Pierce Pioneer

Why Don’t We Vote?

Abri Wilson / Staff Illustrator

Students weigh in on today’s political state and what gets them motivated to vote, as the Democratic Primaries arrive.

The time has come again to vote for president. Whether for re-electing the current president or campaigning for another candidate, this is a tense time of the year. The Washington Democratic Primaries start on Mar. 10, where citizens vote a nominee of a major political party for the office of president.

For Pierce College student Nicole Lee, her parents instilled many values growing up, as being a first-generation citizen. One of those values included going out to vote. “One of our rights and freedoms is to vote on our elected officials and how they’re going to run this country.”

“It’s going to be our future, right?” Lee said. “What’s going to happen to [American citizens] is directly correlated to who leads our country.”

Not all citizens are required to participate in voting, whether that is registration or voting in state and national elections. However, according to the Secretary of State, in 2016 only 76.83 percent of all citizens registered to vote.

According to ABC News, in Australia, voter participation has never been below 90 percent, as citizens are automatically registered and required to vote by law. For America, the big question which remains is one that’s been asked for years – how do we get people to go out and vote?

Travis Nelson, a Political Science professor at Pierce College, said it’s important that people know what they’re voting for, and are informed. “The main thing that we should do is show a connection to how politics actually affect our daily lives,” he said. Nelson added that having more high school or college classes focusing on current events could help students become more informed.

Some contributors to people not going out to vote include voters feeling as though their participation won’t affect the results in the long run. This is partly due to the electoral college, a system still in question by many voters.

According to HuffPost, the Electoral College involves 538 electors casting votes for the President. Nelson said it plays an important role, allowing presidential candidates to pay more attention to the interests of people in the smaller states that are typically ignored.

“But if we are getting to a point where the popular vote ends up quite different from the electoral college, then I think we need to reconsider the need to have the electoral college,” Nelson said.

Rachel Mathies, a student at Pierce, said the popular vote should have more merit than what it does currently. “I don’t think it should be abolished completely,” she said. “But I believe that it should be at least revised to be more reflective of the popular vote.”

Lee also adds that although it’s a way to get things done quicker, the popular vote should matter.

According to The U.S. Census Bureau, 18 to 29-year-olds make up only 21.2 percent of voters in Washington, compared to 45 to 64-year-old voters make up 34.6 percent. Mathies said young people are outnumbered by the “baby boomers”, and are easily discouraged about their vote making a difference.

Nelson said he expects a high turnout from voters of the younger generation this year, however. “It’s possible that with what’s going on with the impeachment that people will be kind of motivated to participate in the system,” he said.

Mathies, being 20-years-old, is excited to vote this year. “I feel like even though I’m a small number of the popular vote, my voice still makes a difference,” Mathies said. “Our ancestors fought for the right to vote, and I should participate in that process.”

When pointing out the decline in voters during election years, another topic which arises is what citizens actually want out of a presidential candidate. Voters do have certain qualities they look for, which can motivate those to go out and vote.

“Some of [the candidates] have more back bone than the others and that’s ultimately the difference in my eyes,” said Lee. “How will they be approached by the world, interact with other countries or nations and their leaders?”

Democratic front runners are Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders, with Elizabeth Warren not far behind. Mathies said she looks for candidates who can stand their ground during debates, especially against President Donald Trump. “I don’t see it as being an actual debate,” said Mathies. “[Trump] doesn’t follow debate rules.”

For almost four years, President Trump has held the Presidential office. Trump was the first president to be impeached, acquitted and run for a second term in history. Nelson said Trump is still retaining supporters.

“It’s totally different than the past, where people have been able to run off their own merits,” Nelson said. “This impeachment process emboldens the supporters and gives more ammunition to his reelection.

With Sanders running as a democratic socialist, his platform of free college can be appealing to young people who are prospective or current students. Mathies said it’s hard to get started when you have student debt. “That’s a really huge impact on a young person because we are trying to start out lives at that point.”

If a democrat is elected into The White House, it could shift many aspects in the country. Lee wants to see de-escalation between the two parties and some of the social movements surrounding them. “Hopefully the attitude in this country will change,” Lee said. “I think ethically and morally in how we treat each other has been disrupted over the past four years.”

Although politics can be a complex subject, students can get more information about presidential candidates and current events by receiving updates through news apps.

To register to vote, you can visit votewa.gov.

Kicking it with Q – Episode 5 – The Struggle in Hong Kong

Quintin Mattson-Hayward talks about the struggles in her home, her transition to the United States and Coronavirus.

 

Editor: Quintin Mattson-Hayward

Guests: Kay Li, Emma Li, Kitty Hui

Logo: Jesus Contreras

Rising Tensions in 2020

Pixabay.com / Photo Credit

Students and Professors on campus weigh in their personal thoughts on the U.S.-Iran conflict

Beginning 2020, President Donald Trump authorized an airstrike that killed Iran’s major general Qassem Soleimani; an act not approved by congress. Iran responded by firing missiles at bases in Iraq hosting United States troops. No Americans or Iraqi people were harmed in this attack.

Trump directed the immediate deployment of troops to the Middle East a day after the attack on Iran. While Trump stated there would be no further attacks after Iran’s strike, a number of Pierce College students are still affected by this news. Pierce College students who are veterans or active duty have differing opinions with the ongoing conflict between the U.S and Iran.

Julio Russell, an 11-year U.S. Army veteran, knows how difficult it is to be deployed, having served two tours in the Middle East. “It takes a toll on soldiers, being away,” said Russell. “You come back home and everything’s the same for you, [but] not for us. They teach us how to go to war, they don’t teach you how to come back from war.” 

Russell adds it doesn’t serve America’s best interest to get into another conflict with Iran. “There’s other conflicts and other things that are more important than Iran,” he said.

According to BBC News, the tense relationship between the U.S. and Iran date back over 60-years. The initial contact with Iran was in 1953 when the U.S. and the British intelligence staged a coup to remove the citizen elected Prime Minister, Mohammed Mossadeq. Within that time, the relationship has been inconsistent, with efforts from both sides having been unsuccessful.

Pierce College American history professor David Thomas, P.h.D., said the Iranian Hostage Crisis in 1979 and 9-11 are significant events impacting relations that have vacillated over the last 7-years. “To Iranians, we’re a bully who overthrew [their] government,” he said. “To Americans, they’re a terrorist who kidnap people.”

Even though the next steps for the U.S. and Iran is unknown, people’s opinions and assumptions come to light online. Russell’s day-to-day wasn’t directly affected other than the social media responses from what he refers to as “Facebook keyboard warriors.”

“Are you driving your kid to the recruiter line right now,” said Russell. “If they’re not there, boots-on-ground, don’t tell me nothing. I’ve been there, I’ve done that.”

Twitter sounded off after the attacks. The potential of World War 3 was the topic of all tweets, with politicians sending out information and the American people creating memes, hoping to soften the blow. Furthermore, citizens were curious if this would put Trump’s impeachment trial on hold.

According to CNN, in Dec. 2019, the House of Representatives passed both articles of impeachment: abuse of power and obstruction of Congress. Nancy Pelosi, Speaker of the House, has held off pressure to send the articles to the Senate.

Tony Rondone, a 26-year Air Force veteran, said he expects the conflict to be contained in the region. “[Iran] did what they were gonna do to save face because they don’t want a war with the U.S.,” said Rondone. “Keeping that in mind, we shouldn’t be provoking them, but you do what you have to.”

Thomas said there’s a chance that it erupts into a further war in the Middle East. “It’s unlikely for a world war to happen because many other countries would be wary of getting involved.”

Along with this, provoking Iran sends a message to the world about how America operates. “I worry what it looks like assassinating an official from another country when we’re not at war,” said Thomas. 

Iran has been active since Soleimani’s death, with protesters in the streets and their military on guard. The destruction of a Ukraine commercial airplane, killing 176 passengers with many of the victims being Iranian and Canadian, brought even more protesters out. This leaves the U.S. in a difficult position, attempting to find a way to possibly resolve this battle.

Although they were not an option in the past, Josef Kasprzak, a 13-year Air Force veteran, said a peaceful talk may be a solution to get down to the root cause. “Not all Americans are going to treat [Iran] the same way as they did in the past and vice versa,” he said.

Thomas finds a solution to this to be unlikely, with Trump unwilling to abide by the Iran Nuclear Agreement President Barack Obama signed. “I think it was a mistake to back out of the nuclear treaty to begin with,” he said. “So ideally, we could return to that sort of relationship or agreement.”

There is uncertainty among the Pierce College community whether this dispute will be resolved, if at all. Nevertheless, the history and tension between the two countries will leave a lasting memory on Americans and Iranians alike.

The Drop – Episode 4 – Hong Kong

Daniel So interviews students from Hong Kong about the protest back home and how it has affected them, their families and the community.

Host: Daniel So

Guest: William Liu, Kay Li, David Wong Gutierrez

Conflicts in Iran and its Impact on Pierce College Students

Jabin Botsford / Getty Images / Courtesy Photo
President Donald Trump departs after addressing the nation from the White House on Jan. 8, 2020.

An update on what has happened, what we know so far, and what students on campus need to know regarding the conflict

With the year 2020 having barely been around for a week, the world has already been faced with a plethora of concerning dilemmas; one of the most notable conflicts being between Iran and the U.S.

With the state of the matter currently up in the air., Mmany people, soldiers especially, may be wondering what might happen next or where things will go from here. Many questions remain to be answered, but there are some answers that can be given to those at Pierce College who may be concerned.

When did this all start?

Recent conflicts between the two countries began in late December 2019, according to a timeline created by npr.org. Kataib Hezbollah, a militia group with supposed ties to Iran, attacked a K1 military base near Kirkuk, an Iraqi city. This attack resulted in the death of an American contractor and injury of several other American and Iraqi personnel.

Days later, a mob of Iraqi protesters stormed a U.S. embassy in Baghdad, an attack President Trump and White House Press Secretary Stephanie Grisham confirmed to be organized by Iran. “Iran will be held fully responsible for lives lost, or damage incurred, at any of our facilities,” the President tweeted on Dec. 31. “This is not a warning, it is a threat.”

On Jan. 2, President Trump conducted an airstrike on a Baghdad airport, killing Qassem Soleimani, a respected general in Iran. “General Qassem Soleimani has killed or badly wounded thousands of Americans over an extended period of time, and was plotting to kill many more… but got caught!” tweeted the President.

This preemptive strike was met with an immediate attack by Iran late Tuesday night on Jan. 7, when Iran led an airstrike that hit two bases in Iraq holding U.S. troops and coalition forces. Soon after, Javad Zarif, Iranian diplomat and Foreign Minister, tweeted a response regarding the attack.

“Iran took and concluded proportionate measures in self-defense under Article 51 of UN Charter,  targeting base from which [a] cowardly armed attack against our citizens and senior officials were launched,” tweeted Zarif.

Are we going to war?

As of the time this article has been posted, the United States of America and Iran do not intend on going to war. Early Wednesday morning on Jan. 8, President Trump spoke via a livestream on whitehouse.gov stating that he does not wish to take things further. “The United States is ready to embrace peace with all who seek it,” said the President.

Furthermore, following the airstrike on Tuesday, Zarif tweeted Iran’s stance on the matter. “We do not seek escalation or war, but will defend ourselves against any aggression.”

While it is still too early to determine where either countries will go from here, it is safe to say that this conflict shouldn’t lead to any immediate attacks.

What would be a cause for war?

In the case of the U.S. and Iran conflicts, the President of both nations would have to formally declare war in order for this to happen. War crimes, such as the killing of civilians or otherwise unjust murder, and land invasion would also be cause for war by both parties. 

However, as stated above by both the President and Iranian diplomats, the possibility of these acts happening outright are not likely.

 

Can inactive duty soldiers be pulled back if tensions continue to rise?

Soldier’s who’ve recently gotten out might be concerned as to whether or not these conflicts would be enough to get called back for deployment. Fortunately for those not wishing to do so, the odds of this happening are very unlikely.

As referred by thebalancecareers.com, it is required for all enlisted to serve at least eight years of service, whether on active duty or as an inactive reserves, or Individual Ready Reserves. However, it would take extreme circumstances for those who ha’ve just gotten out to be called back in.

A state of emergency would have to had been issued by the President in order for the military to initiate an IRR recall. If this happened, inactive soldiers could be held for as long as needed. Without a state of emergency declared however, the President can only call less than 200,000 reserves and IRR members, which can only be held for up to 400 days max.

In the event that an active or inactive duty soldier is called for deployment while attending Pierce College, how will that affect things?

Pierce College will not penalize students with outside obligations such as a deployment. So long as students communicate with both their professors and registrations about their predicament, leaving will not do any harm to a student’s transcripts. Students will also be able to continue where they left off upon returning.

In some cases even, if a student is able to do online classes overseas, Pierce will make that available as well. But if this is not available, Pierce will replace the class on a student’s transcripts with an incomplete, I, which will have no effect on their overall GPA. 

Pierce may also allow the student to finish the class early with whatever grade they currently had at that moment.

Who can active duty soldiers and veterans talk to on campus regarding any questions?

Questions regarding education and financial concerns with anything VA related can have them answered via the Veterans Services Office on Fort Steilacoom’s campus located on the third floor of the Cascade Building.

Questions regarding transcripts, class withdrawal, or other related concerns can be brought to the Registration Desk located on the third floor of the Cascade Building to the right of the Welcome Desk.

Affirmative Action Rejected

R. Wilfing / Courtesy Photo / Pixabay

Affirmative Action to be denied in Washington State’s November 2019 Elections, reinstating Initiative 200.

During the Washington State elections on November 5, citizens voted against Referendum 88 and the restoration of Affirmative Action – a policy favoring individuals belonging to previously discriminated groups within America. This practice would have allowed for colleges, universities, and businesses to increase opportunities for minority groups by giving them further support.

Previously in April 2019, Washington State legislatures passed Initiative 1000, repealing the ban on Affirmative Action which had been placed 20 years ago. This ban was originally passed by Washington voters in 1998 via I-200; however, recent elections have since reinstated this ban by the people. With its rejection, this leaves the state facing a number of concerns from both sides of the vote.

For Washington State government officials such as April Sims, co-chair of Washington Fairness, Affirmative Action being rejected is disheartening. As reported by NBC News, Sims states how Affirmative Action would have been a great way to level the playing fields for everyone in Washington State. Jay Inslee, the Governor of Washington State, also saw Referendum 88 as a way to address what he referred to as systemic inequalities.

Despite this, not everyone in Washington saw Affirmative Action as a solution to inequality. Shortly after the passing of I-1000, a petition was led by Washington Asians for Equality. This petition was created as an attempt to keep Affirmative Action banned in Washington State by giving the vote back to the people.

“I-1000 can be summed up in one sentence: It would abolish the standard of equality for all, regardless of race, as required by I-200, and replace it with a system that uses different rules for people of different races,” states the petition. As such, petitioners felt that this vote should be in the hands of the people.

Those sharing this sentiment see Affirmative Action and Referendum 88 as an attack on equality in Washington State. However, while some feel as though I-200 allows for true equality, certain statistics state otherwise.

According to the Stranger, many legislatures within Washington viewed I-200 as a step backwards for the state when it comes to providing underrepresented groups positions in business. With both women and minorities having less than 4% of the state’s contracting dollars post I-200, this has left Washington state below its established goals.

Javier Valdez, a Seattle representative, believes that I-1000 would have been a fix to I-200. “I-200 was sold 20 years ago as something that would be fair to everyone, and that’s clearly not the case,” he said.

While both sides hold claims still in search of a proper solution, it’s not difficult to see what demographics tend to dominate college campuses, Pierce College included. But whether or not something like Affirmative Action could help with this, or if this is even a problem that needs help, is a question for another time.

Local Activism Sparking Social Change

Social Justice is becoming a hot topic

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Streets have been flooded with protestors throughout the country, and those in Tacoma have not been left out. Massive protests have drawn thousands to march; one of the more notable was Woman's march, that spanned through Olympia, Tacoma, and Seattle, as well as being a global protest crossing every time zone. More recently, the March for Science that took place Earth day, just one month ago bringing hundreds of protestors out once again.

Local and national activism have skyrocketed since the 2016 presidential election, with politics and protests flowing right into mainstream news and becoming a hot topic for people in every social group.

Sparks began nationally after the death of Mike Brown in Ferguson, Missouri on August 9th, 2014. The subsequent protests gained international notoriety, and started a domino effect of activism including other protests and the formation of organizations concerned with a wide variety of social issues.

The most highly publicized issues include things such as immigration, refugees, police brutality, woman’s rights, indigenous treaties, climate change, and LGBT+. The progress made for these issues in the last couple years has spiked as the general public is growing more aware of the many social injustices in the United States and around the world. Pierce County is no exception to this conflagrating activism. Many grass roots groups work throughout the county in efforts against environmental destruction, deportation of immigrants, and discrimination.

Some of the largest marches that have taken place in locally just within the last year include the Woman’s March, the Tax March, and the March for Science. Each had between a few hundred to over ten thousand participants taking a stand, and steps, for a better world.

Pierce College has hosted an event by the People’s Assembly of Tacoma called 'The Takeback' over the last few weeks. This local activist group was formed to promote the advancement of oppressed communities and to spread a message of equality amongst all groups. During the event they use open discussion to encourage people with all perspectives and walks of life to speak up about problematic experiences in their communities, as well as speeches and activities to express their purpose.

Sarah Morken, a prevalent local activist, explains how she began; "I didn't dive headlong into activism. I dabbled for a while when an issue came up that really grabbed me personally." She and her group Redline Tacoma have worked on projects and protests to fight the building of a Liquid Natural Gas (LNG) pipeline in Tacoma that has the potential to be extremely dangerous for the local community. She also works with groups like Green Party Tahoma, Youth Activism Pierce County, and Tacoma Direct Action. She is a icon for the many ways in which anyone can become involved in political movements.

Rallies and events have sprung up all across the county, ranging from small groups of people discussing issues, to numbers in the thousands turning out for marches. There are ways anyone can express their views and become a part of an influential movement for change in their community.

Indivisable

Indivisable

Joe Colombo/Courtesy Photo

In a letter sent to the press in 1934, Harry Emerson Fosdick, a Presbyterian pastor, said, “Democracy is based upon the conviction that there are extraordinary possibilities in ordinary people.”

Indivisible epitomizes what ordinary people can accomplish. It started in December 2016 from a 26-page document created by ordinary people for ordinary people. In just 4 short months its members number almost 6,000, just everyday people who are very interested in being involved with their government.

Joe Colombo, a resident in Puyallup, is also the head of the Puyallup chapter of Indivisible. Like many members, the most he participated in the election process was to check a box on a ballot.

That changed last March. He attended the opening caucus for the Democratic Party. At the time all he wanted to do when he volunteered to help was to make sure things ran smoothly.

Shortly thereafter there was a need for a PCO (precinct committee officer) so he volunteered to fill the vacancy. Later he was formally elected to the position.

Throughout the whole election season he continued to serve in the caucus, even up to the election itself.

About the middle of December he heard from three different people about Indivisible, told him it was something he’d be interested in. He never met them, they were mutual acquaintances of friends he had on Facebook. He had also not been particularly vocal about his personal political views so he did not really pay much attention. Until someone put the “Indivisible Guide” in his hands and told him he should read it he thought it was something for one of the political parties.

When he began to read it over and saw that the primary purpose was to resist President Trump, he began to be more interested in what the members were trying do accomplish.

He said, “I feel like taking these actions empowers us to be part of that change, to hold our leaders accountable. I need to get my hands dirty. I do not agree with all of the actions suggested, but I get to pick and choose.”

At the top of the list of things he is choosing is the Russian link. He sees it as having a significant impact as it could contain grounds on which impeachment charges could be brought against Trump.

Indivisible Puyallup currently has 280 members; the only requirement for being part of the group is to be against President Trump and Vice President Pence and their regressive policies. No specific party affiliation is needed; the group itself is bipartisan.

In the group’s charter, their mission is clear. They seek to engage senators Patty Murray and Maria Cantwell and District 10 Representative Denny Heck to remember “protecting our hard-won, cherished progressive values such as affordable healthcare for all, economic justice, environmental protection, racial equality, gender and sexual equality, peace, and human rights” is part of the job.

They meet every regularly to keep members appraised of current events. They know which bills are being discussed in which governing house and the status of each one. As Indivisible Puyallup is still a fairly new group, they are still ironing out which topic has the greatest priority. So far in the top three are 1) the Russian Investigation, 2) healthcare, and 3) the environment. Tracking the budget and immigration were also hot topics.

. SuzAnne Kuhiski, one of the members who serves on the communications team, described the group as “former arm-chair political activists. We are ordinary people who see democracy threatened. It is not good enough to be angry and sad. We needed to get up and do something.”

By and large the members come from all walks of life. They are retired, hold day jobs, some have actually worked in public offices as administrative staff. They are parents, grandparents, neighbors, and all have a heart for civic duty.

Otto Rogers is another member who was inspired to get up and do something. He remembered after the election being detached. “It did not feel real,” he said. “I would share links on Facebook and sign online petitions, but I still felt removed. None of what I was doing felt like they were really working. What I really wanted to know was what can I do to resist?” He found his answer with Indivisible.

Colombo encourages anyone who wants to see what they are about to come to their meetings. Each member is more than willing to talk about why they are doing what they do.

When asked what is his end game, what is the one thing he hopes to accomplish, Columbo said in a quiet

So I have a seven and half year old daughter and I do not want her growing up in a dystopian future, where it is okay for men to sexually assault women, where women do not have the right to do what they want with their own body, pollution is running unchecked, and somebody cannot go to college because it is unaffordable. That is not the future I want for her or anyone else growing up. As a Generation Xer, we had it rough and the next generation had it rougher. It is my job as an ethical person to make this world a better place. That is what I want to do.”

‘Trump’s Wall’ Still Up in the Air

Budgetary concerns arise for the funding of ‘the Wall’

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The renewed United States-Mexico border is still in its planning process, and its construction has yet to begin. One of the major concerns is how much the Wall will cost, and where and who the money will come from.

President Trump originally estimated it would cost $10 billion, but now, according to Reuters.com, the Border Wall is estimated to cost $21.6 billion. This estimate from the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) stems from the costs of acquiring privately owned land, specifically sections in Texas.

John Pennington, one of the Homeland Security and Emergency Management (HSEM) members for Pierce College, believes the budget may very on the way the cost is spread out. “There is a very structured process for federal funding in the United States,” Pennington said, “And it is critical for readers to remember that proposed budgets from the Executive Branch are just that: proposed.”

One possibility for funds was to adjust and institute new tariffs in the National American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). These tariffs would be targeted toward Mexican exports. On February 14th, in a Toronto Conference on the future of North American trade, Mexico’s Economy Minister Ildefonso Guajardo said, "Nothing in the new NAFTA should be a step backward. We will definitely not include any type of trade management measures, like quotas, or open the Pandora's box of tariffs.”

Trump has made little mention of his intentions for NAFTA in regards to the Wall, and pulling from any of the U.S.’s DHS funds have not been directly address at the time.

Pennington said the cost may pull from other departments that relate to such environmental and territorial matters. The DHS houses many “legacy agencies,” including the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), whose budget the DHS would pull from. “DHS is the overarching budget,” Pennington clarifies, “And sub-agencies fit within that overarching budget.”

The Emergency Management Performance Grant (EMPG) is the primary funding source, and has been funded consistently for several years, even through the financial crisis that began in 2007.

Pennington believes that chances are slim for the Wall’s construction effecting the funding and budgets for Washington, and any other States’ FEMA and DHS. “FEMA and its state, tribal and local partners have fought to maintain the funding,” Pennington said, “I do not see that changing in the next several years under this or any Administration.”

Construction on the Wall does not have a clear date, nor is the source of funding for it clear. It is safe to say that branches of Emergency Management and Homeland Securities will remain largely unaffected by the implementation of the 2000 mile Wall.

Equity Rally: A Coalition for the People

Educators join the AFT Union rally in Olympia

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Drudging in freezing cold rain and muddy shoes, activists from all over the state are kept warm with hope as they fight against the possible defunding of public education.

On President’s day, educators and activists united in Olympia to form a line between the legislative building and the temple of Justice. Groups that support Planned Parenthood, fight against for-profit prisons, resist against deportation, and are firm against privatization of public schools all united to contact their local government.

Becca Ritchie, a fellow BAT, who was tired of seeing students struggle in class. “I see institutional racism in classrooms all the time. We need to see structure in this system,” Ritchie said.

Many educators rallied in response to Betsy Devos’ plan for public school education.

Feb. 7, Betsy Devos was sworn in as secretary of education. Devos is very outspoken on funding charter schools and private school, advocating for “educational choice.” However, her education plan on diverting funds for charter schools deeply concern public school educators.

National Public Radio reports her support for the AFC (American Federation for Children), which is a group that favors voucher programs—using state funds for private institutions.

One of the speakers at the rally, Julianna Dauble, an educator in Renton and does not accept Devos’ plan. “A lot of forces are converging. We are on the cusp of change. What we need now is to tax the rich and to support teachers. Washington has one of the worst tax systems, the working class has to pay a huge portion while the rich pay very little.”

AFT Washington is the educational union for state schools and public education. They organize committees for legal defense, auditing, human rights, and legislative power groups. The coordinator for AFT Washington is Jen Haggard-Mlynarek, the person who posted all of the banners on canvas. Haggard summarizes the union’s purpose to achieve equal education for all public schools and to promote social justice.

Educators such as Marc Hobbs and Beth Norman were in allegiance with AFT Washington, a union whose main goal is to have affordable education for all students. Them, along with educator group such as “Bad Ass Teachers” AKA BATs and the Owl group, displayed several banners in plastic bags.

Rally attendants were gathered around the capitol to hear personal stories from many of the speakers. From the prayers of the Yakima natives, to the chants of activists like “if you hurt our schools, you hurt us,” to local community leaders.

Yet even with all the communal support, there was some lash back. One woman held a sign saying, “divert funds for illegals and refugees to public schools.” She began yelling during some of the speeches, but was soon blocked by some of the other people.

At noon, people began to pour into the legislative building to talk with their local legislatures. Senators and House of representatives both had filled aisle seats along with crowded halls of protestors. One by one, each and every person had their voices heard.

Resist Hate.

One voice, turning into millions participate in march.

Resist+Hate.

On Jan. 21, 2017, an estimated 2.6 million people marched, some in outrage, some in protest. Some marched to express what they saw as an unfair result to the presidential election. Others joined out of concern for how Donald Trump’s policies were going to affect women’s rights, immigration, and Muslim communities.

In the days that followed, Trump picked his advisers and began to lay out policies that came from his campaign promises. People began to see a growing animosity towards certain groups. The Muslim ban and emphasis on illegal immigration only seemed to add fuel to the hostility.

Here on campus, students have expressed uncertainty and fear. Ishmael Rodriguez, a student pursuing general studies, echoed their concerns. “What I see, I don’t agree with the policies. They create distrust and fear. I can see where their fear about being deported is coming from; I’m Puerto Rican and share the same fear.”

When looking at the news feed on any social media outlets, it doesn’t take long to see the growing divide among people. Accusations on Facebook display a definite polarization. If someone voted for Trump, then automatically that person is labeled racist and supports bigotry. On the other hand, in sharing news reports one can be accused of promoting “alternative facts.”

Dennis Escobar, a student pursuing an AA/DTA, sees mainstream media as a contributing factor towards the antagonistic attitudes. “Media seems to be focusing on what’s wrong, what’s dividing us. I see them manipulating the truth to serve their own interests,” he said.

In his opinion, self-interest groups can also add to the division. By focusing only on their agenda they limit the conversation that could be had to find common ground for a solution. “I see a lot of hate and it is not just one way, but they tend to reciprocate,” Escobar said. “A simple conversation won’t be possible until their leaders stop focusing on themselves and start focusing also on others. People need be willing to sit at the table to ask, “Are you okay? What can I do to help?”

Getting involved in the community is a great way to combat the sense of helplessness many feel. Still, it can be difficult to know how to take a stand and resist hate.

One of the newest members to the college, Oneida Blagg, has some ideas to consider. She is the Executive Officer of Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion. Basically what she does is bridge the resources between students and their achievement goals.

She had this advice: “Being informed and being respectful of opposing points of view are the best things. College is learning about academic ideas and how to present them civilly. Talking about controversial things is important. Do you want a good idea to be rejected because of how it was delivered? Talking in angry tones can prevent a conversation towards a solution. Learn how to respond rather than react.”

The global march in January grew from a statement one person made on Facebook, “I think we should march.” News reports and pictures show what could happen if one became thousands, then millions. What can one person do? Apparently quite a lot.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“Fake news” critics spread their own brand of lies

People upset over apparent “fake news” refuse to check their sources

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Audiopedia

Whether it is a facebook friend or Trump’s campaign manager Kelly Anne Conway, Republicans and Democrats alike are vilifying the horrible shame that is “fake news.” Yet, ironically enough, they will continue to share news sources from places like The Patriot, Breitbart, or Occupy Democrats.

Bernard Shaw once said that “the currency of journalism is the objective truth, while the lifeblood is ethics.” News stations strive to be objective as possible. Channels like BBC news, NPR and C-SPAN are completely different from stations like Fox news, CNN, and MSNBC. To lump media into one huge thing is like lumping week-old cheese with milk.

The real issue at hand is not just the prevalence of fake news, it is the lack of fact-checking between the consumer and the news outlet. Part of a reporter’s job is to double-check their facts and sources. If a reporter becomes lazy, as there are quite a few guilty of this crime, it is up to the citizen to look for their sources elsewhere.

Becoming mindful of where you get your news is the first step towards finding the truth. Getting information from obviously biased news outlets only feeds their bias. If the news station or publication has a history of mangling information or libel, then avoid that source like a cancer. Articles that only serve to fit or justify an agenda are propaganda machines.

This goes for any political outlet. There is no such thing as a political party publication that is objective journalism. Whether it be Democratic like Occupy democrats, Republican like Fox news, libertarian like the Patriot, if it supports a certain belief system, it is automatically biased.

Of course, like any successful publication, the source needs to know their audience. If a biased political outlet knows that their audience will respond to a certain wedge topic (i.e. abortion, refugees, Trump), they will highlight a certain fact and expand it to outrageous proportions, setting up the ultimate click-bait headline and lure that reader in.

Check where you get your sources through Politifact or Snopes, or even better, the actual primary source of information (statistic report, law, etc.). If people realize that the lies do not bother them and share it anyway, fake news is not the problem. It’s the reader.

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