The Bates Student

The Voice of Bates College since 1873

Author: Mary Richardson (Page 1 of 14)

Motivation with Maru: An Introduction

Hello hello my feisty friends! My name is Mary Richardson, but y’all can call me Maru, I am a first-year here at Bates. I have an Instagram account called @motivationwithmaru that preaches all things positivity, healthy body-image, nourishing food, fitness, and self-care.

I wish to share these sort of messages around the Bates campus, so in each issue of The Bates Student I plan to share some pointers for leading a balanced, wellness-focused life, something that can often get put on the back burner behind academic priorities. For this edition of “Motivation with Maru,” I thought I’d start off by sharing a bit about me!

I am from Blue Hill, Maine, a small coastal town about 45 minutes from Acadia National Park and graduated from George Stevens Academy. I absolutely love to draw and am interested in possibly majoring in Studio Art and minoring in Education here at Bates, we shall see! So far, Bates has been all things bright and beautiful, I am so stoked to learn and grow here academically and athletically. I am planning on running for Bates in cross-country and track and field, but am currently easing back into training after a bout with tendinitis.

I’ve raced competitively since the 6th grade, but really started to struggle with body image as a sophomore. I decided to open up @motivationwithmaru on Instagram in November of my senior year to help me cope with struggles I experience in the hope that my posts would help comfort and lift up others. I am so stoked to share some motivational mojo with y’all via The Bates Student, so here’s to spreading positive pointers amongst the Bobcat community! Until next time my feisty friends, embrace the day!

 

Skin Care Routine of the Week: For the Skin Care Rookie

Although I now indulge in an abundance of face masks per week, adhering to a regimented (or, even planned) skin care routine is still relatively new for me. For the last seven years, I’ve mainly used the same two products on my skin: CeraVe hydrating facial cleanser and CeraVe facial moisturizing lotion. Both were recommended to me by my dermatologist and are fabulous, affordable drugstore products. I’ve since swapped out the lotion for a rotating cycle of multiple products, but the cleanser, which I will lovingly refer to as Old Faithful, is still with me.

It was a slow burn to change my routine. My sophomore year at Bates, I added in an eye cream. My junior year, I began toning daily and masking frequently. After I returned home for the summer, my skin care routine became no-holds-barred: I had unlimited access (and browsing time) in all of the Sephora’s and department stores in the greater Chicago metropolitan area. My skin care routine quickly became a multifaceted outlet for my self-care.

After a joyous and fortuitous trial and error period, I’ve narrowed it down to a small sum of products that work for me. Nowadays, I still get the skin care rodeo started with Old Faithful. After lathering the cleanser into my skin, I splash it off lightly with water. I no longer use a washcloth to scrub off any sort of face wash because I’ve learned doing so is too harsh for my skin. From there, each successive step is seasonally dependent.

In the summer months, I tone or exfoliate my face using Pixi products. The Pixi Glow Tonic toner (available at Target) sloughs away dead skin and, in my experience, leaves a natural-looking glow. I also highly recommend Pixi’s Glow Peel Pads: they’re an efficient and low maintenance way to chemically exfoliate your skin and, like Pixi’s toner, they encourage my glow. Next, I use Neutrogena’s Hydro Boost Multivitamin Booster, followed by their Hydro Boost Water Gel with SPF 15 (both available at drugstores).

When I’m feeling particularly existential with regard to the life expectancy of my skin, I wear Shiseido’s Ultimate Sun Protection WetForce SPF 50+, carried by Sephora, Ulta, and most department stores. I encourage both myself and anyone reading this to wear sunscreen each and every day. Doing so is paramount to you and your skin’s longevity.

I finish off the whole summer-skin-care-shebang with Ole Henrikson’s Banana Bright Eye Créme, which I picked up at Sephora this past summer. It’s definitely on the pricey side, but I personally feel it’s worth the investment. I see an immediate difference in the skin underneath my eyes; it moisturizes and combats the dark circles that have inevitably signed a lifelong lease above my cheeks.

In the winter, I use Old Faithful and put my Pixi products away for safekeeping. Because I find toning and over-exfoliating dries out my skin, I avoid doing so when my skin begins to be ambushed by Maine temperatures and dryness. After cleansing, I usually douse my face with Bio Oil Multiuse Skincare Oil. This product is also available at drugstores and is, as advertised, multiuse. I use it on my face as a moisturizer and all over the rest of my body, particularly for stretch marks and scars. I do so because I love the skin I’m in, and those marks deserve some love, too.

If I’m extra dry, I use Neutrogena’s Hydroboost Hydrating Overnight Gel Mask. It works wonders by morning, but it’s very goopy. Only for this mask will I utilize the removal powers of a washcloth. Finally, I would be remiss if I didn’t mention that I use Clarin’s Double Serum and their Multi-Active Day Cream with SPF 20. Both are incredibly moisturizing and quite luxurious. Because I received the set as a gift, I apply them sparingly. I highly recommend both, but acknowledge that they are out of most people’s (and my own) price range.

My skin care routine is a way for me to focus on myself each and every day. Regardless of what my day has in store for me, I take time to pamper myself before doing anything else. And no matter what has transpired, I’m able to wash away my day, physically and metaphorically, before going to bed. Amidst all the cleansing, moisturizing, and dark-circle-combatting, I’m able to slow down, breathe, and relax.

 

Women’s Rowing Q & A: Liza Folsom ‘22 of women’s rowing discusses her experience on the water

COURTESY PHOTO/LIZA FOLSOM

Liza Folsom ‘21 sits at the head of the varsity eight’s boat during the Head of the Charles Regatta on Oct. 21 where Bates won first for the second year in a row out of 28 teams.

Elizabeth “Liza” Folsom ‘21 is a geology major and spanish minor from Can Mateo, CA. She is a member of the women’s rowing team at Bates and was the coxswain for the team that won the Division II National Championship last year. I had the opportunity to speak with Liza about her experience as a member of the Bates rowing team. This article has been edited for grammar and clarity.

Q: Can you provide some details about your background?

A: I rowed for a small team in San Francisco. I started off rowing when my mom suggested I try doing a camp in 7th grade, since she rowed a little in college. I ended up really liking it, so I joined Pacific Rowing Club in my freshman year of high school and absolutely fell in love with the sport and my team!

Q: Could you describe your experience with sports in the past?

A: I did rowing all through high school. I started off as a rower my freshman year then switched to coxing women my sophomore year. Junior and senior year I was a coxswain on the men’s team. Before high school, I had played soccer and swam and liked it, but never as much as I like

rowing now.

Q: How did you decide to become a coxswain?

A: I decided I wanted to be a coxswain after rowing for a year because I always found myself sitting in the boat thinking of things my coxswain at the time could be saying differently and I wanted to try and see if I could do it. While I loved rowing, I felt like coxing was a role that I could fit into better and something that I would enjoy even more.

Q: What is your role on the rowing team?

A: While a coxswain is not actually rowing, they sit in the stern of the boat facing the rowers. When in the boat, you steer, motivate the rowers, correct their technique, talk to them about what the boat can improve on, and make sure they’re rowing well and together. A big part of coxing is knowing what your rowers want to hear and communicating with them so you can say the things that will make them pull the hardest and row the best.

Q: What is your role during practices?

A: One of the first things I do at practice, along with the five other coxswains on my team, is get told the workout and what we’re doing that day by our coach before we get on the water. Then we’ll gather everyone in our boats together and carry the boat down to the water and then meet our coach and the other boats out in the river. Usually we’ll start off with drills and then move into pieces. Depending on the day of the week or what season we’re in, we’ll do one minute pieces, 20 minute pieces, 1000 meter pieces, etc. During pieces, it’s my job to make sure the boat is going straight and to say whatever I need to in order to make my rowers pull as hard as possible while still rowing well.

Q: What is like to be a part of the rowing team at Bates?

A: Rowing at Bates is hands down the best decision I’ve ever made. The team environment is really fun, everyone works really hard, and we all do a really good job of pushing each other to be as fast as we possibly can.

Q: What was it like to win a national championship as a first year last year?

A: Winning NCAAs last year was absolutely amazing. We had been doing well all season, but at nationals there were a couple teams we didn’t get to race that much during the regular season so we weren’t sure how it was going to turn out. Crossing the finish line in front was the best feeling in the world, and doing it with such an wonderful group of people made it even more special.

Q: How did you do in Head of the Charles this year and last year?

A: This year my boat won Head of the Charles which was super exciting! Last year the varsity eight also won it and my boat, the 2nd varsity eight, got 5th which was the best Bates has ever done at that race, which was a really exciting way to start off my freshman year! It was different this year though, because we came down the course first, so we did not have any other teams to base our speed off of because fall races are done by time rather than looking at boats side by side (you’re sent down the course one at a time). We didn’t know we won until we got back to the dock and Mitch, one of our assistant coaches, told us, so it was nerve wracking at first but so exciting in the end. It’s a really fun race course because there are thousands of people along the shore yelling at you and on top of that, there are some pretty big turns so it’s a fun challenge for a coxswain to steer through.

History of Muslims Lecture: A Step in the Right Direction

Students would not make the trek to Muskie Archives on a rainy Thursday night for just anything. But on November 1, they did just that for a talk by Edward E. Curtis IV titled “The Long History of Muslims in the United States.”

Curtis was this year’s speaker for the Bertha May Bell Andrews Lecture, an annual talk sponsored by the Multifaith Chaplaincy that was first established in 1975 by Dr. Carl Andrews. His aim was to honor his mother, who not only created the first physical education program for women at Bates, but also had a deep conviction that education without morality was useless.

The lecture highlighted this conviction of involving morality in teaching, discussing the misconception that Muslim heritage can only be traced back to as recently as 1965, and the effect this has both on Muslim families and on the recent rise of Islamophobia. Curtis described this phenomenon through the language of misremembering; he said, “There has been a forgetting, a forgetting that is useful to those who say that Muslims are foreign to America.” His goal of the lecture was to correct this misconception and emphasize the various contributions of Muslims, who have been in this country from its very beginning.

Muslims have served in legislatures, saved corporations, played for sports teams, won a Nobel Prize, held the Olympic Torch, and built skyscrapers. Probably most commonly known to students would be Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, a retired professional basketball player who still remains the all-time leader in points scored and career wins, and Muhammad Ali, a professional boxer and activist. As described by Curtis, “Muslims have changed the way America looks, the way it plays, the way it is heard.”

Perhaps less famous but just as important are Muslim politicians, who are becoming increasingly numerous in today’s political environment. Ninety Muslim candidates are running for federal, state, and local office in this year’s midterm elections, significantly more than in any other year.

Although Curtis focused primarily on the history of Muslims, when asked about how to have conversations about Islamophobia, he responded with the necessity of people respecting the dead. He called for Muslims to put their differences behind them and stop focusing on their disagreements over past activists, a lesson relevant to everyone regardless of religion. In approaching religious discussion, he also offered the advice for students to move past preaching – attempting to convince others that Muslims are peaceful and hate terrorists – and into deeper conversation.

Nahida Moradi ’22, a member of the Muslim Student Association and an attendant of the lecture, described the importance of students being educated about this history and having conversations about Islamophobia, explaining, “At a school like Bates, where religion is generally not very present in students’ lives, Islam is often seen as strange and maybe even threatening. You could see that level of threat by looking at the vandalism of the Muslim prayer room in Chase Hall. Inviting Dr. Curtis to talk about the History of Muslims in America is a step in the right direction for Bates to do its job right.”

Curtis’ lecture on the history of Muslims in the United States was especially relevant in today’s world of Islamophobia. His talk helped to identify the misconceptions in Muslim history and to offer guidance on how Bates students can approach difficult religious conversations.

 

Searching for a Home in Lewiston

Lewiston’s diverse population is what makes the city a vibrant and dynamic community. Many of these same Lewiston residents, though, struggle to find and maintain stable and safe housing.

On Nov. 1, as part of the Harward Center’s “Theory into Practice” series, the Bates community and public were addressed by three prominent women on the forefront of solving housing issues in Lewiston and beyond. The panel discussion was titled; “Housing Matters: Challenges to Housing Security for Low-Income Families,” and sought to unbox some of the problems and pose solutions for housing concerns in Maine communities.

The first remarks of the afternoon came from Bettyann Sheats. Sheats is serving her first term in the Maine House of Representatives and is currently seeking re-election. Sheats has brought her experience as a landlord and community member to the Maine State Legislature to advocate for safer and more affordable housing options.

During her remarks, Sheats stressed the need for reliable housing. She cited statistics claiming that the best predictor of childhood success in school is access to reliable housing, with the same concept applying to recently released prisoners. When individuals are in a stable living environment they can become more productive workers and active members of their communities.

A plethora of factors are required for people to keep steady housing. Often times, the problems people face with their housing stem from external factors. “It’s not about the tenants, and the landlords, and the housing; it’s about losing their housing because of economics, job insecurity, low wages, not enough affordable access to health care,” said Sheats. Fixing the toilets and touching up the paint on the walls isn’t what makes a good landlord, but rather being able to actively listen to the greater needs of your tenants. According to Sheats, in order to cultivate a working relationship between landlords and tenants, communication is a necessity.

As far as solutions go, Sheats says, “It’s not one issue that got people into a problem, it’s not one fix that is going to get them out.” For Sheats, throwing money at only one area like healthcare or education won’t do anything to solve housing predicaments. It’s going to take a system-wide reform before the community will see improvements. In her opinion, collaboration between community members and policy makers will be key to procuring safe, affordable housing alternatives for Maine residents.

Amy Smith discussed her experiences as a landlord and founder of Healthy Homeworks, a nonprofit organization dedicated to building healthy homes and relationships between low income tenants and landlords. Smith is committed to providing safe and healthy living conditions for her tenants, but notes that it isn’t always easy. “It is really hard to create and maintain safe and affordable housing,” says Smith, “The health and safety of thousands of Lewiston residents relies on the health and safety of very, very old housing stock.” The real estate in Lewiston is dated, and inadequate conditions can lead to serious health complications.

As well as talking about the challenges of being an effective landlord, Smith described some of the difficulties her tenants have faced with housing assistance. The Section 8 Housing Voucher is one of the best options low income families have for housing assistance, but it isn’t perfect. The waiting list is very long, and once someone reaches the point where they can pay their full rent the assistance is taken away. “After just a few months at that level, your voucher is done, and you’re left without a safety net,” says Smith. If a person loses their job, or something else goes wrong, they’re back at the end of the waiting list. Smith recommends policy reform for housing assistance.

Both Bettyann Sheats and Amy Smith are role-model landlords who strive to provide affordable and safe housing for their clients. As Patricia Ender – an Attorney for Pine Tree Legal, a nonprofit law firm dedicated to justice and fairness for low income Mainers – says, “Landlords provide an essential service, and good landlords are worth their weight in gold.” Following that statement, Ender shared some horror stories from cases she has had dealing with housing discrimination and sexual harassment. Ender said that housing insecurity creates a scenario where tenants are very vulnerable to sexual harassment from landlords, owners, and neighbors. Ender also described the prevalence of housing discrimination based on race.

Thankfully, there are many opportunities for Bates students to get involved in Lewiston housing concerns. All three speakers agree that it is important to embrace the Lewiston community. Students can attend community meetings dealing with housing issues. Students can also be on the lookout for internships at nonprofits that deal with affordable housing, and the Harward Center is always a good place to look if you want to get involved.

 

Planned Parenthood Gen Action’s GOTV Initiative

Given their active presence on campus, you wouldn’t know that the Bates College Planned Parenthood Generation Action club was only started a few months ago. From the beginning of the semester until now, current club leaders Nina Moscowitz (2020), Analea Angot (2020), and Diana Flores (2020) have worked to integrate this nationwide college campus movement into the Bates community. Though the burgeoning reproductive rights club has many ideas for the future of Bates students’ reproductive health, safety, and well-being, they have been focusing their current energy on the election and Get Out The Vote.

As members have been actively working to better the Bates community, the club stands out as a wonderful and impactful alliance on campus. Planned Parenthood Gen Action members have been working to motivate and transport students to the polls, and convened on Thursday afternoon to phone bank to alert Bates students about their efforts to organize and provide rides to and from the polls. In addition, the club has been tabling to educate the campus community about candidates and has canvassed on weekends in and around Lewiston.

Last Thursday, Planned Parenthood Gen Action members phone banked, for which they met at the Ronj and enjoyed the rainy evening by calling and texting classmates, close-friends, and peers to urge them to vote. During the phone bank, club members also informed students of the multiple options to get to and from the polls. As a member of the club, I can attest to the heartwarming atmosphere of the initiative. Spending the afternoon working to get students to vote was invigorating. Also, as a student without a car myself, I can see how transportation could be a hindrance to voting, especially when factors such as school, work, and extracurriculars are also in the mix. Sitting in the Purple Room at the Ronj, eating Halloween candy, and talking to fellow members of the Bates community on the phone and over text to aid them in finding time amidst their busy class schedules to vote was such an inspiring experience.

Voting is so important, especially in today’s political climate: it is a chance to not just voice your opinions, but make your voice count. Every vote counts, and every voice counts. Exercising your right to vote is an amazing experience that should not be cast aside or belittled, even when getting to the polls might seem like a drag. Planned Parenthood Generation Action is making voting for Bates students easy. I encourage everyone to get down to the polls to vote and volunteer with Planned Parenthood Generation Action to help others do so as well!

The group has volunteers driving people to the polls on Election Day every hour and met at the Fireplace Lounge in Commons. For more information on getting involved with the club contact me, Pippin Evarts, at pevarts@bates.edu.

 

Boygenius’ Self-Titled Debut Flourishes

When I heard that Julien Baker, Phoebe Bridgers, and Lucy Dacus were making an album together, my initial reaction was one of skepticism. Despite the fact that they are all brilliant artists in their own right, I was curious as to how well they would all work as a group.

Although each member finds their origins in indie rock, their styles could not be more different. Lucy Dacus is deeply rooted in alternative garage rock, while Phoebe Bridgers made her name with a sharp and succinct combination of folk rock and indie pop. Julien Baker’s solo material is an intense blend of traditional emo and solo indie rock. That said, I was a little apprehensive as to how they would blend together and wondered if one of them would take the stylistic lead on the record.

Boygenius, the group’s titular debut EP, is a beautiful blend of the three styles each artist brings to the table and features some of the most tight-knit harmonies and straight-forward songwriting I’ve heard all year. The record perfectly combines the best parts of each performer’s respective musical style. Despite the large range of styles explored on such a short release, the group still manages to sound cohesive. The record opens with “Bite the Hand,” a gorgeous song full of sticky hooks and guitar leads which features the group’s brilliant three-part harmonies.

“Me & My Dog,” the second track on the record, primarily features Phoebe Bridgers and leans heavily in the folk rock direction. Featuring plucked mandolin on top of more straightforward guitar chords, the song beautifully blends indie rock with folk. “Me & My Dog” has some of the most heart-wrenching lyrics on the whole record, a true accomplishment on an EP this overwhelmingly forlorn: “I wanna be emaciated/ I wanna hear one song without thinking of you / I wish I was on a spaceship/ just me and my dog and an impossible view.”

The album seamlessly blends honest, emo-adjacent lyrics with folk songwriting. Boygenius might be more of a folk-rock record than anything else. However, that genre label and its associations don’t prevent Boygenius from the dynamic and noisy indie rock that is reminiscent of Lucy Dacus and Julien Baker’s former band, The Star Killers.

The penultimate track, “Salt in the Wound,” begins with a slow build that sounds like a Julien Baker solo release. However, the song builds into a beautiful, almost Dinosaur Jr-esque chorus: a gorgeous guitar solo weaves in and around a pervasive wall of vocals and distortion. The drums and guitars are dynamic and driving, and the vocals from all three members are powerful. Both give the track a very distinct forward momentum.

The final song, “Ketchum, ID,” is a slow, vocal-driven ballad. Somehow, the song manages to sound full despite the sparse instrumentation. It is a catharsis on the loneliness one can feel even when surrounded by other people. “Ketchum, ID” features the most beautiful and tightly knit harmonies on the entire release, complete with beautiful lyrics surrounding heartbreak and isolation. The song ends the record with a full and complete emotional release from all three musicians on the project.

Boygenius doesn’t reinvent the wheel on their debut EP, but they do manage to create one of the most full-bodied and honest releases of 2018. The dynamic instrumentation, range of genres explored, and well executed performances devise one of the most compelling releases yet.

 

Directing Success in One Acts Festival

Prior to last weekend’s One Acts Festival, I had only directed once before. It had been a good experience and I was interested in trying again. Upon arriving at Bates this fall, I joined the Robinson Players and learned about the One Acts Festival. Directing seemed like a good way to introduce myself to the group, and would serve as a reference for full-length productions I hoped to direct in the future.

I directed a play called Hysterical by Steve Yockey. In it, a lonely woman named Elizabeth (Julie Jesurum, ‘22) turns to a bottle of Jägermeister to deal with her break up. She winds up getting romantic advice from the logo’s iconic White Stag (Maria Gray, ‘22). The show is a funny yet poignant piece about break-ups and moving on.

Walking into auditions was terrifying. Because I normally audition for shows, I understand that it is nerve-wracking to audition for people who might not know me or what I can do. Even though I was on the other side, I was already comparing myself to the other directors. My friend Johnny Esposito ‘22 and I were the only first-year directors this year and I was convinced that I was out of place and unworthy at first. However, one of the reasons I came to Bates is because of its supportive student body. After a few minutes, I felt comfortable and like I deserved to be there. I was ready to be a part of what I knew was going to be a great show.

After two days of auditions and the battle for our casts, all the directors and I got to work. I was excited to be working with my cast of fellow first-years and ready to see what we would create in just three weeks. Luckily, my high school directing, acting, and stage managing experiences prepared me well for my first dive into college theater. I arrived and left rehearsals feeling confident in our story and how it took shape.

In our first rehearsal, we did “table work:” we all read the script together, and talked about the play as a whole. We then focused on blocking, or staging movement. In the days leading up to fall break, we continued to chip away at the scene to pull out the important storytelling moments.

While we each had our own ideas, we brought them together to create what the audience saw this past weekend.

Gray ‘22 had acted in high school, but Jesurum ‘22 had not. Similarly, our stage manager, Michelle Kim ‘22, had not held the role before. The rehearsal process was a learning experience for all of us and we worked together to produce something we loved.

Anyone who has participated in theater has their own horror stories from tech week, the week of the show in which all the tech elements of the production are brought in for the first time. These tech elements usually include lights, sound, props, set, and costumes. In our case, we began practicing in the performance space for the first time.

Without fail, “tech” is a week in which you spend more hours than you would like sweating in uncomfortable clothing while all your other commitments seem to quadruple. Fortunately, the directors worked alongside Robinson Players board members to develop a schedule leading to a pretty painless tech week.

In tech rehearsals, directors are hands-off compared to previous rehearsals. The show is basically turned over to the actors and stage managers, who become responsible for carrying out all the light and sound cues during the run.

My presence in the show wasn’t completely absent, though. I gave notes after tech rehearsals and warmed up with the actors before each show. I saw the show, which consisted of eight one-act-plays, three times. Never once did I feel the unworthy or out-of-place feelings I had experienced in the early minutes of auditions. All eight directors, nine stage managers, and seventeen cast members combined to create a great show that I’m honored to have been a part of.

The President’s Threat to Immigrant Dreams

President Donald Trump wants to end birthright citizenship because it is, as he aggressively stated at a rally, a “crazy, lunatic policy.” What he calls crazy, many families call hope. The 14th Amendment has been part of our Constitution since 1868 and has since promised citizenship to all those who are born on US soil. The President stated to a room of reporters that he would be signing an executive order to initiate the process, which would threaten to unravel a fundamental aspect of American culture.

The President ignores the trials that families are put through in order to come to the US and instead focuses on deliberately attacking them and all policies that would ensure their children’s survival. There are people who believe in ending birthright citizenship because it is a threat to the strength and immigration standards of the country. To do this would be a massive cultural change from what has always been associated with being an American.

People in favor of ending birthright citizenship argue that undocumented immigrants are not “subject to the jurisdiction” of the courts. However, in fear of coming off as xenophobic and racist, many conservatives have chosen to not fight this battle. Trump’s claim is a direct assault on unauthorized immigrants, most of whom have been here for 10 years or more. Even more so, it is a threat to the thousands of children who are already living here with undocumented parents. According to Dara Lind, a writer for Vox, “Restrictionists generally argue that the ability to give birth to a US citizen motivates people to come to the US illegally — but there’s simply no evidence that that’s true.”

Trump has been consistent with his beratement of undocumented immigrants since his campaign. Recently he sent 5,000 troops to the Mexican border, banned immigrants of eight Muslim and Latin American countries, and canceled the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program which provided relief to almost 700,000 immigrants. He ended Temporary Protected Status for Haitian, Nicaraguan and Sudanese people which provides work authorization and protection from removal. He has cut down on the amount of refugees the country takes, marking the lowest intake rate since the creation of the program in 1980.

Trump is, however, wrong in his factual accuracy. He stated that an executive order could disband the 14th amendment from the constitution. His arrogance dictates this lie and proves how uneducated he is on how the political system works. An executive order would simply start the process of disbanding the amendment, but it would ultimately go to the Supreme Court.

Trump may have no legitimate power in the cast of reshaping the amendment, but to even mention ridding our country of this policy is a representation of the xenophobic mindset of the administration. His order would push this country back to a time when men like Dred Scott could not claim citizenship due to their physical and ethnic attributes. This form of intimidation to foreigners that is flowing out of the White House is blacklisting the United States as a xenophobic nightmare for anyone trying to enter the country. Trump’s delusion about an imminent threat to the country by those who are “stealing our jobs” and “disenfranchising this country” will hopefully never come to fruition, but it will still establish an overall sense of fear for immigrants and their children.

 

The Self-Destruction Of American Politics

Is the United States broken? Has our country finally succumbed to hatred and animosity? Just over the past two weeks, there has been a nationwide occurrence of pipe bombs that were targeted at several influential Democrats, liberal celebrities, and organizations who have been disdainful of Donald Trump and his administration. It sickens me to no end, how American politics and ideologies have divided the country to the point of no return. This pipe bomb incident shows how political ideology can be used as a method to attack people’s identities and threaten people’s lives. What makes this incident so appalling and unprecedented is its emphasis on a heightened animosity towards the left wing. The pipe bomb incident demonstrates how the desire for power, revenge, and absolutism can define the current climate of the United States.

Some of the many people who were targets of pipe bomb packages include Eric Holder, James Clapper, Hillary Clinton, Joe Biden, and even Barack Obama. These are not just your average Democrats, but established politicians who have made a significant impact on American politics and history. Despite all the pipe bombs having been collected by federal, state, and municipal investigators, a nationwide investigation has apparently begun. As William K. Rashbaum, Alan Feuer, and Adam Goldman write, the “continuing wave of bombs has prompted an intense nationwide investigation into whether Trump’s critics or others vilified by the right are being targeted.” We will see where this nationwide investigation will accomplish, but I fail to believe that the current division in American politics will subside.

In recent news, this past Friday 56-year-old Cesar Sayoc was arrested by authorities in Miami and charged for sending out some of these pipe bombs to prominent Democrats and liberals. In fact, he was suspected of sending a total of 13 explosive devices to Democrats and liberals, in the hopes of possibly “getting attention.” With his van covered in pro-Trump stickers and propaganda, it has been revealed that Sayoc was an emphatic conservative who has written hateful statements against figures including liberal billionaire George Soros, Barack Obama, and Hillary Clinton. As more reports are coming, there have been interesting statements that have been made by people who know Sayoc. For example, Ronald Lowy, an attorney who has represented Sayoc’s family for years, said that Sayoc, “…lives in a fantasy. I have no doubt he’s mentally ill.” Lawyer David McDonald, who specifically interrogated Sayoc for a period of time, described Sayoc as “maybe delusional.”

“Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country,” so said John F. Kennedy. While America claims that its citizens exercise life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, we can see a clear contradiction that not all people are treated equally. The pipe bomb attacks show a pattern of deliberate hatred and menacing acts towards a particular ideological group who were perceived as enemies to the country. Regardless of what the intention was, this has been an act of not only calculated hostility but also may be an attempt at political retribution. While these Democrats are willing to serve and dedicate themselves in the United States, there are those willing to do whatever it takes to destroy them. Now the only question that I can ask is: is it too late to stop the destruction of American politics?

 

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