Local D.C. Sister March Sparks Surprising Reactions

Local D.C. Sister March Sparks Surprising Reactions

Milford PA VS Port Jervis NY
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On Saturday January 21st protesters gathered in Port Jervis, NY to peacefully express their dissatisfaction with the 2016 election cycle and Trump's activities. Organized by Patty Baughman and her husband Reverend Aaron, the sister march wound its way through a mile of poverty stricken streets. Approximately 500 protesters of all ages and races marched sporting various signs depicting their displeasure with the current administration. While there was almost no chanting during the march, people were energetic. A few elderly members of the protest commented that "it felt nothing like the marches of the 60's." They seemed slightly disappointed. Throughout the crowd, protesters wore Planned Parenthood shirts, cat eared hats, and rainbow cloths in solidarity with the many groups that have been attacked by Trump and his supporters during his 2016 campaign. Protesters marched, and the people of Port Jervis responded. Locals came out of their houses to watch, shop owners and their patrons waved and Trump supporters allowed the protest to go along with minimal intrusion. A handful chanted at the protesters, but when they didn't get a response the chanting stopped. It was a well behaved crowd that respected local traffic and police officers who helped ensure their safety. Many of the protesters thanked police officers as they passed. It was a respectful march.

Seven miles away in Milford, PA, protesters gathered on Friday January 20th. The two towns could not be more different. Port Jervis is urban and home to almost 8.5 thousand people, Milford hovers around a thousand. Where Port Jervis has a higher poverty rate and a lack of its former industries, showcased by the remnants of factories and dying infrastructure, Milford is lavish in comparison with rural charm and a general upkeep that Port Jervis can only envy. Milford is the county seat of Pike County, where the courthouse and County government operate. The people of Milford generally look down on Port Jervis as a dirty place filled with drugs. Yet when protesters emerged in Milford, some locals responded with hate. Although the majority ignored the protest, some townsfolk chanted "Killary" and screamed things at protesters like "Traitor" and other derogatory statements. It seems that the one thing Port Jervis has that Milford doesn't is tolerance of others' ideals. For a community with such a large LGBTQ population and a rich history of conservation efforts, it is surprising to see so many respond to Trump's rhetoric when, at least on the surface, it appears to contradict the values of the community.

This is not a regional problem. Across the US there have been increasing reports of hate crimes coinciding roughly with the rise of Trump's campaign. Trump has emboldened ideologies and fringe groups, empowering them through appointments in his administration. Regardless of whether the Trump administration succeeds or fails, the hate his rhetoric inspired will outlast anything he hopes to achieve and will become his legacy.

Cover Image Credit: George Becker

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I Went To "The Bachelor" Auditions

And here's why you won’t be seeing me on TV.
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It’s finally time to admit my guilty pleasure: I have always been a huge fan of The Bachelor.

I can readily admit that I’ve been a part of Bachelor fantasy leagues, watch parties, solo watching — you name it, I’ve gone the whole nine yards. While I will admit that the show can be incredibly trashy at times, something about it makes me want to watch it that much more. So when I found out that The Bachelor was holding auditions in Houston, I had to investigate.

While I never had the intention of actually auditioning, there was no way I would miss an opportunity to spend some time people watching and check out the filming location of one of my favorite TV shows.

The casting location of The Bachelor, The Downtown Aquarium in Houston, was less than two blocks away from my office. I assumed that I would easily be able to spot the audition line, secretly hoping that the endless line of people would beg the question: what fish could draw THAT big of a crowd?

As I trekked around the tanks full of aquatic creatures in my bright pink dress and heels (feeling somewhat silly for being in such nice clothes in an aquarium and being really proud of myself for somewhat looking the part), I realized that these auditions would be a lot harder to find than I thought.

Finally, I followed the scent of hairspray leading me up the elevator to the third floor of the aquarium.

The doors slid open. I found myself at the end of a large line of 20-something-year-old men and women and I could feel all eyes on me, their next competitor. I watched as one woman pulled out her travel sized hair curler, someone practiced answering interview questions with a companion, and a man (who was definitely a little too old to be the next bachelor) trying out his own pick-up lines on some of the women standing next to him.

I walked to the end of the line (trying to maintain my nonchalant attitude — I don’t want to find love on a TV show). As I looked around, I realized that one woman had not taken her eyes off of me. She batted her fake eyelashes and looked at her friend, mumbling something about the *grumble mumble* “girl in the pink dress.”

I felt a wave of insecurity as I looked down at my body, immediately beginning to recognize the minor flaws in my appearance.

The string hanging off my dress, the bruise on my ankle, the smudge of mascara I was sure I had on the left corner of my eye. I could feel myself begin to sweat. These women were all so gorgeous. Everyone’s hair was perfectly in place, their eyeliner was done flawlessly, and most of them looked like they had just walked off the runway. Obviously, I stuck out like a sore thumb.

I walked over to the couches and sat down. For someone who for the most part spent most of the two hours each Monday night mocking the cast, I was shocked by how much pressure and tension I felt in the room.

A cop, stationed outside the audition room, looked over at me. After a brief explanation that I was just there to watch, he smiled and offered me a tour around the audition space. I watched the lines of beautiful people walk in and out of the space, realizing that each and every one of these contestants to-be was fixated on their own flaws rather than actually worrying about “love.”

Being with all these people, I can see why it’s so easy to get sucked into the fantasy. Reality TV sells because it’s different than real life. And really, what girl wouldn’t like a rose?

Why was I so intimidated by these people? Reality TV is actually the biggest oxymoron. In real life, one person doesn’t get to call all the shots. Every night isn’t going to be in a helicopter looking over the south of France. A real relationship depends on more than the first impression.

The best part of being in a relationship is the reality. The best part about yourself isn’t your high heels. It’s not the perfect dress or the great pick-up lines. It’s being with the person that you can be real with. While I will always be a fan of The Bachelor franchise, this was a nice dose of reality. I think I’ll stick to my cheap sushi dates and getting caught in the rain.

But for anyone who wants to be on The Bachelor, let me just tell you: Your mom was right. There really are a lot of fish in the sea. Or at least at the aquarium.

Cover Image Credit: The Cut

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We're All Thinking It, I'm Saying It: Too Many People Are Running For President

I'm all for options, but man, do we really need 24? I mean, I can barely pick a flavor of ice cream at Baskin Robbins let alone a potential President.

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There are, currently, 23 Democrats running for President. On the Republican side, there's, of course, Trump, but only one other candidate, former Massachusetts governor Bill Weld. Democrats have a whole range of people running, from senators to congressmen, a former vice-president, and even a spiritual advisor. We can now say that there are DOZENS of people running for President in 2020.

Joe Biden has been leading the pack for quite some time now. He was even leading polls before he announced his campaign. Although he is the frontrunner, there really is no big favorite to win the nomination. Biden has been hovering around the mid-30s in most polls, with Bernie Sanders coming in second. Other minor candidates in the hunt are Elizabeth Warren, Pete Buttigieg, and Kamala Harris.

After the surprising defeat of Hillary Clinton in 2016, Democrats have become electrified and have a mission to take back the White House after winning back the House of Representatives in 2018. There are so many people running in 2020, it seems that it will be hard to focus on who is saying what and why someone believes in something, but in the end, there can only be one candidate. This is the most diverse group of candidates ever, several women are running, people of color, the first out gay candidate, and several more.

There could be a problem when it comes to debate time. I mean, the first debate is next month. Having around 20-plus people on stage at the same time, debating each other kinda sounds like a nightmare. How can someone get their point across in the right amount of time when someone else is going to cut them off? Debates are usually around an hour and a half. So, if you divide it up, each candidate would get just under five minutes to speak. That would be in a perfect world of course.

Democrats seriously believe that they can beat Trump in 2020. They say they have learned from the mistakes of 2016, and have the guts and the momentum to storm back into the White House. By July of next year, there will be only one candidate left. Will they be able to reconcile the divide during the primaries? We will see. It will surely be a fun election cycle, so make sure to have your popcorn ready and your ballot at hand to pick your favorite candidate, no matter what party you lean towards.

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