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.
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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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5 Perks Of Having A Long-Distance Best Friend

The best kind of long-distance relationship.
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Sometimes, people get annoyed when girls refer to multiple people as their "best friend," but they don't understand. We have different types of best friends. There's the going out together best friend, the see each other everyday best friend and the constant, low maintenance best friend.

While I'm lucky enough to have two out of the three at the same school as me, my "low maintenance" best friend goes to college six hours from Baton Rouge.

This type of friend is special because no matter how long you go without talking or seeing each other, you're always insanely close. Even though I miss her daily, having a long-distance best friend has its perks. Here are just a few of them...

1. Getting to see each other is a special event.

Sometimes when you see someone all the time, you take that person and their friendship for granted. When you don't get to see one of your favorite people very often, the times when you're together are truly appreciated.

2. You always have someone to give unbiased advice.

This person knows you best, but they probably don't know the people you're telling them about, so they can give you better advice than anyone else.

3. You always have someone to text and FaceTime.

While there may be hundreds of miles between you, they're also just a phone call away. You know they'll always be there for you even when they can't physically be there.

4. You can plan fun trips to visit each other.

When you can visit each other, you get to meet the people you've heard so much about and experience all the places they love. You get to have your own college experience and, sometimes, theirs, too.

5. You know they will always be a part of your life.

If you can survive going to school in different states, you've both proven that your friendship will last forever. You both care enough to make time for the other in the midst of exams, social events, and homework.

The long-distance best friend is a forever friend. While I wish I could see mine more, I wouldn't trade her for anything.

Cover Image Credit: Just For Laughs-Chicago

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A Florida House Committee Is Undermining Your Vote On Amendment 4

Before felons can regain their right to vote, they must pay court fines, fees, and take care of any other "financial obligations." Essentially, this is a poll tax.

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Amendment 4, also known as the Voting Rights Restoration for Felons Initiative, was added to the Constitution of Florida after being passed this last midterm election on November 6, 2018.

Amendment 4 restored the voting rights of Floridians with prior felony convictions after all terms of their sentence have been met, including parole and probation. This amendment only applies to felons who have not been convicted of murder or sexual offenses.

On January 8, 2019, an estimated 1.4 million ex-felons regained their right to vote. This is monumental. Prior to this amendment, Florida was one of four states that used felony disenfranchisement. Amendment 4 gives voice, and rightfully so, to felons who have served their time. Amendment 4 is also putting to rest, finally, years and years of disenfranchisement and suppression.

Now, only two months after its passage, the House Criminal Justice Committee is trying to water down this piece of legislation. This is a direct violation of the will of the 64% of Floridians who voted for the legislation as is. This amendment was not to be "clarified," as Governor DeSantis put it, but rather to be self-implementing.

However, the House Criminal Justice Committee proposed a bill that would tack on some extra qualifiers in order for felons to be enfranchised. The bill will require court fines, fees, and other "financial obligations" (in addition to fees administered in a judge's sentence) to be paid in full before a felon's voting rights are restored. This seems awfully similar to a poll tax to me. Obviously, this is going to affect people without a lot of resources rather than white-collar criminals who can afford a $500,000 bond.

This new qualifier will prevent felons from voting based on the money that can be coughed up as if they don't have to worry about their finances long after they leave prison.

Some may argue that these felons shouldn't have committed a crime in the first place. However, I would argue that holding a felon's vote hostage on the basis of money is unconstitutional.

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