Part 195- Teenager’s Guide to the 2024 Election: Part 10

Part 195- Teenager’s Guide to the 2024 Election: Part 10

We are now left with 5 main Republican candidates fighting to become the Republican nominee to head against president Biden in 2024. From the third presidential debate that took place in November, Tim Scott dropped out. This finalized the main candidates to Donald Trump, Ron DeSantis, Nikki Haley, Chris Christie, and Vivek Ramaswamy, of which four of them showed up for the 4th and final presidential debate that took place a few days ago. They now have to wait until the Iowa Caucus and the final nominee is decided. It is with this, we now will finish with our 10th and final truth: The U.S. Constitution is the strongest guarantor of freedoms in history.

The U.S. Constitution

The U.S. Constitution is the “fundamental law of the U.S. federal system of government and a landmark document of the Western world.” The Constitution defines the basic rights of citizens, as well as the jurisdictions of the principal bodies of governments. This also includes the Bill of Rights- the first 10 amendments. This document was written after the failures of the 1st constitution- the Articles of Confederation- and was mainly written to give the central government enough power to act on a national level, but not so much that fundamental rights would be at risk. Overtime, it has slowly been ratified with new amendments to add new freedoms for the people. This includes the abolition of slavery, voting rights, and the salary of members of Congress (the most recent amendment to date).

U.S. Constitution in Politics

The definition of freedom can be a rather vague term. Is one’s definition of freedom the same as another’s? Are there limits to said freedoms that are implicitly stated? Are all freedoms put into the Constitution, and why is it that the last one added took place in 1992? We’ll find out, but first, the candidates.

From Ron DeSantis, I found an article emphasizing his desire to eliminate the First Amendment safeguards that prevent lawsuits from strong arming the press into silence. (Relating to the 9th truth: there are 3 branches of government not 4) Furthermore, DeSantis has attacked the Supreme Court’s landmark decision in New York Times v. Sullivan, a case that arose out of a “Jim Crow-era official’s attempt to silence civil rights protestors.” This decision established that “some accused of making false claims about a public figure regarding a matter of public concern may not be held liable for defamation, unless the statement was made ‘with knowledge that it was false or with reckless disregard of whether it was false or not.’” Along with that, earlier this year a U.S. judge had dismissed a lawsuit against the governor after he removed an elected official from office solely due to his stance on abortions and transgender rights. The judge rules that DeSantis had violated the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. Besides this, and Vivek’s Ramaswamy’s claim for this truth, there was little I could find on the matter.

My Perspective

I think it all depends on the inclusion of history. The Constitution has not ALWAYS been a guarantor of freedoms, and in history we see that with slavery and women’s voting rights. 3 new amendments needed to be added at the end of the Civil War to end slavery and establish them as citizens to guarantee them of rights as citizens, despite them having them far longer than these were added. Not only that, there were still loopholes in this as Black Codes and Jim Crow Laws curtailed these rights by an instance amount. It was almost like ‘legalized slavery’ with these new laws, taking away from the purpose of the 13th, 14th, and 15th Amendment that were added. Furthermore, it’s also seen that women were still not allowed to vote nor partake in many of the activities men could, even after freedmen were allowed to. Regardless of white or not, they just weren’t.

I also wanted to add how the Constitution specifically has the 9th Amendment which states that any unlisted rights were still protected and given to the people. Not only that, the entirely of America is literally freedom and in the Constitution is is literally written as “all men are created equal, that there are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” By default doesn’t this include the African Americans as well? Aren’t they also people with unalienable rights? Didn’t they also deserve to have the pursuit of happiness? Now while at that time, slavery was ‘normal’ and wasn’t thought much of, these principles are incredibly contradictory to what actually happened in history. African Americans weren’t even considered as people. They were property who could be captured if run away and sold to different people with little say.

Now if we’re to look at how the U.S. Constitution applies today, let’s talk about the U.S. territories. Puerto Rico, Guam, American Samoa, Northern Mariana Islands, etc. The entire American Revolution began with ‘no taxation without representation.’ Americans believed that the King was enforcing these new taxes upon them without any of their say on the matter. Now, isn’t this same thing happening again today, except with the U.S. as the ‘English’? The U.S. territories are taxed without having any too little representation in Congress. Not only that, they do not have any electoral votes to cast for the president or vice president, meaning they can’t really vote in elections. Now what’s the point of that? Hm? I’d think that America, a country that dedicated itself to its unalienable rights that included a say in government, would do the same with its territories but apparently not. At this point, why not just add them to the U.S. if we really want them to be taxed. Let me put it out there, the U.S. made a big deal about the no taxation part, but hardly care if they’re doin the sam thing to their territories. In fact, it’s always been like that. But seeing it now is really stupid.

So do I believe the Constitution is the highest guarantor of rights? No. I mean, if being pro-choice is a right, or even that a girl can do whatever she wants to her body, is a right, then shouldn’t abortions be allowed? Isn’t implementing abortion bans taking away this, especially when such a non-listed right is protected by the 9th Amendment? Think about it.

Part 194- Israel-Hamas War: What are we not seeing?

Part 194- Israel-Hamas War: What are we not seeing?

It sounds like a conspiracy theory, but is it really? The entire world is occupied with the Israel-Hamas war, drawing attention away from the topics we’d normally be conversing over. But why is this so? Is there a possibility that someone wants us to stay away from something? But what is this something? And who is this someone? It may not even be true at all, but it seems rather strange that as soon as the war came into view, everyone has been turning away from other topics they’d normally never forget about. So let’s talk about these topic people are forgetting, and let’s talk about the war itself. Has this war always been a result of two groups or where there other factors into play, and have we possibly seen these factors before as well? Let’s find out.

Israel- Hamas War Brief Overview:

The Israel-Hamas War is part of the Israel-Palestine Conflict, and is one of the longest continuing conflicts. The main aspects of this is between Jews and Arabs as each were focused towards attaining sovereignty for their people in the Middle East. Declarations to see a Jewish homeland established in Palestine, even by the British, was met with opposition by the already present Arab majority living there. Tensions grew as the number of Jews arriving increased, leading to the UN adopting Resolution 181- the Partition Plan. This called for the division of the ‘British Mandate of Palestine’ into Arab and Jewish states. Not long after, the first Arab-Israeli War began and resulted in the territory being divided into 3 parts: the State of Israel, the West Bank (of the Jordan River), and the Gaza Strip. Over the years, tensions have continued to rise in the region, eventually leading to the Israel- Hamas war seen today. 1

Analysis & Connections

Upon doing my research, I found something really, I guess you could say, interesting about all this. And, before I begin, let me say that there could be more to the story than I’ve read or heard or even that is out on the internet. This is my analysis based now what I’ve read and found out.

I’d like to say that I find it ridiculous how Europe likes to take everyone’s problems and make it their own in some way. Their idea of involvement and including people is by getting into their business when it’s not needed, and trying to ‘fix’ it which eventually ends up making it worse, setting up a series of events that lead to some conflict where they feel the need to ‘help’ once again all while saying the others are ‘problematic’ or do not know what to do. Or even, they just create a major problem. It’s just a common pattern I’ve noticed in many historical aspects over the years. Let me give a few examples.

  • Berlin Conference of 1884
    • Rwanda Genocide
  • India and Pakistan
  • Aboriginals and Native Americans

And even the Israel-Palestine conflict.

The Berlin Conference was a meeting of the major European powers where they negotiated and formalized claims to territory in Africa. It was to set up international rules for making claims to African land and maintain a strategic distance from strife between European powers. If you look at the map of Africa, you can see there are far more straight lines than irregular ones we usually see with other countries.

Comparing the two images above, we can see where former European countries occupied and how those make up countries today. Furthermore, we can see how there are countries in other countries. This is a part of how European countries wanted resources, such as rivers, to themselves, and created new areas surrounding that resource. These later became countries and created the country-in-country area we see today.

There was no African role in this mapping, as the Europeans did not include them in this, and this led to division in African. Division of ethnicities causing for conflict between the same people. Brothers against brothers, so to say. There were even conflicts started BY the Europeans, which lead to major conflicts we saw later on. One is the Rwanda genocide.

This is taken from a book by a Rwanda refugee- Clementine Wamariya- called The Girl Who Smiled Beads. In this, there is a section where she describes the conflict and its origins. She says,

”Almost eighty years before the genocide, the Belgians colonized Rwanda and infected the country with their cruel, bogus science of eugenics. Before that, Rwandans lived together in relative peace. Then the Belgians racialized the country. They measured people’s noses and skulls. They created and consulted pigmentation charts, dividing the citizens into Tutsis, Hutus, and Twas…Then, the three ethnicities established, the Belgians issued identity cards. Next they created social policy and propaganda campaigns designed to cause the races to antagonize each other, channeling Rwanda citizens’ hatred onto one another and away from them…Ten lives, and UN peacekeepers left Rwanda. The international community left Rwanda. What was going on in the country was too ghastly, too crude, too dangerous. All those countries that ended World War II by saying never again turned their backs. We Africans could kill each other if we wanted. We were not anybody else’s problem.”

The way there was peace between Rwandans initially, later turned into conflict amongst themselves as the Belgians divided and turned them against each other shows how European involvement caused this problem.

Another I want to talk about is India and Pakistan. India and Pakistan, along with a few other countries were one before British rule. At that time there was unison between Hindus and Muslims, but when split, there were problems. Brutal killings, riots, conflicts, and so many things through this division. What once was one became two, to a point where the hatred between the two is unchangeable.

Even with European influence on natives. The Native Americans with various different cultures, languages, territories, ways of living have been pushed from their own land, when they were the ones who offered a hand of friendship at first. These Native Americans who only wanted peace and showed signs of hostility when they were attacked and killed. These Native Americans who were here first, far longer than any other explorer who came to the Americas. These Native Americans who had their land taken away from them despite agreements to prevent this. These natives who witnessed their food sources and rivers die away, their homes torn apart and culture reduced, and used as labor for the benefit of others. While Americans celebrate Thanksgiving happily with good food and family sharing good memories, these natives are reminded of the terrible acts that ensued after an act of friendship. With the Aboriginals in Australia, while early relations were friendly and Indigenous rights were respected, the greed for land and resources by more European settlers ended this, leading to devastating results. The numbers of the Indigenous Australians were reduced by as much as 90% between 1788 and 1900. The introduction of foreign diseases by the colonists, the loss of their traditional territory that had once sustained the Indigenous peoples for thousands of years, and the violent conflicts with the colonists all changed the lives of the Indigenous.2

And we even see it here, with the Israel-Hamas war. The conflict that escalated between these two groups began with European involvement. In fact, much before the British Mandate, the Jews and Arabs lived in some peace together. The Jews were a minority, and were often treated as an inferior who were looked down upon by the Arabs. There were places where treatment varied, but for the most part, they weren’t treated the same. However, they still shared the same identity, in a way, following the collapse of the Ottoman Empire.

Furthermore, Jews were facing intense persecution in Europe, leading many to seek refuse elsewhere. There were many hostilities and different forces driving away these Jews, to a point there was an idea emerging across these countries. (At this time there were many European anti-Semitic and global nationalist movements going on) The idea was for the Jews to have their own land, a place where they wouldn’t be persecuted or have to face living in hostile countries. It would be a place where the Jews wouldn’t be a minority, and wouldn’t have to worry about having a country annihilating them. This led to waves of immigration from Jews to Palestine, as well as the British- which at the time was controlling the area of Palestine- promising land to the Jews. Not only that, following Hitler and the Holocaust, there was a greater call for the safety of an independent nation and home for the Jews. With the increasing number of Jews coming into the area, the dynamics slowly started to change. There were escalating tensions, and conflicts over land, resources, and national identity began to rise. Factors such as the Balfour Declaration and the Partition Plan further added onto this, complicating the previous coexistence the two groups once had. Following the establishment of a distinct Jewish state, the first war broke out, leading us to where we are today.

Change in the Israel-Palestine region over time

We can see how European influence caused a number of new conflicts for this situation. Firstly, they treated the Jews in a hostile manner, and then promised them land already occupied by a different group. Thus promised land created greater conflicts than previously seen, calling for Europeans- specifically the British- to try and solve this problem by establishing a separate state for the Jews, and essentially causing the conflict. Now, we see them today trying to solve this problem again by negotiating and trying to help the citizens. It’s unbelievable.

Another thing I wanted to point out was just how biased an article I found was. When initially researching for this post, I started with the surface- the overview of what caused this conflict to begin. I came across a BBC article, and this was what they said,

Tensions between the two peoples grew when the international community gave the UK the task of establishing a “national home” in Palestine for Jewish people.3

 I think it’s ridiculous how it pretty much states how things got out of hands DUE TO the fact that the UK was involved in this, and that they were ‘tasked’ with doing so. I mean, no you weren’t. There really was no need to do so, but the UK just HAD to try and fix this problem. Furthermore, when Palestine was previously under UK control, they had allowed Palestine self-government and independence. However, with the initiative to establish a “Jewish home” in Palestine, the Balfour Declaration promised to protect the civil and religious rights of Palestinians but not their political rights, which was once given to them. Fear of displacement in their own country lead Palestinians to resist British policy through non-violent diplomatic means- boycotting and civil disobedience- which people then tried to RESOLVE and restore order to. Furthermore, I want to add, from another I’ve read, that the British were anticipating another war in Europe- the Second World War- and “…looked to end the disturbances in Palestine and win over the support of independent Arab states.”4 So in addition to further adding onto this conflict and wanting to step in to solve this problem they further fueled, they wanted to end it quickly because they didn’t want to have something like this being another problem they have to deal with? Interesting.

Moving on, another topic I wanted to look into was Iran’s support of Hamas. The reason this alliance is so unusual is that the two groups are two very different groups of Muslims: Shia and Sunni. Hamas is a Sunni group while 90-95% of all Iranian Muslims are Shi’ites. One may think that there may not be a big difference between these two groups and everyone over exaggerates just how bad the divide is, but let me tell you just how very wrong you are. The divide is indeed a very big deal if it’s been going on for some 14 centuries. The difference between the two is the belief of who would be the next successor following Muhammad: Abu Bakr (Sunnis) or Ali (Shias). It’s lead to long-running civil wars in Syria, fighting in Lebanon, Iran, Iraq, Yemen and elsewhere, as well as terrorist violence on both sides.5 I highly doubt something like this can be classified as a simple divide.

So why would Iran be supporting Hamas then?

Well, let’s first start with recognition of Israel. At this time, there are already several Arab states in the Persian Gulf that have made peace with Israel, including Saudi Arabia. Both Iran and Hamas have every interest to make sure this doesn’t happen. Although Iran has denied involvement in planning the attack on Israel, the country’s Supreme Leader did state that they “…kiss the hands of those who planned the attack on the Zionist regime.” 6 Iran has also been involved in providing material support as well as training and money to Hamas. There’s not a definite relationship between the two groups, but a subtle support that goes back a bit. In 1979 a revolution brought in a hard-line Shia government that considered Israel usurpers on Muslim land, ultimately breaking off the once close economic and strategic ties Israel and Iran had. Iran considered the US as an enabler of this revolution, leading for the view that Israel was a Western colonial outpost and Zionism was a version of imperialism. Israel and Iran have also been engaged in a cold war against one another for a long time. So support between the two groups would be partially expected.

Lastly, let’s not forget that Jerusalem is a holy city that gave rise to the THREE major Abrahamic religions: Judaism, Islam, and Christianity. We’ve seen conflicts between Islam and Judaism over Jerusalem, but what would happen if Christianity also gets involved? There would be a possibility of a world war. Even now, with the involvement of other countries in this matter, there could be a possible world war brewing. What do we do then?

What are we not seeing?

The Israel-Hamas war has been the hot topic of all news. It’s taken over American politics, now becoming a fundamental factor in who will become the next president based on candidate responses and plans for the matter. But what about the Ukraine-Russia war? When was the last time it’s been brought up in the news or even MENTIONED? What about the South China Sea and China’s new map that was made? What about the fact that Chinese President Xi Jinping who was actually in California just a few weeks ago to meet up with President Biden? What about abortion issues? What about gun rights and the second amendment? Weren’t these the most heavily debated and brought up topics only a few months ago? Why are they now almost ‘non-existent’? I mean, before, the Ukraine-Russia War was the biggest issue, but now with the Israel-Hamas War, almost any funding towards Ukraine has stopped. Is there some sort of correlation between the two? Could one be a coverup for the other? Maybe, maybe not. The assumption cannot be made, but it is fairly odd how these topics are no longer being brought up.

What do you think? Would the Israel-Hamas War have gotten to this point regardless of European interference? Could this war be something of a coverup, or is there more at play? Should we expect something worse to come? Who knows, but it is for certain that this Israel-Hamas War may not end quickly.

References:

  1. “Israeli-Palestinian Conflict.” Global Conflict Tracker, www.cfr.org/global-conflict-tracker/conflict/israeli-palestinian-conflict. ↩︎
  2. “Indigenous and European Contact in Australia.” Britannica Kids, kids.britannica.com/students/article/Indigenous-and-European-Contact-in-Australia/631556#:~:text=Early%20relations%20were%20typically%20friendly,on%20Indigenous%20Australians%20were%20devastating. ↩︎
  3. BBC Breaking News, World News, U.S. News, Sports, Business, Innovation, Climate, Culture, Travel, Video & Audio, www.bbc.com/news/newsbeat-44124396%20. ↩︎
  4. “The Palestine Mandate.” NCSC, www.gchq.gov.uk/information/palestine-mandate#. ↩︎
  5. “Islam’s Sunni-Shia Divide, Explained.” HISTORY, 31 July 2019, www.history.com/news/sunni-shia-divide-islam-muslim#. ↩︎
  6. Ioanes, Ellen. “How Does Iran Fit into the War Between Israel and Hamas?” Vox, 14 Oct. 2023, www.vox.com/world-politics/2023/10/14/23917078/israel-hamas-war-gaza-iran-hezbollah-khamenei-lebanon. ↩︎

Gathara, Patrick. “Berlin 1884: Remembering the Conference That Divided Africa.” Breaking News, World News and Video from Al Jazeera, 15 Nov. 2019, www.aljazeera.com/opinions/2019/11/15/berlin-1884-remembering-the-conference-that-divided-africa.

“Hamas And Israel: Iran’s Role.” Wilson Center, www.wilsoncenter.org/article/hamas-and-israel-irans-role.

Ioanes, Ellen. “How Does Iran Fit into the War Between Israel and Hamas?” Vox, 14 Oct. 2023, www.vox.com/world-politics/2023/10/14/23917078/israel-hamas-war-gaza-iran-hezbollah-khamenei-lebanon.

Magazine, +972. “Before Zionism: The Shared Life of Jews and Palestinians.” +972 Magazine, 6 Apr. 2016, www.972mag.com/before-zionism-the-shared-life-of-jews-and-palestinians/.

“Nytimes.com.” The New York Times – Breaking News, US News, World News and Videos, 2 May 1976, www.nytimes.com/1976/05/02/archives/europes-african-legacy-mostly-bad-some-good.html.

“Origins and Evolution of Zionism.” Foreign Policy Research Institute, www.fpri.org/article/2015/01/origins-and-evolution-of-zionism/.

“Reuters.com.” Reuters.com, www.reuters.com/world/middle-east/israel-palestinian-dispute-hinges-statehood-land-jerusalem-refugees-2023-10-10/#.

“Was European Colonialism a Good Thing or a Bad Thing?” Psephizo, 24 Mar. 2023, www.psephizo.com/life-ministry/was-european-colonialism-a-good-thing-or-a-bad-thing/.

Part 193- Teenager’s Guide to the 2024 Election: Part 9

Part 193- Teenager’s Guide to the 2024 Election: Part 9

We’re back with the 9th truth: There are three branches of the U.S. government, not four.

The branches of government

The fourth branch of government is an unofficial term that refers to a belief that the media’s responsibility to inform the people is essential to the healthy functioning of democracy. It is a ‘widely accepted role’ the news media plays in providing citizens with information they can use to check the government power. However, it is said that the media went astray from its primary responsibility and corrupted itself. Let’s see what each of the candidates have to say about this.

Branches of government in politics

The only candidate I was able to find for this truth was Vivek Ramaswamy, but at most, all that was said was that e believed the fourth branch of government to be the administrative state. Ron DeSantis said it was the Department of Education. There was little further information about this from either of them, and any from other candidates.

My Perspective

I don’t now if I could consider the 4th branch of government to be the media. For what I’ve learned, the branches of government were designed to keep checks and balances, and prevent one branch from overpowering another. It also allowed for the people to have a say in the government. However, recently, you could say the media has become very biased. Different news networks will provide favorable news for one party or the other based on affiliation. It might even be very subtly, without you realizing it. Furthermore, media outlets could only provide information they want to provide, to get the reaction and support they want. It’s very influential, and can almost easily change the opinions of anyone in a matter of seconds.

Now, while the media is important in relaying information, it’s come to a point where they’ve taken advantage of it. In the First Amendment, freedom of press is given. It cannot be denied, and based on this, the media is essentially protected. They can, in a way, report what they want. This can lead to the people getting not enough information, and acting in favor of what the media outlet wants. That cannot happen. The media doesn’t have a power in politics. They aren’t making decisions, and often can have far more power than intentionally given.

For me, as a researcher and writer, I find it difficult sometimes, to find what is biased and what is not, and even when I can, I can see how those who may not even realize the bias exists, can get easily swayed. I agree, there aren’t four branches of government. The media isn’t “keeping” the government in check. I mean, yes it gives people information about updated events, but it shouldn’t have a greater power than that in the government. When people receive their information, they are the ones who should then make their decisions of what they want. They shouldn’t be influenced by a middle way that wants something that benefits them. It’s wrong. hence, there should be four branches not three.

Part 192- Teenager’s Guide to the 2024 Election: Part 8

Part 192- Teenager’s Guide to the 2024 Election: Part 8

Hello! Today we start with the next truth: The nuclear family is the greatest form of governance known to mankind.

The Nuclear Family

Let’s start by defining what exactly a Nuclear Family is. The Nuclear Family, is essentially, a group of people who are united by ties of partnership and parenthood and consisting of a pair of adults and their socially recognized children. It’s the essential idea of a family, when you first think about one, with parents and children in a one home residence. It’s heavily contrasted to a single-parent family, a larger extended family, or a family with more than two parents. Its primary focus is on a married couple, and emphasizes the advantages of a better financial stability, strong support systems for children, and consistency in raising children from established daily routines. Let’s see what each of the candidates have to say about it then.

Nuclear Families in Politics

Ron DeSantis has shown major support for this issue, working toward emphasizing the importance of fatherhood and the nuclear family, saying “there are those who diminish the importance of fatherhood and the nuclear family-we will not let that happen in our state.” He has taken a number of actions towards fulfilling this, such as securing nearly $70 million in funding to address the fatherlessness crisis in Florida. The usage of this money is dedicated to :educational programs, to increase mentorship opportunities for families, and to encourage responsible and involved fathers.” DeSantis has also “shown his commitment to supporting foster families by increasing monthly payments to those who serve as caregivers to foster children, increasing monthly support to cover childcare for foster children, and expanding postsecondary education opportunities for foster children.”

The only other, current contending candidate, who has spoken out about nuclear families is none other than Vivek Ramaswamy himself. Of course, he believes that the nuclear family is the strongest firm of governance known to mankind. Ramaswamy has pointed to marriage and family as a key driver of success in life, and often credits the groundwork of his own success due to two factors: being raised in a two-parent family and getting a good education. He has said, “I did have the ultimate privilege of two parents in the house with a focus on educational achievement, and I want every kid to enjoy that.” He believes that strong and stable families give men, women, and children an incomparable advantage when it comes to doing well in school, flourishing in life, and achieving the American dream. How goal is for policymakers to make it easier for children from lower-income families to access this privilege.

My Perspective

I feel as though, it’s rather stereotypical for people to always assume a family is two parents. It’s always been the common idea of a family, but with a changing society and with new factors, that can change just as easily. What exactly defines a family? A group of two or more persons related by brith, marriage, or adoption who live together? Those who live together as a unit? The descendants of a common ancestor? All of these are right answers, but we’re focused on only one of them- a typical two parent family with children.

Families are all unique. Not every two parent family will be amazing, nor will every single parent family be difficult. Although the chances of this happening is not very common, you cannot necessarily always assume it’ll be bad. Often, those who struggle have more motivation to work harder and get out of that setting they’re put in. They’re wanting to succeed, and will push themselves to work hard to prevent themselves from struggling. And, yes, sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t. Not every two-parent family is perfect. You have changes of domestic abuse or violence, divorce, or just any other factor which can suddenly show up. That often creates a more negative effect on the family than in a single-parent household.

I can see why Vivek Ramaswamy or Ron DeSantis would want to emphasize the importance of nuclear families. They want to provide a better future and successful future for kids of the current generations and future generations. They want to help these kids be born and live in a stable, good environment where they can succeed and go on to do greater things. They want to take away the limitations one could get from lack of a parent so that they aren’t held back from other kids. It’s a fair ground for everyone to help everyone thrive. And I agree. I too have grown up in a two-parent family and have a good education, and I understand how much of a privilege that is compared to some other kids in my grade level. But also, we need to know, that we’re all still very different. Even if every child has a two-parent home and a good education and such, it’s still up to other factors that can impact this path. It’s not always going to be perfect, and I can see that they also realize that too. But in order to just slightly change that. In an effort to make the conditions slightly easier, and create an even footing for all children, they’re focusing on the importance of a nuclear family. And so, maybe the nuclear family is the greatest form of goevrnance to mankind.

Part 191- Teenager’s Guide to the 2024 Election: Part 7

PC: https://www.choose-denisontexas.com/higher-education/

Hello! We start of with Part 7 of the election series focusing on the 6th Truth: Parents determine the education of their children.

Parents and Education

There has been a lot of news lately regarding banning books, rewriting curriculums, specific staff boards, and removal/limitation of certain curriculums or classes from schools from parents as well as the government. We’ve seen a lot of it in Florida, under the steadfast action of Ron DeSantis, but a lot of similar actions are also taking part in other states. A lot of these actions take place under removing the ‘woke’ knowledge that can be sene from books. This includes race, racism, characters of color, LGBTQ+ individuals, and anything that is felt to be ‘propaganda’ towards these ideas. The question has become quite prominent, ‘Should parents determine the education of their children?’ Let’s turn to our candidates and find out what they feel.

Education in Politics

Let’s start with the most active candidate in this field: Ron DeSantis. Although he isn’t the first governor to embrace ‘parental rights’ or limit how race and gender are discussed in schools he has built a ‘long legislative record as an “education governor”’, and is planning to pitch that across the nation. Ron DeSantis has taken a number of actions regarding education since becoming governor, including: codifying a ‘Parents Bill of Rights’ which calls for vastly expanding school choice, armed teachers, and a new workforce education; rolling back higher education diversity programs; engaging in feuds with College Board over it’s African American studies course; and has worked with many other republicans to reshape higher education in Florida. He has also fought with CollegeBoard over the AP Psychology course, calling for removal of a section talking about gender and identity. He calls it as ‘a war on truth’ and says he has no choice but to ‘wage a war on woke’. The Florida Parental Rights in Education Act, taking effect since last year, was created to give parents more control over their children’s education.

Nikki Haley feels the same way. She feels that the Education Department should have “a narrow mission of teaching children ‘basics so that they can be successful contributors to society.’” She believes that they’re not meant to do anything that doesn’t involve those basic core concepts of education. She’s called out transgenderism and believes that to be the last thing kids should be worrying about at school. She said that, as a parent, ‘we need full transparency in the classroom’ without wonder of what’s being said or taught in the classrooms.

Vivek Ramaswamy believes the same, given this is his truth. He believes that education decision should be pit in the hands of parents, and said he’d opt to send the ‘department’s $80 billion in funding back to taxpayers to “economically empower” them to choose a school for their children.’ President Trump has also unveiled a plan on 2024 education policy, calling for cutting federal funding for any school or program that includes ‘critical race theory, gender ideology, or other inappropriate racial, sexual, or political content onto our children.’ His plan also calls for opening ‘civil rights investigations into ay school district that has engaged in race-based discrimination’ particularly against Asian-American students, and has promises to keep men out of women’s sports. Trump also calls for cutting administrative roles and adopting a parental bill of rights.

Mike Pence has said the same, calling to limit federal role in education and eliminate the Department of Education. Tim Scott says the same, supporting parents’ rights to be fully and actively involved in the education of their children, and has rolled out a technology and education plan arguing the President Biden has minimized the role of parents in their child’s education.

President Biden, on the other hand, along with the Democratic Party, believes that the purpose of public education in a public school is not to teach kids only what parents want them to be taught, but also what society wants them to know.

My Perspective

As a student myself, I have some very strong opinions on this. First, let me talk about school curriculums and classes. It may be different for other states or even other high schools, but this is based on what Ive experienced in my schools. I personally really love the variety of classes given to me at my school. Sure, there are a few classes I wish we had – like AP Latin or AP Japanese Language and Culture- but that’s a different story. In all, I really like that there are so many classes with different in-depth focuses we get the option of taking. And, one may say, hey you can do the same as well even with parent controls. That’s true, but in my opinion, I feel like even more than the parent, the child knows its interests the most.

Everyone’s different. The environment and ideals parents grow up when they were younger is far different than the ones we see today. Everyone has a varying opinion, even those bound by blood. We all like and dislike different things, and that’s the matter of being human. We are all unique as individuals, having varying yet similar tastes that brings us together.

Growing up, I’ve always invested my time and learning in areas I’ve grown to love or had an interest for. My parents always put me in classes that suited my abilities and skill levels when I was younger, but also made sure to take into account what I liked. Where did my core interests and passions lie, and what could I be put in to help me take action in these further? It’s how I’ve continued playing violin until today, how I’ve grown as a writer, how I’ve grown as a student, as an athlete, and so much more. I do violin because I wanted to play that sole instrument when I was younger, no matter what. I do kickboxing because I decided I wanted to learn how to use my strength properly. I’ve continued writing because I actually love the way I can create something informational or even impactful with words. Words I don’t have to say out loud, but can still cause change. (That may be a little bit of exaggeration) Now, you may say again, these apply to extracurricular. There’s nothing on education so far. Well yes, but this idea also ties into education.

What I’m saying is that children know the most what they’re interested in. Some kids are interested in Calculus while others are into Psychology. Some are linguists dying to learn a new language every second, while others are history and culture nerds looking for the next great revolution to learn about. Everyone is different. I feel that we as students and children, should be allowed to take the classes we feel most drawn to. The ones we want to learn about more. Students are meant to learn. The best thing a teacher wants from any student is the desire to learn, to work hard, do their best, and apply themself to the course and material. While some classes are required, causing a sense of boredom and disinterest by kids, others are purely by choice. For me, I feel that it’s unfair for some other kid’s parents to flag an entire course or book and ask it to be removed if I were to have a strong interest in it. Even if I didn’t it would be unfair to other students who are interested in those classes. You don’t want your child to learn about that, so why take it out so other students can’t learn? Why do you feel the need to limit another’s choices and interests simply because of your own ideals?

Simply because it’s a parent’s choice isn’t enough. Parents should know what’s going on in their child’s classrooms, but they should not be taking away the learning privileges of other students by doing so. Students should not have to be limited to a selection of 5-10 books because the others are banned for supposed ‘propaganda’ or ‘LGBTQ+ issues’ and race and racism. We need to learn, and that often goes far beyond the basics of knowledge. We need to know how to function in this world. It’s changing, and there are so many factors as to why. It’s said that history is repeated if we do not learn from it. Right now, we are attempting to hide bits of history simply because it has racism in it. You can’t do that. Race and racism has shaped and affected so many things that makes our world as it is today. You’re essentially trying to create this facade that everything is perfect in the world, that it doesn’t exist when it actually does. You cannot wipe out a detrimental part of history, a part that is the real truth. The ‘war for truth’ is trying to hide the real truth. We need to learn from this, from these actions and events, no matter how wrong or shameful or upsetting they are, in order to prevent that from happening. You cannot try to remove that. We need to know.

Furthermore, with identity and LGBTQ+ ideas, why do you care? You don’t like your child hearing that, then tell them to stay away. Someone’s identity should not be defined with by other people. You can’t restrict a person from expressing themselves or being who they are. Why does it bother you, when they don’t do anything to you at all? Why do you feel the need to influence others for your ideals, and then get upset when others do the same to you? If you believe certain things to be wrong, then stay away from them. Don’t engage with them if you really feel it that necessary. Just don’t go limiting, opposing, or restricting others for what they want to do, learn, think, say, or express. I’m saying this, the day I start getting limitations on which books are accessible to me in my school or which classes I can take, I will fight against it. I don’t want for someone to limit what I can learn about because you feel it as ‘woke’.

We’ll pick up with Part 8 and truth #7- The nuclear family is the greatest form of governance known to mankind- next week. See you then.

Part 190- Teenager’s Guide to the 2024 Election: Part 6

Part 190- Teenager’s Guide to the 2024 Election: Part 6

Hello, you know what time it is. We pick up with part 6, and the 5th truth, an open border is no border.

Immigration and Borders

Immigration has been a heavily discussed issue in every aspect of politics, and not just regular immigration but more specifically illegal immigration. The most common example of such is from our southern border. As of 2021, Mexico has become the most common country of origin for U.S. immigrants, making up 24% of the immigrant population. Given this, there has been heavy discussion on how one should solve this issue. We’ve seen countless examples throughout the years, such as Obama’s DACA policy and DREAM Act, while Trump had called for the expansion of the U.S. Mexico border. The Biden Administration has halted the further construction of this, and taken upon different measures to handle this matter. Now the question remains, what do each of our 2024 candidates have to say about this?

Immigration in Politics

Let’s first start with our Republican Candidates.

President Trump has said he wishes to reinstate his immigration policies and resume construction of the wall border. He has also promised to sign an executive order calling to end birthright citizenship for ‘illegal aliens’. However, it has been seen to possibly face legal issues as birthright citizenship is established in the 14th Amendment.

Ron DeSantis has said many times that he too would also seek to ‘eliminate birthright citizenship for children of unauthorized parents who are still born in the U.S.’ He has been among the many vocal critics towards President Trump for not completing the wall. He has also taken some of the stricter stances on immigration, and has supported using deadly force against migrants crossing the border who are suspected of trafficking illegal drugs.

Nikki Haley, whose parents are immigrants themselves, takes. A different point of view. She has said she would not back ending birthright citizenship, but instead opened the idea to limiting it. She says that those in the country legally are fine, going by Constitution, but she is against those who have entered illegally. Vivek Ramaswamy is a little different, claiming that an open border is no border, and has vowed to end birthright citizenship. He has also said he would deport U.S.-born children of unauthorized immigrants, and supported using military force in Mexico against cartels. He too is in support of finishing the border wall.

Mike Pence is also in favor of the wall, and says he wants to introduce a merit-based immigration system based on the kinds of workers different states need to reform legal immigration. Chris Christie has said he would support pursuing a bipartisan agreement on immigration. He is also in support of the south wall. He has also said that, ‘whatever steps we need to take to secure that border is what we need to do.’ Tim Scott shares similar views, but has said the president cannot revoke birthright citizenship himself or herself. Doug Burgum has advocated for strong border security to stop illegal immigration and ensure a safe flow of good and services. lastly, Asa Hutchinson has proposed expanding visas, including implementing a state-based program that would empower states to grant visas based on the kinds of workers they need.

Now for the Democratic Candidates.

President Biden has moved to increase refugee admissions, and supports a pathway to citizenship for farm workers without authorization to be in the country. The White House has implemented new measures to turn away migrants who did not seek asylum in a country they traveled through en route to the United States.

Robert F. Kennedy Jr. has advocated himself as both in favor of immigration and closing the border. He called the rate of unauthorized migration ‘not a good thing for our country’, and ‘unsuitable’. However, he has also advocated for reforming the U.S.’ immigration system, and has said that, if elected, he would ‘make it easier for migrant workers to enter the country on H1-B visas.’ Marianne Williamson supports a ‘pathway to citizenship for all immigrants who have not broken ‘serious laws’’, and has also said she would seek to abolish the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency and repeal the Patriot Act.

My Perspective

I had first heard of the immigration issues in elementary school. My dad was dropping me off at school, and on the car ride there, he was telling me about DACA. It’s always been habit when I was younger, for my dad to teach me something new whenever we were together. It’s how I’ve grown up, and frankly a lot of that knowledge comes back to me today when I least expect it.

I remember being frustrated with the idea. Why would we be preventing people from coming into the country? Why would we be separating children from parents? Why did they feel the need to come to America if they would get this treatment? I was still a child. I was still confused why my dad was telling me about immigration issues when my mind only focused on Shopkins and school. I had zero clue about the outside world and suddenly this topic comes up. I didn’t really remember a word he said the second I got out of the car, and we never really talk about it since.

Last year in AP Human Geography, we learned about refugees and immigration vs. emigration. I learned about internally displaced people and asylum-seekers, and a brief overview of how one was able to go to another country other than their home country if in desperate need. Now, putting the two together, I struggle to create an opinion.

I feel too emotional. These poor people, who’ve faced horrible things their whole life are trying to escape and get denied by the closest country they can approach. Political oppression, insecurity, violence, or even better economic opportunities. But the legal ways to do so are incredibly difficult. Requirements allow for only slim opportunities, making it harder than normal. The only chance left is to come in illegally.

People have to go through extreme measures just to make it to somewhere safe. ( Despite that, there’s little guarantee that the after process would be any easier) So really, we mostly need to change our system. Instead of continuously building a wall and denying people of the 14th Amendment or to escape a harsh environment, we need to open our policies. There are such limited ways to get in to a country, causing for those immigrants to resort to illegal methods. That’s not right.

Anyways, I’ll see you next week for the 6th truth: Parents determine the education of their children.

Part 189- Teenager’s Guide to the 2024 Election: Part 5

Part 189- Teenager’s Guide to the 2024 Election: Part 5

Today we begin with the 4th truth: Reverse racism is racism. Let’s get into it!

Reverse Racism

Reverse racism is defined as “situations where white people believe they negatively stereotyped or discriminated against because of their whiteness-or treated less favorably than people of color. ” More simply put, white people are saying people are being racist and prejudiced towards them, and they don’t like it.

Now, Merriam-Webster defines Britannica as “the systemic oppression of a racial group to the social, economic, and political advantage of another.” So, technically, this does fall into the category of racism. However, there are several factors that could also disprove this. But first, as always, let’s see what our candidates have to say regarding this.

Reverse Racism and Politics

Forget reverse racism even, let’s talk about racism in general. However, I have to note, I found very title information regarding this topic. The most I’ve found is from Nikki Haley, Tim Scott, and Vivek Ramaswamy, so that’s the most we’ll have to work with for today.

These three candidates are all people of color. Vivek Ramaswamy and Nikki Haley are both South Asian- Indians more specifically- and Tim Scott is African-American. All three of them have been discussing their identities along this campaign, “trying to appeal to a voting base that is less diverse than the country as a whole.” Discussions of race and immigration are almost unavoidable, especially when it comes to hem. How can your future president or future presidential candidate make the best decisions on race and immigration in your favor when the candidates themselves have come from immigration or are of a different race? The concern is very understandable. But let’s see what they have to say.

Tim Scott believes that progress in America is palpable and can be measured in generations. He says that “family stories of discrimination and racism are relics of the past and do not reflect a form of prejudice still embedded in American society.” Nikki Haley falls along similar lines.

Vivek Ramaswamy believes himself to be a ‘non-white nationalist.’ He, unlike the others, actually agrees that America is hypocritical. But he also believes that “Americans must learn to recalibrate and get ‘comfortable with that discomfort, so we can be stronger on the other side of it.’”

My Perspective

I have some semi-strong opinions on this matter. It’s primarily due to the fact that I’m a ‘minority’ and that my lineage and people have had to suffer 89 years of colonization from the British where they were left stripped and, devoid of everything.

In America, everyone is diverse, and I think that’s one of the most beautiful things about this country. You get such an amazing assortment of people with different backgrounds, cultures, races, ethnicities, religions, and ideals to just bring a new perspective into life. I love interacting with my friends, many of which have a different race and culture than mine, and getting to talk to them about their favorite traditions, foods, and activities in general. But more importantly, I love how despite all these differences with us, we all have the same similarities. I love how I get to enjoy talking about Korean boy bands with my friends who are Columbian and Vietnamese, literature and fantasy with my Filipino and African-American friends, Orchestra with Asians and Latinas and Caucasians, and just so much more. The way we can easily connect and laugh and push each other to work harder or to go the brinks of insanity and hysteria (in a good way) is amazing, and I really cherish that. But I can’t ignore the fact that most of us are still seen as a minority to others.

We are first judged based on our appearance rather than personality. One look at my skin color can immediately set a prior bias or perception in someone’s mind, causing them to act differently towards me compared to others. And it’s uncomfortable. It’s not necessarily racism, but more of the tendency to change one’s behavior towards me based on my race. It’s the way they react towards me. I haven’t necessarily experienced the degrees to which one could call it racism, but given where I am right now, I have experienced some prejudice or just behavioral change towards me based on race. This doesn’t just apply to me, but others as well. I can see people act differently to other P.O.C’s as well, and I can see the frustration they also get when they experience things like this as well.

Now about reverse racism. Technically, it is also racism. Any kind of systemic oppression towards a racial group is racism. However, reverse racism isn’t based on systemic oppression. It’s based on prejudice and discrimination. This is something rooted from systemic racism and racial hierarchies where there are injustices and power imbalances. Years and years of ingrained ideals and thinking passed down and present have caused for there to be discrimination and negative appeals towards people of color. There’s a lack of diverse representation in political, social, and economic influences due to this. (While it’s different today, it’s more of a recent product that’s slowly growing.) Given this, it’s always been white people at the top of these hierarchies. Colonization by the Europeans and slavery have made this evident.

I find it laughable how white people can call derogatory names with a reference to their whiteness as racist, when they’ve been doing that for years and years with no care to how the other felt. They willingly and knowingly stepped over them, believing their race was most superior, and when they experiences the bare minimum of these insults they feel threatened and even a victim. It’s really unbelievable. The hypocrisy in this is unbelievable.

While racism towards any race, including white people, is wrong and needs to be stopped immediately, the fact that derogatory names towards white people is called discrimination is false. I mean, yeah it’s wrong to do so, but just get your complaint right, you’re not discriminated against.

We’ll pick up at part 6 next week on the next topic: An open border is no border.

Part 188- Teenager’s Guide to the 2024 Election Part 4

Part 188- Teenager’s Guide to the 2024 Election Part 4

Welcome back to the amazing 10 truths series where today we start with point 3: Human flourishing requires fossil fuels

Fossil Fuels and the Environment

With the growth of our species we’ve advanced further and further, discovering different forms to produce energy such as solar, wind, hydraulic, nuclear, and so much more. But the more we research this, we also learn that our planet is not as it previously was. Climate change, as we now it, has become heavily debated. Since the increasing usage of fossil fuels, the increase of climate change has both concerned and unbothered many. So the question remains, should we continue using fossil fuels, or switch to an alternative?

Fossil Fuels in Politics

The opinions of fossil fuels are once again very clearly divided between the two parties. The Republican candidates being in favor of the need for fossil fuels, and the Democratic Party focusing more on the need for climate change and switching to other sources of energy. But let’s go deeper into each of the candidates’ actions regarding this certain field.

Ron DeSantis has called for the withdrawal of the U.S. from “international climate commitments like the Paris Accords that aim to achieve ‘net-zero’ greenhouse gas emissions.” He has also criticized power grid failures, and said that he would like to prioritize more reliable energy sources from fossil fuels such as natural gas and coal, as well as nuclear power and hydropower. He would also repeal federal tax credits and subsidies for electric vehicles and their supporting infrastructure, as well as focus on reducing “federal regulations to best domestics production of oil and gas with the goal of cutting the price of gas to $2 per gallon in 2025.”

Vivek Ramaswamy has called for the “increased domestic drilling and fracking for fossil fuels like oil and natural gas, as well as burning coal to produce reliable energy.” He also advocated for the U.S. to ‘abandon the climate cult’ and pledged to reverse President Biden’s green energy policies.

Nikki Haley said she wanted to “empower domestic energy producers by expanding oil and gas production and reining in the regulatory bureaucracy that stands in the way.” She too has called for the elimination of President Biden’s green energy policies, and would look to eliminate the federal gas tax to ease burdens on consumers.

Former Vice President Mike Pence has called for “setting a goal of overtaking China s teh world’s leading energy producer by reducing burdensome regulations and eliminating preferences for certain types fo energy through a source-neutral approach.” He too would immediately remove President Biden’s green energy policies, and would look to expand drilling on federal land and cut restrictions on liquified natural gas infrastructure and expanding pipeline capacity.

Tim Scott said he would accelerate federal permitting processes that “regulate the development of oil and natural gas resources” and would also “set a goal of doubling nuclear energy production within a decade.”

Chris Christie has called for an energy policy- called the ‘all-of-the-above strategy’- that includes a mix of fossil fuels nuclear power, and renewables. He has also called for an increased domestic production of oil and gas, which he views as a :necessary component of the U.S.energy portfolio until nuclear energy output is increased and renewable sources like solar and wind are more developed.” Unlike the other candidates, however, he has said that he would be open towards steps aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions by carbon capture. He has also indicated that he would push China to also curb its emissions since only U.S. action to do so wouldn’t be as impactful.

Now what are these green energy policies everyone is fighting to get rid of?

The Biden-Harris Administration launched several initiative and billion dollar plans to increase the widespread use of clean and renewable energy. Some examples of such are:

  • $2.5 billion in funding to bring EV charging and alternative-fuel infrastructure to communities, which particular focus on underserved and overburdened communities, and along alternative fuel corridors
  • $14 billion National Clean Investment Fund, which will produce grants to up to three national clean financing institutions, enabling them to partner with states and the private sector to provide affordable financing for tens fo thousands of clean technology projects nationwide
  • $6 billion Clean Communities Investment Accelerator which provides grants for up to 7 nonprofits what will work with other groups to provide access to investments needed to deploy clean technology projects

Apart from that, President Biden has also boosted fossil fuels through allowing an Alaska ‘carbon bomb’, massive drilling lease sales in the Gulf, supporting across departments for oil and gas exports, and supporting for a controversial pipeline.

My Perspective

In schools, I’ve always been taught about the impacts of fossil fuels on our environment rather than why they were first used. It was covered in history classes when we got to the Industrial Revolution, but we never got current perspectives and impacts for the other parts of the world. There were passages, questions, and articles that talked about wind energy, solar energy, fossil fuels and ozone layers, and things regarding changes and alternatives to current and past practices. It was science, and knowledge incremental to our learning. We needed to know what was going on about the environment around us. What protected us from harmful ultraviolet radiation, and what’s causing for the rising water levels.

For me personally, I remember having a discussion on greenhouse gases fossil fuels with my dad and being so frustrated about why he didn’t agree with me. I had always had this mindset that fossil fuels were bad for the environment and we needed to change that to protect our planet. But with the research and preparation gone into this post, as well as an increase in the number and types of history/social studies classes I’ve taken since then, I’ve grown to have an altering opinion on fossil fuels.

Fossil Future, by Alex Epstein has been circulating around the articles I’ve read, highlighting some new insights I’ve never considered before.

Firstly, fossil fuels have been a core foundation in the growth of our nation as well as for many other countries around the world. We created a growing, thriving economy from the usage of fossil fuels, allowing us to create and advance to heights and levels we had never been able to even imagine much before. Things became efficient, easier, less time consuming, and more open to focus and develop other aspects. Today, now that we’ve grown and also have new findings on our environments and the impact of these fossil fuels, we’ve started to call for the reduced usage of them.

Stage 4 and 5 countries- pulling out my knowledge of AP Human Geography here-that have developed much before, begin to criticize Stage 2 and 3 countries who are relying on fossil fuels to develop today, saying they cause the pollution that damages our environment. They say this while being the ones who contributed to much of the damage at the beginning. It becomes evident from these arguments, that fossil fuels is what truly helped us develop and flourish as a species. We, as America, got to where we are now from our dependence on Fossil Fuels, and now developing countries are beginning to do the same. So yes, it is necessary.

Is it the best option though? No. As much as we don’t want to face it, our planet is dying. Human impact has left a negative mark on this planet. We see it with plastic and waste filled waters, hazy and dust colored skies where the sun is barely visible, oil spills blooming in the oceans, a reduction in animal populations, and so much more. We’ve now begun to realize these impact, hence the growing need and concern by activists to reverse and fix these actions. Fossil fuels, as beneficial they are, have been damaging and most harmful to our planet.

We should be looking towards alternative resources using water, wind, or even biofuel instead of solely depending on fossil fuels. I’m not necessarily considering the cut and complete removal of fossil fuels, but rather the development of alternative renewable resources that can support us as efficiently, or even more, as fossil fuels can. What would happen when we no longer have coal, oil, or gas to power our countries? What should we do then, when the world is in a state of panic? We need to at least begin the development of these renewable resources that can be used in the chance we run out. Fossil fuels should be used to progress development, but we also need to consider cutting down these practices to also use renewable resources.

See you for the fourth point: Reverse Racism is racism.

Part 187- Teenager’s Guide to the 2024 Election: Part 3

Part 187- Teenager’s Guide to the 2024 Election: Part 3

Today we start strong with Vivek Ramaswamy’s second truth: There are two genders.

Identity and Gender

Today’s world is changing. There are new ideas, concepts, feelings, and environments that we wouldn’t have even imagined of years ago. One of the ideas we’ve seen more around us is the creation of identity and categorization of gender.

The LGBTQIA+ community, to be more specific, has grown to become even more diverse within the past years. Due to this, there has been a rise of demands for recognition of the different pronouns, genders, and identities people have chosen for themselves. A recent example is the addition of Two-spirit to the acronym, changing it to 2SLGBTQIA+. These new changes and expansions have been making many politicians a bit antsy about what to do.

2 Genders in Politics

The most well-known actions in politics taken against the queer community has to be the ones by Ron DeSantis in Florida. From the “Don’t Say Gay” bill, to the “Anti-Trans Bathroom” Bill, and so many more, he’s been quite notorious for fighting the 2SLGBTQIA+ community head on. I’d say this relates quite strongly to religion in politics. In my last post, I talked about Governor DeSantis’s strong religious beliefs and how that can be seen in his political actions. He’s very proud of his Catholic beliefs and Christ-centered household. Some of these beliefs include the demonization of same-sex couples or those who identify as a different gender than that assigned at birth.

Nikki Haley is quite similar, showing strong support for the “Don’t Say Gay’ Bill, and going as far as taking restrictive measures towards trans kids participating in sports. She believes that the idea of one using pronouns different than assigned gender at birth, or those of opposite gender playing on a sports team “weakens the country.” Vivek Ramaswamy has also verbally shown his opinions towards trans people, refusing to believe they exist, and proactively spreading false, dangerous narratives about 2SLGBTQIA+ people. Several of the other GOP potential candidates- such as Mike Pence, Asa Hutchinson, and Tim Scott- have expressed similar views by signing anti-LGBTQ+ bills, supporting conversion therapy, introducing federal legislature that defunds schools protecting trans children, and a number of other actions.

The Democratic Party candidates have been more open towards the community.The Biden presidency has “documented more than 200 policies, statements, and appointments to include and protect LGBTQ people” their first two years. Many other democrats have voiced their support and determination to stand with the LGBTQ+ community for equality and rights. I can see how this relates to the secular vs more religious-affiliated viewpoint of the two parties.

My Perspective

I support 2SLGBTQIA+. Some of my friends are queer, and I love how that makes all of us unique and have a different personality and opinion on things. I think the whole 2SLGBTQIA+ group is fascinating and beautiful really. I love to see how queer people express that side of themselves and how happy they are when they show who they truly are. It really shows how they’ve found who they are. A lot of times that could mean coming out as gay, trans, non-binary, gender-fluid, etc. 

This world is constantly changing. It’s complex and confusing, and we often lose sight of who we are and what our identity as a person is. I love seeing these people on Instagram or online and in real-life and how they’ve found who they are. I really don’t care if you’re this or that. It’s not my business to decide if it’s right or wrong. What I really prefer is for you to feel happy and free. Where you can live as who you are and not be forced to follow a norm and standard defined by others. Sure, at birth we are given two genders; male and female. But overtime, we grow to understand ourselves more than others. We understand the world and we interpret things differently. Certain things feel right to us more than others, and gender is often one of them.

But, there are also times where this can become too overwhelming.With the constant fight for equality and recognition of 2SLGBTQIA+ identities- such as pronouns- we’re now facing the need to ask what pronouns someone goes by. That I’m fine with. I want to make sure I’m addressing someone the way they want to be addressed or referred to as and don’t want to make them uncomfortable. But there come times where I feel unsure about what pronouns they go by based on name or features. I don’t want to come off as rude by assuming pronouns or gender, but I also don’t want to be seen as signaling someone out simply for being different if I ask them for their pronouns and not anyone else.

Apart from that I wanted to bring up the newest addition to the 2SLGBTQIA+ acronym; the 2S. The 2S was added for Two-Spirit, which in my opinion, does not fall under the LGBTQIA+ community. Two-Spirit is “a term used within some Indigenous communities, encompassing cultural, spiritual, sexual and gender identity.” The term reflects “complex Indigenous understandings of gender roles, spirituality, and the long history of sexual and gender diversity in Indigenous cultures.” It refers to people having a masculine and feminine spirit. To me, this feels more culturally associated than identity. I’m not saying it’s not, but it relates more heavily to the type of work a native does- as there are often specialized work roles within native communities- and social roles and clothing. Although it falls under someone’s identity, this more strongly encompasses how a person acts within the community and the roles they take on based on gender, rather than merely how they want to be recognized in society. It’s something ingrained within their cultural traditions- societal roles and participation within the community- whilst many of the other LGBTQIA+ identities don’t.

Otherwise, I feel that someone’s identity should be based on what makes them the most comfortable. They should feel safe, and free to express how they want to regardless of common social norms and customs. We shouldn’t try and define someone else’s identity based on our beliefs or religion. America is the land of the free, and if we don’t hav the freedom to express who we are and who we want to be, then is it truly America?

That was my take on the second truth, there are 2 genders, and I look forward to seeing you in the next one!

Part 186- Teenager’s Guide to the 2024 Election: Part 2

Part 186- Teenager’s Guide to the 2024 Election: Part 2

Picking up from last week, this is part 2 of the 2024 election series. Last post I discussed a brief structure of this series, a table of the potential Republican candidates with aIl of their beliefs, as well as listed Vivek Ramaswamy’s 10 point plan. This is the first of the 10-post section talking about each of the points in detail and analysis from my perspective.

Just as a recap, here are the 10 points I am talking about.

10 Truths as per Vivek Ramaswamy: 

  1. God is real
  2. There are two genders
  3. Human flourishing requires fossil fuels
  4. Reverse racism is racism
  5. An open border is no border
  6. Parents determine the education of their children
  7. The nuclear family is the greatest form of governance known to mankind
  8. Capitalism lifts people up from poverty
  9. There are three branches of the U.S. government, not four
  10. The U.S. constitution is the strongest guarantor of freedoms in history

The reason I chose to integrate Vivek Ramaswamy’s 10 point plan is mainly because he’s the only candidate so far to have made his beliefs clear. He’s set up a very straightforward list of values he abides by, which he uses, and I want to use this as the basis of which I compare the potential candidates.

So, without further ado, let us begin with the first point.

Religion in Politics

Religion has had a tremendous influence over politics in the recent years. Abortion bans, laws against LGBTQ rights, religious lessons in school, it’s been heavily debated everywhere. But more specifically, when I mean religion in the United States, I mean Christianity.

America has been a country created and built fro freedom. Our first colonists, ‘settlers’, came for religious persecution. To escape the Church of England that opposed their different religious views. It’s essentially why Freedom of Religion is part of the First Amendment. But times have now changed. Back then there was one main religion with different branches that had different takes on it. That religion is Christianity. There were Protestants, Catholics, Quakers, Lutherans, Baptists, and so much more. In a way, they all had most of the same values, making some of the current topics we face in politics to be unthought of back then.

But as time passes by, America has slowly become a melting pot. You don’t see just one religion or multiple branches of that one religion, but instead multiple. Religions from all around the world, with each of their own unique tradition can be seen everywhere in America. Given this, we should feel the need to take all religions in account the best we can rather than just one. Yet, that doesn’t happen. Why is that so?

The Republican Party is heavily supported with evangelical Christians and conservative Catholics, while the Democratic Party tends to have liberal Protestants, Catholics, and secular voters in support. This ratio of supporters is what tends to make one party more bent on supporting certain decisions than other. But is that RIGHT? What effect can we see from this in today’s political decisions?

For me, I don’t think it’s right. Like I mentioned, America is influenced by religious freedom. To practice one’s own religion without fear or punishment. We shouldn’t be a country based on religion to make our decisions. One might bring up that countries that have religious governments in retaliation. True, but to compare that to America would be wrong. India, as an example, is a country where Buddhism and Hinduism originated from. It’s a cultural and religious hearth, where these values are integrated. America on the other hand is much different. We have a mix of religions and cultures that different people follow and live by everyday. While certain things are accepted in some religions it isn’t in others.

When politicians start making Abortion bans because their religion prohibits it, it’s almost like they’re forcing their religions on others. They expect others to follow a rule they follow in their religion, even when we all believe in different things. You shouldn’t bring religion and politics into play together, especially when we all have different ideas on religion. In a way, it takes away from freedom of religion. I mean, if your religion doesn’t allow abortions then that’s absolutely fine. But why should you stop me from getting one if I need it, when I am allowed to do so by my religion? The two shouldn’t correlate.

Candidates and Religion

I want to point out a very clever thing Vivek Ramaswamy did when describing his first truth. He said ‘God is real’. That’s it. It doesn’t necessarily say WHICH God he talks about. We would think he’s Christian but in reality he’s actually a Hindu. He proudly supports this, even while quoting parts of the Bible during tours. And really, that’s the greatness of it I guess. It doesn’t specify to which God is real, but simply that God is real. It aligns with all religions. Apart from that, he also states that we would hope for people to not fear making a leap to support him despite being of a different religion. Vivek Ramaswamy talks about how he’s a person of faith, similar to evangelical Christians. He’s connecting the two to show how difference in religion plays no part in his willingness to represent them.

Nikki Haley is a little different. Unlike Vivek Ramaswamy, she converted to Christianity. A lot of people constantly asked her about her religion and background when she identified as her parents’ Sikh religion as well as her husband’s Methodist faith. It got to a point where people understood she was talking about God, but more specifically which God. She finally addressed that she was Christian, as in order to gain the support needed to become South Carolina’s governor, they had to make sure it meant believing and praying to their Christian God. If she was was born into a Sikh family but converted to her husband’s religion, then does she truly believe in Christianity or did she do so for political gain? Moreover, if she believes that God is real then why would she feel the need to convert? She’s doesn’t necessarily use religion to advocate her political views, such as on abortion. She said she was “unapologetically pro-life” but will not “judge anyone who is pro-choice”.

Ron DeSantis is a different story. Ron DeSantis very proudly asserts his Christ-centered household and his Catholic beliefs. One of the things he advocates most for is religious education in school. His kids go to a school where they are taught stories from the Bible, and he says he and his wife are grateful for it, as well as when “{their} our kids are coming back from preschool or kindergarten and talking about David and Goliath.” He uses his religious views to support his actions including the attack on Disney, and religious education in schools. He has also said that “the country is ready for a spiritual revival to get back to what he believes are its founding principles.” However, our Founding Fathers didn’t base our founding principles on Christianity but rather on unalienable rights.

With Democrats, they tend to be more secular when it comes to religion. They don’t align with one religion and tend to act independently from that. President Biden, who is Roman Catholic similar to Governor DeSantis, however he doesn’t necessarily publicize it that much. Although it’s known he’s Catholic, he doesn’t talk much about his beliefs compared to others. He also doesn’t combine this with his political decisions.

(These are the most I’ve found on candidates based on religious values)

My Perspective

I respect all religions. It really doesn’t matter to me that much what you believe in, unless it results in trying to force those beliefs on someone else. That’s exactly what can be seen with the Republican Party from time to time.

I’m assuming that’s mostly what makes people so biased against Republicans at first thought. We tend to think about the actions that have come from beliefs in certain religions compared to some of the other values they have. Now, looking at this with a deeper analysis, I think I might understand why Republicans tend to be more Christian aligned. In the past, most Americans were white Christians who mostly followed the same God- with varying beliefs based on religion type. But as America has slowly become less white, less Christian, people are trying to hold onto their beliefs the best they can. Back when their religious beliefs and values were always present in the community and in people around them, there wasn’t much worry. But with the varying ideas, beliefs, cultures, and religions that have built and created the diverse community America is today, it’s not as easy. (Most) Republicans are trying to adhere with the Christian nationalism, making it more supported by evangelical Christians.

But these fears also lead to a lot of anti-Black, anti-immigrant, antisemitism views. (To name a few) It also leads to the need to bring back old practices in the past and increase the practice and teachings of Christianity to children in settings other than just at home. They want to keep the same values they’ve known stable, and consistent and don’t like the change with opposing views. There becomes a need for religious education ins chooses, Abortion bans, anti-woke bills, and LGBTQ freedom restrictions. It’s because of this that people- a lot of kids in my generation I’m mainly referring to- tend to view the Republican Party negatively. And, I’m not saying the Republican Party are necessarily right in these aspects. I strongly disagree with them on these topics, but after doing more research on them through this series, I’ve come to find myself understanding a lot of their views. Republicans constantly bring religion into politics, forcing those with different religions to abide and follow rules they don’t have to in their own religion.

In a generation where things are increasingly confusing, the only thing we all want to do is to find our own identity. We want to truly find who we are, make our own decisions and choices, and not to be coerced into something by others. I know, we’re bound to fail at that. We’ll make mistakes and do stupid things that we think are right, thinking we know better. But really that’s how we’ll grow. It’s how we’ll find what we want to do, how we want to work and be the person we want to be. But that ability is often taken away. A lot of time we’re falling into step as our parents. We repeat the same words they said at home in school, or growing up to believe the same things our parents our without a second thought. While that may be fine since we don’t know much at this time, it also prevents us from thinking for ourselves. To actually come up with our own ideas and opinions rather than regurgitating whatever someone else said because it sounded impressive and even right. But for how long would we keep doing this?

I feel that we should let people find who they are and build their own identity than trying to force things on one another. In certain circumstances, it is necessary to guide others, but we shouldn’t force a right or wrong based on one standard. Your right could be my wrong and vice versa. Maybe we’re both wrong or even both right. Regardless, it shouldn’t get to a point where we force that on another person. Especially religious beliefs.

This concludes the first truth of Vivek Ramaswamy’s 10 truths. See you next week for the second truth; There are 2 genders.