This Is "Making America Great Again"?

This Is "Making America Great Again"?

One week in, and we're seeing promises fulfilled...but not for everyone.

Within his campaign, Donald Trump considered the political elite as good talkers, but getting nothing done. Under his administration, he believes this will no longer be the case. The theme was enough to get him into the White House in November, and claiming that the government now belongs to the people in his inaugural speech featured dark imagery about what the United States is now.

To those who voted for him to create a change, they’ve started to get their wish. A series of executive orders ranging from creating a gag order for organizations that mention abortion to developing plans of the infamous wall alongside the Mexican border were signed within this week. Basically, he is starting the presidency the way he said he would, eventually focusing on those vulnerable to the changes in modern day society leading to job losses.

As somebody from the other side of the political spectrum, I understand why some people voted for Trump and won’t comment on that further. However, I do have my concerns with these policies along with the flurry of events going on, especially with the implications.

First, the global gag order on any programs which even mention the term “abortion” within their services. If they do so, they are subjugated to less, or no funding, from the United States government. This is a problem because these organizations also provide help for malaria and other diseases for people living in developing countries, especially within rural areas. While this was relevant since the passage of the Helms Amendment in 1973, through which the United States cannot use taxpayer money to fund abortions internationally, then what is the point if smaller health organizations become vulnerable? This could lead to unwanted births and a wider variety of health consequences.

While that was in the background, another executive order was signed on Wednesday to officially declare the beginnings of a wall built on the Mexican border, something promised since the day Trump declared his candidacy. And like the suggestion that Mexico will pay for it, Enrique Peña Nieto, the president, has declined. The project, which would be worth trillions of dollars, could theoretically end up being paid through a 20% tax on Mexican imports or on the American people. Either way, the symbolism is drastically clear: to solve crime and undocumented immigration, just build a wall? There is no looking at the intricacies on why they are coming here, or the labor necessary, or the impact on both economies.

And most recently, he signed an executive order establishing an indefinite end to the refugee program, along with banning immigrants from seven Muslim-majority countries. While the administration suggests this is because of fears of terrorism from said countries, this falls short on some aspects. Several countries, including Saudi Arabia, were not part of this wide-scoping ban, which even involve some of the president’s conflicts of interest with his business. Stories of detaining travelers, not letting others in, and protests in airports follows. Ghosts of previous American policies banning immigrants also arose. Even more ironically, it was signed on Holocaust Remembrance Day—bringing another dimension to how the United States abandoned Jewish refugees in World War II, including sending one ship back full of them. They would eventually die in concentration camps.

“Making America Great Again” has become a slogan for those who believed they drowned within the accelerating changes in globalization, jobs, and how to approach them. Their champion has arose and in a sweep, signed executive orders to benefit them. While I do recognize they may not fully come to pass, the precedent with these is that the United States will reject the livelihoods of many people across the world. And with the emergence of "alternative facts" and the resumption of two big pipelines, we're facing a question of what our politicians are fighting for and the further degradation of the environment. Although we are a week into Trump's administration with more to see, if this is a "great" United States so far, then the bar has been set very low.

Cover Image Credit: Getty Images / Nicholas Kamm

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An Open Letter to the Person Who Still Uses the "R Word"

Your negative associations are slowly poisoning the true meaning of an incredibly beautiful, exclusive word.

What do you mean you didn't “mean it like that?" You said it.

People don't say things just for the hell of it. It has one definition. Merriam-Webster defines it as, "To be less advanced in mental, physical or social development than is usual for one's age."

So, when you were “retarded drunk" this past weekend, as you claim, were you diagnosed with a physical or mental disability?

When you called your friend “retarded," did you realize that you were actually falsely labeling them as handicapped?

Don't correct yourself with words like “stupid," “dumb," or “ignorant." when I call you out. Sharpen your vocabulary a little more and broaden your horizons, because I promise you that if people with disabilities could banish that word forever, they would.

Especially when people associate it with drunks, bad decisions, idiotic statements, their enemies and other meaningless issues. Oh trust me, they are way more than that.

I'm not quite sure if you have had your eyes opened as to what a disabled person is capable of, but let me go ahead and lay it out there for you. My best friend has Down Syndrome, and when I tell people that their initial reaction is, “Oh that is so nice of you! You are so selfless to hang out with her."

Well, thanks for the compliment, but she is a person. A living, breathing, normal girl who has feelings, friends, thousands of abilities, knowledge, and compassion out the wazoo.

She listens better than anyone I know, she gets more excited to see me than anyone I know, and she works harder at her hobbies, school, work, and sports than anyone I know. She attends a private school, is a member of the swim team, has won multiple events in the Special Olympics, is in the school choir, and could quite possibly be the most popular girl at her school!

So yes, I would love to take your compliment, but please realize that most people who are labeled as “disabled" are actually more “able" than normal people. I hang out with her because she is one of the people who has so effortlessly taught me simplicity, gratitude, strength, faith, passion, love, genuine happiness and so much more.

Speaking for the people who cannot defend themselves: choose a new word.

The trend has gone out of style, just like smoking cigarettes or not wearing your seat belt. It is poisonous, it is ignorant, and it is low class.

As I explained above, most people with disabilities are actually more capable than a normal human because of their advantageous ways of making peoples' days and unknowingly changing lives. Hang out with a handicapped person, even if it is just for a day. I can one hundred percent guarantee you will bite your tongue next time you go to use the term out of context.

Hopefully you at least think of my friend, who in my book is a hero, a champion and an overcomer. Don't use the “R Word". You are way too good for that. Stand up and correct someone today.

Cover Image Credit: Kaitlin Murray

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News Flash: 'Building The Wall' Is Still A Dumb Idea And Always Will Be

The government is still partially shutdown because of funding for the wall. Really?


A man who is a strong supporter of building the wall told me this metaphor: If you don't want the wrong people walking into your backyard, you put a fence up. We don't want the wrong people coming to America, so we put a wall up. I respect people's political beliefs, and because of this, I want to share mine.

I believe that President Trump demanding money to build a border wall is dumb.

It's hard to believe so many people really think that this "build a wall" has everything to do about border security. It's just inhumane and wrong.

Literally, the most notorious drug lord of Mexico has shed light about how he smuggles the drug into the U.S. They have brought it through fishing boats, trucks going through the legal point of entry, underground tunnel, but not through unwalled parts. The half of million pounds of narcotics that were secured at the border? They were all al legal points of entry.

I'm saying this because I am a proud daughter of immigrants who crossed the border. The media has portrayed immigrants as these horrible people infiltrating our country. They just want somewhere safe to live to raise their kid.

The conditions of Latin American countries are inexplicable. Communist have risen from the ashes dominating these countries letting people rot on the street starving. There are little to no job opportunities. I haven't seen my family in three years because it is dangerous to go.

The media doesn't tell you this. They don't tell you how many people have gone to the border and returned to Mexico because ICE agents tear gas them.

They tell you that they throw babies over fences to distract border patrol agents. They tell you children are dying because of malnutrition of trekking thousands of miles to get the border. They don't tell you that those same children have been eating unmonitored food with thousands of microorganism some mal some good.

Not all immigrants are not bad people. The notions that all immigrants are criminals is "fake news." It has been a hook, line, and sinker for the Republican Party. There are studies such as one from the journal Criminology showing that places with high undocumented immigrant population does not equal high crime.

Should undocumented citizens attempt to become legal residents of the United States? Absolutely, and that is a problem if they are evading taxes and other legal notions with more consequences.

However, we should not lie to ourselves and act as a wall is to help border security against drugs and crime. It's just a physical quota like 1920s immigration laws. There is a better solution then sacrificing 5.7 billion dollars. Let me translate that: 5,700,000,000 dollars. That is our taxes. As a college student, I rather have those 5.7 billion dollars be translated to scholarship, grants, financial aid, and helping us, the future of this country become the best people we can be. Why build a wall when the future of America, who I personally think is more important can be helped.

I don't come from a rich family, and I don't have the means to afford a college education without loans, so when I hear that the Government can afford to give 5.7 billion dollars for a wall, I have the right to be upset. Tell me I'm wrong, and call me dumb, but this is my unpopular opinion.


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