Labels in Politics

Merriam-Webster defines identity politics as politics in which groups of people having a racial, religious, ethnic, social, or cultural identity tend to promote their own specific interests or concerns without regard to the interests or concerns of any larger political group. 

Identity politics are a persistent part of the American narrative, as they would be for any non-homogeneous society. A homogenous society tends to assume a singular culture which would include the same beliefs and identity. This means that everyone will easily agree on how to use resources and what should be prioritized. This is an idealized benefit of homogenous society, but it also means the members of said community would have more difficulty interacting with people from other communities. It could even mean a more difficult time thinking outside of the proverbial box, stifling innovation. These would be the strengths of a heterogeneous society. . . if such a society could manage to cooperate but of course that’s if they could settle on an agenda. America elected to have a democratic republic and that means America should evaluate the weak points of such a system and make them less vulnerable. 

I commend the fundamentalists for trying to stick especially close to what they believe is the exact vision of the Founding Fathers but as with most fundamentalists: they never consider that the context has changed since then. It’s always struck me as odd but of course, that would mean that they would find them to be self-evident truths. As these are the core values that they refuse to have compromised. That isn’t to say that federalists constantly make ethical concessions but that they’re constantly illustrated as being “less sane” due to their progressive agenda. Of course, this is just a tactic to win arguments in policy by targeting the public’s insecurity with change as well as the expenses that come with adjusting. Quite frankly, I’m of the opinion that the whole constitution of the American government is a social experiment with ideas borrowed from the Native Americans, the Magna Carta and The Enlightenment; therefore, the government would follow to have a progressive agenda on most matters. Of course, many things tend to be rather ambiguous when it comes to the more theoretical cases; that’s exactly why we elect presumed experts to oversee such things so that the everyday man can go about his personal affairs.  

A democratic republic in and of itself is to appoint experts to oversee the operations of the government. Identity politics have a negative connotation whenever it’s mentioned in any commentary. It’s become the go-to for “I can’t empathize or remotely understand your mindset because I feel that it doesn’t affect me but I will acknowledge that a minority of the population is concerned with the same thing as the issue you have just presented.” Or even more demeaning, “The issue you have presented affects a small minority and for that reason, it is not a major concern that needs to be addressed. I dare say it is a waste of resources.” This is the polite way of putting it. I would advise readers to continue the discussion in the comments but the United States of America was founded on salutary neglect and identity politics. No one was advocating for the British colonists “across the pond”. So they advocated for themselves but there was an issue of the Loyalists, Tories, and “Patriots”. Ultimately, America did get its independence despite the reluctance and opposition of others. I’d like to know why this differs from minority groups that have been systematically persecuted from doing the same thing. However, bear in mind that these minorities would like to be treated as equal and NOT superior to others by enforcing a hierarchy that means stripping others of their rights. 

Liberals have started to advocate for intersectionalism (that the overlap of various social identities, like race, gender, sexuality, and class, contributes to the specific type of systemic oppression and discrimination experienced by an individual) to better unite the party with an identity. Largely because they unfairly characterised and branded the Republican party for years and for free without determining where they themselves truly stand. I assume it was to avoid limiting the scope of their audience by saying, “if you aren’t these things, we will warmly accept you” given the two-party system America has always had going on. 

In the time that it took me to complete this article, Special Counsel Robert Mueller finally testified before Congress. In the time that it took me to write this article, 55 people were fatally shot in Dayton, Ohio and El Paso, Texas and there was an attempt in Springfield, Missouri. In the time it took me to complete this article, I was indignant than the devil’s advocate, before taking to the dreaded fence. The United States has internalized the bipolarism of the Cold War to an excessive degree. As it stands, Republican is now synonymous with racist and Democrat with contradictory cradle cullers. Things have grains of truth but humans are such that we try to establish generalizations as to the regular standard by which “all of them” operate. It lends to the whole Us vs Them dynamic. 

February Quote of the Month

“This circle was a temple which had been devoured by ancient fires, profaned by the miasmal jungle, and whose god no longer received the homage of men.”


-“Circular Ruins” by Jorge Luis Borges

Whitewashing: A Distortion (An Introduction)

Whitewash:

a: to gloss over or cover up (such as vices or crimes)

bto exonerate by means of a perfunctory investigation or through biased presentation of data

This is the definition provided by Merriam-Webster and is the most suitable definition for this article.

       White-washing is not a racially charged term despite its recent re-introduction with respect to African-American history. The Black Panthers were considered a radical group that was characterized by its militant structure. They were accused of anti-black racism and yes, there were undoubtedly many members who believed in racial segregation for the purpose of a Black state. There were several groups and factions that had much larger roles in the Civil Rights Movement than classical historians afford them in history, and this can lead to a loss of context when addressing precedents for future decisions. To be fair, one cannot be certain of the exact range of a variable especially in history, but to disregard a variable by deeming it negligible can be a grave misgiving when considering the big picture.

        As a student raised in the American educational system, I understand that an introduction is more likely to be superficial as it is to being broad. As we advance our state education, we receive more in-depth teachings on particular subjects. I cannot say the same for history. In elementary, we learned very briefly about the Age of Exploration and The American Revolution. Junior high/ middle school saw vapid discussions on the American Civil War and lesser engagement on the Civil Rights Movement, depending on the demographics of one’s state. High school, the age at which we are to be developing our critical thinking, we spoke only of America’s interaction with the rest of the world. I did the advanced route for the latter half of middle school and for all of high school so my own education in history is steeped in reading the actual documents (agreements, declarations of war, propaganda, etc.) and of course understanding the context in which the documents were written as opposed to receiving only a blurb that I’m expected to memorize. This method of investigative learning is something that the College Board (the national authority on US college entrance exams) wanted to further while I was still in high school. There, of course, was a push-back because the short-list of the Advanced Placement United States History course treated Presidents Lyndon Baines Johnson and Franklin Delano Roosevelt more favorably than Ronald Reagan. For Ronald Reagan to receive less than honorable mentions without any respect to his being a Republican icon, seems suspiciously like an attack against conservatism. So the ensuing arguments against the short-list was that not only was there political bias but conservatives feared that American children would be less patriotic as a result. 

++++++Such an assertion makes the debate politically charged when it really is not a political debate. The reason why previous classes were taught the US could not err and to have an unflagging sense of patriotism was because the sense of nationalism was very fragile. There was context to why older generations had to believe that America was the greatest. That is to say: I give my kin the benefit of the doubt and “discovering” that a leader used to be much more radical justifies the behavior of my kin and therefore invalidates this person as part of a movement (and that movement itself for carrying them as a symbol). Why whitewash ethnic leaders? Yes, the same is done to white leaders but their crimes or misgivings are simply seen as a byproduct of circumstances whereas their general message is romanticized as being ahead of its times or as brilliantly infallible as the ultimate truth.

++++++There was the demonization of freethinkers, McCarthyism, and public dissension about the wars. It’s not to say that I myself am a proud Reagan-ite, but more that history always has undertones: classical, revisionist, and neo-revisionist. Recent history is not impervious to scrutiny. We must learn from history. The tail-end of the Cold War figures must admit the actual efficiency of their policies, the achievements and the casualties. That is what the College Board is proposing. This I can appreciate but social movements, thorough research into regional histories, and foreign policy classes should not only be allowed to college students. How many meaningless arguments are had when things are plainly etched in ink by the same deceased people for whom we argue? College Board is not perfect but it’s a step towards acknowledging that the United States is not flawless but that we are trying and that we can all work towards bettering the nation. If being honest about history means that a child would become unpatriotic, it obviously means that things have to change. To do the same thing and expect different results is insanity.

++++++Diluting what happened and why it happened makes it encourages dissent from those who don’t truly understand but are not comfortable with acknowledging that people that they knew and loved actively participated in such hatred. If people are constantly absorbed in their own daily lives, they tend to pay little attention to things that do not overtly and directly concern them. It also means that we often look for generalizations and take many things out of context in order to appear wiser than we are, which makes all conclusions convoluted. The 2016 election re-introduced George Orwell’s “1984” to the mainstream public as a best-seller. The book was formerly one of those books that all the Advanced Placement students tried to forget because of how unpleasant the ending was. The protagonist is basically brainwashed brutally though torture and re-integrates into society. It’s bleak. It was crucial that readers were aware of what led to the establishment the institutions that would forcefully re-mold him into a contributing member of Airstrip One. People then began Googling phrases like newspeak, doublespeak, class warfare, and police state.

++++++Why then, do we gloss over the anger and frustration felt by Civil Rights leaders in their early days and only focus on their peaceful years? We need to know why people are mad. We need to know both sides and address the bias. We can cry over bias in the media or we can actually take our time to hear it out. We don’t have to agree but when we completely ignore what is there, people begin to think that the other side can’t be reasoned with. “You have to have been there (the state of mind or the actual location) to get the joke.” We need to get everything straight and appropriately tackle gerrymandering and red-lining districts beyond their being vocabulary terms. We need to look at gun control and emphasizing that the Constitution is considered one of the greatest documents because it allows for change because there was the expectation that we would need to add onto it over time and that it wasn’t perfect but it was the beginning of something. We need to re-capture this enthusiasm to actually expand the possibilities of what the US can do.   

This is a new year. Hopefully, we’ll try something new. 

Comments are welcome.

July Study Piece Part 3: We Should Start Over

How we should have approached things

“Don’t raise your voice, improve your argument.”

– Desmond Tutu

This is why we study history

Timeline courtesy of Nemo.

We may have went overboard the moral political indoctrination. Some would call it a “brutal education” in and of itself. The content was clouded by the method. There exist many conspiracy theories because people are distrustful of authority figures that break their promises. Some people are mad because the nation’s leader didn’t uphold their promises to protect their people, federalists are upset because they feel the government infringes on most aspects of their lives. The idea behind conspiracy theories is: “If they would lie to us on one occasion, what else could they be omitting to save face?”

The Holocaust is not a conspiracy nor is it a mere theory. Real people died, were separated from their families, and stripped of their basic human rights. It seems not like a distant memory but a horror story parents tell their children in order to behave. It makes humans into gruesome monsters who prey on the suffering of others. It makes us look like demons that walk the Earth and people aren’t comfortable with that. Many of those who were put on trial, especially in the Nuremburg trials, took the defense that they “were simply following orders” as to deflect much of the blame away from themselves. Because before the trials, they were regarded as “good soldiers”. Before the trials, they were assured that they were making their country better by killing “the bastard races.” Before the trials, they weren’t considered criminals who had committed atrocities.

Even now, David Irving asserts that the Holocaust didn’t exist because there aren’t documents that say “Holocaust” but that’s because Holocaust is a Jewish word meant to illustrate the brutality of a cult of personality… it means sacrificial offering on an alter to a God (Hitler called himself der Fuhrer). The Nationalist Party called it “The Final Solution” or “Endlosung.” It would do Mr. Irving good to actually learn German and study the documents that may still remain, seeing as much of it was destroyed when the Nazis realized that they had lost the war and Hitler had committed suicide.  Of course, he would argue that seems mighty favorable for the prosecutors and coincidental.

I would rather not focus on the Holocaust because there are plenty of prolific sources out there but I would rather focus on what would drive people to do things like that to their fellow man and how many years in the making such plans would take. Make no mistake: Hitler did a lot of dreadful things, but he also did a lot of good things. Otherwise, why would everyone follow a mad man? Hitler is synonymous with the spawn of Satan and considered the very essence of all things evil, instead of explaining in detail why what he did was bad. Not everyone understands or wants to understand that it’s the very mentality of wanting to kill other people “for the good of all” is not only flawed but morally wrong.

 

TL;DR: The Germans had many victories and crushing defeats. Those who either studied history or felt they were dealt an unfair hand were more than willing to “have a go” at those who were accused of being the scapegoats, even going as far as aiding in “rectifying” their communities by doing away with the “bastard races.” There were of course dissenters but there may be a slim chance that those who cooperated weren’t entirely aware of exactly to what they were agreeing. This is where the Hangman poem has the most relevance.

[Poem] Maybe it’s Because

Maybe it’s because I’m autistic

That I don’t understand why we don’t talk

About all those things that make people go Shush

Maybe it’s because I think different

That it makes even less sense

That little girls don’t know what’s wrong with them

Because of the grown men

Maybe it’s because I don’t know the rules change

That I think I’ll get the memo

That blue is the new pink and green, the new yellow

Why can’t I ask and who can’t I love?

Why must I smile? And why must I shrug?

Maybe it’s because I’m scared

And it’s the fear of being wrong

Everyone’s confused

Why didn’t you tell me you felt this strong?

Maybe it’s because no one is standard

But we keep pretending that there is a a norm

Maybe we’ll make the perfect human because science could’ve won

Maybe it’s because I like to watch the sky past

That I forget myself and hope

That maybe the good times will last

I’m a little girl with little girl dreams

Annoyed because goals and resilience are so much different than the movies seem

Maybe it’s because I have PCOS, maybe it’s because I’m stressed

And maybe

Just maybe

It’s because men always cared about all the wrong things when they see a dress.

On Campus Safe Spaces: The Drag and the Friction

For the 2016-2017 academic year, safe spaces were a particularly hot topic in light of the 2016 election in which both sides of America’s political spectrum were rather vocal in their support or opposition to the idea. There are some articles floating around that claim that safe spaces on college campuses are redundant if not counter-intuitive and promotes segregation instead of diversity. Those who advocate for the elimination or continued absence of safe spaces often misconstrue where safe places would be or exactly what constitutes as a safe space.

 

This could probably be due to the Sinclair group’s corporate takeover of local news channels so that they can spread their pro-Trump views by using flattering diction. This video is one of the many that appear when one searches “safe spaces” on  YouTube. FOX even has several of their own videos which ponder whether millennials will have the necessary skills to fight terrorism. Arguably, their perspective isn’t invalid because it questions the actual worth of the spaces but undoubtedly the language that both the left and the right use to refer to one another is nothing short of inflammatory. The “right” calls the “left” social justice warriors, cucks, and elitist snowflakes but the “left” is no better with insults such as backward hillbillies, Neo-Nazi, and white supremacists. Granted, there are actual neo-Nazis and white supremacists but to generalize all of the people of a particular political ideology certainly does no favors. If anything, it further alienates people.

 

People are now making awkward attempts to understand each other but it’s still mostly reporting statistics or forgetting that some, the new administration at the very least, promises change. Be it good or bad, people can’t ignore “the other side” anymore or write them off as a silent minority. Most news channels are confused by the conservative populism phenomenon (as historical trends tend to skew towards ideologies that favor progressivism) but there have been populist movements before and it’s always difficult to make sense of things as they happen. After bias, representation becomes the most condemning thing for media. What they decide or not decide to cover decides what voters are aware of as they make decisions. That’s part of the reason why FOX news does so well or that Trump resonated with those who voted for him. But in this case, when both sides speak of the other, it is often while maintaining a caricature of the “other side”. A character. A persona. But not another human being.  It then becomes a happy game of either intimidation or provocation on both parts due to this intense feeling of “other” produced by cultural lag. Cultural lag is when cultural aspects that were previously acceptable have been outstripped by progress, in this case, socio-political progress. It has been called fear-mongering and it has been called furious self-righteousness.

 

Perspective

I cannot speak as though some do not violently parade under the banner of the Black Lives Matter or even support black supremacy as opposed to equality. In the same way, not all Christians go on Crusades, not all Muslims are terrorists and not every Republican approves of the sitting president. We have to acknowledge these vast overgeneralizations based on extremes and instead look towards the medians. Progressives understand the Black Lives Matter Movement is a continuation of the Civil Rights Movement. The difference between then and now is that blatant racism was largely accepted. Now we shun actual discrimination without giving much thought to the actual prejudices. Mr. Jonathan Helwink of The Federalist asserts that safe spaces actually make the world a more dangerous place for that very reason. Doing this is often denoted as “political correctness” which helps to harbor resentment or at least the idea that the “left” has sensitive sensibilities which is where the term snowflake comes from.

 

Friction

It cannot be said that all of the right’s views are archaic nor that the left has all the answers to progress. Nor can it be said that one side is superior to the other. Both sides respect humanity but sometimes it becomes a matter of how they approach it.  According to the political spectrum some five years ago, many more people were moderates. So what changed in that span of time? Vox in particular points to the rise of nationalism in the Republican base and any mention of the Democrats is usually headed by “reviving the party” and “this is where we went wrong.” What the world is seeing now is called friction. Some minorities want acknowledgement, others want rights, and still other groups just want rights de facto. As soon as the election ended, news companies encouraged people to create a dialogue. For the most part, there were some half-hearted attempts but it didn’t take long to fall back into a routine with all the scandals surrounding the administration and the failure to distinguish between the different types of supporters on both sides of the aisle.

Conservatives still largely feel attacked for having an opinion and liberals do not “deign” to politely explain why they may find certain conservative views “ignorant”. This is the part of the reason why liberals are seen as elitist. Liberals now have views which would have been considered hippie or ultra-contemporary whereas the conservatives more or less want different things in foreign policy but want the domestic policy as it was ten years ago.

I won’t go into too much detail because that will take an entire article in of itself to elaborate fully. However, you can see the difference in the approaches of these two YouTube personalities and you can guess where their political philosophies lie and you can decide for yourself who is more respectable:

 

Learning that it is a bloody spectrum

If you want the other person to listen to you, you have to be willing to respect them as much as you want them to hear you out. Sometimes, it’s hard to not get emotional as most liberals were after the 2016 election (as it also was in 2000) but that does not excuse the mud-slinging. Twitter posts and the like of conservative minds often remark that they themselves did not behave in such a manner. The liberals were not reluctant to point out that this was not true. My honest opinion is that we all stop being dicks but then there’s the awkward grey area where the dickish people make us appreciate those who will have a dialogue. What to do? What to do? So, about safe spaces… Are they a legitimate thing?

 

Why I am probably not a credible authority on this discipline

We gossip. We laugh. We lament. We cry. But we do it all with people that seem like us. That is not to say that we are all friends within the space but that we can derive comfort and understanding from these spaces. If one is feeling homesick, one of the ethnic student associations may celebrate by organising ethnic festivals with food and ethnic culture. If one is a girl and is tired of having everything mansplained, there’s a space for women. Honestly, safe spaces are not bubbles that people are born and die in but it is a bubble that one retreats into when you want someone to understand you. I honestly cannot think of a way to define this without Neo-Nazis being able to say aren’t celebrating their “culture” and were also seeking the same comfort and like-mindedness offered in these spaces but I can say with certainty that all the minority groups that are requesting safe spaces do not mean other people harm. That should be the only thing I have to say in that regard.

 

Appreciating that we have more in common than we give ourselves credit for

We do not forget. We have been enduring. We will forgive if someone were to sincerely apologize but the majority of us bear no ill will to people who bear us no ill will. We have enough issues and although we speak about the things we want to change, there are things we know will take a while to change. That is why we use safe spaces: not to take away from democracy or counter-intuitively stimulate segregation.

 

Editor’s Note: I believe that we have come to a point where with my unruly schedule, my political forecastings are observations by the time I can write a post. How do you all feel with the current pacing of things? Have you lost track? Have you tried sorting things into wrong and right?

 

A Rant: In the Light of Recent Events [June 2017]

Okay. Perhaps not everyone has studied the Cold War as I was extensively prompted to. One of the things pushed by the United States was human rights, coupled with economy and technology.

When Trump was campaigning, he insisted that all the trade deals that the United States was invested in were poor negotiations and alliances that ultimately took jobs and money from Americans. If one were to look at his stances from the 90’s, he did an interview where he decried that China was taking jobs from the US. I think the issue that people face with trying to discredit Trump is that Trump himself presented himself as an outsider so it would make sense that “someone of the people is disliked by the liberal elite.” Drumpf (they changed their name to Trump upon coming to America) tried to pull out of NATO- something Putin wants to sort of reverse the clock. Oh, I’m sorry. This is a paranoid leftist fever dream since you can’t prove it without stepping on toes. Except that you can because Trumpet Boy is literally only going over the things that any American historian points to as game-changers for the US in the Cold War. When he was largely ridiculed for his stance on trade agreements, he pulled back and started looking at things that he can decide personally “for the good of American people.”

The Paris Climate Accord was just withdrawn from by Trump alone despite all the scientists at his disposal that claim that it’s a bad idea. He doesn’t want to make an informed decision (like he floundered to create when he fired Comey) that people could stand behind because he isn’t doing things to better us. There was a recent interview in which Vladimir Putin told us to “Don’t worry, be happy.” We have a few more years left before the climate becomes a bigger concern, Putin claims. . . even though, he ratified the agreement for Russia. Putin is literally openly applauding Trump from the sidelines and in the face of white nationalism (they are more than happy to say that they are receiving approval from other “pure whites”), people are STILL ignoring the people who only voted for him because they were desperate for change. They are only talked about in abstract of terms like “his voter base”. Can we not look at the people who aren’t in economic hot spots for once? Did we not recant that “Hey, maybe swing states should not be a thing?” Trump will show up in the middle of what we perceive as nowhere and tout himself as the savior. He wants to say that he means to represent us all but he only represents his own interests.

Trump threatened to pull out of the United Nations. Why would he need to? He keeps talking about making America great again without saying when exactly he believed America to be great. The times he does seem to reference would be violently ejecting protestors (not leaving it at that but also fatally harming and potentially killing them outside of the rally). That is not someone who respects other humans. What upsets me the most is that the media largely paints Trump supporters and ex-supporters as either ignorant or un-educated. IT’S THIS GENERALIZATION THAT GOT US HERE IN THE FIRST PLACE. Mark Zuckerberg is toying with the idea of running for President and he’s touring the United States. Please, whoever is reading this, don’t forget that there were Bernie supporters that voted for Trump over Clinton. They’re not asking for a bloody re-run of “Where are they now?” but I assume they would want you to remember that they’re on the map. This cultural lag and isolation thing is no joke.

Does anyone remember how Trump tried to say Putin was a good bloke and that America should align with Russia? He was harping on that and then when there allegations of his ACTUAL collusion and most of his head officials of his campaign having this, that, or the other business with Russia. . . he shut himself up right quick. Interesting, no? On top of that was the Muslim Ban passed in complete disregard for the whole “America the Beautiful” being a nation of immigrants. He went after the most disenfranchised group, not the only scapegoat he held above his head and said that he wanted to kill their families. After his Middle East expedition, he’s suddenly calmer? Sometimes, I’m convinced that he’s employing Nixon’s Madmen Theory and other times, I’m convinced that he’s just a moron. Ivy League or not, that doesn’t determine if you’ve made the most of your education. He wasn’t a lawyer before he became a politician (just jumped into the Presidency and you would assume that if he really wanted to save money that he would have). Trump is pushing the image of Americans being capitalist pigs. He won’t exercise. He believes that most efforts aren’t worth it if the profit margin isn’t clearly defined. He is making arms deals for money (rumors say he’s doing it for his nationwide campaigns, strange because people don’t plan on changing their minds about him).

I will say there were two things that he did say that don’t get enough attention. 1) We forgot people, and that hurts. That hurts enough to want to screw over the rest of the nation. People literally only ever think of the coasts and only call the middle as Fly-over states. 2) Trade schools and community colleges are actually not terrible. We’re all so caught up with good 4-year colleges especially for that resume that we say nothing of starting more humbly. If anything, we look down on it, like we do people, and that’s not right. No one gave him that much credit but instead went to investigate it and then report their findings (like ATTN:, Vox, and other up-and-coming news sources). Trump isn’t a complete moron but I can say for certain that he knows nothing about foreign policy and would like to see the United States become isolationist (but he doesn’t mind keeping his own businesses overseas- less competition). He hasn’t bothered to know the history because that wasn’t important that long while ago that he was in school. We literally have an anachronism in office (coupled with a lot of actual collusion with a country that is written off as an oligarch and is therefore against American ideals). Are there Russian ideals? I’m slick scared when they joke that we should learn Russian because that’s why they keep holding Ukraine. That’s Lebensraum that Hitler wanted. Like, I’m all for learning for the sake of better understanding and the government rarely represents the people (except that the United States and Europe were actually supposed to uphold that ideal at the least). I’m learning Korean and I’ve taken a certain liking to Hindi. I might learn Russian because I want to surprise my Russian friend. That’s learning with good intentions over “you should learn because we plan on conquering you, sooner rather than later.” Perhaps, they did not intend to frighten me or others but as officials who are already under scrutiny: you would think them to be a tad more cautious. I could be taking it out of context as I hope that I am.

America was actually already split between isolationists and internationalists. Internationalists’ latent warning in all of their policies was to not become isolationist China because we could literally miss everything in a blink of an eye, yet Rome did not fall in a day. Trump’s policies will not be the best thing for this nation and they have the very slight chance of not being the worst (until he proposes more rubbish) but as we joked before: Better to break it and know exactly how much force it takes than to patiently let it last and scramble to replace it. I’m rather fond of learning from history.

SIDE NOTE: Pardon, I wasn’t aware that I was suddenly elitist, much less an elite. What I’m getting at is the fact that political correctness has just become a derogatory term for “anticipating potentially aggressive behavior that disrespects another human being.” Racist jokes were okay when those races couldn’t speak for themselves. Transgender jokes and all other LGBTQIA+ too. Political correctness makes it seem like everything that was funny suddenly isn’t… but that’s because you finally acknowledge that I am not okay with being referred to as innately lazy. She is not okay with you making her being afraid to come out of the closet as betrayal. He doesn’t care for your “harmless jokes” that tell him that he is less of a human being, a freaking caricature. But you tell me, that we are all angry. Why would I not be angry? You can say how you’re mad that the immigrant took your job but you should be mad at the corporations that hire them to only pay them under the table. Corporations are freaking exploiting them but you’re the one who’s hurt. How selfless of you.

That’s all for this time. We’ll talk to you later.

The Polling Station

This article is going to be rather succinct as I would rather interpret the given facts.

I’m going to borrow and elaborate on an idea a friend of mine had. She said that perhaps United States President Donald Trump launched airstrikes on  Russian airbases in Syria because he instead decided to become some sort of war hero by taking a decisive stance on Syria, given that the Assad regime recently used chemical weapons on their own citizens. Or perhaps, Trump is showing the international community that he understands the compassion that the strong must have towards those who cannot defend themselves.  That same decisive stance would also show his clear opposition to Russian Vladimir Putin as Putin wishes to support the Assad regime. A testimony from a Syrian in ground zero recorded by the Chicago Tribune reads that “The American strikes did nothing for us. They can still commit massacres at any time.”

Some may argue that Trump’s failure is still indicative of his attempts to assuage the concerns to both America and Putin of where his loyalties lie. Regardless of his actions, Trump must realize sooner rather than later that he has placed himself in a position where he has a determining factor in the lives of several million people , the criticis m that he is subjected to is only their input to their own fates. To those who rush to defend him as the verifiable outsider he is: If you are okay with someone try to learn the ropes whilst on the job and act surprised when he does something un-presidential (something that makes you look foolish for vouching for him or goes against your interests), you must be of the insane people who think that doing the same thing over and over again will yield different results. We have in the past elected political outsiders to lesser public offices; however, Trump’s circumstances closely resemble US President Herbert Hoover after whom the hoovervilles are named. Trump is fortunate to come into office while the economy is still recovering under Obama’s reforms which has brought about the ten-year low in US unemployment, a figure covered by many new sources. Those in Trump’s cabinet want to pretend as if the positive figures appeared out of nowhere as if the presidency started from scratch as soon as soon as he entered office. Late night shows have recorded the hypocrisy of Republicans in regards to their reactions to the figures during and after Obama. So what is the true purpose of this article?

Trump has largely used ideas that would have been better accepted during the 1980s or even a little before. He capitalized and rode the moment of the sense of urgency that the more politically conservative felt towards the rapid progress happening under the Obama administration.  On one hand, Trump is trying to keep from committing ground troops by sending missiles but he has failed to make any effective strikes according to the testimony which is why Democrats have pointed out makes them unjustfiable as they largely serve no purpose. On the other hand, the Republicans are demanding of Americans that they support Trump’s efforts as he took a pivotal stance for the Syrian Civil War. This further cements the narrative that Trump hopes to direct the American people’s attention to beyond our borders so that he can implement all of his damaging domestic reforms that would only benefit himself and the true elite that hid behind smoke and mirrors (and accused the liberals of being the elite). Who’s to say what Trump means to do but himself. Intentions are not always as weighty as the actions one takes. So perhaps, he means well but his track record of trying to usher through critical legislation or creating non-events to deflect investigation in tumultuous periods is awfully suspicious and does work to his advantage. The American people can only allow him so much benefit of the doubt and those who are reluctant to believe that this is our administration are welcome to fact-check using the various news outlets that Trump especially branded as “fake news” (much like a child says they did not eat the cookie that the hidden camera caught them eating).

Western Media and the Terrorist Agenda

Good morning, afternoon, evening, and night to whomever may be reading. I go by many names but the name I will be using here is nemoulysseus. I am honored to be the second writer of this blog. I may only be a student studying foreign relations but all teachers are only students who can explain what they understand. For now, I will be covering international politics and the underlying related topics but the scope of my participation in this blog may expand and shift with time.

This topic was decided before Trump’s rather unbecoming denouncement of the media’s non-existent failure to report terrorist attacks. Trump is currently pushing his own agenda of sensationalism, despite the fact that statistics report and reflect quite plainly that it is rare for American citizens to be killed by terrorists. Trump hopes that by further antagonizing the media, he can say “I dare you all to do this much.” This action is  to trick the media into working for him despite his attacks against them during his campaign. If Mr. Trump would be so kind as to entertain the reality of the Islamic State and what they have done to establish their “caliphate,” then perhaps he can finally say that he is doing the right thing. Of course, this works against his argument as the Islamic State actually kills more Muslims because the area has, of course, a high density of Muslims as opposed to Christians. I can respect being afraid that waiting too long will mean that there will be missed opportunities but one must be educated to a respectable degree before acting on things that will have long-term effects. If Trump craves to be like Reagan, he should take note of Reagan’s meticulous planning.

Trump did point out to the shock of many patriotic Americans in a Super Bowl-timed interview that he acknowledged that the United States was by no means innocent and compared us morally to Russia. As we are all quite aware, Trump has a dubious relationship with the Russians. The post-Cold War US is not as fickle as Russia but it’s getting there from our various reneged promises about NATO, unilateralism, and American exceptionalism. That is all well and good and perhaps Trump decided that politicians tiptoe around the important issues without quite acknowledging the elephant in the room that only seems to grow bigger every year. Trump himself does the same thing by attempting to draw attention away from the important issues by slamming his hand on the podium and insisting that he knows everything, to give off the appearance of a disgruntled man with whom the world is against. That is not the case.

Moving beyond a commentary of the Trump administration, a critical eye must be turned upon the history of the Middle East. A history I myself did not learn until I arrived at college. It is important to understand how your enemy thinks and what enables them to act. That is how you can either reach a compromise or decide a course of action. The Middle East has been subjected to many of the proxy wars and limited warfare during the Cold War. This is after a generation saw the decline and the dissolution of what they knew to be a once great empire. No one teaches this to us in school. Does the history not matter anymore? I learn American history as far as to understand why things are the way they are in this country.  Why do we not stress this before college? Do we believe that children cannot understand?  Or are we desperately trying to hold onto the prized Superman position in the minds of those who are too willing to accept the familiar perspective? The BBC has covered possible radicalization in France following the Charlie Hebdo attacks and instead of striking a conciliatory note, the French instead condemned the religion ten-fold. We hadn’t thought it possible. It was covered by the British media, a part of the “all over Europe” to which Mr. Trump referred to.

The BBC does cover news in other regions such as Africa, Asia, and Australia. The CNN also has a similar setup but it is more concerned with national news and high-profile international news. We can blame the fact that CNN only covers the “big news” for why their watchers never seem to know about the “little things” despite excessive airtime. We should all understand that there are some things that we may repeat simply because we believe that people should hear about it (just as was done with Mr. Donald Trump’s presidential campaign). Trump’s campaign was the epitome of sensationalism by the media. CNN does cover ISIS destroying World Heritage sites and artifacts like the Arc of Triumph in the Palmyra ruins. Yet what we often discuss in class are things that people may not realize or be aware of because it does not directly affect them. ISIS has killed countless Middle Eastern peoples. They kill the Muslims who do not believe what they believe. ISIS considers them infidels. Trump wanted to give preference to the Christians in the area, but facts show that more Muslims are dying than Christians. This could be in part due to there being simply more Muslims living in the Middle East but for Trump to ban them when they are not safe from ISIS shows that this fact not covered enough in the media, least of all by Fox- the right-wing echo chamber that condemns America as the world’s policeman. Trump has made clear that he only appreciates applause, he is the insecure king who overestimates his power and only wants encouragement from his “subjects.”

The media cannot fixate on the attacks that happen in European countries without properly covering the background. The BBC effectively does this in their articles, however I can say nothing for the program as I do not watch the news so much as I read it. CNN, for which I can speak, does not typically give background information unless it is in the form of their famous multi-volume documentaries. As for their articles, they do not redirect to pages that offer further information but instead are linked to more current events, which can be very distracting at times and is useless for those who want to learn more. They offer highlights of stories. This may be more time effective but it can also discourage actual research and only places an emphasis on threadbare facts. This is what gives fake news outlets a better chance of exploiting what should be common knowledge and making their lies so elaborate that it cannot be false. Most times, it is simply conspiracy theories.  I suppose that the header function (highlights) may be necessary in some cases but this is a major disadvantage. More people should know of Al-Shabab’s own terror attacks. I understand that perhaps the media doesn’t want to do the recruitment for these terrorist groups by giving them air time. Yet it is only when they attack– when it was obvious that it would happen– that we become shocked and ask ourselves, “How could this have possibly happened to us?”

Forget not that the one moment that you relive forever is something that people in other countries live on a daily basis because of their proximity to the actual conflicts. We have but a taste of it. When we only document the attacks, the shock value is real and that’s the whole point of the attack in the first place. We cannot champion compassion if we do not explain how this incident is different and connected to a previous. We should be highlighting movements more. Some try to liken this to Vietnam and it truly is like that at this point in time. We do not want another Tet Offensive yet how are we discussing the ethics and the actual target of these terrorist groups? That is how the Tet Offensive happened. We only sold what would encourage morale or at least convince the public why the war is necessary. We were weary from the constant fighting, we wanted out. When we saw how grisly and unforgiving we were when the Vietcong invaded the base, we were disgusted. The US government fought back the invaders but we then sought to understand what other evils occurred there in that faraway land in our name by our government. They were fighting for their country. What were we fighting for? An abstract threat. We were fighting an idea. Something that you cannot tell by looking at someone but rather by their actions. Even more damaging was that we had made international politics bipolar at this point. To them, it was a matter of reclaiming their land from the foreigners (the French). ISIS is trying to turn back time like the Khmer Rouge tried in Cambodia. Should we not explain what effects this would have or how much harder the Middle Eastern peoples would have to work if they ever escape the nightmare in order to get back to where they were before the war began? We still maintain the ideology that we do not have to understand what is different from us. Neo-conservatives actually say that the US cannot work with non-democracies. Immigration is intermestic policy, that is to say it is an intersection of domestic and international policy. How we approach it speaks volumes for our values as we have demonstrated time and time again (especially in the argument for the Civil Rights Movement).

You want to know why ISIS is so successful in recruitment? They are able to incite sympathy. We embrace humanism, dear media. The US needs to know how these innocent people are being driven from their homes and then come unwelcomed here. The fact that those who make it to relative safety often live in the projects and that increasing discrimination may make it difficult to support themselves on a poor economy. Take our jobs? There are many manual jobs that do not pay well but immigrants, especially illegal, cannot benefit from unions or receive protection. If we’d only focused more on education, we would have more specialized workers of our own. How can one curse an immigrant who came to get an education when we know that they’ll eventually either return to their own country or contribute to ours? What about the fact that immigrants sympathize because they don’t understand how US citizens can live so happily and unaware and give their government the freedom to terrorize their people. How often do we report civilian casualties that are not our own but are caused by us?

It is that sense of entitlement that is difficult to address because people do not want to be told that their feelings are invalid. I sympathize better because I am a woman who is disadvantaged by the system, so I can distance myself from privilege. That is not to say that just because I am a woman but that it is one of the reasons. If we are really going to leave it up to people to decide what they think for themselves, then we should report everything. Journalism holds the principle that they report the truth whether it be pleasant or revolting. It is not as if we are uncovering operations by the CIA although it is understood that one cannot report if there is not solid evidence. The media may not have the statistics at any given moment because it is breaking news. A practice would like to be the first to report it but having the first scoop is not the same as having the right scoop. I can ask you for chocolate and just because you get me vanilla before the store stocks up on chocolate doesn’t leave me any more satisfied than if you’d simply forgot. I would settle.

The public has settled. This is why it is so easy to fight more emotionally as opposed to the facts. It is the sense of familiarity we now cling to. As long as it does not seem wrong to us, anyone who rejects it is themselves an anomaly to our system. We need to remind the public that this is an ongoing problem, not a Whack-a-Mole event that it’s advertised as. In this tumultuous time, we should promote solidarity and diversity.

As always, leave a comment or drop us a line at whentheskyisovercast@gmail.com and I’ll talk to you again soon.

 

Some Reference Sites

A Short Disclaimer: Syria

thenation.com has quite a few good articles, but you need to sign in to read them

The Wiki Rundown of Recent Conflicts in the Middle East

The Other Side of the Story