By Brandon Lewis, Staff Writer
In the wake of the second deadliest shooting in American history, Americans are partaking in a heated debate over the future of gun control. Many are calling for legislation that would address the gun control issue head-on while others believe that little could be done to appease the national violence. Several days before his second inauguration, Barack Obama released his plan to reduce gun violence.
The plan outlines tighter gun license regulations, a ban of military-style assault weapons, making schools safer and increasing access to mental health services.
The passing of Obama’s plan falls in the hands of the Congress. We are not aware of their stance on the president’s gun control measure so in the meantime, here’s my opinion on the pros and cons of Obama’s proposal.
- An assault weapons ban is important so the most destructive guns will no longer integrate itself in street culture. Semi-automatic firearms should not be in the hands of the public.
- Obama’s implementation of school emergency management plans is necessary for preparing schools for emergency situations. Every school should have a set plan of action in the event of an emergency.
- The accessibility to mental health services is needed. Many believe that the perpetrators behind gruesome shootings suffer from mental illness. I believe that some of the perpetrators are, and increasing mental health service accessibility may help to cut down on tragic and unnecessary violence.
- If the assault weapons ban is passed, the government needs to find a suitable way to impose this legislation.
- There are always people that believe their natural rights are being violated. In this case, some individuals will view the banning of certain guns as another threat to their liberty.
- Many Americans also believe that guns are required for defending themselves in dangerous moments. When Congress considers Obama’s measure, self-defense will be brought up as a reason supporting the need for guns.
In my opinion, gun control has cemented itself as a prevalent issue in society and action needs to be taken. Obama said it best: “It’s not only the high-profile mass shootings that are of concern here, it’s also what happens on a day-in-day-out basis in places like Chicago or Philadelphia, where young people are victims of gun violence every single day.”
By Amira Francis, Staff Writer
If I had to describe Barack Obama’s inauguration speech, one of the first words that comes to mind is: bold (right along with “liberal”). The president addressed many controversial issues in his speech on Monday, including themes such as climate change, gay rights, and immigration. I respect when a president takes more of a forceful stance on issues that he believes in, whatever they may be.
There may be a reason for this sudden forcefulness. There of course will be no re-election for Obama during the next presidential election because of the two-term limit. And – I say this with no judgment – it’s natural for a president to be very cautious of where he stands on some issues if he is angling to get re-elected. It’s the curse of the politician. So I have a feeling that we will start to see the president take stronger standpoints these next four years than the previous ones. His inauguration speech was a taste of that. It did not shy away from the controversial topics that are part of public discourse.
One of the most powerful lines of his speech on Monday might have been this one, addressing gay rights:
“Our journey is not complete until our gay brothers and sisters are treated like anyone else under the law – for if we are truly created equal, then surely the love we commit to one another must be equal as well.” – President Obama
I’m sure many hearts soared when they heard the president deliver that line on Monday. I’m also sure there were many indignant cries from some conservative . Apparently, it was the first time a president has ever used the word “gay ” in an inaugural address. This reflects the very bold and progressive nature of his speech.
Another surprise was when the president addressed climate change –yet another controversial topic.
“We will respond to the threat of climate change, knowing that the failure to do so would betray our children and future generations. Some may still deny the overwhelming judgment of science, but none can avoid the devastating impact of raging fires, and crippling drought, and more powerful storms. The path towards sustainable energy sources will be long and sometimes difficult.” -President Obama
I was impressed by his very direct address of the heavily debated issue, especially because there are so many people who reject the notion that it even exists, making it a prime target for ridicule.
Obama also discussed immigration. He made it clear that he is pro-immigration – of course, not illegal immigration – and that he wants to welcome foreigners into America.
“Our journey is not complete until we find a better way to welcome the striving, hopeful immigrants who still see America as a land of opportunity; until bright young students and engineers are enlisted in our workforce rather than expelled from our country.” – President Obama
The president addressed yet another interesting point: Equal pay for women, an issue that is often overlooked.
“It is now our generation’s task to carry on what those pioneers began. For our journey is not complete until our wives, our mothers, and daughters can earn a living equal to their efforts.” – President Obama
President Obama’s speech was a strong foreshadowing of what is to come. He aims his words at a younger America and, as a result, it seems likely that there will be change. Whether this is a good thing or a bad thing is up for you to decide.
By Brandon Lewis, Staff Writer
With the presidential election fewer than two weeks away, many Americans are finalizing their ballot selections. Some are watching playback of the highly publicized debates between Obama and Romney. Others are evaluating the candidates’ stances on important issues. The media and the majority of the country have focused on Obama and Romney without acknowledging the third party candidates, and in particular, Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein.
Jill Stein is a mother of two sons, a versatile physician, teacher of internal medicine and an enthused health advocate. She was born in Chicago and raised in Highland Park, Ill. She studied anthropology, sociology and psychology at Harvard University and graduated magna cum laude in 1973. She is also a graduate of Harvard’s Medical School. Jill Stein began addressing her environmental concerns in 1998 when she discovered that American politicians were not seeking to protect children from the environment’s harmful toxic wastes. In 2000, she co-wrote In Harm’s Way: Toxic Threats to Child Development, which was a popular report promoting environmentally friendly economies, sustainable agriculture and protection from toxic threats. In 2002, activists in the Massachusetts Green-Rainbow party asked Stein to run for Governor of Massachusetts. She accepted the request and inserted herself into the political world. In the Massachusetts election, she placed third out of five candidates and lost to Mitt Romney who she described as a “jobs killer.”
As the Green Party presidential candidate, Jill Stein frequently promotes “A Green New Deal for America,” in which she would create 25 million jobs by introducing green projects across the nation. She believes that the creation of these jobs would end mass employment Her goal is to not only create more jobs but to create “new jobs.” These jobs would revolve around public work programs and community businesses.
In a USA Today interview following the first debate between Obama and Romney, Stein attacked the respective campaigns of her two competitors. First she addressed the Republican candidate.
“I ran against, and debated, Mitt Romney in the 2002 Massachusetts election for governor,” she said. “Romney was a jobs killer then, and he still is today. He makes money off of destroying jobs and driving down workers wages. He wants to do to America what he did at Bain Capital, ‘harvesting profits’ in his words by sucking the value out of what we, the people, have built.”
Then she evaluated Obama’s work over the previous term.
“As for President Obama, for the past four years he has played it safe,” he said. “Safe for himself, that is, but not safe for the rest of us. Instead of fighting for areal economic stimulus the kind of massive investment in our economy I am fighting for with the Green New Deal—this president bailed out Wall Street. Meanwhile, he has allowed youth unemployment to hit 25 percent, and student debt to skyrocket. I think it’s time we bailed out the working students, not the rich bankers, don’t you?”
Stein believes that in order for the United States to overcome economic instability, the American economy needs to shed its traditional doctrines and incorporate “green” values. Jill Stein envisions the ignition of a green economy if she were elected president of the United States.
These are the straight facts. Still, people call her “crazy,” and fail to take her seriously. I wonder what the likelihood of a third party candidate winning this election would be.