Right-Wing Extremism is the Most Dangerous Threat to American Democracy

“First they came for the socialists, and I did not speak out, because I was not a socialist. Then they came for the trade unionists, and I did not speak out, because I was not a trade unionist. Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out, because I was not a Jew. Then they came for me, and there was no one left to speak for me.” – Pastor Martin Niemoller, Holocaust survivor (1955) On October 27th, 11 people were murdered and six were injured in the…

Khashoggi, Trump, and Threats to the Press

Few would call President Donald Trump a “friend of the press.” From the advent of the phrase “fake news” to yelling at reporters in press conferences, the president has fostered one of the tensest relationships with the media that America has ever seen. However, this painful association was taken to a new level in the past month with the disappearance and death of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi. Khashoggi was a native Saudi, who left his country in 2017 to continue writing in DC and to avoid the suppression of…

Pink, White, and Blue: The Most Recent Transgender Fight

The LGBT community has made great strides in the past few years with the nationwide legalization of same-sex marriage, as well as the growing visibility and awareness of LGBT issues.  However, the community does still face discrimination and ignorance, and the latest example of this is the reckless fervor with which the Trump administration is attempting to roll back rights.  The Department of Health and Human Services is currently trying to establish an “explicit and uniform” definition of gender.  According to a memo obtained by the New York Times that…

The Party of Trump

On July 19, 2016 presumptive Republican nominee Donald J. Trump seized control of the Grand Old Party. His fringe populism was expected to dictate the party’s ebb and flow for the remainder of the general election, but the party’s long-term destiny would still be in the hands of the Republican establishment. Although wary of a Trumpian overthrow, the logic within the establishment class went something like this: give Trump his desired treasure, reign in his frivolities, and puppeteer him as a vehicle for driving a conservative agenda. Trump won his…

Conservative Provocation and the Assault on Free Speech

Free speech is a cornerstone of our democracy, and a college education must herald free speech by exposing students to new ideas that challenge their own convictions. A few weeks ago, a “Free Speech Week” was cancelled at Berkley University amidst logistical confusion. The event, organized by a young Conservative student group, was headlined by conservative provocateurs Milo Yiannopoulos, Ann Coulter, and Steve Bannon. Despite the event falling apart, protests ensued, highlighting the polarization of political views on campus and a burgeoning movement against provocation disguised as free speech.    …

Trump’s War on Expression

A few weeks ago, President Donald J. Trump proposed eliminating the National Endowment for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Humanities. In the same breath, he indicated he wanted to defund the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, which provides essential revenues to PBS and NPR (National Public Radio). Then, only a week ago, his administration announced that they planned to repeal net neutrality provisions that had been signed into law a few years ago, which would greatly restrict people’s ability to use vast parts of the Internet unless they…

All Joking Aside: The SNL Effect

To many Americans, the political field is dull, divisive and plain ugly. For forty-two years, Saturday Night Live (SNL) has transformed the inner workings of politics into something that Americans find relatable, humorous, and ultimately engaging. With its witty and satirical depictions of presidential politics, this season of SNL has thoroughly captured the essence of the 2016 presidential election. It has seen record-shattering viewing figures: A recent skit featured Melissa McCarthy impersonating White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer on his first day. Matching Spicer’s stroppy conversational style and donning his…

The Fourth Estate Under Siege

It is no great secret that the Trump administration has focused significant attention on attacking the news media. Repeatedly and publicly, Trump and his surrogates have critiqued news outlets, kept respected sources out of the White House, refused to appear on networks, and proclaimed with growing intensity the existence of “fake news”. If the intent is to create distrust of the media, then Trump seems to be succeeding. A recent Pew Research poll found that 64% of Americans say fake news causes “a great deal of confusion.” Indeed, some of…