Trump Has No Moral Compass

Shame On You Trump For Your Willingness To Embrace Saudi Arabia After All That Has Happened

He is willing to place narrow strategic interests over fundamental human rights.

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Jamal Khashoggi was a prominent journalist who worked for the Washington Post; on October 2nd, he walked into the Saudi consulate in Turkey and he never walked out. At first, he was thought to be missing. Then, Turkish officials acknowledged that he was dead and claimed to have audio tapes proving that he was murdered by a Saudi hit squad sent from the highest levels of the Saudi government.

Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman for weeks denied the fact that Khashoggi had disappeared or died, calling these reports "completely false and baseless." But eventually, the Saudi government under pressure from several countries acknowledged his death but still insisted that the government had nothing to do with it. They claimed his murder was a rogue operation and promised to punish those involved. But as the New York Times reported, several of the suspected agents have ties to the Crown Prince.

Khashoggi was a famous dissident, known for criticizing the Crown Prince in his column for the Washington Post over Saudi Arabia's economic policies, the war in Yemen, and the government's intolerance of dissent. His public and constant criticism of the Saudi regime would surely have made him a target. But the fact that the Saudis thought they could murder a journalist in cold blood and get away with it shows how dire the situation has become under the Trump Administration.

The Trump Administration has had a cozy relationship with Saudi Arabia since coming into power, focusing on their oil exports and their strategic importance as a counter-balance to Iran in the Middle East. But the government of Saudi Arabia seems to have gotten the impression that with Trump as a partner, they can get away with anything and escape punishment. Looking at the record, Trump has consistently supported them. He supported their diplomatic isolation of Qatar. Under him, the US government has quietly escalated US involvement in Yemen, military intervention that I would argue is unconstitutional because it hasn't been approved by the Senate, the body whom the Constitution grants war-making powers to (Republican Sen. Mike Lee agrees with me). The war in Yemen, a proxy battle between Saudi Arabia and Iran, has led to the worst humanitarian crisis on the planet.

Just days ago, Trump took the astonishing step of believing the Crown Prince's story over the determination of the CIA that the Crown Prince had orchestrated the murder. Trump faced sweeping criticism from members of Congress over his statement, Even Mitch McConnell publicly disagreed with Trump's assessment, saying the CIA "basically certified" the involvement of the Saudi government. Sen. Bob Corker tweeted, "I never thought I'd see the day a White House would moonlight as a public relations firm for the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia".

It seems that Trump is placing Saudi Arabia First instead of defending the American values of freedom and support for human rights across the globe. When defending his decision, Trump referred to oil prices and arms agreements. So Trump is willing to tolerate the flagrant violation of fundamental human rights, the freedom of a journalist to criticize another government, because of these transactional interests which he apparently deems more important than basic human freedom and dignity. It's worth noting that Trump also has deep financial ties to Saudi Arabia, providing an incentive for him to look the other way. But regardless of whatever rationale Trump invokes, his blatant disregard for human rights and his willingness to embrace the Saudi regime is disgraceful and unjustifiable.

For decades, the US government made some pretty terrible foreign policy decisions (Vietnam, Iraq, etc.), but at least we attempted to promote freedom, democracy, and human rights abroad. We sought to lead the world and show people in every country a vision of the form of government where they could be truly free to speak their minds and choose their leaders, where there could be freedom of religion and government could be held accountable to their people. This idea of liberal democracy is one the West has always defended, and the United States as the world's superpower has borne the primary responsibility for this defense. In denying the truth about Khashoggi's murder, Trump is abandoning this duty and compromising the moral leadership of the United States around the world. Shame on you, Mr. President.

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An Open Letter To Democrats From A Millennial Republican

Why being a Republican doesn't mean I'm inhuman.
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Dear Democrats,

I have a few things to say to you — all of you.

You probably don't know me. But you think you do. Because I am a Republican.

Gasp. Shock. Horror. The usual. I know it all. I hear it every time I come out of the conservative closet here at my liberal arts university.

SEE ALSO: What I Mean When I Say I'm A Young Republican

“You're a Republican?" people ask, saying the word in the same tone that Draco Malfoy says “Mudblood."

I know that not all Democrats feel about Republicans this way. Honestly, I can't even say for certain that most of them do. But in my experience, saying you're a Republican on a liberal college campus has the same effect as telling someone you're a child molester.

You see, in this day and age, with leaders of the Republican Party standing up and spouting unfortunately ridiculous phrases like “build a wall," and standing next to Kim Davis in Kentucky after her release, we Republicans are given an extreme stereotype. If you're a Republican, you're a bigot. You don't believe in marriage equality. You don't believe in racial equality. You don't believe in a woman's right to choose. You're extremely religious and want to impose it on everyone else.

Unfortunately, stereotypes are rooted in truth. There are some people out there who really do think these things and feel this way. And it makes me mad. The far right is so far right that they make the rest of us look bad. They make sure we aren't heard. Plenty of us are fed up with their theatrics and extremism.

For those of us brave enough to wear the title “Republican" in this day and age, as millennials, it's different. Many of us don't agree with these brash ideas. I'd even go as far as to say that most of us don't feel this way.

For me personally, being a Republican doesn't even mean that I automatically vote red.

When people ask me to describe my political views, I usually put it pretty simply. “Conservative, but with liberal social views."

“Oh," they say, “so you're a libertarian."

“Sure," I say. But that's the thing. I'm not really a libertarian.

Here's what I believe:

I believe in marriage equality. I believe in feminism. I believe in racial equality. I don't want to defund Planned Parenthood. I believe in birth control. I believe in a woman's right to choose. I believe in welfare. I believe more funds should be allocated to the public school system.

Then what's the problem? Obviously, I'm a Democrat then, right?

Wrong. Because I have other beliefs too.

Yes, I believe in the right to choose — but I'd always hope that unless a pregnancy would result in the bodily harm of the woman, that she would choose life. I believe in welfare, but I also believe that our current system is broken — there are people who don't need it receiving it, and others who need it that cannot access it.

I believe in capitalism. I believe in the right to keep and bear arms, because I believe we have a people crisis on our hands, not a gun crisis. Contrary to popular opinion, I do believe in science. I don't believe in charter schools. I believe in privatizing as many things as possible. I don't believe in Obamacare.

Obviously, there are other topics on the table. But, generally speaking, these are the types of things we millennial Republicans get flack for. And while it is OK to disagree on political beliefs, and even healthy, it is NOT OK to make snap judgments about me as a person. Identifying as a Republican does not mean I am the same as Donald Trump.

Just because I am a Republican, does not mean you know everything about me. That does not give you the right to make assumptions about who I am as a person. It is not OK for you to group me with my stereotype or condemn me for what I feel and believe. And for a party that prides itself on being so open-minded, it shocks me that many of you would be so judgmental.

So I ask you to please, please, please reexamine how you view Republicans. Chances are, you're missing some extremely important details. If you only hang out with people who belong to your own party, chances are you're missing out on great people. Because, despite what everyone believes, we are not our stereotype.

Sincerely,

A millennial Republican

Cover Image Credit: NEWSWORK.ORG

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Why The Idea Of 'No Politics At The Dinner Table' Takes Place And Why We Should Avoid It

When did having a dialogue become so rare?

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Why has the art of civilized debate and conversation become unheard of in daily life? Why is it considered impolite to talk politics with coworkers and friends? Expressing ideas and discussing different opinions should not be looked down upon.

I have a few ideas as to why this is our current societal norm.

1. Politics is personal.

Your politics can reveal a lot about who you are. Expressing these (sometimes controversial) opinions may put you in a vulnerable position. It is possible for people to draw unfair conclusions from one viewpoint you hold. This fosters a fear of judgment when it comes to our political beliefs.

Regardless of where you lie on the spectrum of political belief, there is a world of assumption that goes along with any opinion. People have a growing concern that others won't hear them out based on one belief.

As if a single opinion could tell you all that you should know about someone. Do your political opinions reflect who you are as a person? Does it reflect your hobbies? Your past?

The question becomes "are your politics indicative enough of who you are as a person to warrant a complete judgment?"

Personally, I do not think you would even scratch the surface of who I am just from knowing my political identification.

2. People are impolite.

The politics themselves are not impolite. But many people who wield passionate, political opinion act impolite and rude when it comes to those who disagree.

The avoidance of this topic among friends, family, acquaintances and just in general, is out of a desire to 'keep the peace'. Many people have friends who disagree with them and even family who disagree with them. We justify our silence out of a desire to avoid unpleasant situations.

I will offer this: It might even be better to argue with the ones you love and care about, because they already know who you are aside from your politics, and they love you unconditionally (or at least I would hope).

We should be having these unpleasant conversations. And you know what? They don't even need to be unpleasant! Shouldn't we be capable of debating in a civilized manner? Can't we find common ground?

I attribute the loss of political conversation in daily life to these factors. 'Keeping the peace' isn't an excuse. We should be discussing our opinions constantly and we should be discussing them with those who think differently.

Instead of discouraging political conversation, we should be encouraging kindness and understanding. That's how we will avoid the unpleasantness that these conversations sometimes bring.

By avoiding them altogether, we are doing our youth a disservice because they are not being exposed to government, law, and politics, and they are not learning to deal with people and ideas that they don't agree with.

Next Thanksgiving, talk politics at the table.

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