Everyone has said that this year’s presidential election is the most important one of our lives. And yet, it seems that we’re all regarding it as one big joke, with many memes resulting from various campaign rallies and presidential debates. We make fun of things when we get too uncomfortable. When the severity of a situation becomes too great, we turn it into a digestible joke. It’s like that nervous laugh that comes out during an interview.
Given there are exactly 12 candidates vying for the Democratic nomination at tonight’s debate, I figured I had to highlight them all as represented by the 12 Zodiac signs. (Admittedly, I know way more about astrology than I do about politics- don’t come after me!)
Elizabeth Warren: Aries
Known to “swat and jab at the air” in interviews, Warren can seem a bit Aries Aggressive indeed. But maybe that’s because she uses her boundless energy to unapologetically fight for what she believes in. Go off, Lizzy! Love that passionate fire.
“The American dream has become something much more closely resembling a nightmare, on the private, domestic, and international levels.” — James Baldwin, The Fire Next Time
On page 12 of the standard N-400 Application for Naturalization, all foreign-born persons seeking U.S. citizenship are asked, “Have you EVER been a member of, or in any way associated (either directly or indirectly) with the Communist Party?” It is a yes or no question. Why is it there to begin with? Under Chapter 7 of its General Naturalization Requirements, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) website explains that “current and previous membership” in organizations like the Communist Party “may indicate a lack of attachment to the Constitution and an indication that the applicant is not well disposed to the good order and happiness of the United States.” Consequently, an applicant “cannot naturalize” if they have been “affiliated with the Communist Party” or “advocated communism” within ten years preceding their filing for naturalization. Possible exemptions from this rule include applicants who establish that their prior membership or affiliation with the Communist Party was “involuntary”; “without awareness of the nature or aims of the organization”; or “necessary for purposes of obtaining employment, food rations, or other essentials of living.” Applicants who terminated their membership at the age of sixteen years-old or younger, or whose membership ended over ten years before filing for naturalization are likewise exempt. These clarifications, though helpful, leave the original question of why unanswered.
Last week, I was making conversation with a customer during one of my work shifts. She was speaking about a vegetarian friend, who was shaming her friends for their decision to eat meat. This customer defended herself, replying that she now chooses to participate in Meatless Mondays, and that she was doing her part to “save the world”. I laughed at this. My place of work has been limiting the number of straws we dispose of in an effort to be more environmentally conscious, and she had just asked me for a straw for her drink.
Millions of Americans have been affected by the government shutdown, and many workers’ livelihoods are at the mercy of the decisions of powerful elites. While witnessing the news about the American government shutdown, another shutdown occurred in my home country of Zimbabwe. On the week of January 15th, the Zimbabwean government blocked internet access throughout the country in response to protests. Even when the internet was switched back on a few days later, Gmail and certain popular social media sites such as WhatsApp and Facebook were blocked in the country. As an international student who was in America when all this was happening, I felt powerless.
Trump is determined to restore democracy in Venezuela. Mantras of egalitarianism and humanitarianism flood the American discourse surrounding the Venezuelan crisis. Promises of the restoration of democracy and socio-economic development for the Venezuelan people are allegedly at the forefront of Trump’s concern—but simultaneously, the Trump administration continues to issue threats of a military intervention.
The Trump administration’s illusory rhetoric surrounding democracy promotion should be taken with a grain of salt. Donald Trump, the most despotic president in our country’s history, wants to promote democracy abroad, albeit at gunpoint. The conundrum is twofold: First, why does the Trump Administration believe military intervention is key to promoting democracy?
This past Friday, June 27, 2018, marked the 65th anniversary of the Korean Armistice Agreement, a ceasefire agreement signed in 1953 between North Korea and the United States/United Nations that (1) did not officially end the Korean War, (2) established the Demilitarized Zone at the 38th parallel as the de jure border between North and South Korea, and (3) did not include the input or signatures of any South Koreans. The anniversary underscored what has been an exciting, albeit precarious period of swift developments in the triangulated relations between the governments of North Korea, South Korea, and the United States in recent months. April of this year saw South Korean president Moon Jae-In and North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un meet at the historic 2018 Inter-Korean Summit at Panmunjom, out of which came a declaration affirming both countries’ commitments to working towards reunification, demilitarization, and peace on the peninsula. The North Korea-United States summit in Singapore followed soon after, with U.S. president Donald Trump breaking a 65-year tradition of presidential anti-diplomacy towards North Korea’s sitting leader—and going even further by agreeing to take unprecedented steps towards the normalization and de-escalation of DPRK-U.S. relations. For Korean Americans who are part of a larger diaspora scattered across the globe, these developments have elicited a mixed bag of reactions and responses.
As of today’s date — Tuesday, May 1, 2018 — I am officially accepting applications from any and all individuals or entities interested in becoming founding members of Liberty in South Korea (LiSK). Serious inquiries may be sent to email@example.com. What is LiSK? We are a humanitarian organization committed to freeing the South Korean people from the twin terrors of US militarism and hypercapitalism. We have all heard the stories: massacres and imprisonment of dissidents, rampant rape and murder around US military bases, strings of puppet-dictators succeeded by nepotistic puppet-heads of state, corruption suffusing every level of economic activity, widespread disillusionment with the cutthroat education system, and the second-highest suicide rate in the developed world.
With an open mind and two sides of the story, you’re bound to learn something new.
Welcome to the zoo! This is a blog where both the Republican and Democratic viewpoints are represented. The blog is not meant to sway you either way necessarily, just to present both sides of the story. You may not agree with the whole article, but hey, you’re likely to agree with half!