National Political Update


Los Angeles Times

Image courtesy of Los Angeles Times.

Alex Vigder and Paul Vigder

Many students get their news strictly from social media. As a result, many are not as informed about the numerous political and cultural issues shaping American society in 2018. Deerprints has chosen to take a quick look at a rising feminism movement, proposed new gender laws, existing controversial immigration regulations, and the new presidential alert system. Additionally, with the advent of “fake news” and misleading information abounding on social media, Americans consistently struggle to determine whether the information they’re exposed to is legitimate. Finding credible and accurate news is a daily struggle for many people. That is where we come in. Our goal is to inform students about some of the more important political events that have taken place around the beginning of our school year – and do our small part in bringing you the news.


Presidential Alert

On Wednesday, October 3, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) held their first test of the Integrated Public Alert and Warning System (IPAWS), better known as the Presidential Alert. The alert appeared on an estimated 225 million smartphones at 2:18 pm and remained for 30 minutes. The message was thought to have been received by around 75% of the U.S. population. Initially, the alert was met with heavy skepticism when first announced; many claimed that the alerts would be abused by President Trump as a new medium for his contentious Twitter feed. The system is not optional and will be received by all unless one’s phone is powered off or not connected to cellular service. FEMA quickly reassured Americans that the program is merely an addition to the 20-year-old emergency alert system already named “Presidential Alert” which has not been abused by any administration during its existence. This alert system will continue to be maintained for the entirety of the Trump administration.


Zero Tolerance Policy

In May, former Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced the Trump administration’s new “zero tolerance” policy for prosecuting illegal immigrants. The new policy stated that adults being prosecuted would be separated from their children during the time of arrest. Previously, families would be held together in detention facilities. Between April 19 and May 31, around 1,995 children were separated from their parents and held in detention facilities. Many immigrant rights groups have been concerned about the safety of the children there, many of whom are being held together with a wide range of children of other ages. The Trump Administration believes the main purpose of the law is to deter people from immigrating illegally. President Trump has since amended the policy, but the administration still continues to push for stricter laws for immigration. According to former Attorney General Jeff Sessions, “If you are smuggling a child then we will prosecute you, and that child will be separated from you as required by law, if you don’t like that, then don’t smuggle children over our border.”

The Herald Net

MeToo Movement

The Washington Examiner

The combination of feminism and constantly advancing technology have created the ideal platform for the cultural firestorm we now know as the MeToo Movement. The movement has focused its effort on fighting sexual abuse and has evolved to include the fight against the objectification of women as well. Actions taken to protect women from sexual assault as a result of MeToo have created what many, including the New York Times have called the “gray zone.” This is a sexual encounter that is not classified as sexual assault, yet neither is it as simple as a “bad date.” Allegations against comedian Aziz Ansari exemplify the gray zone. This area has been difficult to navigate as more women come forward with accusations. More recently, there have been several incidents in which these lines have been questioned and in several cases, resolved. In September of this year, Bill Cosby was sentenced to three to ten years in prison for sexually assaulting Andrea Constand in his house 14 years ago. Following the Senate confirmation hearing of Judge Brett M. Kavanaugh, Christine Blasey Ford went to Congress to testify about sexual assault allegations made against Kavaugh. Ultimately, the Senate voted to confirm Kavanaugh in spite of the dramatic hearing, enabling him to become an associate justice on the Supreme Court. Nonetheless, the movement continues and on the MeToo movement website, they state their goal as, “to reframe and expand the global conversation around sexual violence to speak to the needs of a broader spectrum of survivors.”


A New Definition of Gender

The Trump Administration recently proposed redefining gender under Title IX on a strictly physical basis: based on the genitalia one is born with. This declaration reverses the protections offered to the transgender community under the Obama Administration. The administration effectively ruled that each individual had the right to decide their own gender. However, the Obama-era regulations sparked many heated debates, making restrooms, education, and healthcare more politicized with regard to gender issues. Many Americans, particularly those with devout religious beliefs, were extremely disturbed by the Obama Justice Department’s new regulations. President Trump’s proposed changes would remove significant protections now provided to the transgender population, creating what some believe represents a new civil rights infringement on a vulnerable population.