L’editor: a look behind the front page

By Apple Parry

For every issue the Horizon prints, it is my responsibility to write a Letter from the Editor. A L’editor, we call it. I can write about almost whatever I want to. However, it’s currently 6:42 pm on production day, and what you see above is all I’ve got.
This will be my sixth issue as the editor-in-chief, and I can’t think of a damn thing to write about.

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L’editor: Financial insecurity

By Apple Parry

Growing up chronically poor and having money insecurity…man, let me tell you how much of a soul-crushing combo that is.
Money insecurity does not always call for someone to be “poor” to have it. In fact any one can have money insecurity, including children.
Money insecurity is not just for adults, it’s not something that you’re allowed to know about when you turn 18.
Does it speed up childhood development and introduce empathy early on by taking on parents’ stress at a young age? Yeah probably, it happened to me, laugh out loud.
Having money as one of the instabilities in life is a very sobering experience.
From a young age you are taught that if you have money, you are cared for. Material objects can become desires. Even small things like having off brand snacks for lunch can be socially damaging.
Children growing up with this are known to expect less. Things like living somewhere not as nice as you wish, no new iPhones, no new gadgets, no new clothes, not even name brand food.
You can’t help which family you were born into, or how your parents pay for everything, you’re their dependent. But when kids see their parents struggling they understand why, and they take on some of that stress.
I limited myself as a way to not add to the existing stress my mom had when it came to money. I didn’t take dance classes, I stopped playing sports, and every time I asked for a little spending money it wasn’t easy.
And I wonder whether other kids are doing the same. This decreases students’ chances of getting into colleges, which they already can’t afford.
Whether a student receives financial aid is based on their parents’ income. How is that fair or smart in any way? The majority of parents will not be paying for their kids’ schooling, and even if they do, who says they have enough saved away?
How are 18 year olds supposed to pay for their own college when they can’t even get hired until the age of 14, and even then since that worker is a minor, their hours are limited? Even if a 14 year old got a job, and started saving every single one of their checks for college, they only have roughly four years to save up for a college education.
Being forced to go into adulthood without savings, therefore without security, is a huge idiot move, to parents everywhere. How are we supposed to enjoy life to the fullest when we have to spend our whole lives making money to get to the next month, not the next generation?
Every year when Christmas rolled around, I would hear my mom say that she can’t overspend again, and it’s going to be a small Christmas. And every year she would buy me more than she should have and more than I needed. Then for the following months we would scrape by, and before I knew it the overspending season was upon us again.
All my life I have felt the indirect pressures of money insecurity. But when I got my own job and started paying for a few things I finally got that firsthand experience.
I only understood the fear of not being able to pay for the vital things when I began having my own bills to pay. I started when I turned 18 in order to take some stress off of my mom and gain responsibility and preparation for the future.
I feel insecure about how much money I have in my account every day. I feel like no matter how much I save I will never have saved enough.
It is grounding, growing up very aware of how valuable money really is. I think it has been very useful to not have that particular shock, now that I’m supposed to be an adult.
Although money is overall just an inconvenience, understanding it is better than using it recklessly. We should be teaching kids how to save money from a young age, instead of expecting them to be reckless with it.
Those go-gurt and capri-sun kids are probably weirdos now anyway.

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US government in time-out until Trump says so


Apple Parry
Apple Parry

By Apple Parry

This story initially ran in Issue 6, published January 22, 2019.

Today marks the 32nd day of the longest government shutdown yet, and there is no end in sight.

Federal employees will not be paid until after appropriation bills, which allow government spending, are passed into law.

In September, all funding requests for the next calendar year were either approved or declined by the House and Senate. If a request is not approved by the New Year, a shutdown is a possibility.

The shutdown will last until the House and Senate agree on a solution. When it’s over, employees are entitled to back pay.

In the meantime, workers will be scrambling to pay for necessities.

Nearly 800,000 government workers, including our military, did not receive a paycheck for their most recent pay period.

U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders recently tweeted: “President Trump said that ‘nobody has been better at the military’ than him. So why is he keeping the government shutdown and leaving 42,000 service members without paychecks for the first time in history?”

Not only is Trump making employees work without pay, but he’s asking soldiers to continue to risk their lives – without pay.

While I’m not in the military, nor a federal employee, I do attend a federally funded school. Although I’m not personally affected by this, there are a plethora of concerns I have for the long-term outcome this will have across America.

For example, 70% of the 7.3 million students enrolled in the districts that are part of the council are signed up for free and reduced lunch.

Students who rely on schools for food might be in trouble if the shutdown lasts through March.

After March, the schools will have to use their “rainy day” savings or pull funding from extracurricular activities in order to accommodate food prices.

Imagine telling these children that they can no longer go to their favorite after school activity, because the school has to use that money to feed them now.

Trump recently tweeted, “Great being with the National Champion Clemson Tigers last night at the White House. Because of the Shutdown I served them massive amounts of Fast Food (I paid), over 1000 hamburgers etc. Within one hour, it was all gone. Great guys and big eaters!”

Well Trump, since you’re feeling generous, why don’t you buy lunch for the 30 million children signed up for free and reduced lunch that you’ve screwed over?

Rapper Cardi B chimed in on the situation on her Instagram, posting a video in which she voiced her profanity-ridden opinion, bringing up the length of time the shutdown has dragged on, and stressing that this needs to be taken care of and handled.

Cardi B would like to stress that she isn’t weighing in on political subjects for “clout,” she is genuinely interested in political science, and is concerned for the citizens of America.

Cardi also mentioned former President Barack Obama’s shutdown, not using it to excuse Trump, but rather to call him out. After all it is such a stupid and illogical reason.

When Obama shut the government down in 2013, it only lasted 16 days. Obama had two appropriation bills on the table.

His goals were to acquire enough funding for Obamacare, which was already a law, which requires everyone to have health insurance, and raise the debt limit, which is the amount of money the government can spend.

The shutdown ended when the House and Senate compromised, regarding the debt raise, which in turn allowed funding for Obamacare.

Let’s compare, shall we?

Trump has said he intends to stick with the shutdown for however long it takes to get his way. He only had one issue, this issue is not a law, and it benefits absolutely no one. In fact it could be genuinely damaging to the surrounding ecosystems.

The butterfly effect that this will cause could be completely detrimental to the economy alone. Not having a constant flow of paying and spending will damage all kinds of businesses, and everyone involved.

This not a presidential action. It is not an act of patriotism. It’s an immature act of exclusion, which proves the president doesn’t even take the citizens of this country into account. Well, if they were rich he might at least blink an eye.

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The #relatable factor

By Apple Parry

The mass production of relatable content is discouraging genuine opinion.

A few years back, the term “relatable” became a popular saying. People involved in social media started to become more and more “relatable.” But like all things that start out good, the mass locals with follower mentality overdid it.

This led to an incredibly boring cast of YouTubers.

But other than this new “typecast quirky” that happens to actually be very, very extremely normal, my main concern is the lack of self-cultivated opinions.

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L’Editor: Give me education or give me debt!

By Ken Johnson

Community college helps to bridge the chasm between the American dream and the American reality.

The United States, more than most other countries, prescribes a narrative over the lives of its citizens: grade school, university, career, retirement, and then an uncomfortable death at an unfamiliar hospital, doped up on morphine.

In most of the country, high-school graduates are expected to go to college, and about 70 percent of them do, according to Pew Research Center — that’s up 20 percent from 1970.

Many jobs that didn’t previously require a university degree, such as salesperson or pilot, now require some sort of degree. And that’s a little weird because a bachelor’s degree in history has nothing to do with flying a plane.

Even if someone manages to find a job that doesn’t require some sort of degree, people with degrees look down their noses at people without degrees, especially in cities like Bellingham.

A college degree might as well be the star on the belly of a sneetch.

So a university degree is a status symbol, as well as a prerequisite for landing a job. On the surface, that doesn’t seem like such a bad thing: a liberal arts education can provide context to an otherwise confusing life and help people become more informed citizens. It seems like that, if everyone was educated, there would be fewer problems in the world — fewer Donald Trumps.

Except that college is dangerously expensive.

In 2017, according to Pew Research Center, there was over $1.3 trillion in American student debt, and the average recipient of a bachelor’s degree was over $25,000 in collegiate debt. Roughly half of the people who have bachelor’s degrees do not think that the benefit of the degree outweighs the financial cost. That’s a 50 percent college-regret rate.

And some organizations, such the Huffington Post, have found a connection between student loans and suicide.

Is a liberal arts degree really worth all that?

No. It’s not.

Especially when the reason why anyone would get a liberal arts education is considered. I mean, think about the phrase “liberal arts.” In Latin “liberal” is generally synonymous with “freedom” or “the pursuit of a freeman” — think about the word “liberty.”

I’m not a linguist, but the point I’m trying to make is that a liberal arts education is all about being free. It’s about being able to think for yourself and engage with the world on your own terms.

But there is absolutely nothing liberating about being crushed and churned around in a Sisyphean cycle of debt.

So on one hand, a liberal arts education is a nice thing to have, but on the other hand, getting one ruins lives.

That brings me to community college: the happy medium between an irreparable credit score and being able to name the impacts of climate change.

Community college has two main benefits: it’s cheaper, and everybody is accepted.

There is a special kind of dumb hypocrisy in wanting everyone to go to college, but then turning away a lot of potential students, because, however high an acceptance rate is, some people are still being denied.

Community college is pragmatic where most American universities are elitist. The realization that community colleges have made is that most Americans are not 18 years old and wealthy.

Some people need to work while they’re in school. Some people grow old, not Neil Patrick Harris, but some people.

Community college has flaws and in no way fixes everything. It’s kind of like putting a band-aid on a gunshot wound… it helps, a little.

It keeps the good part of going to university — the education — and mitigates the bad parts — the debt and self-loathing.

Community college should expand, and it should become free.

I’m no financial analyst, but maybe we should spend money on educating people before we spend money on shiny Star Wars-style military jets.

Hell, with 1.3 trillion in debt, a crafty government could really get cracking on some state-sponsored terrorism. And if it’s lucky, even topple a democratically elected socialist.

Or educate its citizens.

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