Yes, Representation Is Actually Important

Yes, Representation Is Actually Important

25% of Congress members are women. That's not a stat to be proud of.
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A few days ago, I heard a young man on campus from out of country say that he was fine with the decisions our representatives in government were making, and that he didn't see a problem in who was representing him in the government. Even though he doesn't have anyone in government from the same background as him. Even though the breakdown of representation in the House looks like this:

Gender: Men: 248; Women: 83

Race: White: 339; Black: 46; Hispanic: 33; Asian: 10; Other: 3

and the breakdown of the representation in the Senate looks like this:

Gender: Men: 78; Women: 21

Race: White: 90; Black: 3; Hispanic: 4; Asian: 3

While the United States of America has a demographic breakdown of:

White alone, percent, July 1, 2016 76.90%
Black or African American alone, percent, July 1, 2016 13.30%
Hispanic or Latino, percent, July 1, 2016 17.80%
American Indian and Alaska Native alone, percent, July 1, 2016 1.30%
Asian alone, percent, July 1, 2016 5.70%

With women at 50.8% of the population in 2016.

But he's okay with it! He doesn't mind that his racial minority is underrepresented in his lawmaking bodies. He doesn't think it makes a difference that even though women make up half of this country's population, their representation in Congress is a stark 25%. One quarter.

On one hand, I guess I can understand where he's coming from. We did elect these people into office, because we trust that of all of the available candidates, they were the most qualified and most likely to vote with their demographic's best intentions in mind. Yes, we did pick them. But stop to consider that our choices were extremely limited. Women don't run for positions in Congress as much as men do. So, sure we picked the people we now ridicule in office, but our pickings were slim. Why don't more women run for government?

And it doesn't change the fact that an unrepresentative group is trying to make decisions about women, especially when we're talking about abortions and birth control, issues that disproportionately affect more women than men, yet men are the majority of people making these decisions. This issue with representation is that men can't make informed decisions for women. They just can not. There is a limit to the vicarious capacity of humans; sometimes, you can not learn everything about a situation just listening to it or watching it, you have to live it.

Take for example my experiences in college. Four years ago, my brother was exactly where I am as a college freshman, learning the ropes of an entirely new lifestyle. Everything he said, I listened to and thought that I understood what he meant. But I definitely did not. I did not know what he meant until I got there. I didn't understand when he said college was 1000 times more difficult than high school. I registered in my brain that yes, it's difficult, but I didn't understand the extent of it until I actually got here and lived it myself. (Peep my article on this very topic: 10 Things College Students Say That I Now Know To Be True).

Inherently, then, men can't make decisions about things they've never, ever experienced, like periods or pregnancy. There's the famous fallacy of men being extreme advocates for pro-life, anti-abortion, until their own significant others unexpectedly get pregnant, and then they want an abortion. Remember that episode of It's Always Sunny In Philadelphia? Yeah, that's what this situation is exactly. You don't know what something is like until you live it yourself.

Given that, how can we expect an unrepresentative body of people to make fair decisions about our lives? We can't. It's about gaining empathy for people different from you, and often times it's not possible until you understand them and listen to their stories, even if you can't live them yourself. In order for that to work, you need to have voices in government that can represent those populations. So why aren't there more women in government? Why aren't there more minorities in government?

This is something we need to think more deeply about. This is an issue that needs more voices, more serious voices. Let's get more representation in government. Women like Hillary Clinton and Leslie Knope (Amy Poehler) are going to bring about big change, as role models for younger women picking their career paths. We need more women like them. We need more people like them.

**Props to Always Sunny; we need more conversation like this. Sometimes satire is what it takes to get people talking.**

Cover Image Credit: unsplash.com

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A Dangerous White House Led by A Dangerous President

With the Recent FBI Raids, President Trump has become even more furious. The question is: why?
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In recent news, the newly appointed Deputy Attorney General, Rod Rosenstein approved FBI raids on Trump's personal lawyer, Michael Cohen. As a result, Trump has become furious with the Deputy Attorney General, as well as anyone involved with the FBI raid as well as special counsel Mueller, who has been investigating his actions and involvement with Russia. As I have written before, Trump's political isolationism within the White House has already led him to become much more radical and dangerous as a President who is clinging desperately to power. As a result of this, Donald Trump is heavily considering firing several persons, including Rosenstein as well as Mueller. This is dangerous as the current President seeks to consolidate power and is looking into options to remove any players that undermine his authority.

In response to the FBI raids earlier this week, Trump took to the major media outlets and Twitter to voice his disapproval of what he referred to as a "witch hunt." Despite the President's rhetoric, the FBI raids were legal and were given approval via a search warrant and were conducted through the proper legal channels and procedures. Additionally, Rod Rosenstein approved these raids, despite being appointed by the President last year. Trump had also continued his criticism by trying to call those investigating him Democrats and biased. However, Mueller, Rosenstein and most of the people involved in the FBI raids were Republican themselves. With Trump's recent outburst and anger over the events that just transpired, the question that presents itself is: why is the President so angered by these events? There are a few possible explanations, one of which being that the President himself is compromised and that the secrets to him lie in his most loyal associate, Michael Cohen. Another possible explanation is that he continues to despise the current FBI and anyone trying to undermine his authority. Or maybe there may be a combination of both.

The actions of President Trump pose dangerous consequences for the future as the question of Robert Mueller's ability to continue operating as special counsel rises. Trump continues to mull over firing Mueller, which would cripple the President in various ways. After firing Mueller, Trump would then be branded as even more suspicious, regardless of his reasons. Trump's advisers and legal team have urged him to cooperate as much as possible to remove the suspicions surrounding him, however the President has done the opposite. Without special Congressional approval securing Mueller and safeguarding his position, the future of the checks against the President's angry rule over the country seem shakier than ever.

Cover Image Credit: https://chicagotonight.wttw.com/2018/04/10/fbi-raids-trump-s-personal-attorney-cohen-raise-questions

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New York Governor’s Race Coverage: Part 4

Working Families Party Endorses Nixon, Conservative Party Endorses Molinaro
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Greetings, this is the latest installment on a series covering the 2018 New York Governor’s Race. For those who are interested in reading the earlier installments, you can click the following links:

Introduction to New York Governor’s Election

Republican Straw Poll, Corruption in Cuomo Administration, and Other Recent News

Molinaro, Nixon, and Hawkins Enter the Race

Since our last installment, various political parties have moved forward on their decisions on which candidates they will support.

The Working Families Party has decided to endorse Cynthia Nixon for governor. Nixon is the main primary challenger to Governor Cuomo and is seeking to take his place on the ballot lines of the Democrats and the minor parties which tend to cross endorse the democratic candidate. The Working Families Party had endorsed Cuomo in 2010 and 2014. Though in 2014 he had only managed to narrowly gain their endorsement (rather than his 2014 primary challenger Zephier Teachout, who they had seriously considered nominating) through the help of other political figures and by making a series of promises to the Working Families Party (some of which he then failed to honor). This year, the Working Families Party decided that they would opt to support a more ideologically hardline figure, in the form of Cynthia Nixon, rather than the politically established figure of Andrew Cuomo. In an April meeting of the Working Families Party, 90% voted to endorse Nixon over Cuomo. Though in the process, two large union organizations pulled their support from the Working Families Party, due to their support for Cuomo.

The Working Families Party’s decision to endorse Cynthia Nixon over Andrew Cuomo could have significant implications on this race. This a sign for growing support for Nixon, which could give a greater change of gathering support to challenge Cuomo in the Democratic Primary. Though if Nixon fails to win the Democratic nomination, it is possible that she might continue to run for Governor on the Working Families Party ballot line.

In response, Governor Cuomo and his surrogates have been making public attacks against the Working Families Party and have been threating to retaliate against other groups that side with Nixon over him.

The Conservative Party has decided to endorse Marc Molinaro for governor. Marc Molinaro is one of the candidates seeking to become the Republican nominee for governor (which also includes John DeFransisco and Joseph Holland). Molinaro is the current front runner in the Republican race and is on track to likely become their nominee. If that is the case, then Molinaro may be able to put together a combined Republican-Conservative front to seek to be elected governor. Though in order to have any decent chance of competing, he will also need to be highly successful in working to attract the support of independent voters.

In other news, a new Sienna poll was recently done in regards to governor Cuomo and the coming governor’s election. Governor Cuomo’s approval ratings have dropped significantly. He is now down 49% approval and 44% disapproval statewide and has a 60% disapproval rating upstate. His poll numbers for the Democratic Primary have also shifted against his favor. Last month his numbers went from 66% to 19% against Cynthia Nixon. This month, it shifted to 58% to 27%. While Cuomo still maintains a significant lead in primary polling, this shift has taken a significant step in narrowing that lead. Furthermore, his statewide approval numbers among the lowest he’s faced as governor, and if they drop further could indicate a greater chance of him loosing reelection.

Cover Image Credit: Wikipedia

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