To My Fellow American Millennials

Author: Alli Jean, Current Events/Politics

To My Fellow American Millennials,

This is the blog post I really hoped I wouldn’t have to write, yet sadly am not surprised to find myself confronted with.

First, Donald Trump, Mike Pence and their supporters are to be congratulated. You won. You proved so many people wrong and you inspired millions of people to unite in supporting you. So, congratulations. I may not agree with a single one of your policies but I can acknowledge what you have accomplished. You will be our President. That’s how Democracy works.

While we have every right to fight every last policy you put forth, part of the privilege of being American citizens is respecting the process we have set forth. Unless we work together to change how the electoral process works, the reality is that America chose to elect Donald Trump Tuesday night.

So, I think we need to be honest about the varied but fervent emotions that are reverberating among us right now.

Those who opposed and voted against Trump are fearful. Fearful of what is to come, of the idea that the progress that has been made prior to and over the last eight years will be eliminated, fear for the livelihood of our neighbors, friends and family, fear that the rights we treasure will be taken away, fear that diversity will be overcome by oppression and fear that our global relationships will be tarnished by the decision we have just made.

But, those who support Trump have been living in fear too. For many, the past eight years have not brought as much economic improvement as they had hoped. ISIS and other terrorist and extremist groups around the world have either formed or gotten stronger, and many fear imminent danger in terms of our National Security. Many feel that this fear is compounded by the fact that their second amendment rights could be taken away, and that society is becoming too open-minded in terms of accepting those of different backgrounds, religions, sexual orientations, gender identities and cultural interests.

The idea that everything must be politically correct has created a backlash and inevitable protest that elected someone who has and will say anything he believes, no matter the consequence.

Regardless of if you fit into one of the above categories or you don’t, we need to recognize that while we may vehemently disagree and even argue that one of the two sentiments above have been constructed from outright lies, it doesn’t mean they aren’t real to those who believe them. Fear is how we got here, and understanding that might hopefully lead us to work with one another differently now. We need to heal.

Throughout history, we revere those who have stood up to injustice. Now it’s our turn…again. We built this country by standing up to oppression, by fighting for religious liberty, and by declaring that this will be a land where all people are created equal. However, it wasn’t perfect then, was it? And we find ourselves standing at a similar precipice now.

The future depends on where we go from here. Maybe Trump won’t fulfill his campaign promises, and I truly hope he will do as he said he would do in his victory speech Tuesday night and be the President and advocate for every American. But if Trump and Pence do what they have built their campaign upon, the well-being of anyone who is not a wealthy, white male is in jeopardy.

If you are not Christian (especially if you are Muslim or Jewish), if you are Hispanic or any other race, if you are disabled, if you are a member of the LGBT+ Community, if you are a woman, if you are from a working-class family, if you are living in poverty or close to it, if you are undocumented. The list goes on and on.

Here’s why I have hope: Americans thrive in the face of adversity. It is our life blood. Traditionally, we have made progress very slowly, with one group paving the way for the next group of crusaders to take up their cause.

But perhaps the fact that so many have so much to lose under our next President will mean that we will rise up together to prevent the unthinkable. We know the rhetoric that has been spread throughout this election season, by many of the candidates, but it is now up to us to prevent these thoughts of bigotry from becoming an oppressive reality.

If we’re being honest, a lot of us were disappointed with a lot of the choices this election. Maybe we needed this to motivate ourselves to do better. If there’s one thing everyone learned from this campaign, it’s that passion for a candidate and his or her ideas is a much stronger motivator than disdain of a candidate’s opponent. So, let’s use that to our advantage.

Now is the time to become politically aware. To run for office. To stand up for the environment, for all people facing prejudice. To learn to articulate your views with poise, compassion and finally to be willing to compromise when needed. Now is the time when we should examine the electoral process and reform the metrics within it that are obsolete, to explore the idea that a two party system may not be the best way to govern, to write to our elected officials and demand that they serve those who elected them and not their special interests.

We also need to remember that contradictorily, the GOP took control of the House and the Senate while simultaneously, a number of progressive Democrats won congressional seats across the United States. Both parties are ready for change and new blood within our congress gives us the opportunity to do so.

It would be so easy right now to give in to both the fear and bigotry that have been omnipresent throughout this election. But that’s not who we are as Americans. Let’s remind those around the world who are watching our next move that Americans always win against tyranny, and we’re not about to stop now.

Love, peace and understanding to all of you,

Alli

Disclaimer: The political views expressed in this article do not necessarily express the views of Not Another Millennial Blog. 

Bend Over and Cough: It’s Time for an Exam of American Politics

Author: Alli Jean, Current Events/Politics

In the latest media frenzy of this election cycle, the 24-hour news circuit – as well as social media – exploded when the story broke that at a 9/11 memorial service at Ground Zero, Hillary Clinton felt faint, and had to leave the event after an hour and a half. She went to her daughter’s nearby Manhattan apartment to rest, after which, her aides said she felt “much better.”

Due to the constantly increasing panic and frustration about the current state of American politics, we have seen some of the worst behavior yet – from all sides – in reaction to the state of Hillary Clinton’s health. Let’s remind ourselves of some of the facts:

  • In the middle of a grueling campaign schedule that would be exhausting for a person half her age, 68-year-old Hillary Clinton felt overheated standing in the middle of Manhattan on an over 80-degree day.
  • It was later revealed that Hillary was diagnosed with pneumonia a few days prior to this incident and despite this diagnosis, continued to attend campaign events.
  • Despite the complicated and often conflicting rules of American politics, if a Presidential candidate dies or drops out of the race before the election, his or her replacement is not decided by the former nominee, but by the elite of his or her party; the DNC or RNC.

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And now we move on to a few of the opinions, reactions, questions and wild conspiracy theories that have been discussed in response to Hillary’s health – which all point to the hysteria and paranoia that currently resides within the majority of voters:

  • On one hand, the health of any potential President is a serious issue for voters, and if either candidate has a mental or physical health issue that could affect their respective abilities to serve as President, voters have a right to know the details.
  • The Clinton Campaign, once again, has managed to appear dishonest to voters. Instead of immediately reporting that Hillary was feeling under the weather, campaign officials neglected to address it, contributing to Hillary’s perception as a dishonest candidate.
  • Speculation is fervent that not only does Hillary have pneumonia – she has been hiding a diagnosis of Parkinson’s disease for some time.
  • Admitted conspiracy theorists are suggesting that the real Hillary has been replaced by a body double.
  • Democrats who oppose Hillary – and what they believe was a corrupted primary election – proclaim that the primary runner-up will step in, should for any reason, the front runner need to step down.

How are voters supposed to make an informed decision about whom to elect as their next leader?

Watching the news has turned into a twisted version of “two truths and a lie;” most updates about the 2016 campaigns are either false or highly exaggerated, and occasionally a fact or truthful story sneaks into the news circuit.

Hillary supporters are so fearful of a Trump presidency that they are afraid to even acknowledge areas any issues within her campaign – whether she is feeling under the weather or, the fact that for many, she fails to seem honest and genuine.

Bernie Sanders supporters, still reeling from what they see as a rigged election, are propagating falser stories of what would happen if either candidate drops out, and arguing that if Hillary is too sick to run, that Bernie is automatically entered as he was the primary runner-up.

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As for Trump, despite recent leaks of Colin Powell’s deeming Trump as an “international pariah” amongst other names, his poll numbers remain strong.

If this election has taught us anything, it is that we cannot rely on the media to guide us towards honorable candidates. Although many have spent the weekend speaking about Hillary’s health, perhaps we should also be asking about the health of our country and considering the current state of American politics.

Are we so desperate to believe anything but the truth anymore? Are we kidding ourselves that Presidential politics have degenerated into little more than a reality television contest? Is our hatred of the system so strong that many are willing to bring into power someone who is loved by dictators around the world, and feared by those who worry we are about to repeat past instances of promoting hatred and isolation?

With only less than two weeks until the first debate, the time is now to think about where we really want our country headed. We can’t afford to let this decision come down to worrying about the trivial matters…that the media doesn’t want us to forget.

Whatever your views, whatever your opinion of these candidates, it is essential to realize that this election is about more than picking one leader; the fate of our courts and our Congress also hangs in the balance.

So, question everything you’re being told. Do your own research, understand the issues at stake and realize that it is the team that gets elected into the White House that decides the fate of the next generation – and will ultimately either bring us forward or set us back. The choice is yours.

 

Disclaimer: The political views presented in this article do not necessarily reflect the views of Not Another Millennial Blog.

Why My Friend is Voting for Donald Trump

Author: Alexandra Black, Current Events/Politics

It’s time for me to explore the truth that many millennials cannot face: young people are voting for Donald Trump.

In an America where most of us grew up with Trump’s face plastered as the poster boy for “You’re Fired” rather than “Make America Great Again,” it is very puzzling to our generation both why and how he came to power. However, we cannot ignore the truth that Donald Trump is the Republican Party’s candidate for the next POTUS.

I spoke with George Washington University student, Allison Coukos — an undergraduate student majoring in Political Science and minoring in Business Administration and Communication. She is also an active participant in GW’s Greek Life and head of PR for GW College Republicans.

As off the record as I can be while still on the record, I think it is very important to read what Allison has to say. You do not need to agree, you do not need to vote for someone you do not want to, but you, as a voter and an American should have an open mind and a well-formed opinion before you head to the polls.

Q: Do you identify with a specific political party? If so, which one?
A: I identify with the Republican Party.

Q: Which values do you identify with most strongly within your party? Are there any values or aspects that you disagree with?
A: The values that I most strongly identify with are the party’s beliefs in individual liberty, the free market, a strong national defense and a limited national government. Naturally, there are aspects of the party’s platform that I disagree with, but ultimately the core values of the party override whatever peripheral disagreements I have with the party’s platform.

Q: Trump’s slogan is “Make America Great Again.” What aspects of his platform would you say support this call to action?
A: Trump is calling for policies that generate economic prosperity in the United States and respect in the international community. He wants to strengthen the middle class through tax relief, simplifying the tax code and through reinvigorating American business interests (by bringing jobs back home). If we can become an economically prosperous country, we can create stability both at home and abroad.

Q: As he is not a politician, Trump has been praised by many as being anti-establishment. Do you think his background in business rather than politics is what we need in a President?
A: A recent Gallup poll from June of this year found that 80% of Americans disapprove of the way Congress is handling its job. I think having an outsider, or anti-establishment, candidate will bring a refreshingly new perspective to Washington.

Q: How do you think our foreign relations will change based on Trump’s foreign policy? 
A: Trump has indicated that he would be more supportive of our allies and re-evaluate our relationships with other countries. In particular, I think his pro-Israel stance is extremely important. Under Obama’s presidency we have not been a good ally to Israel. Martin Indyk, a special envoy for Israeli-Palestinian negotiations during Obama’s presidency, said that President Obama distanced himself from Israel in order to gain credibility in the Arab world. It is especially important – given the current political instability there – that the United States builds a strong alliance with Israel.

Q: Trump has a very blunt attitude. He has made comments against past Republican presidents and politicians, beyond his past opponents, such as Reagan, Bush and McCain. Why do you think someone who has a history of speaking ill of people in his party is so successful?
A: A 2015 Pew Research Center poll showed that only 19% of Americans say that they trust the government in Washington. Trump taps into this frustration that people have toward the political establishment.

Q: Is your personal support based on Trump’s platform or the idea of “Never Hillary?” Why or why not?
A: It’s about supporting the policies to improve the lives of all Americans. Unless there is a Republican in the Oval Office, House Speaker Paul Ryan and Congress will not be able to pass the legislation needed to bring prosperity and security back to American citizens. Such legislation includes a system that increases upward mobility through reforming our current welfare system with poverty-fighting programs that are tailored to individual needs. Ryan also wants to create economic reform that increases the transparency and oversight of the Fed and enables Americans to achieve financial independence. Finally, he wants to reform healthcare by strengthening Medicare and lowering the cost of healthcare through a refundable tax credit to help people buy health insurance in the individual market.

Q: What are your thoughts on VP running mate, Mike Pence?
A: I think Pence is a great Vice President choice for Trump. Truthfully, I would have liked to have seen someone like Nikki Haley or Mia Love on the ticket. The great thing about Pence is that his is the yin to Trump’s yang. He brings a calmness to the ticket as well as a wealth of political experience both on the Hill and as Indiana’s Governor. During Pence’s tenure as Governor unemployment dropped to 5% (from 8.4%). He also reduced taxes every year while having a budget surplus.

Q: Finally, what do you want “Never Trump” voters to know?
A: The race is between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. “Never Trump” now means “Hillary.” I ask people to consider which vision for America’s future most closely matches their own. It’s easy to get angry at some of Trump’s comments and his bombastic nature but at the end of the day, Trump wants to work with a Republican Congress to move America forward.

 

Disclaimer: The political views presented in this article do not necessarily reflect the views of Not Another Millennial Blog.

Why Donald Trump is Unfit to be President

Author: #NAMB Guest Author, Current Events/Politics

A great deal of Donald Trump’s supporters are uneducated, leading you to shake your head but not become surprised when you find out they plan to vote for the abhorrent liar come November.

But there are many other Trump supporters who are coastal elites with college degrees and/or advanced degrees, yet still plan to vote for a man who had to reverse course on his pledge to order American soldiers to commit war crimes.

If I listed all the reasons why Donald Trump—a man who insinuated President Obama was being complicit with ISIS —is unfit to be President, this article would be far too long. So here’s the tip of the iceberg…

Nearly everything he says is a lie
When you watch one of Trump’s speeches, you’re taken aback by his unpreparedness, his ridiculing of the media and his generally unhinged behavior. But the scariest part of his speeches are the lies—the ones his supporters eat up and fact-checkers spit back out after disproving them.

Lying is part of Trump’s fear-mongering nature (which we’ll get to below), and a glimpse at Politifact presents you with dozens of Trump’s “pants on fire” statements—lies that are especially blatant.

Among Trump’s recent lies are claims that the Obama administration supported Al-Qaeda, that crime in America is rising, that Hillary Clinton wants to “release the violent criminals” and that he wasn’t familiar with David Duke—a white supremacist he had disavowed two days prior.

The above lies help Trump when he is…

Fear-mongering
Trump’s overarching theme—”Make America Great Again”—is laughable when you stop and listen to what he says on a daily basis. He’s not trying to unite the country, he’s trying to divide it.

In the process, Trump has helped to escalate violence in and around his rallies and has duped many Americans into believing the lies he adeptly scares them with.

One of Trump’s worst offenses came after the recent mass shooting in Orlando, where his first order of business was to “appreciate the congrats” for being right about Islamic terrorism. Simply appalling.

He’s a Xenophobe
While there are level-headed and/or educated people who will vote for Trump, his bread and butter is his appeal to the lowest common denominator of society—people who are intolerant of those who aren’t like them.

Trump shouts about the danger of Syrian refugees, talks about building a wall to keep Mexicans out of the country and often insinuates all Islamic people are radicals. And many of his supporters eat it up.

In the New York Times this past February, Lynn Vavreck dug through some scary exit poll data from the South Carolina primary. She found that only 69% of Trump supporters disagreed with the notion that the white race was a superior race, and 20% disagreed with Abraham Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation that freed the slaves.

He has no cogent policy ideas
Even if you can get past the fact that Trump is a lyingracistfascistsexistxenophobicfear-monger whose temperament is downright scary, I don’t see how it’s possible to get past the fact that his policy ideas are a mess.

Just to mention a few, Trump’s thoughts on trade, the economy, the environment and foreign policy (specifically his absurd ‘wall in Mexico’ idea) are a total disaster. We won’t delve in to his other horrendous foreign policy ideas since we’d be here all day.

He has no experience
Trump prides himself on not being a political insider, on not having to answer to lobbyists and on the unconventional way he’s run his campaign.

And while his candidacy has been a breath of fresh air to those who abhor intellectual discourse, the fact remains that he has zero political experience. Someone in the White House with a rational temperament and no experience would be scary enough. Trump being there would make me want to leave the country.

That brings us to one of my pet peeves: when people attempt to lump Hillary Clinton in with Donald Trump.

Hillary Clinton isn’t the most likable person on Earth, she may have an air of entitlement and she can come across as robotic when she’s not in close, town-hall type settings.

But Hillary is highly qualified, has actionable progressive ideas, is striving to unify the country and is someone whose access to the nuclear codes wouldn’t lead to the majority of the country curling up in the fetal position out of fear.

Deciding between Trump and Hillary isn’t choosing the lesser of two evils. It’s a choice between a man who is dangerously unhinged and unqualified and a woman who is temperamentally sound and highly qualified. Choose wisely, or as Trump says, we might not have a country left.

 

Disclaimer: The political views presented in this article do not necessarily reflect the views of Not Another Millennial Blog.

I’m Being Asked to Pick Between Voldemort and Umbridge… and I’m Voting for Dumbledore

Author: Alli Jean, Current Events/Politics

Coverage of the 2016 Presidential Election has largely focused on the youth involvement in grassroots campaign efforts and the predicted turnout of young people at the polls come November. Since this group made up the demographic that largely contributed to Barack Obama’s historic 2008 win, much has been said about who this generation of young voters will support—and how; specifically, the momentum and excitement surround the Bernie Sanders campaign.

As of March 17, the Washington Post reported that “Sanders has won the votes of more than 1.5 million of them [youth votes]. Clinton is second and Trump trails just behind, but the two front-runners combine for just 1.2 million votes — 300,000 less than Sanders alone.” What can explain this phenomenon, that a 74-year-old Democratic Socialist from Vermont has won the hearts and minds of young people? For a generation that is painted as being obsessed with Hollywood and celebrity culture, wouldn’t media-mogul and reality TV star Donald Trump be an obvious choice?

And why not Hillary Clinton, who would accomplish the historic feat of becoming the first female president — and has not only struggled to win the trust of young voters, but specifically young women voters? Perhaps the passion and support for the Bernie Sanders campaign can be better understood by comparing the current political climate to that of J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series — an integral part of the coming of age process for so many millennials who grew up reading the series.

We were the first to anxiously hope we would get a letter from Hogwarts, wish we could play Quidditch, dared to envision ourselves competing in the Triwizard Tournament, were the first to cry when our favorite characters died and the first to cheer when Ron and Hermoine finally admitted how they felt about each other. Most importantly, we grew up knowing there was nothing that was more important than for Harry to finish Lord Voldemort once and for all—and stop the spread of his hatred and destruction. Voldemort was the definition of evil for the first Harry Potter generation…that is, until we met Dolores Umbridge.

Anyone with a moral conscience recognized the evil embodied in Lord Voldemort. He spoke about bloodlines and punishing those he deemed as being of “inferior birth,” calling them names like mudbloods and tearing families apart by murdering anyone he imagined would get in his way. Dolores was different.

The magical governing body, the Ministry of Magic and the media they controlled put Dolores Umbridge in charge at Hogwarts after Voldemort had come back to power. They were in complete denial of his return—and what Voldemort in power would really mean for the wizarding community. And in denying what was really going on, the Ministry promoted to power a woman who was equally as corrupt—and its members took almost a year to realize the error of their ways.

In the meantime, it was Albus Dumbledore who spoke the truth. It was Dumbledore who, after he was locked in prison for simply stating the truth about both Umbridge and Voldemort, inspired a group of young followers to risk their own lives in order to fight for what they knew was right. As Dumbledore reminded them, “It is important to fight and fight again, and keep fighting, for only then can evil be kept at bay though never quite eradicated.”

Still confused as to why this generation is fighting so hard to get Bernie elected? This movement is not just about him—it is a movement to end the widespread hatred and bigotry of Donald Trump and to prohibit the media and networks that support the Clinton Foundation from inaugurating the woman whose entire platform is directly controlled by those putting money in her pocket.

Whatever your political beliefs, millennials understand that the next leader of the free world cannot be a proponent of hatred, or a chameleon whose ideas are bought and sold—we need to elect a leader who is moral, honest and has been fighting for economic and social justice for all beings for the past 30 years, no matter how many were listening, simply because he knows it’s right. Since he called for those who believe in change to run for office and fight for progressive change, it’s been reported that there are over 12,000 people who have committed to run for office. Bernie’s Army will fight on…the revolution is just beginning

#StillSanders

 

Disclaimer: The political views presented in this article do not necessarily reflect the views of Not Another Millennial Blog.