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 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 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.

Part 185- Teenager’s Guide to the 2024 Election: Part 1

Part 185- Teenager’s Guide to the 2024 Election: Part 1

It’s that time again; U.S. presidential elections. This is the second edition to my election series which I previously started for the last election in 2020. The overall framework of this series is to use Vivek Ramaswamy’s 10 truths. Vivek Ramaswamy has very openly and strongly expressed his beliefs in 10 simple bullet points, and I’ll be using these to analyze each candidate’s values. (This goes for both parties)

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

These points will be used to categorize as well as compare each candidate and each of their views on each of these points, allowing for me- as well as you- to decide which candidate you’d most likely want to support based on similar aligning views. Following the analysis of each point, I’m going to discuss the effect these beliefs play in politics as well as in every day life. This part will be discussed from my point of view, as a teenager.

The candidates will be formatted into a table at the end with their position on each of these 10 truths, as shown below. Although the table below consists of only Republican potential candidates, I’ll be discussing both Democratic and Republican candidates the best I can.

CandidatesAbortionEconomyForeign PolicyImmigrationOther
Donald TrumpPro-lifeAmerica first; China as a business partner, not political peerAmerica first; long term benefits for American citizensAgainst illegal immigration, US-Mexico wallPro-guns (2nd Amendment)
Ron DeSantisSupported bills restricting access to abortion, stopped short of saying he would support a federal banCut individual taxes, slash government spending, “American energy independence” and rollback of electric vehiclesOpposes additional US involvement in Ukraine, reduce economic ties with “communist China”, the US would no longer “kowtow to Wall Street”Eliminate the visa lottery and limit “unskilled immigration”Frequently “touted his opposition to gender-affirming care for trans people and other public health measures such as mask mandates”
Vivek RamaswamyPro-life, would not back a national abortion banUS should abandon its climate goals to drive down energy costs and boost its GDP, in favor of some corporate and individual tax cutsCriticized US aid to Ukraine, saying it is strengthening Russia’s alliance with Chinadeport “universally” and end birthright citizenship for children of undocumented immigrants (who would then be required to apply to become a citizen)
Tim ScottPro-life, would support a national 15-week banTax cuts and stronger economic competition with China. Championed legislation establishing “opportunity zones” which are meant to increase economic development in low-income areas by incentivizing private investmentSupports continued US aid to Ukraine, says Biden has not done enough. “Soft on China”In favor of a wall along US southern border to curb illegal migration and drug trafficking
Nikki HaleyPro-life, federal abortion ban “unrealistic”Opposes raising national debt limit, “veto spending bills that don’t put America on track to reach pre-pandemic spending”Labeled Chinese Communist party an “enemy”, criticized Trump for trying to befriend Chinese presidentVowed to tighten security at US-Mexico border, add 25,000 patrol agents, require companies to verify employees’ status online.
Chris ChristieNot support federal abortion banTargeted “excessive government spending” as the reason for inflation and floated cuts to social security, including MedicareTough on China-and-Russia, support for continued US aid to Ukraine
Mike PencePro-life, in favor of six-week abortion banBoosting US economy, employment high and inflation low (focus solely on reducing inflation), advocated for cutting social security benefitsAdvocated for continued US aid to UkraineVowed to finish the border wall
Doug BurgumPro-life, not support a national banPrioritize growing the country’s tech and energy sectorsWinning “Cold War with China” is importantSupports stricter restrictions of migration. Says Biden “hasn’t done enough to secure the US-southern border”
Asa HutchinsonPro-life, support a national banFloated extreme measures to balance the federal budget and reduce debt including cutting federal non-military workforce by 10%Would not cut economic ties with China, advocated for more action to counter China’s threat against Taiwan,Supports harsh restrictions on immigration
Organized from The Guardian

So let’s get into our ACTUAL first post of this series with the first truth; God is Real.

Part 181- Why the British Monarchy should be Abolished

Welcome back to another post! Today we will be coming back to a topic I once briefly covered in the past: The British Monarchy. Now, short disclaimer before I begin: Everything in this post is of my own opinion based on research as well as accounts and stories I’ve learned about growing up. I have strong opinions about this topic so I will be very blunt and also speak informally in addressing people and title given that I simply do not care to do so. Given you have been notified, I will now proceed and explain the several factors of which I believe the British Monarchy should be abolished for.

Side Note: This post was originally going to be titled, ‘Why the British Monarchy can go suck it’, but given that it’s a little too bit of a vulgar term, I’ve revised it to something more suitable.

If you haven’t read my post on the Queen’s passing, then here is the link for that: Queen Elizabeth II’s Death In that I cover more in depth stories and events as well as reactions to the Queen’s death which will further justify my clams listed below. 

My main points for this topic are:

  • A Legacy of Colonization and Exploitation
  • Questioning the Relevance of the Monarchy
  • An Examination of Hypocrisy and Double Standards
  • Accountability and Reparation

Followed by a conclusion to summarize everything.

I live in a country that sometimes glorifies the British. The British are our allies, which is stupid since our original founding fathers moved to America to get away from England. I can’t agree with these views since, well, they aren’t great. My first point shows why.

A Legacy of Colonization and Exploitation

A big problem I have with the British Monarchy is how the expansion of their empire was based on deceit and subjugation. My prime examples will be from India, but this has happened in many, many other countries as well in the past. The British didn’t come to India under the motive of colonization, but under business. They actually deceived the people and took advantage of Indians and their resources. Before anyone realized what had happened, the British were already too powerful. During their rule, they treated Indians like they were dogs. They would have signs saying, ‘No dogs or Indians allowed’. They destroyed the education system and wiped out our history, replacing it with their system. India’s GDP was between 25 and 35% of the world’s total GDP, and that dropped to 2% by India’s Independence in 1947. The literacy rate was at 70% and dropped to 12% after the British. People were starving; they were dying and struggling to live. They were deprived of their food, resources, wealth and education after the British colony, leaving India to the country it is today: A small country with a big population.

British policemen hold men from the village of Kariobangi at gunpoint while their huts are searched for evidence that they participated in the Mau Mau Rebellion of 1952.

Questioning the Relevance of the Monarchy

The British monarchy is utterly useless. Like what is the actual point of them? They have their own Parliament- which is more flawed than anything else mind you- and still need royals to act as some face or whatever. Sure, the British monarchy was once the rulers of this great empire or something, but times have changed. Do we need you? No. The only purpose they actually serve is waving at people they take money from while sitting and looking pretty as they open new museums and sign birthday cards for 100-year-olds. Yeah, totally living the royal life. They could be literal trillionaires or even billionaires with the amount of wealth they have yet they still get money from the people. Like, what is the point of that? Relax guys, I think they can survive without a few million dollars. Oh yeah, wanna know what else? All that money and wealth they own isn’t theirs. A good portion of their wealth- including their ‘sacred’ Crown Jewels- are stolen from former countries and colonies they ruined. It would be really nice if they returned the Cullinan Diamonds or even the Kohinoor back to the original owners.

LONDON, ENGLAND – JANUARY 11: One of the replica sets of the British Crown Jewels made in honour of the Coronation of Queen Elizabeth II in 1953 (est. £5000- 7000) goes on view at Sotheby’s on January 11, 2018 in London, England. It will be auctioned in the Of Royal And Noble Descent sale at Sotheby’s London on the 17th January 2018. (Photo by Tristan Fewings/Getty Images for Sotheby’s)

An Examination of Hypocrisy and Double Standards

Another thing I want to point out is that the whole West is better than East conception. It’s often seen with America and the UK being seen as some supreme country that is all-powerful or something. Yeah not really. I mean, in terms of technology and development you could say so. But in reality, a lot of policies they implement or even things they’ve done are just really hypocritical. For example, calling things a flawed democracy or a full democracy. There’s something called a Democracy Index which is an index compiled by the Economist Intelligence Unit- a division of the Economist Group which is a UK-based private company. Emphasis on UK-based. How biased. A flawed democracy is defined as a nation where elections are fair and free and basic civil liberties are honored but may have issues. (Media freedom infringement and minor suppression of political opposition and critics.) There are 5 categories of which 60 questions are asked: Electoral process and pluralism Civil liberties Functioning of government Political participation Political culture Given this, I will very much point out that the UK does not deserve to be as highly ranked as it currently is. (18th) Firstly, the UK Parliament- is split into the House or Lords and House of Commons. The House of Commons is an elected chamber with 650 members and the House of Lords has 778 members and has a kind of passed-down title. Although this is now abolished, there are still 92 out of 750 hereditary peers who sit in the House of Lords. Now, putting all this aside, I want to point out the biggest hypocritical factor in all this. Minor suppression of political opposition and critics. So the monarchy doesn’t have much power, yet it still has some say in the way of politics. For example, a Royal Assent of the Monarch is required for all Bills to become law, and certain delegated legislation must be made by the Monarch by Order in Council. The Monarch also has some executive powers to do this such as make treaties, declare war, award honors, and appoint officers and civil servants. So really, they are still somewhat significant in politics. My main point is that there still is oppression against criticism against the Monarchy. Just recently, during the King’s coronation, a group of ‘Not my King’ activists protested during the ceremony and had 64 people arrested. The reasons for arrest were:

  • Prevent a breach of the peace
  • Conspiracy to cause a public nuisance
  • Concerns people were going to disrupt the event

So even basic protesting is wrong? I mean, the whole point of protesting is to get your voice heard and motivate change. Sure, these are valid concerns. But, really? Protests will cause public nuisance. Not everyone will like them but that doesn’t mean they’re necessarily bad. If they had started to get violent then yes, it’s a problem. But from the clips and articles I’ve seen, these protestors were peacefully protesting. Now, while some arrests made were for weapons and drugs, others seem to be simply for disrupting the event.

Is expressing an opinion now wrong? Can people no longer freely express what they feel about something anymore? Not everyone has to like the monarchy, and if people want to bring some change about it by protesting peacefully, shouldn’t they be allowed to do so? Even before the coronation was set to begin, they were told that over 1,000 protestors were expected to gather and demonstrate against the event. Taking this into account, shouldn’t they have known that there would be some public nuisance? This also goes against the basic civil liberties, as stated for one of the categories which a government is labeled. If one gets arrested for expressing these civil liberties, then really, shouldn’t they be lower in their ranking?

Accountability and Reparation

Do you know how infuriating it is to see the British Monarchy flaunt their golden carriages and Crown Jewels across the world to the countries they stole it from? Do you know how much it angers me to see them enjoying the luxuries and goods they stole from my people and so may others? Do you know how painful it is to imagine your ancestors suffer and cry and watch helplessly as the ancestors of those royals and British proudly took our resources, our wealth, our history and culture, and even our lives? How they watched as we suffered and killed ourselves so we wouldn’t be killed by them? How even today, such events are considered ‘a shame’? How not even a simple, sincere apology is uttered? How do they dare to flaunt their wealth so proudly to millions across national and even global television with no shame as to how they even got these luxuries from?

And they still think they deserve to be called royals or to have some position? Despite how hypocritical and racist they are? None of them do. That’s why I believe the British Monarchy needs to be abolished and the Crown Jewels as well as wealth should be returned back to the countries they stole it from.

Part 174- The drama of politicians

So there’s been some pretty intense dramas going on in the past week about the next speaker of the house. If you didn’t know, our new Speak of the House is Kevin McCarthy who gained this position after 15 ballots. Surprisingly, it’s not the highest as the most ballots ever is actually 133. But anyways, let’s indulge in this topic and explore why it took 15 ballots to elect Speaker McCarthy.

Firstly, and for one of my absolute favorite reasons, there’s drama. It’s the classic teenage high school drama, except with adults at higher levels and with more serious topics. One of the representatives who absolutely refused to vote for Speaker McCarthy until the 15th ballot was Matt Gaetz. So apparently there’s this little beef between the two that Mr. Gartz has not let go of. When Mr. Gaetz was accused with sex trafficking claims, apparently, Mr. McCarthy did not present a strong enough defense for Mr. Gaetz. For this reason, Mr. Gaetz absolutely refused to vote for him. If you ask me, I find it amusing how government officials who are respected adults and members still act the way my current peers do. It’s really funny.

In the end, he did vote for him, which is why Mr. McCarthy got the position. Why did it take so long though? What made Mr. Gaetz and the other representatives who refused to vote for him, suddenly changed their mind?

Two words. Back scratching. “I scratch you back if you scratch mine.” The price for Mr. McCarthy to become the next speaker required patience, determination, and a little bit of luck to get the right proposal for a vote.

According to CNN, some of the requirements for Mr. McCarthy to become speaker include:

  • Seventy two hours to review the bills before they come to the floor
  • Giving members the ability to offer more amendments on the House floor
  • More Freedom Caucus representation on committees, including the powerful House Rules Committee
  • A McCarthy-aligned super PAC agreed to not play in open Republican primaries in safe seats
  • Any member can call for a motion to vacate the speaker’s chair – this is significant because it would make it much easier than it is currently to trigger what is effectively a no confidence vote in the speaker. Conservatives pushed hard for this, while moderates are worried it will weaken McCarthy’s hand.
  • Restoring the Holman Rule, which can be used to reduce the salary of government officials
Now the most eye-catching is the Holman Rule. Perhaps you’ve never heard of it before and that’s why it stood out. In fact, I had never heard of it before. (As well as a few other things on the list but that’s for later) So you know what I had to do. I did a little research, and here’s what I found.
The Holman rule is a provision in the rules of the United States House of Representatives that allows for individual line items in appropriations bills to be targeted for reduction or elimination. The rule, which was first implemented in 1876 and has been used intermittently since then, allows for any member of the House to offer an amendment to an appropriations bill that would reduce or eliminate a specific item of spending. The rule is typically used as a tool to target spending on specific programs or projects that an individual member or group of members oppose.

Now, reading that, it doesn’t include anything about cutting salaries. I know. Let me explain. As a measure to make it easier for lawmakers to eliminate federal agencies or slash the pay of individual agencies, the House restored the Holman Rule. As part of this rules package. It will “allow individual lawmakers to reduce the number of federal workers at specific agencies or cut their compensation as a provision or amendment to an appropriation bill.” This rule also allows lawmakers to target specific federal programs or offices, such as the FBI. They can use this to target the FBI or to “zero-out funding for specific federal investigations”. Essentially, they can use this bill as a reason to specifically target and remove agencies they do not want. Sly isn’t it?

Another shady back scratching deal that took place includes a “one-member election trigger”. 20 Republicans held out on voting for McCarthy until the 15th ballot. Why? For different reasons, they all could dislike Mr. McCarthy. That’s why this one-member election trigger agreement must have been a really good deal. The concession gives the ability for just ONE legislator to trigger a vote on whether to remove the Speaker from office. So anytime a legislator, even for a second, doesn’t want Mr. McCarthy as Speaker, all they have to do is say so. (Of course there’s most likely a longer process, but you get the point) This motion has had a long history, but it was raised to a minimum of 5 people to trigger the vacate. This time, it just takes one person. It could be Mr. Matt Gaetz, or maybe Ms. Lauren Boebert. It could be any of those 20 who refused to do so. It could even be a Democrat representative.

One more major event that took place was the restraining of Congressman Mike Rogers. After the 14th ballot, Mr. Rogers- an ally of Speaker McCarthy- was physically restrained for bellowing and jabbing fingers at a fellow Republican who was not supporting Mr. McCarthy. The main reason I brought this up was because it reminded me of The Caning of Charles Sumner. Senator Charles Sumner, an abolitionist Republican, was caned by Representative Preston Brooks, a pro-slavery Democrat, in 1856. Charles Sumner denounced the Bleeding Kansas crisis in a speech. This speech argued for the immediate admission of Kansas as a free state. He talked about the hateful embrace of slavery and the hideous crime. A response to this from Mr. Brooks included a caning. If I remember correctly from my history class, Mr. Sumner was badly beaten. To be fair, Mr. Brooks asked his fellow Representative on dueling etiquette , to which they replied that Charles Sumner was no gentleman – and a drunkard- and did not merit honorable treatment which is expected in a duel. That’s why they believed a cane beating in public to humiliate him would be better suited. Now although the two situations are rather different, this event was the first thing I thought of when I heard about the restraint.
Anyways, that was just the main points I wanted to cover regarding the Speaker elections. I’m now curious to see how things will play out and how each of these new requirements will be used in the future. Bye!