters must provide an excuse to vote-by-mail. The remaining 35 states are allowing any registered voter to request a ballot by mail.

This has raised a lot of concern amongst voters, government officials, and media outlets. Some of the main questions include:

  • What happens if my ballot does not make it in on time?
  • Can postal services be trusted?
  • Will the numbers be skewed based on ballot arrival dates?

Deadlines for when ballots are due will vary by state. There are 22 states that will accept ballots late if they are marked on or before election day. Those states are:

  • Alaska
  • California
  • DC
  • Georgia
  • Illinois
  • Iowa
  • Kansas
  • Kentucky
  • Maryland
  • Massachusetts
  • Minnesota
  • Mississippi
  • Nevada
  • New Jersey
  • New York
  • North Carolina
  • North Dakota
  • Ohio
  • Texas
  • Utah
  • Virginia
  • Washington
  • West Virginia

The remaining 28 states will only be accepting ballots that arrive on or beforeelection day (11/3/2020).

If there is anything that you should take away from this article, the most important thing is that you should please vote, no matter who you support or where you’re located. If you are registered to vote in one of the 22 states listed above, make sure you send in your mail-in ballot on or before election day.  If you are registered in one of the 28 that is not accepting ballots that arrive late, be sure to send your ballot in as soon as possible.

This election will change the future of our nation, and you decide its destiny.

By Jack Fairfield

Another Supreme Court Abortion Case to be Heard

September 11th, 2020   admin  Politics   No Comments »

Food and Drug Administration v. American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists now sits before the Supreme Court, a case which many fear will undercut the right to terminate a pregnancy.  While Chief Justice Roberts recently struck down Louisiana anti-abortion laws, some worry that this case may set back abortion rights.  The decision made in this case could potentially force patients seeking abortions to undergo unnecessary surgeries by restricting access to useful medications. 

The lawsuit concerns whether FDA restrictions on the drug mifepristone, a medication frequently used to induce abortions, should be relaxed during the Covid-19 pandemic.   Mifepristone is used during abortions as the first of a two-part process to medically induce an abortion.  Patients take mifepristone at home and then return to take the second drug, misoprostol.  Currently, the FDA restricts the distribution of mifepristone to hospitals, clinics, and medical offices.  While this is usually not a serious issue, the Covid-19 pandemic has created new obstacles and questions in relation to obtaining this drug.

Because this drug cannot be dispensed by retail or mail-order pharmacies, an in-person consultation is required in order to begin this process.  With the onset of the coronavirus, many health care providers have moved to telemedicine in order to protect themselves and their patients.  The FDA restrictions currently require that involved parties risk in-person contact in order to begin the process.

Under normal circumstances, these restrictions are a minor burden, but many clinics must now close or reduce their number of patients.  Additionally, this forces those afraid to visit a clinic during the pandemic to make the trip.  While the FDA has reduced restrictions on other drugs during the pandemic, the restrictions on mifepristone still remain.

Despite a recent ruling in favor of abortion rights last June, it is likely that the court will uphold the restrictions on mifepristone.  That noted, it is unlikely that any further restrictions to the right to acquire medicinal abortions will be added through this decision. 

By Emily Alexander

The Strife Between the US and China Reaches the Academic Sphere

September 4th, 2020   admin  Politics   No Comments »

Mike Pompeo, the US Secretary of State, said that Donald Trump is considering increasing restrictions placed on Chinese students in the United States.  This statement follows a Texas university suspending its Chinese government-funded scholarship program.  

Chinese students at universities have been placed under increased scrutiny as relations between the US and China intensify.  Growing concerns of intellectual property theft are at the forefront of minds within the US, leading to reactions such as those of the Trump administration earlier this week.

These reactions, however, leave much potential to target exchange students that pose no threat and could even encourage xenophobic behavior.  The worry surrounding these possibilities only increases as the tensions between the US and China bleed into the academic sector. 

While Pompeo did acknowledge that not all Chinese students pose a national threat, he did state that the risk is being taken seriously by the current administration.  While threats to the nation must be handled with care, the United States prides itself on its foundations of democracy and liberty, which could be threatened by the actions being taken against students of different ethnicities, backgrounds, and heritage. 

Other universities have also followed suit.  The University of Northern Texas made it aware that it would no longer associate with researchers funded by the Chinese Scholarship Council as of last week. Many other groups may soon follow suit, begging the question of how far the tensions between the United States and China may reach. 

By Emily Alexander

This Year’s National Conventions Kick Off A Tense Final Stretch In The Presidential Election

September 2nd, 2020   admin  Politics   No Comments »

This August, both of the United States’ two major political parties held their respective national conventions.  The Democratic Party’s convention lasted from August 17th to August 20th, while the Republican convention lasted from August 24th to August 27th

The goal of these national conventions is generally twofold.  First and foremost, these conventions exist to allow the parties to each officially put forth their nomination for president, and each includes speeches from major and minor figures related to the party, with the nominees for president and vice president giving their speeches on their convention’s final day.  Secondly, these conventions are usually where parties put forth their platforms for the election—usually a stated list of principles and aspirations designed to mobilize people into supporting the party.

This year’s presidential race is already proving to be as politically polarized and charged as the 2016’s.  While polls generally favor Joe Biden as the victor, the same was said of Clinton in 2016, an election Trump won in a startling upset that left many Democratic voters in shock.  The conventions this year are the first symptom of a race that will likely prove as tense as it is combative.

The Democratic platform this year has highly emphasized the importance of a strong COVID-19 response, but there were no real surprises in any of its other policies.  There were also no real surprises from the Republican platform, at least not in terms of their ideological preferences.  But perhaps one of the greatest shocks to come out of the entire thing was the fact that the Republican Party did not announce a new platform at all for 2020, instead reusing their platform from 2016. 

A resolution released by the Republic National Committee explains this decision in part as a result of the fact that “it did not want a small contingent of delegates formulating a new platform without the breadth of perspectives within the ever-growing Republican movement” but ultimately concludes that they would have “undoubtedly unanimously agreed to reassert the Party’s strong support for President Donald Trump and his Administration.”  They also condemn the media for “outrageously misrepresenting” their choice not to choose a new platform.

Outrageous or not, the Republic National Committee was right that their choice not to pick a new platform would prove controversial in the media, and many Democrats took a more skeptical view of the Republican Party’s claims.  WBUR, an NPR-affiliated public radio station owned by Boston University, interviewed Tim Alberta, chief political correspondent for Politico, who said, “If you have a party that announces now, we don’t need a platform; we don’t need a statement of our vision; we don’t need a statement of our principles; we don’t need a statement of even our most aspirational, unrealistic goals. We don’t need to put them on paper because nobody needs to know. What they need to know is that we are in power and that we support the guy in power.”

Other issues have popped up as well.  Trump and his supporters have been quick to try and attack Biden’s mental acuity, calling him “Sleepy Joe.”  Meanwhile, the RNC has faced accusations that they tricked New York tenants into an RNC video appearance without their knowledge.

Adding to the political slapfight is the narrative that both parties are pushing: that the other party’s vision for America is a peril to the people.  Trump and Pence have both falsely claimed that Biden supports defunding police departments (something which Biden has explicitly stated that he is against.)  Both of them have also cautioned against electing Biden on the basis of the protests currently occurring across the country, suggesting that the protests—and allegations of looting and rioting—are being carried out by Biden supporters, which they are touting as evidence that a Biden presidency will make America more dangerous.

Biden has responded to such allegations swiftly.  At one point, he tweeted, “Remember: every example of violence Donald Trump decries has happened on his watch. Under his leadership. During his presidency.”  At another, he spoke to Anderson Cooper from CNN, saying: “The problem we have right now is we’re in Donald Trump’s America.”

WBUR, The GOP Won’t Introduce A New Party Platform For 2020. So What Does It Stand For? (includes a copy of Republican National Committee’s Statement): https://www.wbur.org/onpoint/2020/08/25/gop-no-platform-2020-trump

By Leslie Williams

The ACLU Files Suit Against The Trump Administration Over Actions In Portland

August 28th, 2020   admin  Politics   No Comments »

The ACLU has officially filed suit against the Trump Administration over actions taken in Portland, Oregon.

As of this month, Portland has seen—according to NPR and other news sources—over ninety consecutive days of protests.  These protests began in response to the death of 46-year-old George Floyd, an African American man killed by white police officer Derek Chauvin, who knelt on his neck for about eight minutes. 

In the months since George Floyd’s death, the response of the public has been swift and angry.  Public demands for police reform have manifested as protests across the country.

Their opponents have characterized their behavior as that of rioters, partaking in incendiary behavior that has led to looting and violence.  In return, protestors have warned of tear gassings, beatings, and the use of rubber bullets and other ‘less lethal’ ammunition that actually cause devastating injury. 

One article by USA Today tells tale of dozens of protestors grievously injured by these bullets.  Some have suffered fractured skulls and broken jaws.  Others have faced far worse outcomes: blindness and traumatic brain injuries.  The usage of these rounds, fired into the crowd, seems to fly in the face of police policy, as police are explicitly instructed not to aim for the head or neck when using these rounds during training, and there are some individual departments that have deemed these rounds dangerous enough that officers are explicitly forbidden from targeting these areas unless it is deemed that “deadly force is warranted” (USA Today).

One of the most concerning allegations to come out of these protests is the claim that there is a secret police force being deployed in Portland.  Oregon Public Broadcasting initially reported on this in July, publishing accounts of “people in camouflage were driving around the area in unmarked minivans grabbing people off the street” (OPB).

Many in Trump’s administration—such as acting Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf, who has been recently nominated by Trump to take on the role permanently—have defended this choice as necessary, but others worry that these actions resemble autocratic behavior.

The American Civil Liberty Union’s lawsuit seeks to do something about these concerns and the actions of law enforcement in Portland. The ACLU is filing on behalf of several veterans and protestors involved in the Portland protests.  One of the plaintiffs is Navy veteran Christopher David.  A video of David has gone viral, showing him being struck with a baton several times and sprayed in the face with gas.  He stands still throughout the assault and does not appear to retaliate physically.  Afterwards, he walks away and raises his middle fingers in the direction of the officers. 

The ACLU’s lawsuit pursues reparations for injured protestors who were hurt through the use of ‘excessive force’ and is attempting to ensure that the deployment of this secret police in American cities is declared unconstitutional (UPI).  This is not the first challenge issued against the Trump Administration from the ACLU.  In fact, the ACLU website notes that they have filed over 237 lawsuits against the current administration.

Notably, Associated Press has pointed out that part of the ACLU’s lawsuit claims that Chad Wolf (the aforementioned Homeland Security Secretary) was improperly appointed, and therefore had no authority to give such orders.  This appears to be based off a report from the Government Accountability Office (GAO).  This report claims that an incorrect succession occurred back in April 2019, and the man who incorrectly assumed the position then altered the order of succession for his own departure.  However, because his own succession was technically invalid, the GAO argues that his amendments to the rules must also be disqualified (Politico).  The DHS has released a written statement dismissing these claims.

All things taken together, this case, like many of the other cases that the ACLU has worked on, engages with several important questions about the function and rights of our democracy.  It tackles concerns over the extent and nature of force that the federal government is allowed to exert and when the use of that force is appropriate, as well as challenging us to untangle the issues posed by the messy succession of an important government position. 

Only time will tell how this case is going to play out, but the rulings made here could very well carry forward far into the future. 

By Leslie Williams

Sources

Associated Press, ACLU sues over federal action in Portland, Oregon, protests: https://apnews.com/0347be8aae66a3237bccb8daa8063cf6

NPR, Police Declare Portland Protests A Riot But This Definition Could Be Rooted In Racism: https://www.npr.org/2020/08/27/906729976/police-declare-portland-protests-a-riot-but-this-definition-could-be-rooted-in-r

Oregon Public Broadcasting (OPB), Federal Law Enforcement Use Unmarked Vehicles To Grab Protesters Off Portland Streets: https://www.opb.org/news/article/federal-law-enforcement-unmarked-vehicles-portland-protesters/

Politico, GAO finds Chad Wolf, Ken Cuccinelli are ineligible to serve in their top DHS roles: https://www.politico.com/news/2020/08/14/gao-chad-wolf-ken-cuccinelli-ineligible-dhs-395222

United Press International (UPI), ACLU sues Trump administration over federal agents at Portland protests: https://www.upi.com/Top_News/US/2020/08/26/ACLU-sues-Trump-administration-over-federal-agents-at-Portland-protests/7171598486467/

USA Today, ACLU files lawsuit for Portland protesters, military veterans against Trump administration: https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/2020/08/26/aclu-portland-protesters-military-veterans-sue-trump-administration/3443832001/

USA Today, Fractured skulls, lost eyes: Police break their own rules when shooting protesters with ‘rubber bullets’: https://www.usatoday.com/in-depth/news/nation/2020/06/19/police-break-rules-shooting-protesters-rubber-bullets-less-lethal-projectiles/3211421001/

Vice News, Trump’s Secret Police Are Pulling Back from Portland: https://www.vice.com/en_us/article/xg8577/trumps-secret-police-are-pulling-back-from-portland

Defunding the USPS, And Why It Especially Worries Me

August 18th, 2020   admin  Politics   No Comments »

Last week, in a moment much of the country has dreaded, President Trump finally translated his weeks of attacks on mail-in voting into real, tangible action. He no longer has to hide his plans; Trump, in broad daylight, has put into motion his plan to steal the election. And his supporters don’t care. 

Despite four years of controversy and bickering between the left and the right, Trump’s refusal to fund the postal service has left me with the highest levels of anxiety and worry that I have felt throughout Trump’s first term. For years, the USPS has lost money due to the Postal Enhancement and Accountability Act. Passed in 2006, this piece of legislation requires the organization to fund in advance the retirement and health benefits of their employees. Already hemorrhaging billions of dollars on an annual basis, the drop in usage brought about by the pandemic has only worsened the USPS’s situation. A bill is needed to save this institution so critical to the country that it is written into the Constitution. But Trump has refused to sign the bill that would grant the struggling USPS $25 billion in emergency funding.

Failure to fund the USPS has already negatively impacted Americans on a daily basis. I have already read heartbreaking accounts of ordinary Americans describing how this series of events has sent shockwaves through their lives. Diabetics who haven’t gotten their insulin on time. Bills arriving late. Supplies never coming to restaurants and small businesses. In Trump’s selfish grab for power, he has spit in the face of the Declaration of Independence, which grants everyone the right to “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.” Without the USPS, an owner of a small shop trying to make a name for themselves does not have the liberty to grow their business, and those who need medication are in danger of losing life itself. And no one is happy. 

In addition, defunding the USPS will make it harder for Democrats to vote in the age of COVID-19. Democrats certainly fear the virus more; in a poll conducted by the Pew Research Center in June, only 28% of Democrats feel comfortable eating in a restaurant, compared to 65% of Republicans. This poll shows a dramatic difference in opinion, and Trump, knowing that his supporters would have no problems going to the polls, has forced those on the left into a potentially fatal choice: whether to jump through hoop after hoop to safely vote my mail, or potentially expose themselves to the virus by voting in person. Seeing picture after picture of the heaps of USPS boxes being loaded onto trucks around the United States is worrying enough. But the fact that it is so obvious—and that no one has stopped in to stop this as of yet—makes me think that he could actually get away with rigging the election.

Trump launching attacks on mail-in voting does fall into the pattern of he and his administration violating the law and the Constitution. But this attack on mail-in ballots has a direct negative impact on millions of Americans, both now and down the line. Right now, people cannot get critical medicine and supplies on time, and it promises to complicate voting processes as we inch closer to November. How do we remedy this? Request your mail-in ballot right now, receive it, fill it out, and return it directly to your county clerk’s office. No one can trample on our right to make a living, lead a healthy life, and vote. 

By David Traugott

Kamala Harris, the Right Choice for the Ticket and the Country

August 13th, 2020   admin  Politics   No Comments »

On August 11, 2020, Joe Biden ended weeks of speculation by finally choosing his running mate in his bid to become the next president of the United States: California Senator Kamala Harris. She does have obvious strengths, ones that outweigh the baggage that she will inevitably be attacked for during a campaign season that will only become more nasty and polarized.

Harris has her roots in law, roots which have grown into a political career that has the potential to make her the first female African American and Asian American Vice President in American History. Serving her home state of California, Harris began her law career at the Alameda County District Attorney’s Office in 1990. During that decade, she rose through the ranks in California’s justice system; after joining the San Francisco District Attorney’s Office, she won her first election to become the District Attorney of San Francisco in 2003. After becoming the attorney general of California in 2010, she decided to fully involve herself in politics. Harris defeated fellow Democrat Loretta Sanchez to become 29th Senator of California. 

Despite working for a relatively short time in Congress, Harris was the right choice both to defeat Trump and serve as an exceptional vice president for the next four years. First, because of her experience in the courtroom, she knows how to articulate an argument clearly; she excels in forming coherent, spoken arguments that will almost certainly persuade those listening to her. It is no coincidence that she fell under the national spotlight for her tough, relentless question during Justice Kavanaugh’s hearings, delighting liberals and exasperating Trump supporters— including Trump himself. Her penchant for public speaking, combined with her natural charisma, is a breath of fresh air, a total change from the bumbling, insubstantial speech from the president and constant lies that come from his cabinet.

In addition to her speaking skills, Harris’s leftist—but not progressive— policies do not alienate those on the far left or moderate right, helping Biden’s election chances and promising to do a world of good once implemented. For example, she supports common-sense background checks for guns, while pushing back against the detention of children at the border, stances that most Americans agree with. Liberals will also unite behind her other stances that lean more towards the left, like raising the minimum wage and removing college debt. Her policies, still lefist but not as radical as someone like Bernie Sander’s, will benefit the country without taking voters away from Biden’s ticket.

Even though Harris has these qualities, she still comes with some baggage that may turn voters away from Biden. First, although identifying as African American, she doesn’t have direct African ancestry; her father was Jamaican and her mother was Indian. So some people, especially African Americans, may think that she does not share the “African American” experience with them, or view this as another example of the Democrats’ dishonesty. But the biggest problem comes from her time as an attorney. Falling in line with California’s “tough on crime” policies, many accuse Harris of turning a blind eye to police brutality cases. For example, as California’s Attorney General in 2016, she fought back against a bill that would have investigated police officers responsible for the death of a stabber, who was shot 21 times. While not liking Harris based on her ancestry may be a nitpicky and petty reason, her record of not investigating deaths at the hands of police will drive people away, especially after George Floyd’s death sparked levels of civil unrest not seen since the Civil Rights Movement.

All in all, Harris seemed like Biden’s obvious choice for a running mate, and I think the correct one. She has a talent for public speaking, eloquence, youthful energy, and clearly-defined ideas that will help mend this broken country. All of these strengths more than outweigh any possible rejection of her. Let’s hope this benefits Biden’s campaign down the line, so that we may finally have a new day on January 20, 2021. 

By David Traugott

Green Earth

August 7th, 2020   admin  Politics   No Comments »

People often study the words of Henry David Thoreau and William Wordsworth to revel in their romantic tones regarding nature and what life means on this green earth. We find ourselves moved by their passages. It is common to meet someone who has an affinity for nature. In quarantine, many of our only respites were venturing out for a walk, inhaling fresh air – albeit through our masks – and enjoying the company of the surrounding flora. We love to love this planet; it is one of the only things people on both sides of the aisle can agree on.

Then why are we still complicit in the demolition of our shared home?

Every day we find ourselves closer to a point of no return, a point where we will not be able to salvage our current living standards and instead will be living in fear of the collapse of our planet. Look around. This most recent hurricane, Isaias, was the earliest ninth hurricane of the season in years. These tropical storms are getting more and more severe each year along with other natural disasters such as tornadoes, tsunamis, and floods. The icecaps are melting, and the sea levels are rising; in just a few decades most, if not all of New York City and other coastal cities will be underwater. The coral reefs are dying out and wildfires are becoming all too common in dry areas. It is clear through the science that it was at the hands of humans during the Anthropocene that these huge shifts occurred. These changes have happened over hundreds of years and we are now feeling the consequences. We are using resources faster than they can be replenished; our standard of living is not sustainable and cannot last much longer.
But to be fair, this is not the fault of you or me, a small low life who does as she’s told. Sure, I drive my own vehicle that runs on gas, I consume meat and dairy, and I do not live a zero-waste life, but still my actions are not the cause of this. 70% of industrial emissions come from just 100 companies. Us switching to metal straws is not going to solve the climate crisis. Putting real regulations on these companies, creating a carbon tax, and ending fast fashion will do much more than the total amount of work us typical individuals could ever do to help the planet. To make these big changes, though, we need everyone on board, not just Gen Z who will inherit the brunt of these problems in the next twenty years. We need our parents and grandparents help, the generations helped get us into this mess, to do their part and get us out. A simple way to start in the United States is to push for eco legislation, such as the Green New Deal. Call your senators and local representatives to allocate space in the budgets for better, sustainable infrastructure, public transit, and upgraded, clean energy systems. This is all possible, we all need to do our part and hold each other, especially big corporations and those in office, accountable, though.

By Johanna Golden