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?
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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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I'm The College Girl Who Likes Trump And Hates Feminism, And Living On A Liberal Campus Is Terrifying

I will not sugarcoat it: I don't feel safe on my own campus.

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I will get right to the point: being a conservative on a liberal college campus in 2019 downright terrifying.

At my university, I'm sure about 90% of the population, both students and faculty, are liberals. They are very outspoken, never afraid to express their views, opinions, and feelings in several ways. There are pride events for the LGBT community, a huge celebration for MLK day, and tons of events for feminists.

Then there's the minority: the conservatives. The realists. The "racists," "bigots," and "the heartless." I am everything the liberals absolutely despise.

I like Donald Trump because he puts America first and is actually getting things done. He wants to make our country a better place.

I want a wall to keep illegals out because I want my loved ones and me to be safe from any possible danger. As for those who are genuinely coming here for a better life, JUST FILL OUT THE PAPERWORK INSTEAD OF SNEAKING AROUND.

I'm pro-life; killing an infant at nine months is inhumane to me (and yet liberals say it's inhumane to keep illegals out…but let's not get into that right now).

I hate feminism. Why? Because modern feminism isn't even feminism. Slandering the male species and wanting to take down the patriarchy is just ridiculous.

I hate the media. I don't trust anyone in it. I think they are all biased, pathological liars. They purposely make our president look like the devil himself, leaving out anything good he does.

I will not sugarcoat it: I don't feel safe on my own campus.

I mostly keep my opinions to myself out of fear. When I end up getting one of my "twisted" and "uneducated" thoughts slip out, I cringe, waiting for the slap in the face.

Don't get me wrong; not everyone at my university is hostile to those who think differently than they do.

I've shared my opinions with some liberal students and professors before, and there was no bloodshed. Sure, we may not see eye to eye, but that's okay. That just means we can understand each other a little better.

Even though the handful of students and faculty I've talked to were able to swallow my opinions, I'm still overwhelmed by the thousands of other people on campus who may not be as kind and attentive. But you can't please everybody. That's just life.

Your school is supposed to be a safe environment where you can be yourself. Just because I think differently than the vast majority of my peers doesn't mean I deserve to be a target for ridicule. No one conservative does. Scratch that, NO ONE DOES.

I don't think I'll ever feel safe.

Not just on campus, but anywhere. This world is a cruel place. All I can do is stand firm in my beliefs and try to tolerate and listen to the clashing opinions of others. What else can I do?

All I can say is... listen. Be nice. Be respectful of other's opinions, even if you strongly disagree. Besides, we all do have one thing in common: the desire for a better country.

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Why I Love Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, not for political reasons

I don't want to talk about political beliefs necessarily when I talk about why I fucking love AOC.

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My political affiliation couldn't be kept a secret even if I tried. In the words of my mother, I've been a liberal since I popped out of the womb. So to me, the dramatic change in representation in the House was a huge win for me at this time in history.

While I sit on one side of the aisle because that's where I hear the most conversations about my closest political beliefs happening, I don't want to talk about political beliefs necessarily when I talk about why I fucking love Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.

The first I'd ever heard of this powerful voice from New York was in a video being shared around on Facebook that gave me a strong sense of hope that I haven't felt in a while. She explains the nuance behind "identity politics" and the importance of complete representation in Congress in terms of race, class, and policy. Here was a young woman in my generation (or just outside of it) running for Congress because she knew there was work to be done, not because she knew she would win, or because of some larger force paying her to win, or because she comes from a family of politicians. She ran because she was passionate and because she works to understand her district and represent them in ways that give her district a matched fight with revolving-door politicians who know how to play the game.

This woman, to me, represents accessibility into politics for Americans. When I first started listening to politicians and presidents talk on TV, I remember listening to Obama speak my freshman year of high school (maybe for a state of the union address?) and I asked my mom what a lot of words meant. I learned what poverty, immigration, economic policy, taxes, the middle-class, and more were. She had answers for some but not all of my questions, and then I asked why they felt the need to use such big, intimidating words? Weren't they supposed to represent the country, who to my understanding, probably didn't know what all of these words meant if my own mother didn't? (Moms know everything.)

I didn't want to be left behind in a country that made decisions based on Harvard graduate levels of thinking when most of us were in fact, not Harvard graduates. I was aware when Obama used words I had on a vocabulary test the week before, and I was aware that my honors class was strikingly different from my friends' general education English classes, and that our entire high school was years ahead of some less privileged schools 30-minutes away. But all of us, no matter how politically accessible our situations were or not, were to be represented by a man using these words.

AOC is progressive (in a non-political sense) for Americans because she uses rhetoric and tools to educate Americans instead of persuading or intimidating them to think that she just knows best. She's a politician, yes, so of course she uses persuasive techniques to get policy she believes in to pass so she can do her job as a legislator. But have you seen her Instagram stories or heard her speak in interviews?

Her style of leadership involves a refreshing level of transparency and group participation. I feel like I'm allowed to ask questions about what happens in Washington D.C., and about what another congressperson meant when they said ______. She answers questions like these online to her followers, some of which are her represented correspondents, and some of which are people outside of her district just desperate to expose themselves to any congressperson willing to talk to them on their level. Her flow inspires the average American to listen and checks the confident incumbent from underestimating just how much she knows.

Not all of us are fortunate enough to afford college. Not all of us are fortunate enough to come from a community where high schools prepared and primed us for college-level vocabulary filled conversations. Some of us have to accept politics as a realm with which we can never be involved, heard, or interactive. A.O.C. is what's changing this mentality. 43% of adults living in poverty function at low literacy rates. If they can't understand political rhetoric, how will they be able to democratically participate? Politicians spend so much time talking about poverty rates and how they want to move every family into a middle-class lifestyle, but they don't alter their political approach to invite the poverty-stricken or under-educated Americans into their conversations. AOC does this.

She spends time every night explaining whatever her followers have questions about in full detail. She actually uses up-to-date technology and social media to communicate with Americans, making older senators look lazy or technologically incompetent for not engaging with their community as often or as explicitly. Not to mention, every video I've ever seen produced by her or her team (including her Instagram stories) have closed-captions already edited in. She considers every American to be her audience before speaking, and the fact that what she's doing feels new and refreshing to me suggests just how badly we need her, and more people like her, in politics today.

This isn't even because of her understanding that literacy affects voting--in the original video I saw of her, she understands that the people she represents were flat-out not being addressed in politics. "People aren't voting because no one is speaking to them." Truly and meaningfully, directly and honestly.

She's America's teacher, a representative of why mentorship on all levels is important, and to me, what America would look like if our politicians were not only our representatives, but our educators, our mentors, and our teammates.

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