It is high time for commonsense gun control legislation. It’s been high time since Sandy Hook and Pulse Night Club, since Aurora and Tucson, since Columbine High School and Virginia Tech. It’s been high time long before our nation’s collective consciousness developed that quiet, whispering paranoia that wonders, “What if the next shooting is this movie theater, this classroom or this concert? What if it’s today?”
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The footage that came out of Syria last week is beyond description. Bashar al-Assad’s chemical attack against his own people is nearly impossible to watch. The realities of this act of war, as well as all of the atrocities of this six year long conflict, are unbearable. These are crimes against humanity — a holocaust.
The primary aim of any large-scale government program is not to save money. Social Security does not aim to reduce the deficit. The military does not turn a profit. The same is true — or, at least, should be true — of any federal health care policy. These policies should not first and foremost function as tax breaks for those who need them least. Instead, like any good social policy, health care reform should come from a place of concern and empathy. It should orient itself towards humanity, towards bettering and saving lives. It should assist not just those who have the least among us, but all of us.
The state of the press is alarming. And many of the critiques of the media, echoing endlessly in the ears of the American people, are legitimate and necessary. The media is divided. Everyone exists in their own bubbles, opting to consume and share only news that confirms their ideological predispositions. Nearly all of election coverage was oriented towards the horserace framework as opposed to actual analysis of the issues and candidates. Fake news — rooted in little to no fact and aimed at mass deceit — runs rampant. Extremist sites are gaining popularity over legitimate news sources. The list goes on.
One week after his inauguration, President Donald Trump issued an executive order indefinitely halting the resettlement of Syrian refugees and temporarily banning people from seven Muslim-majority nations from traveling into the United States. This executive order exists at the cruel intersection of bigotry, incompetence and unconstitutionalism.
The 2016 presidential election has captivated our nation’s collective interest, with televised debates best resembling Comedy Central roasts. However, there are truly influential races just around the corner; they just happen to be decidedly less sexy.