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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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Letter from the Editor

Photo by Shaylee Vigil
Photo by Shaylee Vigil

Over the past twenty years, the internet has evolved from a foreign and highly technological concept to a staple part of our everyday lives. Before the popularization of social networking sites, blogging, and other forms of virtual communication, interpersonal interactions held a whole different meaning.

Life without the virtual world literally at our fingertips is a thing of the past, and it is almost a necessity in our society. The flux of information available to us about anything and anyone has permanently changed our social norms and expectations.

Before the internet was used as a primary means of communication, people had to go out in the real world and speak with each other on a daily basis. The only forms of regular communication aside from these interactions were over the phone or in writing. Because of this, people were forced to continue developing their interpersonal skills throughout their lives, even though some conversations could be uncomfortable or unpleasant. Now, people in this day and age can hide behind their technological walls, avoiding socially uncomfortable situations. However, in doing this we unintentionally rob ourselves of the opportunity to adapt to social situations.

The use of sites like Facebook and Twitter has led to an entirely separate cyberworld full of virtual projections of ourselves and others, which are not always accurate representations. Because others cannot receive any information you don’t choose to share, we have the ability to create entirely new identities.

Virtual forms of communication are so ingrained in our daily lives and interactions that it can be difficult or even impossible to differentiate between how you perceive someone based on their virtual presence versus their true and physical self.

Electronic forms of instant communication like Facebook chat and texting have created a new breed of conversation. In person, you talk in an entirely different manner than you would online, and we understand more from non-verbal cues like facial expressions and posture than from what someone is saying to us.

Text-based exchanges eliminate many of these necessary elements of a conversation; indicators like tone and voice inflection are no longer present. This disconnect distorts human interaction and makes it possible to receive entirely different information than what was meant to be communicated without even knowing it.

While the technology we have allows us to communicate with an almost automatic ease, true and enriching conversations are often much more difficult to have and can be intimidating. This has fostered a decline in social functionality and impairs our ability to build relationships with each other.

Virtual communication has a simulated feel, and if we rely too heavily on it we run the risk of losing the ability to really relate to one another. Face-to-face conversations make a much more authentic social world.

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February 11, 2014

By Taylor Nichols

Photo by Shaylee Vigil
Photo by Shaylee Vigil

The 2014 Sochi Olympics have generated controversy and resulted in a flood of criticism aimed at the Russian government.

From the indiscriminant killing of stray dogs all over the city to the unjustifiably expensive preparations Russia made for the games, many of which are still in progress, media and social networking sites have brought to light a variety of issues surrounding the event.

The Olympic Games had the potential to put the country in a more positive light to the rest of the world, but so far it has provided a flux of outlandish issues, some humorous and some alarming.

One of the most important issues surrounding the Sochi Olympics is the Russian government’s extreme anti-gay views and laws. Earlier this year President Vladimir Putin enacted a variety of laws prohibiting any public activities related to gay rights, including parades and other events, public displays of homosexuality, speaking out in defense of gay rights, and essentially anything in promotion of or supporting same-sex relationships.

Putin used children to promote this legislation, associating homosexuality with pedophilia and suggesting he enacted these laws as a way to protect youth from exposure to “nontraditional sexual relations.”

Putin even stated that members of the gay community coming to Sochi for the games would be safe as long as they “leave kids alone,” and Sochi’s mayor said his city didn’t have any gay citizens.

These abhorrent legislative actions brought on a huge range of reactions internationally as well as a wave of LGBT support from communities all over the world.

While the Russian government’s preposterous legislative actions are unacceptable and have caused more hate crimes in an already homophobic environment, the heightened controversy has actually generated more support for gay rights worldwide.

The British government provided funding to pro-LGBT protest groups in Russia, and Chevrolet aired a commercial during the Olympics showing a same-sex marriage and a gay male couple with their son and daughter. The Canadian Institute of Diversity and Inclusion released a video saying “the games have always been a little gay. Let’s fight to keep them that way.”

Norwegian singer-songwriter Annie Melody also made a music video in collaboration with artist Bjarne Melgaard called “Russian Kiss,” featuring a song speaking out against the legislation as well as four and a half minutes of same-sex couples kissing.

Some political figures and world leaders, including Barack Obama, chose not to attend the Olympic Games, and they were joined by hundreds of others in protest.

Pro-LGBT messages also found their way into the games. Russian music duo t.A.T.u., who have long been known for pretending to be lesbians as part of their stage personas, performed at the opening ceremonies, although it was not broadcasted internationally. Furthermore, six of the Olympians competing this year are openly gay.

The overwhelming amount of LGBT support brought on by Putin’s blatant homophobic attitude is something to be celebrated. It shows that while some people are stuck in the past and cling to their outdated and callous views, we as a society are undeniably on our way to more positive and open-minded practices. 

The Olympic Games are composed of international athletes with an international culture—tolerance and acceptance are fundamental elements of any diplomatic exchange, and much of the world’s response to Putin’s stance on LGBT individuals is in the spirit of a successful celebration of diversity.

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January 28, 2014

By Taylor Nichols

Photo by Shaylee Vigil
Photo by Shaylee Vigil

In American culture today, moments of silence are few and far between. Silence is frequently interpreted to mean nothing, when in reality it can communicate far more than words could ever express.

Having nothing to say can cause people to perceive that you are dumb, rude, or apathetic, and a lack of response in the midst of a conversation makes people feel uncomfortable. We as a people have forgotten how to simply be, both alone and with other people. We are afraid of being seen doing nothing.

Almost everyone has at some point pretended to text when they are alone in public to avoid the judgment of others. Music is playing almost everywhere you go, people are talking and cars and other city noises prevent silence in most public areas. One must actively seek out silence to find it, and we often neglect to do so.

While as a culture we don’t focus on the positive impact solitude can have, that is not to say that people don’t individually appreciate silence. The issue is not that we don’t have a fully developed awareness of our need for this experience, but that we as a society don’t emphasize or encourage experiencing life as it is, in quiet and thoughtful reflection.

When you’re surrounded by people and noise all the time, it’s easy to forget the importance of embracing silence and seclusion. When you are alone with your feelings and thoughts, doing nothing, hearing nothing and interacting with no one, you are forced to see inside and actively explore your own mind.

Silence can be the key to developing an awareness of the true self. This is highly valued by many spiritual people and much more so by some Eastern cultures and religions than Western ones. In other cultures, silence is associated with wisdom, patience, spirituality, and inner peace.

Solitude can be a scary thing. We as human beings are social by nature, and our everyday routines reflect that nature. As a result, we often fear this silence and time to reflect because it forces us to think deeply about ourselves instead of others.

People tend to be drawn to those who talk a lot or speak eloquently, and we value people speaking because we think that having something to say indicates intelligence or knowledge, when in reality much of what people say every day is arbitrary. Communication is an art, and words are only a medium.

The presence of distraction in our lives in the form of television, music, cell phones, and idle chatter from the people around us prevents us from experiencing life in full.  The technology of our day and age allows us to be constantly bombarded by noise and other distractions. It’s easy to feel sad and lonely when you take a moment to yourself, so we shy away from these opportunities.

The ability to be alone and engage your mind inwards is a valuable one. It is an essential part of human growth and without doing so we blind ourselves to the infinite depths of the mind and soul. If we place more value on thoughtful reflection and personal growth and focus less on constant noise and distractions from various media as a society, we will build a nation of happier and healthier people. Individual growth could have a hugely positive effect on the psyche of our population, which would spread that positive impact to all aspects of our lives.

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