Hosted by Niall McDonald '18 and Charlie Hansen '18
Produced and edited by Alexandre LaBossiere '18
By Caroline Schuermann '18
President Donald Trump’s first year in office was eventful and unique to say the least. From tax reform to tweeting, the unsuccessful “skinny repeal” to the travel ban. Trump’s first year of his term has been easily the most controversial in modern history. He is a widely unpopular personality, with approval ratings at historic lows for a president this early in his time in office, nearing the low forties and high thirties. However, the president maintains favor among his base: seventy-eight percent of whom support his progress say they would vote for him again.
Because Donald Trump is such a divisive figure, it is hard to predict how his presidency will influence this year’s 2018 midterm elections. To his base, Trump’s first year was a massive success highlighted by the attempt to introduce a travel ban, the successful passage of widespread tax cuts, the appointment of Supreme Court justice Neil Gorsuch, and the gains in the national economy, especially the stock market. Trump’s critics, however, have a different outlook about the previous year. The administration seems to be in constant chaos with special counsel Robert Mueller inditing and putting pressure on more and more of Trump’s staff and advisors, seemingly by the day.
While the economy does seem to be moving in the right direction, this factor may not be enough to rally voters behind the GOP this November. Notable economic improvements include: unemployment is down from 4.8% to 4.1%, the S&P 500 is up by more than twenty-three percent, and the federal debt is down slightly from 104.3% to 103.8%, all from the beginning of 2017 to the beginning of 2018. While President Trump may enjoy taking credit for these improvements, those earnings may not be totally to his credit. In addition, using the stock market may be an outdated assessment of the state of the American economy as less than fifty-five percent of Americans had investments in the stock market in 2015. What average Americans really want to see is wage growth and job opportunities. Wage growth has essentially stagnated, if not worsened, this year, going from 2.5% to 2.6%.
Such developments will not be enough for Republicans to keep control of every branch of government this year. A growing movement on the left in response to a Trump presidency is likely to continue this November. Democrats are gaining headway in states and positions that they have not possessed in decades. Elections this past fall, including Ralph Northam in Virginia and Doug Jones in Alabama, serve as examples. Donald Trump ran on a populist and anti-establishment platform. Some Trump supporters were even life-long Democrats who felt as though they have been abandoned both by the Democratic and Republican establishment. Many see established Republicans like Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell as deterrents for Trumps agenda. If Democrats can mobilize around a platform that can distinctly address the issues of those who feel abandoned and disenfranchised, rather than the explicit anti-Trump approach the Clinton campaign took in 2016, it is likely that they will be able to take back half of Congress.
Regardless of the outcomes of the 2018 midterms, America will remain divided. Despite his low approval rating, the president's base is unlikely to ever waiver in their high levels of support. The discrepancy lies in whether or not they decide to support his party, as Trump himself changes positions on certain issues by the day or by the tweet. Growing hostility with North Korea, looming threat of a potential trade war as a result of the President’s proposal of high steel and aluminum tariffs, and a possible Mueller indictment on its way could all change the fate of the Congress after midterms. There are few notable achievements for a government entirely controlled by one party. One thing is for certain: if the House or Senate flip blue this fall, the Trump administration will have to compensate for even more gridlock and further divisions.
By Jasper Boers '18
It would be easy for me to answer this question in the affirmative. Sure, I am STA’s conservative president for Government Club and thus you may already have your suspicions about what I think of this issue. Nevertheless, I’ll attempt to make the claim that what we may consider to be the institutional stifling of conservative voices by unseen political currents of the left—whether on the close, in academia, or in America—is really just an example of a concept political scientists call the Overton window.
Also known as the window of political discourse, the Overton window is the idea that there is a defined latitude of political viewpoints which constitutes the extent of public discourse. What can drag the Overton window to the left or right are the voices of the extreme left and right—say, HuffPost and Breitbart (to name two). What we really think is the stifling of conservative voices by academic institutions is just the Overton window gradually moving to the left, alienating some of the farther right views from the scope of public discourse. I’d believe that the Overton window is just about as far left as it can get right now. As a result, conservative voices have less standing in the sphere of political debate.
Earlier this year, a few of my friends and I had a lengthy argument about whether or not there exists such as thing as a ‘conservative bias.’ We all know what ‘liberal bias’ is from our favorite specimens of loud-mouthed yellow journalists like Rachel Maddow and Michael Smerconish. Even late-night television is contaminated with an unhealthy dosage of political agenda (look no further than John Oliver and Seth Meyers). Not to justify the lies of the aforementioned “journalists” (circus clowns more like it), but I do believe that there should exist naturally in the American media a liberal tilt. It makes sense that an institution built upon a liberal value such as freedom of speech would have a slight leftist lean to it.
But what about conservative bias? The Ben Shapiro Show obviously has a conservative bias, but that’s explicit. Ben doesn’t intentionally deceive his listeners. His show is explicitly opinion. To an untrained eye, CNN appears to be straight news, but news mixed with opinion isn’t news.
While conservative bias doesn’t exist today in media on the same scale as liberal bias, it certainly has infected American journalism before. Consider the Red Scare—a stark reminder of the dangers of identity politics and demagoguery. That was the 1950’s, and conservatism has since evolved, though its standing in the mainstream media has declined significantly. We hear much more of liberal bias than we do of conservative bias.
When most all our facts are filtered through a sieve of deception by a leftist media disguised as the vanguard of an unbiased free press, free thought is more or less unattainable. The prevailing voice in political discourse today screams from the left, drowning out any the voices of dissenters. Liberal bias has dragged the Overton window so far left that many conservatives feel suffocated by their friends, their schools, their country. What we perceive as a problem with our two schools, then, is really a problem with what we listen to, what we see on TV, and what we read online.
This phenomenon of the Overton window does sound like an uncontrollable force, but the solution to our perception of the political views of others is simple. Turn off the TV. Stop getting your news from Facebook. Pick up a magazine, a newspaper—anything but a screen.
By Ian Chang '19
Over 50-million American students attend public schools — a number that is 50 million too large. Public schools are not only mostly inept and unnecessary, but they are a direct overreach of government power and are antithetical to freedom. All public-school systems should be closed and government requirements forcing children to be educated should be abolished. The government’s role is not to provide education nor force students to receive an education. Rather, children’s parents should decide whether they want their children to have an education and if so, in what form that education should be. Clearly, compulsory education laws, as well as government-run public schools violate individual rights.
In addition, the current state of public schools in America are so badly flawed, they are impossible to fix. Right now, both the Federal Department of Education and individual states’ Departments of Education are bloated with bureaucracy and under the heel of teacher unions. Also, Americans, even if they didn’t attend public school or have no children in public school, are still forced to pay taxes to support a system from which they derive no benefit. This taxation is basically theft, as those people gain nothing from having their money forcibly taken. In addition to being expensive, American public schools are bad at the whole education part of school. The public-school system has many endemic problems that cannot be solved due to radical disagreements between Americans, such as poor curriculum choices, over-emphasis on sports, and a pervasive belief that school is a necessary institution in life.
Finally, by allowing the government to control the school system, Americans allow the government to control what they think and how they think. Public schools are no more than indoctrination camps for politicians to push their agendas onto students. Whether politicians are trying to push Christianity, prayer, and intelligent design or multiculturalism, evolution, and a ridiculous common core curriculum, parents can no longer decide what they want their children to learn. If a parent believes that prayer is an integral part of education, their child should be able to pray while learning. If a parent believes in evolution, their child should learn evolution as fact. The government should not be allowed to brainwash future generations of Americans by having control of their education.
The free market is the ideal system for education in America. America is built on capitalism, and a free market for education services will allow consumers to choose the type of education they want for their children. In addition, the free market will drive prices down and make education more efficient. The free market also drives innovation, such as online schooling, which will turn America from having some of the most backwards school systems to having one of the most modern education solutions. The free market along with the money saved from taxes by eliminating public schools will also drive costs down, allowing for more people to receive a higher quality education. For those who still cannot afford it, private charity has been the historical solution and should be the solution in the future. Church schools or private non-profits will be able to flourish without any needlessly bureaucratic government regulation. This free-market system will allow everyone to have the type of education they want, thereby maximizing freedom. By abolishing all government control or regulation of schools, people will have the freedom to choose if, what, and how they want to learn and will allow all Americans to take a leap forward into the future.
By Anaya Rodgers ‘20
Please find the NCS Lacrosse Trip Spring Break Article Here
Everyone has something special about them, some unique quality or tool; it just takes some longer to find it than others. From a young age, we are taught to discover that “thing.” The way I was brought up, reading and writing were my “thing,” something no one could take away from me. Since I could talk, I’ve known I wanted to be a leader, someone with the power and authority to eliminate the evil and discrimination of the world. Often times, people think in order to inspire or enact change they must be politicians, lawyers, or civil rights activists who march to city hall and won’t take no for an answer. But I reject that notion and instead argue that one can call out injustice through any platform. If we were to say that every person should find their “thing,” yet only be subjected to the previous three things, we would be a society of hypocrites. So, who then has the right and responsibility to use their political power? Anyone, but especially this group who has a 75% audience in arguably America’s most influential age bracket (12-24); and that is Musicians.
As Spotify, Apple Music, and the radio make music more accessible, it is evident why the population of music-listeners has dramatically increased over the past few years. Seeing the power that music has over our society, its capability to create political awareness possibly surmounts any other form of media, especially because many millennials pay more attention to music than the political world. Kendrick Lamar, perhaps the generation’s greatest hip-hop artist, dedicated an entire album to the evident problems associated with certain identities and critiqued the conceptions of society today. In his song, “DNA.”, he describes the blessings and burdens of being black. In the song’s bridge, he used a quote from a report by Fox News’ Geraldo Rivera that says, “This is why I say that hip hop has done more damage to young African Americans than racism in recent years”. Whether you agree with Rivera or not, Lamar does what any platform holder should do: bring awareness and attention to a controversial issue. He uses his talent to both express his opinion and highlight those of others. Vince Staples, another young rapper, is more explicit with his opinions and has the same effect. In his song “BagBak,” he illustrates the mistreatment of black people, specifically critiquing institutionalized racism and underrepresentation in the political world. He writes:
Prison system broken, racial war commotion
Until the president get ashy, Vincent won’t be votin’;
We need Tamikas and Shaniquas in that Oval Office
Obama ain’t enough for me, we only getting started
The next Bill Gates can be on Section 8 up in the projects
So ‘til they love my dark skin
B*tch I’m goin’ all in
One of the most debated topics of today is the existence of institutionalized racism and police brutality. In this song, Staples manages to touch on each of them. Similarly to Lamar, he uses his platform to force people to interact with uncomfortable conversations surrounding the issues in this country.
These features are what encompass a political leader or anyone with a platform. Someone who, in attempt of being a positive influencer and creating change, raises awareness and conversation towards the ignored aspects of everyday life. These artists found their “thing” and used it for the benefit of others. So to those who say that you cannot have an effective political voice without yelling on Pennsylvania Avenue or having a seat in your city’s congress, take a listen to Lamar or Staples and then reassess. As the lyrical genius, Tupac Shakur (RIP Pac) once said, “I’m not saying I’m gonna change the world, but I guarantee that I will spark the brain that will change the world”.
By Gabe Schneider '18
The following is a further excerpt from the notes of Dr. Harry Lang, previously seen in this publication for his linguistic study of STA senior slang in documents discovered by our very own Fred Horne ‘18. In this week’s look into Dr. Lang’s extraordinary mind, we encounter him in his older years, circa 2017, when he turned from the soft joys of humanities to the hard sciences. Though protests were heard throughout the Exchanged editorial population, concerned with the document’s journalistic value, a last-minute verification from the NCS Social Sciences Dept. soothed all doubts.
Dr. Harry Lang presents: The Fauna of STA/NCS Government Club: Your Guide to the Close’s Premier Place People Gather But Mostly Not To Eat [we conjecture Dr. Lang had, as many of us do, a complex relationship with Open City] Aka: All of Gov is Divided Into Three Parts
Phylum 1: Sofomoridae
As the ecosystem’s most newly evolved group, the Sofomoridae still require alertness and wit to evade the attacks of more established foes. Though many among their ranks are classified in the Silencius telefonus, known for elaborate concealment behaviors involving black, glowing talismans held in one hand, much more common is the Justkinde enjoyingus, who observes the surrounding rhythms of battle/mating rituals with interest, but (inexplicably to those of other phylae) feels no compulsive need to project itself into it. The J. engoyingus are puzzling especially for their ability to just… be at ease with life itself, a quality that draws only suspicion from the other phylae.
Phylum 2: Juniorii
Due to either a hitherto unknown talent for reproduction or a wealth of available free time, species under the Juniorii umbrella are often a majority population of the Gov Club ecosystem. Due to an older ancestral lineage, the Juniorii possess a more highly evolved self-consciousness (often mistakenly referred to as “self-importance” by foreign or observant researchers). This feature, controversially labelled “more evolved” by some, leads the Juniorii into a wide splintering of species. Among the most prominent is the Encyclopediem perennia, whose combative protection of its own territory is notable for intricate calls and twittering: common performances featuring such relatively complex expressions as “Heritage Foundation,” “economically feasible,” and “as indicated by polls from.” The E. perennia is a natural enemy of Stentorius explodite, who is not only shares the former’s phylogeny but much of its language, though Stentorius is known for less reserved displays, preferring heavy diction and sweeping movements to enlarge itself. Lastly among the notable Juniorii is the puzzling type Welldevelopedi speechicus, whose general snugness in its environment proves as a serious challenge to most members of…
Phylum 3: Senioritiditaqua
In lineage, these life forms are undoubtedly the most ancient among the Gov fauna; indeed, though they were once thought to be flora, there is still controversy as to how far, if at all, these beings have evolved since the early days of the Earth. As discussed by Dr. Deed in his landmark study “Does the Senior Possess RNA?”, there is still a valid question as to whether or not the members of Senioritiditaqua are in fact older than the primeval soup of early Cambrian times. Either way, this third phylum is notable for its uniform sameness: no species have been distinguished to date. Communicating in a language unknown to any others, switching unpredictably between stony stillness and prolonged verbal activity, this phylum remains the least known. At the very least, the Senioritiditaqua provide a comforting, zen-like overtone to the more frenzied rhythms of the vigorous second phylum. Overall, FTB.
By Amanda de Castro '19
“I got 99 Problems and Misogyny is one” was just one of the signs I carried around at the Women’s March in January of 2017. Although my friends and I had made signs for the march filled with lighthearted messages like my Jay-Z quote and the notorious grumpy cat meme with the words “It Grabs Back.” as a caption, this march was more than just signs and chants. The atmosphere of the march was filled with anger, power, and overbearing hope.
As we walked down Independence Avenue on the cloudy day, the street started to become more and more crowded. I soon realized that this march was a big deal. “This could really make history,” I thought. People from all over the country came to voice their frustration with the recent election and to participate in history. The feeling in the crowd was electric and I walked away thinking that this million-person march could easily cause the newly elected administration to change its policies towards women’s rights, immigration, LGBTQ, and environmental issues. While the march did make history in terms of having sheer numbers of people, did it actually spark change and hope for the country?
The answer to this question came one year later at the first anniversary of the Women’s March on Washington. As my mom and I confidently walked towards the reflecting pool wearing our pink [insert Donald Trump Entertainment Tonight interview word] hats, we were disappointed to see a smaller and less lively crowd than the prior year. Part of me thinks that there were less people because the 24-hour constant news and social media cycle that the Trump administration created has transformed caring about political and social justice into almost an exhausting process. Sometimes the process is so exhausting that taking real actions seems almost impossible. But, one year later, not only were people still angry and frustrated, but also just as hopeful. While the first march focused on the president himself, this march focused on larger issues like DACA, the #MeToo movement, Planned Parenthood, and general change for the future. The main message of the March on Washington a year later was “Power to the Polls.” This phrase struck a chord with me because it not only highlighted the importance of voters in an election, but also encouraged young people who would be voting in the next election to go and vote as fast as they can. This was the first wave of true hope I felt as a young woman and upcoming voter who is unhappy with the current political situation and treatment of women in this country. This prolonged frustration I’ve felt has made me realize how long it takes for change to actually happen. Change requires persistence and patience, two things which the crowd at the second march seemed to embody. Attending the first march in 2017 was my first real political march for a cause that I believed in. The second march made me realize how hard it is to effect real change, but in the long run gave me hope for the future because I realized that I am not alone in wanting to take real action for change.
By NM '20
Several weeks ago, Government Club ran simple a Facebook poll to celebrate Presidents’ Day: Name your favorite president. Initial results were, as was to be expected, fairly standard, with Obama, Lincoln, and Reagan topping the charts. In the early afternoon, however, a revolution began; a peculiar newcomer was rising in the polls. Fueled by some turncoats from the Obama group as well as some new voters, President Chester A. Arthur quickly rocketed to the top spot, where he remained for the rest of the day. And here I am to answer the question many have: who was Chester A. Arthur?
Born on October 5th, 1829 in Fairfield, Vermont, Chester Alan Arthur was the son of a peripatetic abolitionist preacher. After attending Union College, Arthur became a New York City lawyer, where he played a key role in two crucial cases regarding African-American rights; he represented Elizabeth Jennings in Jennings v. Third Ave. Railroad, a case that directly led to the desegregation of New York City streetcars, and he played a role in the “Lemmon Slave Case,” where the court ruled that slaves transferred through New York, even if to a slave state, were to be freed. As a lawyer, he also became involved in politics as a member of the Republican party. In 1871, he was named customs collector for the Port of New York, where he operated under the Republican political machine. Being a staunch supporter of the spoils (aka patronage) system, where the party in power would give political positions to its members and supporters, he was removed from the office in 1878 by President Rutherford B. Hayes seeking.
Arthur’s political career did not end there, however, as he was nominated to the Vice Presidency under James Garfield at the 1880 Republican Convention. Having defeated the Democrats in the general election, Garfield and Arthur were sworn in as President and Vice President on March 4, 1881. Garfield’s tenure would soon come to an end on September 19th, when he finally passed away due to complications stemming from an assassination attempt on July 2nd, and Chester Arthur was sworn in as 21st President of the United States.
As President, Arthur strove to move beyond the very political machine that had brought him to power. This attitude was most notably manifested in his signing of the Pendleton Civil Service Act in 1883, perhaps the landmark legislative victory of his career, which directed certain federal jobs to be assigned based on merit, rather than for political reasons (as they had under the patronage system). The act also included several other civil service–related mandates and reforms. He also vetoed the 1882 Chinese Exclusion Act, which suspended immigration from China for 10 years, though his veto was overturned by Congress. Several other attributes of Arthur’s presidency were the raising of tariffs under the 1883 Tariff Act, the attempt at the modernization of the U.S. Navy, and the fighting of fraud in the U.S. Postal System.
Tall and considered handsome by all, Chester A. Arthur also had an affinity for clothing and furnishing. Nicknamed “The Gentleman Boss,” Arthur is rumored to have owned more than 80 pairs of pants. Initially, upon his ascension to the Presidency, Artur hired Louis Comfort Tiffany to redecorate the state rooms, and auctioned off furnishings from previous administrations.
It is believed that in 1882 Arthur learned he had contracted a fatal kidney disease known as Bright’s disease. Though kept secret during his administration, the disease precluded him from fully engaging in his 1884 reelection campaign, and the Republicans instead chose Secretary of State James Blaine, who was later defeated by Grover Cleveland in the 1885 general election. Having returned to New York after his presidency, Arthur died in 1886 at 57. He was buried beside his wife in the Albany Rural Cemetery in Menands, New York.
Chester A. Arthur will be remembered for his firm stance on abolitionism and his push for rights for African Americans, his heroic vetoing of the Chinese Exclusion Act, his key legislative reforms, and his rising above party politics in the final years of his life. Ultimately, however, Arthur will be remembered for succeeding in a position he was never expected to serve.
By Harry Grigorian '19
Please find the chorale trip vlogs article here.
In January, Democrats in the Maryland General Assembly and Senate, my home state, voted to ban the question regarding criminal history from applications to colleges receiving state funds. The bill was vetoed by Governor Larry Hogan, but Democrats had the numbers to override his veto and pass the bill to “ban the box.” This bill should be repulsive to Marylanders with any sense of reason, and I am shocked to see this bill supported by the party that calls itself the party of social justice.
Allow me to pose some uncomfortable questions. Would you want your sister or daughter living next door to a convicted sexual predator? Would you want your son living in a dorm with an ex-drug dealer? Of course, the obvious answer is no.
In the age of the #MeToo movement, which I fully support, shouldn’t we try to ensure that sexual misconduct is lessened in every way possible? This bill does the opposite, thrusting convicted felons into areas ripe with youth who so often fall victim to sexual predators.
Now, of course we need to help ex-criminals get back on their feet. Cycles of criminality in this country are ever-present, so helping criminals, especially in their young, college years, should be a priority for all of us. “You’re hired!” sounds a lot better than “You have the right to remain silent.”
This bill, however, is not the answer because it is too much of a “one-size-fits-all” approach. I would be a lot more comfortable with my daughter having a floormate with a drinking citation than I would one with domestic assault charges. In essence, we are asking for problems with this bill. Placing convicted criminals, with the college unaware of their criminal history, in close quarters with other students lights an irreversible fuse.
Essentially, the entire process needs to be overhauled. First, the question on college applications should only apply to convicted felons or violent misdemeanors. If you have one of those, you should absolutely be required to disclose it on your application: mitigating violence is just common sense. Thus, the college can gauge whether it has the resources and confidence to ensure that you and those around you will have a safe college experience.
As long as you have only committed non-violent misdemeanors, you should have to submit an application to a nonpartisan MD agency. This application would contain details of the crime, and efforts you have made to change. If they clear your application, you would then be allowed not to disclose your criminal behavior on college apps.
This process would be a happy medium and a common sense consensus in Annapolis. It allows for personal reform, as Democrats want, yet also ensures security for our friends and family in college, a demand of the Republicans.
I agree that school is a great setting to help criminals get back on their feet, but under the “ban the box” bill, there is too much left up to chance.