Monday, September 28, 2015

Bernie Sanders: The Change We Need

Bernie Sanders’ decision to run for the Democratic Party’s nomination for president has shaken up the status quo. Until his announcement, the 2016 election looked like it was going to be “more of the same”-- possibly even another Clinton vs. another Bush. Long accustomed to voting “none of the above,” many Americans have responded enthusiastically to Bernie’s campaign.
Americans are given few opportunities to express themselves politically. This is why people’s interest in politics seems to rise during election season. In the “desert” that is contemporary American politics, Sanders’ call for “Scandinavian-style socialism,” his protesting against the “billionaire class,” and his call for a “political revolution” naturally resonate with millions of people. He is boldly raising ideas and words that have not been part of the mainstream political discussion for decades.
The crisis of American capitalism continues to unfold, leading to greater hardship for workers and youth. Cuts and austerity for the majority of people and unimaginable wealth for the minority is the new normality-- and anger is building in response to this  inequality. People are sick and tired of the status quo, and the general population is shifting to the left. However, there is no mass political party through which to express this radicalization. This is where Bernie Sanders steps in.
Sanders understands and has been able to connect with the rising unhappiness. He uses logos in his announcement for candidacy when explaining the unequal distribution of wealth in America, and appeals to the audience’s pathos by empathizing with them about the long hours and low wages that are reality for the majority of Americans. He discusses these issues on Face the Nation, “There is, in my view, massive dissatisfaction in this country today with the corporate establishment and the greed of corporate America and the incredible unequal distribution of wealth and income which currently exists . . . when you have 99% of all new income generated today going to the top one percent, when you have the top one-tenth of one percent owning almost as much income as the bottom ninety percent, people working longer hours for low wages, and all of the money is going to people on the top—you know what, people don’t think that’s a good idea.”

An increasing amount of Americans agree with this statement. According to a Gallup Poll, 67% of Americans are dissatisfied with income and wealth distribution. Sanders’ ideas sit well with the majority of the population, and even the word “socialism” is being used more frequently in mainstream media. Instead of shying away from it, Sanders boldly defends his version of “socialism.” He has successfully  legitimized the idea of “socialism” in a way not seen in decades. So far, Sanders’ empathetic, refreshing, blunt, and bold outlook on political issues has gained him the support of many Americans. #FeelTheBern

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Politics in Under 140 Characters

America today is vastly different than it was 20 years ago. One of the ways we see that is with the presence of politicians on social media platforms. Donald Trump, for instance, has a massive twitter presence with over 4 million followers. This is primarily an advantage, as it lets him communicate with his fans and supporters, but it can also come at a cost. The statements that you make, no matter how brief or poorly thought out, are immortalized for everyone to see. Here are just a few of the unbelievable things Donald Trump has said on his twitter.

That's right, he actually said all of those. (Well, he just retweeted the first one, but still.)

Of course, Trump is far from the first politician to have said rude, ridiculous or generally heinous things, but this is the dawn of an era in history where all of those things are archived, easily accessed and impossible to dismiss. From now on, whenever Trump faces a political opponent, there is a convenient log of every brash, unapologetic, hilariously offensive thing he's ever said online. This is the power of the internet when it comes to politics- not only does it increase exposure, it forces politicians to retain a measure of honesty.

The stereotype about politicians is that they're slippery. They say one thing and do another, and their tongues are too quick for you to call them on it. They always have an answer, always plan an escape. This is dangerous because it determines the type of people who decide to be politicians. The old idiom for American politics is a den of snakes- there aren't too many good, honest people who want to spend time in that den. So we get people like Donald Trump, who can win the Republican vote simply because he seems to be the only snake who will act on the decisions that he makes.

Hopefully, online presences like Twitter can act as Snake Traps (patent pending). If we can bring the dirty politicians to light, then there's more of an incentive for regular people to run for office. It'll take some time, but I do think that the more evidence and exposure we can bring to the table, the better it will be for the American public. In the meanwhile, make sure to screenshot those tweets! The best weapon against them is their own words.

Friday, September 25, 2015

Round One: Colbert Vs. The GOP

As of September 8th, Stephen Colbert became the new host of the Late Show on CBS. There is no better time to be a late night talk show host than during election season. Last Tuesday Colbert talked politics and poked fun at a few GOP candidates. Colbert uses a creative combination of comedy and factual evidence to publicize current events in a convincing and funny manner.

Towards the beginning of the show he calls the presidential race the “Hungry for Power Games.” He then proceeds to wear a blue wig and eyebrows imitating the look of the news reporter Caesar Flickerman from the Hunger Games. He then goes on to say, “Last week the games lost a brave fighter in Rick Perry, I’d like to say he has gone to a better place, but he lives in Houston.” He announces political news but he does it in a funny and appealing way. Colbert then says that the “Games” lost another tribute, Scott Walker. Scott Walker justified his withdrawal by saying, “I was sitting in church yesterday and the pastor’s words reminded me that the bible is full of stories of about people who are called to be leaders in unusual ways, today, I believe that I am being called to lead by clearing the field.” Then, Colbert goes on to point out that two months ago, Walker announced his candidacy by saying “running was God’s calling… I am certain: This is God’s plan for me.” Colbert then says, “In other words god said, I have chosen you Scott Walker, to- SIKEEE!” After bashing Walker for a few more minutes Colbert finishes off by saying, “now he returns to Americas dairy land, having learned that America’s voters are Walker Intolerant.” Colbert uses evidence and quotes from candidates as well as well written puns to make political news fun.

Up next, Colbert introduces Donald Trump. Colbert discusses campaign funding with Trump and how raising money for campaigns can have negative effects. Trump stated that wealthy people who fund politician’s campaigns “own” those politicians. That is why Trump is paying for his own campaign; he doesn’t wish to be “owned.” Colbert then asks Trump if he ever “owned” any politicians. Colbert uses this casual political banter to see if he can get the inside scoop on who Trump “owned” in the past. A little over halfway into the show, Colbert asks Trump if he believes Obama was actually born in the U.S. Trump avoids the question and says he doesn’t worry about those things anymore, he says he is focuses on the real problems with jobs and the issues in the Middle East.

Colbert’s wit and creativity makes his show appealing and funny. His next challenge is to live up to David Letterman’s reputation on the Late Show.

So Proudly We Hailed

Anywhere you go, if someone starts chanting USA! USA!, they are bound to get a big response from the crowd. Everyone always likes to root for the underdog or even who is on top. America has always been seen as western civilization's rebellious teenager. Ancestors revolted from English rule and common practices but, it's continued this pattern. We have underdog complex, with a need to prove ourselves and yet we rule the world! Constantly going against the grain has this strange cultural definition. It's fairly unique and discombobulated due to so much contradiction and suppression of native cultures.

No one is really an "American" unless they are a Native American Indian. We are such a jumbled mix of ethnic groups priding ourselves on rising to the top. Immigrants coming for the idealistic "American Dream". Once you have "transferred", you are referred to as Italian-American, Irish-American, Asian-American, etc. It becomes a weird middle ground identity where most Americans are 2% of this, 15% of that and so on. It's a mixture that doesn't deny the ethnicity or native culture, or completely embrace it head over heels and keep it up.

Throughout America there is extreme nationalism, I don’t think they feel it’s extreme but I feel it  stems from a feeling to overcompensate. It almost becomes obsessive. A need to prove ourselves as true Americans, believes of liberty, justice, and freedom for all, to the rest of the world. We are a young country and not having a long history may be a reason. We don't have an extensive history(or many records before European settlements) cultivated over time to create a globally recognized identity. We are the baby of the world. In fact, historians constantly debate the pivotal moment in history where The United States of America "lost it;s innocence". But will we ever be seen by the rest of the world as something other than the rebellious teenager?

We are creative and resourceful, but we are a mix without a cultural identity and need the American identity.

Contradicting Advertisement

This advertisement sponsored by Peta, seems like an encouraging advertisement at first encouraging people to save the whales and go vegetarian. But the underlying message is fat shaming females and their physical appearance by comparing the overweight lady to the whale that they're trying to get people to save. This is what makes it controversial because although they're promoting good things, they're also throwing some negative things into the mix for comedy. People's weight should never be made fun of for people's entertainment purposes.

Donald Trump is rolling in with votes for his 2016 election, but if he wins the controsvery will become even more intense. Although, he has thousands voting for him, he also has millions that hate him. This comic strip gives an example of what people think of Trump, his opinions sets our society back years. With the way he views women and how simple he speaks of the presidency being, he deserves to be known as the guy with "foot in the mouth disease". He may have ideas, and thousands following him but we can't live in a world where what seems like far over half, hate our leader. Donald Trump is known to have a foot in his mouth, for example, during the past Republican Debate he was outed for saying negative things about Carly Fiorina. We cannot have a leader who is judgemental, not only on looks, but gender and sexuality. He takes the term Republican way too far. 

Trump and Colbert's Intelligent Interview

Recently, on The Late Night Show, Donald Trump made an appearance to talk with Stephen Colbert. Within this wildly entertaining interview, Trump stated that he had no apologies for anyone, and he continued to elaborate on his wall plan and how it's practically flawless.

At the beginning of the interview, Colbert apologized to Trump for all the mean things that he said over the years, and then asked if Trump had anyone to apologize to, to which he said "Nope, not really. Unless you want me to apologize to the audience for no reason." He continues on to talk about the wall that will separate America from Mexico, and immediately the audience laughs. Trump is about to go off on the crowd until Colbert calms him down, saying "The crowd loves the wall, its a great idea, that's why they're happy." Trump is settled down by this, further reinforcing the idea that this politician is clueless. His ego is huge and he is obviously the center of the universe, and is too slow to understand that a good 80% of the population takes
him as a joke.

Stephen goes into the role of the Mexican senator as Trump attempted to explain how he would get Mexico to pay for the wall he plans on building. He speaks a bit of gibberish before Colbert breaks character and satirically suggests building two walls (Trump interrupts "And they're connected!"), with a moat (yet another interruption, "With a nice resort!") that's full of fire and fire-proof alligators. Trump takes a while to understand that he's being made fun of, but he eventually gets it then laughs it off because he can't truly get mad at a comedian on live TV.

This man is not fit to run our country, because all he knows how to do is follow his racist ambitions of a "pure" country, and only seeks his own personal profit. Saving money by attempting to force Mexico to build the wall for him, and presenting a "nice resort" for the jokingly presented suggestion of a moat between two walls on the border.

Scandal's Ad Campaign is not so Fictional

The show Scandal, which follows the lives of the crisis management firm, provides an effective campaign advertisement, despite the show being fiction.

In the first season of the series, they show how Olivia Pope, the main character and head of the firm, help the president to be elected into his first term. During the election, he is behind in the polls, and nobody on his campaign team can figure out how to boost his polls. Pope, who always has new and radical ideas, decides that he needs to be seen as more intimate with his wife, so that people will be able to relate to him more. She says that in a recent interview they sat on opposite sides of  the couch, and that they needed to act like they were more in love.

Following Pope’s advice, the Fitzgerald Grant is elected president. His campaign ad is effective in using pathos to show his values of marriage. He wins the presidency because of his ability to pretend that he is in love with his wife, which appeals to the voters emotions. 

 Despite Scandal being a fiction television series, President Grant does make an effective campaign ad. People want to be similar and relatable to the person they are voting for. Overall, the episode shows how Grant is able to win the presidency by appealing to pathos.

Turning Popular Culture into Criticism - "Orange is the New Black" Advertisement

"Orange is the New Black", a political primary ad by American Crossroad PAC, is an example of a concise and effective political campaign ad.

The advertisement is attacking Hillary Clinton for allegedly receiving and sending classified information on her personal email. The ad highlights a press conference involving Clinton. Clinton is wearing an orange shirt during the press conference which the ad-makers effectively took advantage of. The title of the ad, "Orange is the New Black", turns a piece of popular culture against Clinton and Clinton's orange outfit implies the reference that she is a criminal. The orange suit parallels a prison outfit in this advertisement.

The ad-makers strategically picked a clip from one of Clinton's press conferences where she is stuttering and seems startled, attacked, and confused. A reporter continually prods at Clinton, asking if she wiped the server of her computer. Clinton does not give a clear answer and is continually stuttering, looking around and making distracting hand motions. The characteristics of her actions while she is being questioned make her look uneasy and reinforce the idea that Clinton is not telling the truth.

While showing the clip of Clinton at the press conference the music in the ad is not to overbearing as to distract the viewer from Clinton, but the music has the right amount of darkness and urgency that  sets the tone of the ad. The pounding xylophone sounds in the music seem to intensify Clinton's stress during the press conference and make it easier for the viewer to make the connection that she may be lying.

The ad also uses text to emphasize the argument that Clinton is not a trustworthy person. At the beginning of the advertisement, a quotation from The New York Times appears on screen and says, "...Classified information was in Hillary Clinton's email". This quotation is powerful in the ad because The New York Times is a well-known and well respected newspaper and many people trust it as their source of news. The quotation appears right as Hillary Clinton claims she did not send or receive classified information in her email. This placement of the quotation seems to infer Clinton's guilt.

Overall, this ad is extremely effective because of its use of visuals, audio, and text to persuade people to reconsider their views on Hillary Clinton. True or not, the ad-makers were very successful in making viewers question who Clinton really is.

Carly Fiorina's Use of Faces

Carly Fiorina's recent ad "Faces" was a message that was sent towards a special demographic of voters. Fiorina's purpose was to target women and uses pathos and ethos throughout her ad to make it effective. The opening of the ad is a image that says "a message from Carly", this connects the viewer to Fiorina on a personal level.

As the ad carries on you see the faces of many women that are of all different ages and races and in the background Fiorina is talking about how the faces of the women shown and the faces of women in the audience are all faces of leadership. She is appealing to the viewers ethos as she associates them with leadership.

Fiorina establishes pathos with the audience when she says "note to democrat party, we are not a special interest group. We are the majority of the nation." She is targeting the emotion of strength and by using the word "we" she is connecting herself with the audience so that there is a general shared belief. At the closing of the ad Fiorina establishes her own pathos when she talks about how old she is and that she is "proud of every year and every wrinkle." She is saying that she is the right candidate for women in the election. The last part of the ad before her logo is a image much like the opening one but now it says "join us." This image is saying that women need to join together in support of Florina because she is the candidate that will fight for the needs and rights of American women.


Due to the media covering the eccentricities of Trump non-stop throughout the 2016 presidential race, people have failed to notice the brilliance of Bernie Sanders' campaign. Every politician struggles with appealing to the youth of America, and politicians do not exclusively focus on this group of voters because they are typically the least involved in politics. However, Sanders has amazingly gathered a huge cult following of young people all over the internet. This fact leads one to ask the important question: how did one of the oldest candidates manage to appeal to the young voters in this election?

One of Sanders' biggest proposals is that of free public college education which would allow students to have better economic and intellectual opportunities after they graduate. College tuition has skyrocketed in the past few years; instead of exploring the best college for intellectual interests, many students are forced to choose colleges based on what they or their families can afford. The younger generation cannot help but be attracted to Sanders' conviction of changing the cycle of over-priced tuition and endless student loans.

Besides his campaigning points, Bernie Sanders is able to attract young voters because of everything he represents as a politician. Republicans and less radical Democrats may disagree, but Sanders offers a fresh face to politics (even at an age of 74). His entire campaign is centered around him "taking back politics" from the billionaires who can usurp the democratic system. Additionally, he encompasses egalitarian values with his support of the LGBTQ+ community and involvement in the Civil Rights Movement of the 60s. Instead of using pathos to say "the United States is great because of what we achieved in the past and where we are now," he says "the United States is great because of our hope of change in the future."

The #FeelTheBern campaign will only continue to grow, and his rival candidates should soon realize that the young voters of America are a voter base that should not be ignored in 2016.

Thursday, September 24, 2015

A World Full of Dorothys

Every presidential candidate has their own way to connect with their audience, in hope of winning over their vote and helping them advance in the upcoming election. One of the democratic candidates, Hilary Clinton, has used a very pathos-oriented approach with many of her ads. She talks about her mother, Dorothy, and the struggles that she had growing up. Clinton goes on to describe her mother's adolescent life, in which she was an unwanted child who did not give up in pursuing her dreams.

Dorothy was successful in the sense that she was able to live through a tragic and eventful childhood, to then go on to raising her own family filled with love and opportunities for herself and her family. When talking about the life that her mother led in her early years, Clinton starts to relate back to her audience. She begins to talk about how the world is full of 'Dorothys', or essentially people that do not give up when times are tough, and who recognize the importance of family. 

While Clinton's ad may only be relatable to a certain population, it is very emotionally stimulating. The video gets the message across that Clinton is willing to fight for the people that are always working hard and do not get credit for all that they do. She is also able to promote stable families and the necessity to help those that you love whenever you can. These very important messages and the personal connection that Hilary Clinton  has to the subject make her seem more reliable as well as touch the heart, attacking both the ethos and pathos appeals. The story she told about her mother was very simple, but was also very eye-opening, making Clinton's ad one to remember, which is a positive for her campaign.

Reshuffling the Way America Thinks About Hillary Clinton

Hillary Clinton's recent advertisement, "Reshuffle the Deck and Rebuild the Middle Class," describes her goal, as the potentially future president, to restore the struggling middle class. In her advertisement, Clinton often uses the effects of media and set situations to sway her audience. Through these ways, Clinton establishes certain forms of rhetoric, such as pathos (the use of emotions) and ethos (the establishment of character).

Clinton is frequently seen face-to-face with the camera, with inspiring music playing in the background, expressing her concern about the unequal pay gap between society's classes. She states, "You have got CEOs making 300 times as much as the average worker is making." As she discusses this topic, the film flashes to her meeting and smiling with middle-class workers. This portrayal of Clinton makes others feel that she is a genuinely relatable person and that Clinton will be able to help them due to the actions they see her do in the advertisement. She also says, "We need to have people believing that their work will be rewarded." Clinton puts emphasis on believing, forcing others to think how great Clinton will positively benefit them if elected president.

Clinton effectively creates ethos in her advertisement through her personal and innovative connections with the audience. She mentions how her mother grew up in poverty and was not able to go to college, but, through hard work, her mother was able to see Clinton go to law school. Clinton uses ethos through the way she describes how she rose above from the typical, hardworking middle-class dilemma. This anecdote helps others know that Clinton is legitimate in her claims about middle-class Americans.

Additionally, she expresses, "So I'm going to do everything I can, reshuffle the deck, so that being middle class means something again." The metaphorical approach, "reshuffle the deck," Clinton establishes allows others to see her simple, but efficient character. This metaphor implies that conflicts seem easy to Clinton, which compares to how easy it may be to reshuffle cards. Furthermore, the way she is able to manipulate such language provides a strong foundation of her ethos. Clinton knows that through her 'reshuffling,' she can convince the audience of her sincere and truthful character.

Clinton Creates Oppotunity: U.S. History's First Female President

Returning to the Campaign arena, Hillary Clinton already has experience running for office. Giving her a slight advantage, she knows the ropes of the course. Former president, Bill Clinton (Hillary's husband) also gives Hillary leverage in the competition. Hillary would also be the first female president of the United States of America. What odds aren't in Clinton's favor?

Clinton's campaign speech starts off by appealing to diction. She opens up her speech by stating, "It is wonderful to be here with all of you. To be in New York (cheers) with my family, with so many friends, including many New Yorkers who gave me the honor of serving them in the Senate for eight years." She uses words such as "all", "family", "friends", and "including" to bring the audience together as a unit. As a nation.

Clinton's positioning provides accessibility. She stands dead center in the middle of Four Freedoms Park and makes herself approachable to her supporters. Fans of Clinton feel that they can reach out to her when she positions herself the way she does. The location also represents Hillary as a core element. She wants to present herself as the heart of our country; being both open to the people's voices while applying our opinion to help shape our nation.
Hillary appeals to pathos by using humor in her speech. Connecting with the audience, Clinton jokingly shares, "Now, there may be some new voices in the presidential Republican choir, (laughter) but they’re all singing the same old song... A song called “Yesterday.” (Laughter, cheers, applause.)
"Hilarious Hillary"

You know the one -- all our troubles look as though they’re here to stay (laughter)… and we need a place to hide away… They believe in yesterday.And you’re lucky I didn’t try singing that, too, I'll tell you!" The audience encourages Clinton with laughter, while she promotes her amiability. She eases up the tension of running for the most powerful position in the States by cracking a joke. Hillary makes us laugh, and who doesn't like laughing?

Hillary's campaign speech is both strong and humorous. She appeals to the audience with humor, with position, and with inclusive diction. Hilarious Hillary is the favorable option. Vote for America's first contending female president.

Carly Fiorina's Pro-Life Ad

The Republican Primary Debate recently aired, featuring eleven of the Republican Presidential candidates. In the debate, during the topic of abortion, Carly Fiorina, a pro-life supporter, mentions a video of a live aborted fetus moving its legs. After the debate, Fiorina was attacked by many, stating that the video she mentioned is "nonexistent" and "bogus". Fiorina promptly responds to these attacks with her ad, the "Character of Our Nation."

Carly Fiorina's endorsement is an intense and powerful piece of advertisement that features the graphic footage of the aborted fetus she describes during the debate. The video is disturbing; however it works to Fiorina's advantage. She uses pathos as a way to appeal to the audience's emotion of disgust and horror. Although I believe that women should have the option of an abortion, the ad is shocking and makes me look at abortion in a different light. Fiorina combines the video with clips of her view on the issue from the Republican Primary Debate. Fiorina's body language and words in the chosen clips are bold, presenting her authoritative side. Ethos is displayed throughout the whole ad. The advertisement itself appeals to ethos as it shows Fiorina's credibility for commenting on the abortion video during the debate. She directly targets President Obama and Hillary Clinton, "I dare Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama to watch these video tapes", further establishing her audacity and stand behind the matter.

Carly Fiorina closes out the ad by declaring, "This [the abortion video] is about the character of our nation, and if we will not stand up and force President Obama to veto this bill, shame on us." Fiorina's argument and advertisement is bold and convincing.

Who is Donald Trump?

Donald Trump is very egoistic and boastful. In many of his ads, speeches, etc., he constantly bashes others to make himself look better. He speaks highly of himself, but is he actually a good candidate for president of the United States? Does he have what it takes to control a powerful country?

I feel as if Trump assumes that he does not need to introduce himself at times because people should be well aware of who he is. Before beginning a speech once, he starts off by saying "Well, you guys should know who I am", and he continues on with his speech. He appeals to his character quite often, which would be an example of pathos. He speaks on his career often and other candidates, such as Carly Fiorina and Jeb Bush, bashes him about it during the presidential debate. 

What can Donald Trump "bring to the table"? What can he offer the people of America? In my opinion, no one wants a narcissistic president who does not have anything to offer. Trump's attitude does not fit the one of a president.

Trump Vs. Fiorina

Two of the leading candidates for the GOP nomination have been going head to head throughout their campaigns: Donald Trump and Carly Fiorina. Both of these candidates have had extensive experience in the world of business. Donald Trump, who is the president and chairman of The Trump Organization and is also the found of Trump Entertainment Resorts, and Fiorina, who was once the CEO of Hewlett Packard.

Both these candidates have been insulting each other's careers in business, as was apparent during the last presidential debate. Recently, when Fiorina surged to second place in the latest poll, Trump wasted no time in harassing her. On twitter Trump wrote, "Carly Fiorina is terrible at business the last thing our country needs!" Trump is referring to the merger between Hewlett Packard and Compaq which Fiorina orchestrated while CEO of HP. During the debate Trump also said, "The company (HP) is a disaster, and they continue to be a disaster, in fact they still haven't recovered." In response to Trump numerous jabs at her career Fiorina responded at the Republican debate, "We doubled the size of the company, we quadrupled its top line gross weight, we quadrupled its cash flow, we tripled its rate of innovation." Fiorina has also taken various jives at Trump, claiming that Trump had to file for bankruptcy.

The insults towards each other have also left the realm of business. One of the most distinguishing moments during for Fiorina during the debate was during discussion over Trump's face comment about her. In response to his comment she said, " I think women all over this country her very clearly what Mr. Trump said." Fiorina has also challenged Trump's legitimacy as a candidate saying, "I think that Donald Trump is an entertainer, what I am is a leader..." While Fiorina is criticizing Trump, she is also paralleling his fault with her strength.

What can be seen from the comments and criticisms towards each other is that both Fiorina and Trump are very confident in their abilities to run this country. Both candidates have used tactics highlighting their skills and natural dispositions as leaders, which is why they have come into combat with each other so often. Coming from similar background in the business world, their confidence has led them to a trying battle for the GOP candidate.

Is Donald Trump a joke?

Clown for President?

Why is it that people say that Donald trump is a clown or a joke? To some it is obvious, but to others he is a legit presidential candidate. As to why he is leading the polls, some marvel, but there are reasons. Not only does he have a loud mouth, that he loves running like a weed whacker on rocket fuel, but he also has Charisma. His flippy blond hair might not scream attractiveness, but his charm does have its way. He promises a brand new, fully functioning economy. He promises to make america great again, under his leadership. However, these are all blank promises, which he forms, using every buzz word in the book. Unfortunately, we are not in need of a Charisma driven leader like Trump, who will end up ruling for himself as he viciously climbs his way to the top. Stepping on who ever is in the way, charisma driven leaders often only work for themselves. Although he may drive the economy into a new healthy state, he will drive the rest of the country into the dirt.  

Is Donald Trump a joke? I would be hesitant to say yes; I see him as a smart businessman, who would be successful in building an economy, but has no idea how to run a country, especially the most powerful one in the world.

Bernie Sanders Appeals to American People

Throughout one of Bernie Sanders' political campaigns of 2016, "Progress", he elaborately lists his objectives to rebuild America if he were elected into office. His main points include: free college tuition with drastically lower interest rates on student loans, universal health care for all, equal pay for women, and to raise minimum wage. To enhance his arguments, Sanders most prominently uses the rhetoric technique of ethos, the appeal to ethics/character.

In the beginning of his campaign ad, Sanders narrates the story of his parents and his childhood living in the lower class, which validates his understanding to the struggles many American people face daily. His use of ethos supports his appeal to the middle and lower classes and his goal of increasing minimum wage.

In addition, Sanders also uses ethos to establish his view on equality for all people. He describes a time when he was at University of Chicago, getting involved in the civil rights movement where he demonstrated sit-ins because he purely believed in equal rights which is one of his platforms in his political campaign today.

Sanders also translates his hopes for his family to the American people with his aim to fight global climate change, exhibiting ethos. He uses the claim of keeping our globe habitable for future generations, but also "leaving them with a nation we are proud of".

Although Sanders utilizes other rhetoric techniques, ethos was especially evident. By using ethos, he successfully related to the American people.

Hillary's Secretly Conservative Logo?

Hillary Clinton's 2016 campaign logo is a patriotic "H" with an arrow pointing to the right. There has been much dispute over the direction of the arrow, which symbolizes more conservative positions. The most prominent element of this graphic logo is the red arrow which also represents the color of the republican party. This logo does not accurately depict Clinton's moderately liberal and democratic views.

 Clinton's logo is confusing to many voters as to why she would have an image such as this representing her campaign. Voters may also view this as a conservative shift in her ideals. Many people who do not know much about the campaign may assume she has different views solely based on her campaign logo. 

Clinton's supporters claim the arrow to symbolize "pointing forward." It is difficult to believe that a red, right-facing arrow could mean anything other than a shift towards conservative republican. 

Despite its obvious flaws, the unique, single-letter logo is memorable in the pool of numerous campaign logos this election.

Clinton's logo has been increasing popular on social media. This image works especially well with the layout on twitter, when the red arrow arrow points directly to the message. The logo has recently appeared in a number of avatars on Facebook where users can customize the logo by placing any image in the outline of Clinton's logo to show their support. The personal approach powered by the simple, graphic logo seems to be well-recieved by the public.

Although Clinton's campaign logo does demonstrate some success on social media, overall the image of the red, right-facing arrow conflicts with her known political opinions, and can be highly confusing to voters.

Can Rand Trump Trump?

Rand Paul and Donald Trump, two republican presidential candidates, have been exchanging jabs at each other over the course of the course of their campaigns to become the GOP's presidential candidate. While clearly a result of the competition between all of the candidates, I believe that Rand and Trump both are utilising their verbal sparring to increase their standing among the voter base.

In the second republican debate, Trump kicked off the show, saying “First of all Rand Paul shouldn’t even be on this stage, he’s got 1% in the polls". While this seems to show his knowledge of the other candidates, it also serves as a clear indication of his inability to stand on his own achievements. Trump covers his own faults by pointing out what he perceives as faults in others. Throughout the debate one of Trump's recurring arguments boils down to "Look how good I'm polling, of course you should vote for me". This is clearly a fallacy. His pointing out of Paul's low polling is just a other side of his faulty argument.

Paul responded to Trumps petty insult, asking, “Do we want someone with that kind of character? With that kind of careless language? I think there’s a sophomoric quality about Mr. Trump … about his visceral response to attack people on their appearance, short, tall, fat ugly.” Paul takes what most would consider the "mature" stance here, but it may not be the right one.

While Paul points out Trumps clearly inept arguments, one of the Republican Party's largest gripes with President Obama is his supposed inability to assert himself, particularly in the middle east. Trump's alpha-male attacks on the other candidates may in fact serve to endear him to those republican voters looking for a "strong" president of the United States.

In the end, Rand Paul and Donald Trump's feud may be decided by personality and put-downs over proof and polemics.

Bernie Sanders Bashes the Republican Budget

One of the most prevalent questions in the upcoming presidential election is how to handle the federal budget. Democrats and Republicans are often bitterly divided on the subject, and yet they often elude answering the actual question. Instead, they choose to restate the question to make it sound like they have a plan to fix the failing budget.

While Bernie Sanders, in his speech about the Republican budget, does not say how he plans to fix the economy, he does make it clear that he knows what the Republican budget entails and why it causes problems. Sanders begins his speech by stating "some of you may know, but most of you don't, the nature of the Republican budget that passed the Congress". This catches the audience's attention, as Sanders is expressing he direness of the situation and is showing how most people are simply uneducated on the subject. By telling the audience that most of them don't know what's going on, he appeals to ethos and establishes his own credibility, because he lets the audience know that he is well educated on the topic and is going to explain it to them.

He goes on to explain how most families "where the breadwinner is making 8, 9, 10 bucks an hour, can't afford to feed their families adequately", the Republican budget "cut nutrition programs by many many millions of dollars". This statement appeals to pathos, because Sanders is simultaneously making the audience feel sympathetic towards these families, and making them angry about the fact that the Republican budget is only making it harder for these families to get by.

Sanders ends his speech by stating "brothers and sisters, those are not the priorities of the American people, and we will not accept them". This statement appeals to the audience's patriotism, while also making the audience feel as if Sanders is one of them, because he uses the word "we". The tone in which he says this also gets the audience riled up, as he draws out and emphasizes each word.

Bernie Sanders effectively tears down Republican logic while simultaneously building up his own image and presenting himself as a reliable, trustworthy figure.

Jeb Bush and Pot: Appealing to the Wrong Crowd?

During the recent Conservative Political Action Conference, Senator Rand Paul made a statement to call out fellow candidate Jeb Bush. Paul has been documented saying that Bush has a hypocrisy that young voters will not be fond of. He knows that Bush is not pushing for legalization of marijuana and, in Paul's eyes, is content with putting users of marijuana in jail. He also knows, however, that Bush attended a prestigious school filled with predominantly wealthy white students and that with this crowd, Bush drank alcohol and smoked marijuana. Bush has admitted this before but never on a stage with all of America watching, until the moment Rand Paul was asked who, specifically, he was referring to with this hypocrisy.

"Forty years ago, I smoked marijuana and I admit it," Bush said. "I'm sure that other people might have done it and may not want to say it in front of 25 million people. My mom's not happy that I just did." The last sentence was received well by the crowd, with laughter and applause. Jeb Bush, trying to appear honest, employed ethos in his appearance during the conference with this line. All of America now knows that Jeb Bush smoked marijuana in school and is not afraid to admit it. But this statement that was supposed to reinforce Bush's character has escalated into something much bigger, for better or for worse.

The younger audience, the generation famous for smoking pot and owning iPhones, was easiest to persuade into liking Bush's character with this remark. Jeb Bush, knowing full well of this opportunity, posted a tweet saying "Sorry, mom" after the conference. The tweet was passed around over and over and sparked a completely new character than Jeb Bush. This new understanding candidate took on a new name that circulated around the web: Jeb Kush. A tiny confession has now become intrinsically linked to Bush's image, and the youth are eating it up. But the harder audience to win over was also taken by this risky move.

Conservative voters in the past have stood against the legalization or encouragement of smoking pot but are now faced with a crisis: can they vote for a candidate with such a laid back stance on marijuana? The answer, so it seems, is a resounding 'yes.' In a recent poll, 59% of conservative voters said that they "didn't care one way or another" about Bush smoking pot in school, and only 7% said that this made them less likely to vote for him.

 Jeb Bush's confession that he smoked weed in high school did the exact opposite of what Rand Paul expected. Instead of voters and internet users berading Bush for being willing to convict Americans for a crime he never had any comeuppance for, the public was overwhelmingly enthusiastic with welcoming this new image of Jeb Bush. A confession that could have cost Bush the election paid off, with more people siding with him by the day.

Brave Hillary Clinton?

In June of 2015, Hillary Clinton kicked off her first major event in her campaign for her 2016 presidential nomination. At a rally held in New York City, Hillary Clinton explains why she is running for a second time for presidency and what her four fights are going to be.

Hillary Clinton used examples of rhetoric in her campaign rally to appeal to her audience, in order to essentially persuade them to vote for her. One of my favorite moments of rhetoric from her campaign rally was towards the beginning. She walked out to Franklin D. Roosevelt Four Freedoms Park with the song "Brave" by Sara Bareilles accompanying her. While the song is playing, Clinton is shaking hands of citizens in the crowd and talking to a few. She is also smiling.

I thought this was an interesting choice of her because it appeals to both ethos and pathos. In one way, this moments portrays Clinton to be brave person, who is all smiles, happy to help everyone, and friendly. This appeal to her character, also called ethos, is an effective way to show future voters that you are the president America needs because of your character and who you are as a person. The imagery of seeing Clinton walk out to a motivating song that has some importance behind it while she is associating with people in the crowd, is a good first impression on the spectators in the crowd who are observing her.

Her appeal to her emotion was also another good way to real in and secure votes. For a presidential candidate to walk out to a song speaking on bravery, smiling, and shaking hands with the people of the country, affects the people of American emotionally. They see Hillary as someone who they can count on. When thinking about what qualities you look for in a presidential candidate, not many people can say they wouldn't like a brave one. Here, Hillary uses a song and actions to appeal emotionally to her future prospect voters in New York.

A simple rhetoric adjustment to a campaign like this can be the deciding factor in undecided or swayed voters.

The Elusive Carly Fiorina

Toward the beginning of the GOP debate last Saturday, Carly Fiorina was asked about whether or not she would be "comfortable with Donald Trump's finger on the nuclear codes". After she was asked this, she broke down an earlier part of the question where they called out her statement on Trump being an "entertainer", rather than the actual question at hand.
           She used this opportunity to put a nice example of logos on the table, as she said that the "judgement and temperament of every single one of us is revealed over time" in response to the bringing up of another earlier statement of hers saying that Trump's temperament is off. By doing this, she's trying to bring down the viewers' views on how effective Trump would be in office and, in turn, raising their view of hers. This is a genius way of doing so, and I've gotta commend her for figuring that out.

Saturday, September 12, 2015

Truth and Death

    9/11 is one of the most important moments in recent American history. It started (or at least justified) a war, sparked worldwide controversy, and forever changed our cultural landscape. Songs, stories, poems, apologies, in a single afternoon millions of lives were changed, and thousands were silenced.

    People dance around the subject all too much in my opinion. It makes people uncomfortable and sometimes even ashamed, and if it makes them neither of those it makes them angry. So we use euphemisms and meaningless phrases such as "never forget", as if simply repeating it enough will cement it in history rather than whichever historian fate smiles upon.

    Let's look at some numbers. In relationship to war, 9/11 was practically nothing. More than a hundred times than many Americans died in Vietnam for no reason at all. Even as recent as Iraq, the death toll of American soldiers is 4,425, and they were sent over in the name of ending the death caused on that September day. Of course, if you look at the Iraqi casualties in that war, estimates range from 100,000 to 1 million. Strange how we don't talk about those as often.

    Still, there must be a difference between deaths in 9/11 and war casualties, right? War is often justified, and the destruction of the towers was a brutal and senseless act of violence. This argument holds up less and less the more I think about it. The fact is, war has killed millions upon millions upon millions of people, often for nearly meaningless reasons in retrospect. Do those who die at war feel any differently about it than those in the towers? I doubt it.

    So why are we so adamant to never forget? Why do the lives of those thousands weigh so heavily upon the American people? Maybe because for once, the brutal deaths aren't oceans away. They aren't fought "valiantly" in filthy trenches with dozens of pounds of equipment strapped to their backs. They're regular people doing regular things who never for a second thought their lives might be on the line. They could be you.

    Death is everywhere. Cancer, suicide, murder. Slightly farther away we find starvation, water deprivation, disease. To think that because we humans have built ourselves a pillowfort or two, death is any more preventable is foolish. But that's what we have to tell ourselves to make it. So when two planes slice our tallest pillow into rubble, it rattles us to our very core.

    By the time I have finished writing this, it will be 9/12. The CIA estimates that 108 people die every minute. Most of them probably don't have pillowforts built for them. I doubt many of them look like me. But that doesn't mean that their deaths are any less valid or tragic.

    We are mere steps away from a true global community, united past skin and history. But for us to take that step, we need to realize that everyone dies. Everyone mourns. Over three thousand people lost their lives unjustly that day, but they are a mere droplet in the ancient pool of billions.

   Life is short, death is random. Love more than just thy neighbor.

"Tips" for Being An Unarmed Black Teen

Very recently, I read a short but profound article titled "Tips For Being An Unarmed Black Teen." The article was published by "The Onion," an American News Source. The title seems very straightforward, however, has a deeper meaning to racism in America.

The article begins by addressing riots raged in Ferguson,MO after the shooting death by police of an unarmed African-American. The article sarcastically gives tips on being an unarmed African-American in America that provide insight to the real problems America is facing with racism.

"Be sure not to pick up any object that could be perceived by a police officer as a firearm, such as a cell phone, food item, or nothing." This point in the article had me evaluate every Afrian-American shooting situation I could think of and reflect. Treyvon Martin had Skittles and was shot to death. Micheal Brown was unarmed when he was shot to death. The Onion's sarcastic argument "or nothing" should be taken literal today.

As the recent shootings in America have proved, there continues to be injustice done involving Americans of color. How can America be "the land of the free" when unarmed black boys are continuing to lose their lives?

America's Obsession with Deception

One of my favorite Netflix documentaries is The Woman Who Wasn't There, which is the story of Tania Head (real name Alicia Esteve Head), a woman who lied about being a survivor of the World Trade Center attacks on September 11th. When I saw this documentary it intrigued and shocked me, I could not imagine how an individual could repeatedly lie about his or her life and take advantage of a terrible tragedy for attention and recognition.

After further reflection on The Woman Who Wasn't There, I began to think about the topic of deceit and realized that deception is a common trend in American media and culture. Deception is especially prominent in a physical sense. There is a common trend and use of cosmetics, diets and plastic surgery in America. All these methods are used to change one’s appearance and the truth is that an individual didn’t look like that before his or her bronzer or his or her nose job. The question is, why are we so unhappy with our real selves? Why do Americans constantly feel the need to change themselves to impress others?

American culture revolves around finding a seemingly perfect and ideal individual and following and praising their every move. Perfection is based on physical attributes that are often manufactured. In a way American media uses this “stalking” of stars to promote an ideal way of being and these ideal physical traits constantly evolve with the times. American’s alter their physical appearances just to realize that times have changed and there is one again a new person or trend to idealize. American’s have fallen into a sick cycle of never really being happy with themselves and using forms of deception like consumerism and aestheticism to cope.

Though Tania Head’s use of deception was an extreme example, the core of her story does not shy far away from the problems regarding physical deception in American culture. The dangerous use of deception to attain ideal physical traits in American culture is spiraling problem with no end reward. The Woman Who Wasn't There gets people thinking about the concepts of deception and its relation to popular culture in America. Us Americans are just a different extreme example of the use of deception in order to obtain recognition and attention.

Friday, September 11, 2015

Blame the System Not the Victim

This summer thousands of women, and men, were seen all over the country taking to the streets dressed in revealing clothes to end rape culture and "slut-shaming."

SlutWalk has become a radically inclusive movement to end rape culture that was originally started in Toronto in response to a police officer who claimed, "women should avoid dressing like sluts in order not to be victimized." The officer's quote is an unfortunate example of the slut-shaming and victim-blaming that sexual assault victims are subject to on a regular basis. 

The marches originated in Toronto have spread all over the United States including in Chicago. This women' rights movement has grown exponentially more popular in the past few years. 

SlutWalk attendees focus on reclaiming the word "slut" to achieve autonomy over their sexuality. 

The article titled, "SlutWalk is Not Sexual Liberation" states that trying to reclaim the word "slut" is a waste of "precious feminist resources." It continues to claim that women who dress like sluts will be treated as such, and that encouraging women to be more "sluttish" will not solve the problem of victim-blaming. 

It is the people with this mindset that are the major issue in this women's' rights movement. The core principal of SlutWalk is the common slogan, "blame the system not the victim," which this article overlooks. The purpose is to fight against the idea that what women wear, what they drink, or how they behave can make them a target for rape. These activists are fighting to end the stigma related to the all too common validation of sexual assult.

How Do We Teach 9/11?

Today marks the 14th anniversary of 9/11. A question arises among many history teachers in the U.S. “How do we teach 9/11?” In years past, there was no real reason to teach 9/11 to high school students because many were old enough to remember what happened. Since there is no set curriculum to teach about 9/11, teachers have used it to lead into discussions about Afghanistan and the war on terror.

 George Bush claimed that 9/11 happened because the Islamist extremist who hijacked the planes “hated our freedom.” This is a ridiculous and poorly researched assumption about the hijackers motives. What should be taught in high schools is that the hijackers true hatred, is hatred for Modernity in the Western World. Bernard Lewis, the eminent scholar of Islam, defines Modernity as “secular culture of reason, science, individualism, progress, democracy, and capitalism.” All of these are associated with modernity, and all of these goes against Islamist beliefs and ideologies. Along with Modernity, resentment of western politics and decisions is another reason Islamist extremists targeted America. The Atlas Society asks a very intriguing question, “Do our enemies hate modernity because it is Western, or hate the West because it is modern?”

To understand the causes of 9/11, one has to truly understand the reason for each target the planes crashed into. Each target was an essential part of Modernity. If all parts were successfully destroyed, Modernity (and the West) would fall. The Twin Towers were selected because they were the centers of trade and capitalism. The next plane that hit the Pentagon was intended to eliminate the center of the U.S. military. Luckily, the plane crashed into the recently reinforced outer wall so the damage done was much smaller than it could have been. The fourth and final plane landed in a field in Pennsylvania, it was intended to hit the White House, the Capitol building or even Camp David. Destroying any of these targets would have destroyed a big part of the government. With all of these institutions destroyed, Modernity would fall as well as the West.

History about 9/11 should be taught through analysis and evidence. It should not be taught through close-minded assumptions such as, “they hated our freedom”.