So, let’s talk about the presidential debate

By: Quentin Miller 

Image taken from: CNN

First things first, it was awful, and I’ll explain why.

Probably the most offensive part of the whole debate was the interruptions, think what you want of either candidate, interrupting your opponent is childish no matter how you look at it. And both Trump and Biden failed to understand the concept of letting each other actually answer questions almost the entire debate.

Next problem I have, Biden was very immature with some of his comebacks. 

Don’t get me wrong, I love some sas, but the first presidential debate is definitely not the right time or place. Specifically inappropriate quotes include, “Will you shut up, man?” and “It’s hard to get a word in with this clown.”

Problem number three, Trump’s insane takes, specifically on white supremacy. 

Now, did Trump endorse white supremacy openly? No. But he did refuse to condemn it, using the excuse he didn’t know the group, “The Proud Boys,” were actually white supremacist, despite the fact he was explicitly told they were indeed white supremacist. Also, while avoiding the problem, he said the real problem is Antifa and the left. And, when a sitting president says the most dangerous things in America are people who don’t like fascism and their greatest political threat, that might be a bit fascist. 

Next problem, Biden is kind of a fence sitter and people aren’t calling him out on it enough. Specifically, his stances on the BLM movement, because he really panders to both sides on it. While he says he is in support of the BLM movement (as anyone should be), he also constantly refuses to truly criticize active oppressors of the black population of America, specifically, police. One specific quote from the debate, and reported on Deseret.com, I think really shows how conflicting his opinion can sometimes be “Yes, there’s systemic injustice. The vast majority of police officers are good, decent honorable men and women … but there are some bad apples.”

So, let me get this straight, there’s systemic injustice, but also the people who work directly for a group guilty of said injustice are mostly good? That’s just not how it works, either the idea of police is systemically racist or most police fight for good, there’s no middle ground.

And that’s about every major problem I had with both sides, outside of these things, they mainly just yelled over each other while repeating the same things they’ve been repeating for the past few months.

Honestly in the opinion of someone who watched the full thing, I would have to say it’s not worth the watch. The recent vice presidential debate was much better, Harris and Pence both did much better jobs representing their running mates.

 

Misconceptions about Islam (by a Muslim who knows)

By: Mohamed Ahmed

After 9/11

Studies show that eighty percent of all news coverage about Islam is negatively. After September 11th, Muslims around the world were affected. Muslims were terrified to even leave their apartments to get food or other things. National Muslim organizations advised Muslims to stay in their houses, not to congregate, and to stay in well lit areas. Going to the mosque was not recommended. Muslims were targeted and beaten in the street. Mosques were firebombed, and even people who appeared to be Muslim were beaten to death.

The Muslim community was viewed as a tumor. And with a tumor there are only two options: keep it under supervision or remove it. 

Radicals and Mosques

A common misconception about Islam is that all non-Muslims must be killed by Muslims. In fact, Muslims are unable to kill because it is strictly taboo. In fact, unless you are 100 percent sure the assailant is going to kill you, or someone you love, you are going to pay for killing. It is one of the highest order sins. 

Police chiefs and anti-terrorism specialists say that people do not become radicalized at mosques. They become radicalized in front of computers in their basements or bedrooms. People are targeted when they are not connected to their communities or their families. They’re unstable and vulnerable. Then they are brainwashed by the radicals. 

Islamophobia and how it affects and spikes 

A study in ‘Neurostudies’ shows that when subjects were exposed to negative news about Islam, and try to instill fear, they become more accepting of attacks on Muslim countries and restrictions on Muslim rights.

Anti-Muslim sentiment spiked during the election cycles, and the run-up, to the Iran war. This proves that Islamophobia isn’t a direct response to terrorist attacks. It can be a tool of public manipulation and isn’t tied to American deaths or suffering.   

Muslims are not a tumor, but a vital organ. Muslims are business men, and women. They are engineers and part of the military. They are doctors, and teachers, and more. Muslims make a difference, and deserve better than to be beaten in the streets, murdered, or hated. 

For more information, please visit this TED Talk:

 

The pros and cons of American Exceptionalism

By Irene Cohen and Ellie Mulvaney

Exceptionalism. Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines this word as the condition of being different from the norm.

In the context of a nation, it becomes an ideology, one that believes that a particular country or region is inherently different than its counterparts, and significantly more remarkable.

In America, this conception affects how we live and develop, but the question is; is this more helpful or harmful?

To start, let’s take a look at some benefits of American Exceptionalism. One key benefit is the ability of exceptionalism to foster entrepreneurship in up-and-coming generations. According to the Panel Study of Income Dynamics, 84% of children are earning more than their parents as of 2017. This can partially be attributed to the desire of many Americans to reduce international reliance and produce the majority of products in the country. This strengthens the workforce, and actually creates jobs in the nation, given the exceptionalist mindset leads to highlighting “made in America,” as superior to overseas production.

A second contributing factor to the increasing entrepreneurship comes from the belief that America presents opportunities for everyone. In the assumption that America is, indeed, exceptional, comes the theory that America is so outstanding that anyone can create something out of nothing in this country. The validity of this statement is arguable, and no answer can be absolute, because it’s so subjective, but this positive reinforcement and encouragement can give citizens a drive to push themselves up on the socioeconomic ladder.

American Exceptionalism, in certain instances, can also lead to a constructive patriotism in its citizens. As an effort to maintain the reputation, or rank, of the country, Americans may strive more to improve conditions within. This can include policy reform, like firearm restrictions, education, environment, and economic affairs, as well as judicial undertakings and criminal justice. The more inspired a person is to improve their nation, the more likely they are to vote, protest, etc. to make a change.

On the flip side, American Exceptionalism is not all positive. American Exceptionalism often creates the idea in many of its citizens that Americans can do no wrong. This leads to them believing that they should have the final say, not anyone else. This is clearly illustrated by many poll findings of a majority of Americans thinking that U.S. soldiers should not be tried internationally for war crimes, unlike Europeans who do think their soldiers should be allowed to be tried internationally for war crimes. Another instance of this decision making bias is Americans being much more opposed to letting international organizations decide what they should do regarding global warming, starkly contrasting the opinions of other Western countries’ populations.

Another drawback of American Exceptionalism is that it does not foster a good sense of community. An August, 2004, Pew and Council on Foreign Relations poll found that while most Americans thought that they were not respected as much globally as they used to be, that same poll found that Americans did not rank improving foreign relationships very high on their list of international goals. This poll shows while Americans acknowledge that they don’t have the best relationships with foreign countries, they feel as if that is not a necessity. American Exceptionalism breeds the idea that you only need to look out for yourself, you don’t need to work with others to get ahead in life.

After looking at both pros and cons of American Exceptionalism, it is ridiculous to think that one could objectively answer the question, is it more helpful or harmful? Like everything, people have their opinions with their own reasoning behind it depending on their values. Some may think that American Exceptionalism benefits us more than hindering us, but someone else could think that it was harmful. Both opinions are valid and have many points to back up their statement, and that is why you can’t objectively say whether it’s good or bad.

Image taken from: https://www.google.com/url?sa=i&url=https%3A%2F%2Fthewayofimprovement.com%2F2015 %2F08%2F28%2Feric-foner-defends-american-exceptionalism%2F&psig=AOvVaw061zuRc-P SFQLSJ8dHu0NN&ust=1601089154197000&source=images&cd=vfe&ved=0CAMQjB1qFwo TCNi754Sog-wCFQAAAAAdAAAAABAD

Why it’s important for the young to vote

By: Jihan Ali

When the idea of voting is mentioned to young adults, they push it off or avoid voting because they either don’t understand the voting process or they aren’t educated in politics. Many people don’t understand the impact of voting and how it can affect who becomes president. It is important for young adults to learn the voting process and why it is important to vote.

Voting is having a say on who, or what, you want, and it is usually a choice to the people. In the U.S., adults are given the option to vote, and it is strongly recommended to people.

You may wonder why you see so many flyers and advertisements around you. This year is an important year to vote because the president is being chosen so the media is encouraging young adults to vote.

Many people are trying to convince young adults because they want Trump out of office. According to Wells and Goods, Trump won in the swing states by less than one percent. This shows that your vote matters even if you think it doesn’t because of the population.

According to Dr. Cobb, your vote has power and it gives you the right to choose who you want as your president. Voting is an opportunity that many people should do because American citizens have the right to have their opinion on who we want as president.

If you’re underage, you may be wondering what you can do. You should first learn about how voting works by doing research or asking your parents. You can also volunteer at a polling place, if safe, to help others and know how it works on election day. You can also voice your opinions by talking to peers or reaching out to people of age so that they can vote.

Make sure you vote if you can on Tuesday November 3rd.

Mental illnesses expressed through art

By: Grace Blummer-Lamotte

There are many different mental illnesses in the world. This can include depression, anxiety, OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder), Schizophrenia, ADHD, and many others.

Some choose to show their feelings through journaling, painting, drawing, sketching, charcoal, and other mediums. Usually many different artworks have a bigger meaning behind the actual art: it could be a personal connection or a traumatic experience. 

Around the end of June, in summer 2020, I struggled a lot with my mental health. I went through many different programs and I still am. I like showing my feelings of my mental illnesses through art. I do not like talking about it because I feel like I can’t find the words, but I can draw pictures of it. I currently have a sketchbook full of many of my paintings of my feelings throughout the past 4 months. 

To other people, they just see a simple painting. They don’t see the big picture behind it. One of my paintings has a human head profile that appears to be drowning, with their mouth stitched up. Many people just see an amazing painting and don’t ask about the story behind it. My story behind this specific drawing is when I was at the lowest point in my life I felt like I was drowning. I was drowning but I couldn’t say anything because my mouth was stitched up. The water represented my thoughts and feelings. I just had to sit there in my thoughts and feelings and not say anything about it; drowning silently while having no one notice, no one care, no one supporting me. 

According to the Western Journal of Medicine, the famous artist Vincent Van Gogh had evidence of manic depression and alcohol abuse. Much of his artwork could suggest a bigger story behind them. He uses the color yellow a lot in all of his art; that could be because of his alcohol abuse, as he drank absinthe that contains thujone. “Excessive consumption of this liqueur may cause the consumer to see all objects with a yellow hue.” Another explanation of this theory was Van Gogh using overmedication with digitalis. When people receive large doses of this medication they often see the world with a yellow/green-tint. In his most famous painting, “The Starry Night”, he produces a bit of the color yellow around the painting. Sadly in 1890 he committed suicide.

Why Bob Woodward’s Trump interview should concern everyone

By: Quentin Miller.

Image taken from: The Washington Post

Many may already be aware of the recently leaked interviews between Trump and the famous reporter Bob Woodward. But for those who have not heard of it, to build anticipation for his upcoming book, Bob Woodward leaked parts of interviews between him and Trump regarding his presidency. 

One specific part of this interview, conducted on Feb 7th according to The Washington Post, contained Trump saying “And so that’s a very tricky one. That’s a very delicate one. It’s also more deadly than even your strenuous flus.”, implying that he was very aware that COVID-19 was much more deadly than he let on.                                                          

Speaking of what he let on, here’s what he had to say on Feb 28th at his South Carolina rally, 21 days after admitting COVID-19 was a serious threat, “Whoever thought of this two weeks ago? Who would’ve thought this could be going on four weeks ago?”. You, you did Trump.

Now, why should this concern you? Well under UN definition, a decision is considered genocide if it has the intention to destroy part of/the entirety of an ethnic or religious group based off of their ethnicity or religion, and one of the following acts associated with it:

  • Killing members of the group
  • Causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group
  • Deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part
  • Imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group
  • Forcibly transferring children of the group to another group

So, theoretically, if Trump knew that poorer people can’t get proper medical treatment and that poorer areas in the U.S. are normally made of minorities, and he showed a clear motive for wanting to commit genocide, that would make a very clear case for the hundreds of thousands of deaths due to corona to be genocide. According to PBS, on Jun 11th, 2016, Trump claimed, “You live in poverty, your schools are no good, you have no jobs” while referring to African Americans. This clearly shows he is aware African American people, or as he likes to say “The Blacks,” face clear financial disadvantages. 

Also, according to The New York Times, Trump, during April 2020, said this when referring to a plan to cover uninsured treatments of COVID-19, “This should alleviate any concern uninsured Americans may have about seeking the coronavirus treatment.” This shows that he is aware people who can’t afford/don’t own an insurance policy need aid in paying for treatment. 

But what could the motive be? As has been reported on by PBS’ NewsHour, there are many possibilities.

Maybe the idea that Mexico is the enemy to the United States, and implying many Hispanics are rapist is his motive. But if blatant racism and harsh language towards Mexico and its people wasn’t evidence enough that he has disdain towards minorities, just take the words of Rep. Elijah Cummings who claimed Trump’s words and actions are hurtful and offensive to the black community.

So, maybe it’s the fact that he constantly voiced support and thanks to African American’s during Black History Month, only to completely ignore them almost directly after Black History Month was over.

Or maybe it’s when he openly supported “Stop and Frisk” laws which have been proven to discriminate against minorities.

Maybe his claim that the reason black youth have a hard time is because of their lack of spirit is his motive. Or when he called people protesting the very suspicious death of Freddie Gray “thugs,” aware of the fact that the majority of them were black. 

So, Trump has a motive for genocide, let a pandemic he knew was deadly devastate poor areas, and knew that demographics he was clearly racist towards would be hit hard by his actions. In short, he committed genocide in the opinion of this writer. And any world leader who is genocidal against minorities should concern you

For more information, please check out the following:

  1. ‘Woodward book: Trump says he knew coronavirus was ‘deadly’ and worse than the flu while intentionally misleading Americans’ by: Robert Costa and Philip Rucker, at The Washington Post
  2. ‘Donald Trump Charleston, South Carolina Rally Transcript – February 28, 2020’ on rev.com
  3. ‘What exactly Trump has said about race’ by:Lisa Desjardins, at PBS NewsHour

Disney shills for the CCP

By: Jalalisa Geleto

There has been a controversy over Disney’s ‘Mulan’ and now Disney is losing millions.

The controversy started a while back when the actress, Liu Yifei, came out in support for the CCP during the Hong Kong protest. It was also found that she was the daughter of a member of the CCP government.

To know why what I previously said, and what I’m going to say, is offensive to many people, you must know what the CCP really is.

The CCP took control of China in 1949 and installed a brutal authoritarian/communist government. This government killed over 100 million Chinese during its reign. They suppressed religion, destroyed human individuality, free speech, ability to give birth, ability to feed yourself, and many other atrocities. The Communist era of China has been horrible for its people.

Now, the Chinese government is capitalistic, but it’s still just as authoritarian. Many Chinese people don’t starve the way they used to, but they’re still just as oppressed.

During the communist era of the CCP there was a forced cultural revolution. Now, the present day CCP is trying to finish the Cultural Revolution in China. They are going to the edges of China and oppressing/depopulating the minority groups whose cultures survived the original Cultural Revolution.

This is happening with the Chinese Uighur. They are being raped, sterilized, killed, and tortured. Their religion is being stripped from them, and they are forced to do things they consider blasphemy. They are forced into giant camps to “re-educate” them (making them abandon who they are and become the perfect Han Chinese).

Now, let’s get back to the story.

In the credits of the movie, they thank propaganda departments in Xinjiang and the Public Security Bureau of Turpan, a Uighur-majority city in the region. This is the same department that claims that nothing is happening to the Uighurs, and it was all made up.

Not only that, but Disney filmed the movie literally a couple miles away from these camps. This sparked outrage in the West.

People are getting tired of major corporations doing anything for a spot in China. There are large portions of the country that are starting to believe these American companies are more Chinese than American at this point. Western values and businesses are all under CCP control in the eyes of many.

People are saying how can these companies “support” social justice causes here in America, but then grovel at the feet of one of the most oppressive and cruel governments of our time.

Now, I’ll leave you with this question. Should we sacrifice our Western values and art just to have access to the Chinese market?

What happened to the school lunches for SPPS?

By: Elsie Olive

Most students have already noticed, but if you hadn’t already, the lunches served at St. Paul Public Schools have severely gone downhill between the 2018-2019 school year and this one.

In the years prior to the 2019-2020 school year, SPPS had provided a variety of nutritional foods. In fact, in 2013, TwinCities.com said SPPS lunches had gotten national attention for the incredible and healthy foods the schools were providing.

However if you look at the lunches served now, almost always the options are either some variant of chicken, hamburgers, gyros, or Italian dunkers, and every lunch is served with a side of fries.

So, what changed in the few months between these two school years?

Unfortunately, there is hardly any information that explains exactly what happened, but, by checking some of the links on the SPPS lunch menus page, there is one that takes us to Nutrislice.com. Here, at spps.nutrislice.com, it gives us a message which suggests that SPPS no longer uses Nutrislice as a means of supplying their lunches. The newest and working links on the SPPS page take us to SchoolCafé.com, where you can view current school lunch menus.

It could be that this is the only reason school lunches have decreased in value this much, but it is hard to believe that such a small change could completely offset the school’s menu. It is likely that there were some staff changes in the Nutritional Services and Wellness department of SPPS.

At this point, there isn’t much other information available, and the lack of information provided on the SPPS website about it’s staff members or exactly what changed between this school year and the last one doesn’t help with that.

However, it probably has much more to do with the relaxing of regulations for school-provided meals by the Trump Administration according to BusinessInsider.com. This particular article also mentions that the billions of dollars cut from the education budget has deeply affected the ability for schools to provide enough nutritional food for all of their students.

Black Lives Matter!!

 

“I can’t Breathe”

by Zakianna Johnson 

“I can’t breathe, see his knee is on my neck as I take my last breathe 

I can’t breathe, my life is ending now as everyone sits here and watch 

I can’t breathe, someone please help me I’m begging you 

I CAN’T BREATHE, boom I’m dead another black man gone 

I can’t breathe,  George Floyd May 25, 2020

I can’t breathe, Eric Garner July 17, 2014

I can’t breathe, you shot me Tamir Rice November 22, 2014

Trayvon Martin, Ahmaud Aebery, Breonna Taylor, how many more.

How many more will it take for America to realize the hate

I can’t breathe, I want to but it’s hard, it hurts, I can’t see

I can’t feel, I’m dieing, I love you momma, I’m gone.”

As a young black African American teenager it hurts to see that my culture has to destroy things just for us to get a point across. BLM ( black lives matter) is more than just a protest, more than a hashtag, it’s our lives. We say black lives matter but we still aren’t heard more of the less we still aren’t safe. Day after day the death of a black man or child or woman is on the news. Why? Because there are racist cops who will do anything just to harm us. They say “I saw a weapon” but they saw a hairbrush. He was resisting but in reality I asked you why was I being detained.

Video proof of cops, racist, KKK, and all and yet the white man doesn’t go to jail for long. Oh but when it comes to a black man killing anyone they get the death sentence. There have been plenty of times and opportunities for a change to happen. It’s so sad that I have to grow up in a world where I could be killed just because of the color of my skin. It’s sad because young boys and girls have to see how messed up the world is. No parent should have to sit down with their kid and tell them that they could die at a young age, because a racist police officer or man or woman will fear them because of the race they were born into.  

What did Sam Cooke say? “A change is Gonna Come” and yet we still haven’t seen it. When the color of my skin is seen as a weapon, I will never be unarmed. I will never be not seen as a threat, a murderer, a demon, a vicious animal. Everyday an Black African American faces a racist encounter. We are free, but it really doesn’t feel like it. We as people as human beings shouldn’t have to always wonder if today will be the day we die. If we’ll be talking our last breath in a matter of seconds and minutes. The world needs to change and it needs to change fast. 

I’ll leave you with these quotes and maybe it’ll help you realize why rioting was the only option that was left.

“It’s hard to elevate when this country’s ran by whites

Judging me by my skin color and my blackness” – Joyner Lucas 

“Is it a crime, to fight, for what is mine?” – Tupac Shakur

“A riot is the language of the unheard.” – Martin Luther King Jr

“There comes a time when silence is betrayal” – Martin Luther King Jr

The last quote left an engraving in my spirit because there have been many other races that have protested with us. They have contributed during the protest by speaking up and marching with us. But there are also the ones that aren’t doing anything to help us spread the word. We wanted the protest to be peaceful, but instead they were violent. We wanted to get a point across but instead we were called hoodlums.

Point is we are not hoodlums, we are not ratchets, we are not ghetto and we are humans. 

We are America’s people just like everyone else in this country. We are Black African Americans, We are Black Lives Matter and until everyone gets it into their heads we will not stop until our voices are heard. 

Long live my black queens and kings 

What the US government has done wrong during the pandemic

Some countries have handled the COVID-19 pandemic better than others: Australia is already going back to school, South Korea has had widespread testing since the beginning of the pandemic, and Germany has the lowest mortality rate in the world.

On the other hand, in the US, the stay at home orders are being extended into June, there is a shortage of testing, states are competing for resources, and we have the most cases in the world. 

One of the biggest issues that the US has faced is the lack of testing. In the beginning, the WHO came out with tests that worked and were widespread and were working for the most part, but the CDC made their own tests that were going to be used in the US. These tests had major setbacks, and the US couldn’t get as many people tested as other countries because we weren’t producing enough tests.

Another huge issue is that states are competing for resources like ventilators and masks. The US government hasn’t done a good job providing, and rationing, resources so whichever state has the most money, or is willing to spend the most money, will get the most resources.

Finally, the spread of misinformation by the president is causing a lot of problems. Trump has been contradicting Dr. Fauci and telling people to take medicine that hasn’t been proven to help, or ingest chemicals that could have disastrous side effects. He recently told people that testing is overrated and that the less you test the less cases you have. Ever since the beginning of the pandemic, Trump has been saying things that aren’t true and has not been listening to the government issued guidelines.

For more information, please visit: