Is The Pursuit Of Happiness Really Available To Everyone?

Is The Pursuit Of Happiness Really Available To Everyone?

...or is it just another privilege for white, heterosexual men?
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Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Three unalienable rights in the United States that are distinguishable from the rest. But unlike life and liberty, the pursuit of happiness is an unconscious commodity to the point that it has only been available to individuals in dominant social groups.

But in what ways am I defining the pursuit of happiness as a commodity?

Today, most people think of the concept of the pursuit of happiness as the right to freely pursue joy and live life in a way that makes you happy, as long as you do not commit anything illegal or violate the rights of others. But in reality, it’s a right only available to dominant social groups: white, wealthy, and heterosexual men. Categorized as a commodity in the way that it is deemed a good/service available to certain individuals of privilege; aimed at individuals who are deemed more valuable to society, who are able to contribute a skill or represent the ideology of the American Dream.

Since the foundation of the Declaration of Independence, minority groups were not considered part of this notion to pursue happiness. In no way was pursuing happiness made available to Native Americans, who were considered separate from American society; to women, even with the urging of prominent female figures like Abigail Adams for women’s rights nor to blacks or any other race that was not white—as seen through the ⅗ Compromise towards black slaves.

Rich, white, heterosexual men have always been the ones to benefit from this misconception that the pursuit of happiness is available to everyone, a concept that still continues today.

One might object that the pursuit of happiness is not guaranteed, that the meaning of the pursuit of happiness lies in its literal meaning: that individuals have the right to pursue their own form of happiness. Or that it’s true that minorities still face discrimination, it has gotten better through civil rights movements such as giving them the right to vote; the right to be represented. However, these two points are invalid in justifying the explicit commodity of happiness displayed through privilege. Yes, minority groups have been given rights, but it should have been there since the beginning.

But in what way is this a personal issue for me?

As a first-generation college student, with immigrant parents that came here for a better life for their children more than themselves, I am affected in the unfairness of how the pursuit of happiness has been commodified through privilege. Immigrants, like my parents, are urged to come to the United States for the American Dream— to pursue an education, better jobs, and a life filled with prosperity, or at least the promise of it.

But with the past and present xenophobia in the United States, in no way were immigrants given the chance to pursue the American Dream; to pursue their own form of their pursuit of happiness. Since they do not fit into the white, wealthy, heterosexual social group that is idealized by the United States, they have instantly been seen as low class and undeserving of any right or privilege.

The pursuit of Happiness is aimed at people that can actively contribute to society and in no way helps those that do not fit the idealized, dominant social group of our society. Instead, they promulgate the pursuit of happiness as an unalienable right available to everyone, when in fact it is a commodity aimed at the privileged class.

Cover Image Credit: Anthony Garand

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The Trump Presidency Is Over

Say hello to President Mike Pence.

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Remember this date: August 21, 2018.

This was the day that two of President Donald Trump's most-important associates were convicted on eight counts each, and one directly implicated the president himself.

Paul Manafort was Trump's campaign chairman for a few months in 2016, but the charges brought against him don't necessarily implicate Trump. However, they are incredibly important considering was is one of the most influential people in the Trump campaign and picked Mike Pence to be the vice presidential candidate.

Manafort was convicted on five counts of tax fraud, two counts of bank fraud, and one count of failure to file a report of a foreign bank account. And it could have been even worse. The jury was only unanimous on eight counts while 10 counts were declared a mistrial.

Michael Cohen, Trump's personal lawyer, told a judge that Trump explicitly instructed him to break campaign-finance laws by paying two women not to publicly disclose the affairs they had with Trump. Those two women are believed to be Karen McDougal, a Playboy model, and Stormy Daniels, a pornstar. Trump had an affair with both while married to his current wife, Melania.

And then to no surprise, Fox News pundits spun this in the only way they know how. Sara Carter on Hannity said that the FBI and the Department of Justice are colluding as if it's some sort of deep-state conspiracy. Does someone want to tell her that the FBI is literally a part of the DOJ?

The Republican Party has for too long let Trump get away with criminal behavior, and it's long past time to, at the very least, remove Mr. Trump from office.

And then Trump should face the consequences for the crimes he has committed. Yes, Democrats have a role, too. But Republicans have control of both chambers of Congress, so they head every committee. They have the power to subpoena Trump's tax returns, which they have not. They have the power to subpoena key witnesses in their Russia investigations, which they have not.

For the better part of a year I have been asking myself what is the breaking point with Republicans and Trump. It does not seem like there is one, so for the time being we're stuck with a president who paid off two women he had an affair with in an attempt to influence a United States election.

Imagine for a second that any past president had done even a fraction of what Trump has.

Barack Obama got eviscerated for wearing a tan suit. If he had affairs with multiple women, then Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell would be preparing to burn him at the stake. If they won't, then Trump's enthusiastic would be more than happy to do so.

For too long we've been saying that Trump is heading down a road similar to Nixon, but it's evident now that we're way past that point. Donald Trump now has incriminating evidence against him to prove he's a criminal, and Special Counsel Robert Mueller is just getting started.

Will Trump soften the blow and resign in disgrace before impeachment like Nixon did? Knowing his fragile ego, there's honestly no telling what he'll do. But it's high time Trump leaves an office he never should have entered in the first place.

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Nike's Step Into The Political Realm Gives Us Something to Consider

Nike went political once again with Colin Kaepernick as their main advertisement.

KenzieM
KenzieM
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Nike's new advertisements have brought up a lot of controversy in the past week. Colin Kaepernick, who used to play for the San Francisco 49ers. He is now a free agent after he was let go. He is now the face of Nike. The last few years the NFL (National Football League) has been a platform for Colin Kaepernick used his position to bring awareness to police brutality. He did this by kneeling while they played the national anthem. Many began to follow in his footsteps and kneel as well.

Police brutality is and can be a massive problem. Many do not believe that the people that are meant to protect you actually do. And when the policemen themselves remain virtually unchecked this could actually be a problem.

I know you may want to stop reading this now but listen to my argument.

You can become a police officer when you are 20 years old. It is about as much schooling as you would need to become a CNA or (Certified nursing Aid). However, CNA's are not allowed to handle paperwork, their own patients, or even handing out medicine. Why do you need more schooling to do paperwork, but not to carry a gun? Only some of law enforcement agencies require a two-year degree. Police officers also only have one psych evaluation when they enter into the force. I believe that seeing what police officers see every day can cause extreme stress and mental instability. We must recognize police officers are humans too. They cannot be perfect no matter how much they try. But a system needs to be put in place to help them be the best they can be and weed out the ones that do not need to have that kind of responsibility.

I would also like you to think about this. Nike is a business. Yes, they may have lost a few customers by displaying Colin Kaepernick's face on their new advertisements. But they have gained $43 million dollars in free press. Nike is being talked about everywhere. And products are being bought by people who have supported Colin's movement. So Nike may or may not actually back Kaepernick's protest. I believe they haven't because they are doing nothing with the buzz that they have received. Nike has done this many many times. They advocated for women's rights, even for a man that tested HIV positive and was an incredible marathon runner. They knew this would generate revenue like no other. And because Nike is a sports store, getting involved in politics that included a sports front man. It became like a kid in a candy store. I do love Nike's products. And I am not saying that they are using Kaepernick, but I wish they would put their money into actually helping solve the problem.

I would also like to talk about Colin Kaepernick's protesting. I think it is a good thing when people that have a lot of attention put on them raise awareness for something that is wrong. However, raising awareness only does so much. Recognizing a problem is only the first step. What is the second you ask? Action. If you want to see diversity and change in Law enforcement. Change it. Apply to be a police officer or a lawmaker. You can't just continue to ask someone else to fix the problem. There's a saying that I've followed pretty much all my life. If you want something done, and done right. Do it yourself.

KenzieM
KenzieM

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