Category Archives: English

The unsexy truth: three structural reforms the Democratic Party needs to survive

Before reading this article, please do me a quick favor. Don’t worry, it will only take a second. Go to your calendar app and check the date. If it says 2016, then your device is likely malfunctioning. The year 2016 has come and gone! I say this because too many people in the Democratic Party have not moved beyond their squabbles from the 2016 primary between Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders.

It is hard to avoid seeing this bitter divide playing out online, and with Sanders looking into a 2020 run, these feuds will only intensify. But all this fruitless bickering could not come at a worse time: the Democrats control no branch of government and the 2018 midterm election is only 273 days away. If the Democratic Party wants to have a fighting chance in the future, people need to move beyond the 2016 primary and implement real reforms to the party apparatus. Continue reading

Trump’s assault on science and technology

On September 13, 2012, Donald Trump sent out a provocative tweet: “Wake Up America!  See article: ‘Israeli Science: Obama Birth Certificate is a Fake.’” Trump’s assertion that President Obama was not born in the United States was bizarre, yet unsurprising. What struck me about his post was its use of (admittedly questionable) science to justify the birther conspiracy theory.

This is particularly intriguing, given the present hostility of the Trump administration toward science. Over the past year, the Trump administration has been attacking pillars of scientific and technological progress in a persistent manner. From the budget to the FCC, public education to climate change denial, this administration’s war on science and technology needs more focus among the general public. Continue reading

Holiday dinners mean political debates. Here’s what to do

Every Thanksgiving, I post a Facebook status encouraging friends to contact me if they need any help debating their right-wing family members. This annual tradition started as a bit of a joke, but it speaks to a broader phenomenon in the United States: the politicization of Thanksgiving dinner. Over the past few years, the inevitable political debate over dinner has turned into a trope. The Democratic Party has even released talking points to aid people during these discussions! I, for one, am all for these discussions–and I have some suggestions for people who want to bring their A-game. Continue reading

Standing for the anthem won’t help veterans. Jobs, homes, and healthcare will

Maintaining some sort of military force is one principle that nearly every person of every political persuasion agrees with. Seemingly no one agrees what this force should be and what this force should do, but virtually everyone, short of a handful of extremists, agrees on the military being a necessity. Understanding this factor, it is hard to comprehend why veterans’ quality of life in the United States is so poor. Poverty, unemployment, homelessness, and healthcare issues–particularly mental health problems–are par for the course for veterans returning home. Given the pride that people in the United States claim to have for veterans, the way veterans are treated is atrocious–and Democrats should be leading on this issue. Continue reading

It shouldn’t take Eminem’s anti-Trump rap to prove that hip-hop is meaningful

Hip-hop music has been political since its inception, but Eminem’s live performance against Donald Trump has struck a chord with scores of people. Racking up millions of views since its debut, the song features a considerable amount of lyrical depth for a freestyle. The ability of a rapper to craft a song about politics and gain so much mainstream exposure speaks volumes about hip-hop music’s popularity in contemporary U.S. culture. But despite hip-hop music’s widespread appeal, conservative critics such as Mike Huckabee and Bill O’Reilly continue to make tired arguments against it. Hip-hop should not be beyond good faith critique, but its cultural significance should be widely recognized–and dishonest conservative attacks should be called out as such. Continue reading

It’s past time to give a damn about U.S. territories. Here’s a primer

The year of 2017 has featured more news about U.S. territories than any other year in my memory. Last month, North Korea responded to Donald Trump’s provocations by threatening to attack Guam. This month, the U.S. Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico were both tragically affected by Hurricane Irma. Despite U.S. territories being in the headlines, many people in the U.S. are unaware of what the term “U.S. territories” entails, or why it matters. Continue reading

GOP 2017: The doctor, not the monster, was named Frankenstein

One could point to many times at which Trump’s political career should have been dead in the water.

When Trump compared all Muslims to terrorists by labeling the fight against ISIS a “clash of civilizations,” cooler heads should have prevailed. When Trump referred to Spanish as the “language of living in the ghetto,” Republican voters should have rejected such racism. What about when Trump sang a song about bombing Iran? When he called himself “David Duke without the baggage”? Or when he proposed a law requiring pregnant teenagers be publicly shamed in newspapers before receiving public assistance? It should be surprising to everyone that Trump has been able to succeed electorally despite these offensive sentiments.  Continue reading

More than Usher: stigmatizing STDs is bad for everyone

Three weeks ago, celebrity gossip headlines were filled with one topic: R&B singer Usher tested positive for genital herpes. A woman, whom Usher is accused of giving herpes to, has brought suit against the singer, suing him for $20 million. The details are perfect for a media frenzy: a popular celebrity, sex, drama, lots of money, and a lawsuit. What has not been conveyed effectively are the medical realities of sexually-transmitted infections (STIs), and the ensuing socio-political realities. Continue reading

Chester Bennington, John McCain, and the specter of death

At the end of last year, many internet users noted 2016 as an all-around awful year. The year of 2016 was the hottest year in recorded history. There was the passage of Brexit. The election of Donald Trump. But, perhaps what cemented this negative reputation for 2016 was the deaths of seemingly dozens of noted celebrities, such as Prince, David Bowie, Muhammad Ali, Alan Rickman, and Gene Wilder to name a few. For many, the feeling of dread that seemingly started in 2016 has carried over to 2017. With no end in sight, I want to consider how death and tragedy is framed. Continue reading

Some ideas need more than 140 characters: why I started blogging

Earlier in the year, an iMessage conversation with a high school classmate gave me pause.

“Wait, can I ask you something?” she ominously inquired. “Don’t take this the wrong way, but you used to be so vocal about U.S. politics on Facebook. And now you’ve been pretty quiet about it lately. Is there any reason for that?”

She posed a valid question, and she’s not wrong: a few years ago, I would post constantly on social media about the goings-on in the United States and international political scenes. That changed somewhat recently, due not only to major changes in how social networking sites present content, but also a desire to write more long-form, thoroughly sourced pieces. Here’s why. Continue reading