A Glimpse into a Genuinely Free Society

written by Kieran Brown
 
NOTE: JSA is a nonpartisan organization. This is just one opinion from one of our writers. We will be covering a wide range of topics that will illustrate various political beliefs, and neither JSA nor The Patriot is promoting specific political parties.
 
A free society is one that allows its citizens to live their lives without governmental interference, as long as they do not disrupt societal order. A free society is not a Democratic, Republican, Libertarian, or Green society, but a society that allows its citizens to make choices for themselves. I believe in George Washington’s assertion that political parties allow corrupt powers to insert themselves as tyrannous rulers. A free society is pragmatic; it does not conform to one ideology or party platform.

Morally, a free society strives to protect all; after all, life is the most precious thing on Earth. As a result, rehabilitation for convicted criminals should always be an option. When one does wrong, they must learn what is right and be given a chance to better themselves. As the nonpartisan Hoover Institute contends, a morally free society is one where justice and mercy are equal. I believe that when this occurs, people are given a chance to make the most out of their lives, and society has served its purpose. Another pillar of free society is the right to life. While an incredibly controversial topic, I stand firmly in my beliefs that life must be protected at all times. All life is precious, and any time a life is terminated should be considered a travesty. I believe that it is the responsibility of a morally free society to serve all of its citizens, even those who cannot fully serve themselves.

Economically, a free society must be a capitalistic society. Systems such as socialism and communism have innumerably proven themselves to be both ineffective and dangerous. The nature of absolute state power over an economy is incredibly ill-advised, and is menacing to a free society. As Lord Acton once famously argued, “absolute power corrupts absolutely.” As evidenced by the actions of dictators such as Stalin and Mao, this is certainly the case. A free society must also avoid crony capitalism, like Vladimir Putin’s Russia. A free society does not tolerate market manipulation ever.

Politically, a free society must serve every single citizen, and try its hardest to be inclusive. A free society must study every society, to learn the faults of corrupted ones and the successes of moral ones. A free society does not vote according to party lines, nor does it form caucuses to divide communities and interests. In addition, a free society must not form legislative gridlock, as it only serves as a way to harm the constituency that its sole existence is derived from. Instead, the people’s representatives must come together to find common ground, much like how groups come together to work towards a common goal. Lastly, a politically free society should make government a source of togetherness, not a competition. In such a society, all ideas would be respected, not only those of the majority.

Happy Thanksgiving! From the Patriot

Something That I’m Thankful For:

JSA. Corny I know, but its the truth. The Junior Statesman of America is not just a club, for me its a bit more. I first joined JSA in the fall of my freshman year and since then it has helped fuel a passion which never ceases to bring wonder and enjoyment. And even in the most divisive and nasty of times, JSA has always been a counterweight as a place where politics and civics are the priority. Additionally, JSA has and always will be a collection of among the greatest people on earth. At the conventions and one days, I have been hard pressed to find a person I didn’t like. The people and experiences you have within JSA are unparalleled. I like many JSA’ers am always hyped for conventions and one days and am always disappointed when they come to a close.

Being more than just a club, JSA is not something that I am taking for granted. And as we put the election behind us and move into the holiday season, always keep in mind how lucky we are to have such a place to discuss politics, meet people and become more involved in the world around us.

Happy Thanksgiving and Happy Holidays!
– Patrick Burland, The Patriot

Donald Trump: A Voice for Veterans

by Victoria Lee
 
NOTE: JSA is a nonpartisan organization. This is just one opinion from one of our writers. We will be covering a wide range of topics that will illustrate various political beliefs, and neither JSA nor The Patriot is promoting specific political parties.
 
This is a response to an article posted by the New York Times (see link below).
 
Although I consider myself to be a liberal, I am typically still able to understand and empathize with those who favor Republican viewpoints and politicians; however, it has been a little difficult for me to empathize with Republican President Donald Trump. His offensive and inappropriate comments in particular have made me confused as to why people believe that he genuinely cares about the American people. However, this intriguing article by the New York Times conveys perfectly the reason why one particular group, veterans, are staunch supporters of Trump. In the article, Confessore highlights many of their unheard feelings, such as exhaustion, distrust of politics, and frustration with the lack of understanding they receive from their fellow citizens. He also explains the issue of the “growing military caste”, illustrating the gap between average citizens and the fewer than one percent of Americans that now serve in the armed forces, highlighting how those who have lower-incomes, are less-educated, or have parents who have served before are much more likely to serve in the military. This gap between veterans and citizens has made a majority of the population either unaware of or unable to relate to veteran struggles, such as unemployment, needing access to health care, and the physical injuries they may experience; for example, missing limbs or brain trauma. Furthermore, since the media is constantly focusing on only the most fatal or grotesque of news, Americans do not normally treat the disfigurement of veterans with much empathy, as they are not as serious as casualties.
 
I can now understand how this feeling of neglect has pushed veterans towards Donald Trump, who they feel represents their feelings very accurately, as he always bluntly attacks the high price veterans and Americans must pay for war, never holding back in order to be politically correct. Being tired of politicians sidestepping around the issue of combat and then blindly sending troops to war, and being exasperated with the politicization of war hindering the military and wasting lives and resources, Trump’s ideas and transparency strike a chord in many veterans’ hearts. Although I still do not agree with Trump’s policies, this article has greatly helped in allowing me to understand why veterans are so loyal to Trump. No, they don’t agree with all of his ideas, but to these people who have been feeling subdued, cast off, and made insignificant by the American people, I can see why he is an appealing candidate to them, and why they may even look past his other damaging policies. After all, they did in fact risk their lives for the American people, and thus do not want to be treated as another problem/issue that needs to be solved, but as normal American citizens who deserve empathy, understanding, and proper repayment for their duty to our country.
 
Honestly, I had never deliberated very much over veterans’ viewpoints, so this was definitely an excellent and enlightening article, as it did an excellent job of emphasizing how even Donald Trump empathizes with and properly represents a specific population in America. Moving forward, I would still not an advocate for Trump as President, for even though he has been decent and understanding to veterans, his other policies and ideas may end up hurting a much larger handful of the population (i.e. Muslims, LGBTQ community, and women), but I would agree that we definitely need to listen and pay attention to our veterans much more and perhaps rethink our policies on war.

Read the New York Times’s Article Here: http://www.nytimes.com/2016/11/03/us/politics/donald-trump-veterans.html?ref=politics

Flint Water Crisis: Water as a Human Right

by Naqiya Motiwalla
 
NOTE: JSA is a nonpartisan organization. This is just one opinion from one of our writers. We will be covering a wide range of topics that will illustrate various political beliefs, and neither JSA nor The Patriot is promoting specific political parties.
 
In April 2014, Flint, Michigan switched its drinking water from the Detroit System to the Flint River in order to save the city about 5 million dollars. Almost immediately, residents were complaining, saying that the water was yellow, black, or even brown. The water in the river had been corroding the Flint pipes, dragging lead and other toxic metals into the water, and thus poisoning those who drank from it. Lead poisoning can damage almost every organ in the body; and so the children of Flint were diagnosed with anemia, many had memory problems, muscle pains, and more that would affect them for life.
 
In fact, the water was so bad that General Motors, a car manufacturing company in the city, stopped using the water because it corroded car parts. Despite the terror of this crisis, officials of Flint and Michigan downplayed the problem, declining offers made in 2015 by the Detroit Water System, which would reconnect Flint’s water line back to theirs. Some reports even say that they attempted to cover up reports on lead in water. Fortunately, organizations formed to deliver clean water and health services to residents in Flint, such as providing check-ups, giving out filters, and reporting on the countless people who have no access to clean drinking water. Even worse, the citizens are still paying, through monthly bills, for the water they cannot drink.
 
Although water is a basic human right; it took two years before Michigan’s governor, In 2016, Rick Snyder, declared a state of emergency for the Genesee County, of which Flint is included, and then President Obama himself declared a state of emergency for the city and surrounding county. It took two years for the Federal Emergency Management Agency to provide up to $5 million in aid, something the people of Flint have been demanding for a long time (Goodman, Lin). Recently, Flint has received a $970,000 grant to help residents get access to health services, showing that even today Flint is still recovering and trying to fix its water problem (CBS).
 
While the water crisis in Flint is horrifying, it is even more terrifying that no one did anything to help for two years. We have all grown up hearing about poorer countries with little access to clean water, but most have never considered the idea of it happening to our own country. It’s difficult to believe there are states in America that have to fight for water, let alone not readily have it. Unfortunately, Flint is not the only place with a water crisis. In fact, this is just the tip of the iceberg. Communities in Louisiana and Ohio have also been facing similar problems: cities such as St. Joseph, Louisiana has had a water issue for almost a decade without notice. We cannot just isolate this to one city and pretend there is a easy solution, with water problems already prevalent in the United States it is important to act now. Civilizations are raised near and around water; water is the basis for human life, and it is a human rights violation to simply let people struggle without water and do nothing to help.

 

Source:http://www.democracynow.org/2016/2/17/thirsty_for_democracy_the_poisoning_of
 
Source:http://www.cbsnews.com/news/sebring-ohio-next-flint-water-crisis-lead-copper/

Immigration: Building to a Better Future

by Victoria Lee
 
NOTE: JSA is a nonpartisan organization. This is just one opinion from one of our writers. We will be covering a wide range of topics that will illustrate various political beliefs, and neither JSA nor The Patriot is promoting specific political parties.
 
This is a response to an article posted by the New York Times (see link below).
 
The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine recently released a report concerning the impact immigrants have on American jobs and the American economy, which is one of the pressing issues in this year’s presidential election. It was written by fourteen top economists, demographers and scholars, whose opinions on immigration range from praise to skepticism. Some points that they touch upon include how immigrants have no long-term negative impact on on overall wages and employment of native-born Americans. Furthermore, high-skilled immigrants actually contributed to the American economy and working-class, as they fostered innovation and thus helped to create jobs. As for the argument on whether immigrants strain government funds, the report discusses how recent immigrants may cost the government about $57 billion annually, but second and third generation immigrant families will actually add around $250 billion annually to the government budget.
 
This article caught my attention because the idea of immigrants taking American jobs has been a centuries’ long argument, and thus such an article definitely makes great strides towards discrediting that idea. Being a child of first-generation immigrants, I was especially attracted to this article because I have always viewed my parents as honest and hardworking people who wanted to be useful to their community, not job-stealing foreigners. This article confirms that immigrants in general do not typically steal American jobs. I believe this conclusion is logical because immigrant workers, especially those of a lesser education, typically take different jobs from native-born Americans. This is because they are not accustomed to the American workplace nor are they typically familiar with English; thus, they would be less likely to take on a job such as a salesman or cashier than a native-born American would, as they may not understand the American community and would thus have difficulty communicating to people.
 
However, this concept seems to change as we look at more highly-skilled immigrants. The article explicitly states that the report failed to mention American technology workers, many of whom have lost jobs to immigrants on temporary visas. However, I still believe that immigrants are a benefit in this case, because their hard work and the new ideas they bring help to spur new science and technology, creating even more jobs that such displaced people and others can fulfill. In this scenario an influx of immigrants would actually be creating even more jobs for jobless Americans, thus outweighing the initial loss of jobs. This idea of short-term sacrifice for a beneficial long-term outcome can also be seen by the effect that immigrants have on the national budget. Initially, they may burden government funds, but as their children and grandchildren continue to work harder and strive towards having better lives, such families actually add back the money that they cost the government, as well as a surplus.
 
Overall, this article was helpful in solidifying the belief that I experience through my parents’ behavior every day: that immigrants work hard and thus will eventually give back to the community, ultimately outweighing the burdens they may initially cost. Although the amount of immigrants the United States should be allowed to let in is still up for debate, I believe that immigrants are a necessary and evident part of American culture and history and are essential in building towards a better future.

Source: http://www.nytimes.com/2016/09/22/us/immigrants-arent-taking-americans-jobs-new-study-finds.html?ribbon-ad-idx=3&rref=us&module=Ribbon&version=context&region=Header&action=click&contentCollection=U.S.&pgtype=article

Fall One Day Newsletter

Hello JSAers!

Congratulations on a stellar ECR One Day, and we are sure that NER One Day will be amazing as well. Here’s your Fall One Day Newsletter (in the form of a pdf) from the Patriot!

Download (PDF, 202KB)

NOTE: JSA is a nonpartisan organization. This is just one opinion from one of our writers. We will be covering a wide range of topics that will illustrate various political beliefs, and neither JSA nor The Patriot is promoting specific political parties.

Hope everyone is having a nice autumn and school is treating you all well!

Sincerely,

The Patriot Writers