A Tough Summer in Washington

A Tough Summer in Washington

The last few months have not been the best for any politician in Washington DC, but what will it lead to?

I am not a future-teller, so by the time you read this, we could be in the middle of the political event of the century. However, at current moment, Washington D.C is looking more like Westros during the reign of King Joffrey. With a flurry of scandal and news and leaks since June, the Trump administration is really starting to come apart, even if from the inside out. Beginning with the constantly failing healthcare bills, going straight through until the breaking news that Robert Mueller has formed a grand jury and is following the money trails from Trump himself. I've tried to avoid political news for a while, just because it's just everywhere and hard to discuss in a civil manner these days – especially in comment sections on Facebook.

Distrust of the president in Congress has been slowly rising, from many Senators and Representatives voting for Trump just because they're in the same party, to voting across party lines, to now where Republicans in Congress are splitting away from him. Some left during a tweetstorm, others left as he started insulting and threatening cabinet members because they didn't bow to him. Even Paul Ryan has expressed support for Robert Muller, the special council in charge of the Trump-Russia investigation, contrary to what Trump is saying. One could argue the first to leave was Richard Burr, who upon being named head of the Senate Intelligence Committee, began to look at more bipartisan views than other Republicans and Democrats, both of whom are constantly attacking each other. Since then, little by little, senators are turning, as evidenced by voting against the McConnell healthcare bill. And if things go even further south, it will take Republicans to help bring us back up, without letting their party get in the way of what is morally right

Much like a dictatorship, Trump has constantly put down and even rejected the press, so he started his own web-television program to tell people the real news – direct from the White House. Of course, “real news” to them includes the Seth Rich case that was proven false when the Rich family came out and said the “investigator” was never hired and they had no idea who he was – in reality, the story was made up by Fox News, and according to recent rumors circulating the press, possibly with aide from Donald Trump himself. Seriously, there is no way to justify this. Dictators control the press and make up stories so that they can further control the people. A president-approved news source that seeks to undermine the free press? Yeah, no. Fox News is bad enough when Sean Hannity continues to run the Seth Rice story despite being told it was a false narrative. But this is something else entirely. Not much has been said about this, mostly because nobody is taking it seriously – and we should. All it takes is one tweet or one order from the president to his official news and he could tell supporters to take up arms against the ones trying to stop them. I doubt he would, but as per Trump's Razor (the stupidest scenario is the likely one), it is entirely possible.

The new immigration reform is nothing but the administration justifying racism. Demanding that immigrants must be able to speak English contradicts the simple fact that America has no official language – go to New York City, and you'll see signs in Arabic, Italian, Chinese, Yiddish, Hindu, and any other language you can think of. In addition, it will require them to have money and ability to essentially conform. Again, America has been known as a melting pot because of the variety of culture and ethnic groups. This policy is being put in place for legal immigration, and considering not everybody has the ability to go to school and learn English, it will only bring in the rich and well-off people who by every means should immigrate if they choose to, but prevent those who need to have a better life. Naturalization classes include English classes, among other things that the right claims they don't – most natural-born citizens cannot complete the citizenship test, anyway.

Lastly, we come to the nonstop attempts to stop the ongoing Russian collusion investigation. Donald Trump, Jr. released an email chain between himself, Paul Manafort, Jared Kushner, and Russian lawyers/government officials concerning “compromising information” on Hillary Clinton. Despite this being explicitly stated in the emails, Trump Jr. went on Fox News (because where else would he go) to say that it was actually about adoption of Russian children – and now, we've found that the President helped to create this alternate narrative. Later on, Trump became open with his disdain for Attorney General Jeff Sessions, as Sessions recused himself from being involved in the investigation – which Trump wanted shut down, hence firing James Comey and threatening other intelligence heads. During this time, he said that Mueller “better not look at the finances,” because at that time, Mueller and his team were, in fact, looking through the tax returns and financial statements from both the Trump Organization and the Trump family.

Despite this, and while I am definitely not a fan of Trump, I'd say there is a slight chance America might just be on the right track under him. Not due to any policy, or any statement, or tweet, or anything like that. But you consider that America is one of the youngest countries in the world, yet with the oldest Constitution. And that's not a bad thing – but if you really think about it, the United States hasn't really seen what abuses of power really can be. Watergate was one thing, but this is just helping us see how we can come back from a turbulent presidency. Respecting the office is not the same as respecting the person, and yeah, we all should hope Trump doesn't crash the entire nation because then we have nothing to build back up. In a weird, reverse psychology-esque way, making America great again will happen because Congress, the Supreme Court, the people, and politicians in general, will see what can happen when they let the wrong people into the highest office in the land. Kind of a backdoor, not-how-he-intended way, but hey, “great” is subjective. The results of the Russia investigation will cement the American political system for decades if not centuries. Donald Trump will be known as the one who showed what can happen if power is left unchecked, and we'll just have to see the lasting effects. Including the HBO miniseries – I'm calling it now.

Cover Image Credit: Martin Falbisoner

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To The Friends I Won't Talk To After High School

I sincerely hope, every great quality I saw in you, was imprinted on the world.


So, for the last four years I’ve seen you almost everyday. I’ve learned about your annoying little brother, your dogs and your crazy weekend stories. I’ve seen you rock the awful freshman year fashion, date, attend homecoming, study for AP tests, and get accepted into college.

Thank you for asking me about my day, filling me in on your boy drama and giving me the World History homework. Thank you for complimenting my outfits, laughing at me presenting in class and listening to me complain about my parents. Thank you for sending me your Quizlets and being excited for my accomplishments- every single one of them. I appreciate it all because I know that soon I won’t really see you again. And that makes me sad. I’ll no longer see your face every Monday morning, wave hello to you in the hallways or eat lunch with you ever again. We won't live in the same city and sooner or later you might even forget my name.

We didn’t hang out after school but none the less you impacted me in a huge way. You supported my passions, stood up for me and made me laugh. You gave me advice on life the way you saw it and you didn’t have to but you did. I think maybe in just the smallest way, you influenced me. You made me believe that there’s lots of good people in this world that are nice just because they can be. You were real with me and that's all I can really ask for. We were never in the same friend group or got together on the weekends but you were still a good friend to me. You saw me grow up before your eyes and watched me walk into class late with Starbucks every day. I think people like you don’t get enough credit because I might not talk to you after high school but you are still so important to me. So thanks.

With that said, I truly hope that our paths cross one day in the future. You can tell me about how your brothers doing or how you regret the college you picked. Or maybe one day I’ll see you in the grocery store with a ring on your finger and I’ll be so happy you finally got what you deserved so many guys ago.

And if we ever do cross paths, I sincerely hope you became everything you wanted to be. I hope you traveled to Italy, got your dream job and found the love of your life. I hope you have beautiful children and a fluffy dog named Charlie. I hope you found success in love before wealth and I hope you depended on yourself for happiness before anything else. I hope you visited your mom in college and I hope you hugged your little sister every chance you got. She’s in high school now and you always tell her how that was the time of your life. I sincerely hope, every great quality I saw in you, was imprinted on the world.

And hey, maybe I’ll see you at the reunion and maybe just maybe you’ll remember my face. If so, I’d like to catch up, coffee?



Cover Image Credit: High school Musical

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Terrors Behind "Toddlers & Tiaras" - Beauty Pageants Need To Go!

Why Honey Boo Boo is not the girl we should be idolizing...


Honey Boo Boo is famous for her extravagant persona, extreme temper tantrums, overwhelming attitude, and intense sassiness. All of these qualities are shared by many other young girls who participate in beauty pageants - not just in "Here Comes Honey Boo Boo" but also in TLC's notorious "Toddlers & Tiaras," a show that depicts the horrors of little girls who have dedicated their childhood to winning the crown.

These shows, and the pageants they glorify do nothing but force girls to grow up too quickly, send negative messages to viewers and participants and pose health risks for the girls involved.

Therefore, beauty pageants for young girls should be abolished.

The hypersexualization that takes place in these pageants is staggering. Not only are young girls' minds molded into having a superficial view on beauty, but they are also waxed, spray-tanned, given wigs, retouched in pictures, injected with Botox and fillers, and painted with fake abs and even breasts.

Sexy is the goal, not cute. Girls of ages 2-12 wear skimpy clothing, accentuating only their underdeveloped bodies. A 4-year-old girl on "Toddlers and Tiaras" once impersonated Dolly Parton with fake breasts, another dressed as Julia Roberts in Pretty Woman (so basically, a prostitute), and another even pretended to smoke a cigarette to look like Sandy from Grease.

In Venezuela, people are so obsessed with pageants that they send their daughters to "Miss Factories," to train them to win. At these factories, underage girls undergo plastic surgery and hormone therapy to delay puberty in attempts to grow taller. In addition, they often get mesh sewn onto their tongues so that they are physically incapable of eating solid food. This idea of taking horrific measures to look slimmer is not unique to Venezuela. A former Miss USA explained that she would "slather on hemorrhoid ointment, wrap herself up with Saran wrap, and run on a treadmill with an incline for 30 minutes to tighten her skin and waist up." Many countries, including France and Israel have banned child beauty pageants because it is "hypersexualizing." Why has the US yet to follow in their footsteps?

Additionally, the pageants strip their young contestants of a childhood by basically putting them through harsh child labor. Oftentimes, girls as young as 18 months old participate in pageants. There is no way that a girl under 2 years old has the capacity to decide for herself that she wants to participate in a beauty pageant. Not to mention, education often takes a backseat in pageant girls' lives as long practice sessions interfere with sleep and homework. This causes long-term distress for the contestants, including widespread unemployment for former pageant girls.

Moreover, these pageants tie self-worth and self-esteem to attractiveness. They teach girls that natural beauty and intelligence are not enough, when in actuality they should be doing the opposite. In fact, 72% of pageant girls hire coaches to train girls to be more "attractive."

Finally, these pageants pose potent health risks for the girls competing. Not only do intense rehearsals interfere with their sleep cycles, but they are also impacted by the harmful methods taken to keep them awake. One example is Honey Boo Boo's "go go juice" - AKA a mixture of Mountain Dew and Red Bull. She is known for drinking this continuously throughout pageant days to stay awake and energetic - but the health risks associated with the drinks, let alone for such a young girl, are completely ignored.

And, the future health problems associated with pageantry cannot be looked past. Participating in beauty pageants as kids leads to eating disorders, perfectionism, depression - in fact, at least 6% suffer from depression while competing. "The Princess Syndrome," as Psychology Today calls it relates to a small study published in 2005 that showed that former childhood beauty pageant contestants had higher rates of body dissatisfaction. This sense of dissatisfaction can so easily be translated to more severe mental and physical health issues, including depression, anxiety, and eating disorders. The average BMI (Body Mass Index) of a Beauty Contestant in the US in 1930 was 20.8, which is universally in the middle of the "healthy" range. In 2010, it was 16.9, which is considered underweight for anyone.

So, despite the entertainment these shows and pageants provide, they should most definitely be stopped due to the immense amount of issues they cause for those involved and those who watch.

Although Honey Boo Boo is (sadly) considered one of America's sweethearts, her experience in pageantry has certainly not been a positive influence in her life nor in the lives of her fans - and this is the case for nearly all young pageant girls.

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