2016 Election

What It Really Means To Be A Woman During This Election

On January 20th, 2009, many Americans wept with joy that we had elected our very first African American President.

And when Obama was actually inaugurated on that day, America’s ideals changed for the better, and history was made.

Thunderous applause exploded in the streets of our cities as we all looked at one another smiling and discussing how far we had come.

For every individual who is dedicated to equality and the teachings of the Civil Rights Movement, Obama’s presidency was more than gratification for electing a smart, center-left Democrat into office.

That moment also stood for the thousands of advocates who fought for liberty and democracy for all around the country.

This was for the legs that carried scores of brave Americans from Selma to Montgomery, for the students in Little Rock, and for all of us that grew up knowing the “I Have A Dream” speech backwards and forwards while having the privilege of never knowing what it felt like to dream of our own freedom and opportunity.

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Photo Credit: Mike Norton/ Flickr (CC By 2.0)

Now, Hillary Clinton is the Democratic nominee for President, and we are less enthused.

But failing to acknowledge this momentous piece of American history would be a disservice to the women who fought for suffrage and equal rights.

In a now famous DNC video montage of all the past male presidents, the glass shatters and Hillary appears, “I can’t believe we just put the biggest crack in that glass ceiling yet”.

In 1919 women were granted the right to vote, second wave feminism fought for women’s sexual, familial, and economic freedom, and today, women’s rights fight for equal pay, respect, the right to choose, and racial and sexual liberty for all.

This is the time in history that America has been struggling towards, and we are taking it for granted.

To be a woman at this time in history means to be a woman who can vote, who can work, use birth control, and maybe even be president.

Hillary might not be the woman that we have all been waiting for, but she represents the moment that we have all been waiting for and that cannot be disregarded.

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Photo Credit: Gage Skidmore/ Flickr (CC By 2.0)

Her nomination is even more important and profound when you compare her to the Republican nominee.

While Donald Trump attempts to throw America back in history, to a time when fascists ruled with impunity around the world, when your race and religion separated you in your own country, when fear drove people to commit unforgivable acts of hatred and violence, Hillary represents something grander and more fundamentally American.

She is the first woman to be nominated as a major party nominee for President, but she is also a socially empathetic, driven, and passionate leader that cares about people.

The stark difference between her and Trump makes this election an important choice for the kind of America we want to be.

Are we the kind that allows such an unqualified and odious meathead of a man to become commander-in-chief, or are we the kind that is ready to Elect a woman?

This choice goes beyond four years of a single presidency. Like Obama, Hillary Clinton will become a historic model of America.

This is what our children will know about.

They too will learn the “I Have A Dream” speech, and now they will learn the story of the first Black President’s election, and maybe, they will even learn about the first female president.

This is big, and it shouldn’t be overlooked.

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Photo Credit: DVIDSHUB/ Flickr (CC By 2.0)

Of course, people have their complaints about Hillary, and that should be recognized, but this is about so much more than the individual candidate, and this is about avoiding our children learning about the rude and racist 45th president, Adolf- I mean Donald Hitler- sorry, Trump.

We might have our very first female president, and that in it of itself is something to extol.

Like Cory Booker said in his speech at the Democratic National Convention, “Generations of heroic Americans have made our nation more inclusive, more expansive, and more just”. Whatever your feelings of Hillary Clinton may be you cannot disagree that she is far more likely to uphold this ideal than Trump.

Martin Luther King Jr. once explained that, “The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy”.

There is controversy surrounding Hillary Clinton, but there is so much to appreciate and afford to this woman.

It may feel different than how we dreamt it would, but it is still so incredible, and we should feel proud.

RISE NEWS is a grassroots journalism news organization that is working to change the way young people become informed and engaged in public affairs. You can write for us.

Cover Photo Credit: Lorie Shaull

Does Orlando Prove Trump Right? Absolutely Not

In a gay nightclub, 49 lives were taken because a crazy and hateful person had legal access to a weapon of mass destruction.

The shooter, Omar Mir Seddique Mateen proclaimed his support for ISIS, pointed his licensed assault rifle at the bodies of innocent people, and shot.

Those are the facts. It was an attack of terror and hate, and is yet another example of how guns have caused so much damage to this country.

All eyes have been on the presidential candidates to see how they respond to this public safety crisis.

In an interview on Meet the Press, Bernie Sanders explained the necessity to regulate guns in order to avoid the wrong people from accessing them, and to do away with assault rifles.

“We should not be selling automatic weapons which are designed to kill people”.

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Hilary Clinton advocated for gun control and “defeating international terror groups”. She also expressed her support for the LGBTQ community and a determination to eradicate these kinds of hate crimes in America.

Trump, as to be assumed, took a different approach. He used the attack to reiterate his campaign to ban Muslims from entering the US, (clearly not keeping in mind that Mateen was an American citizen born in New York), and reprimanded Obama and Hilary for remaining “politically correct” and avoiding the phrase “radical Islam”.

It was no surprise that Trump took a racist approach to this tragedy, however a potential fear is that many Americans who are traumatized from this attack could be persuaded by his words.

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So far, on Twitter, most have voiced their disgust with Trump’s comments, but the real question asks if this is what it would take for more Americans to get behind Trumps bigoted and hateful campaign against Muslims?

When horrible things happen and people are afraid, they revert into a defensive mode, determined to obtain protection and justice.

These are valid feelings in mourning, but they are dangerous in the hands of Donald Trump. He is manipulative and driven, and that is a deadly combination.

Tension within Americans towards Muslims has been a lingering issue since 9/11. It ebbs and flows with each given current event.

It is a kind of irrational fear that can cause people to advocate for the wrong things. It is clear that Trump recognizes people’s eagerness to feel safer, and is using that to promote his motion for a temporary ban of Muslims in the country.

Cover Photo Credit: Fibonacci Blue/ Flickr (CC By 2.0)

Cover Photo Credit: Fibonacci Blue/ Flickr (CC By 2.0)

But this is not unusual, and this was to be expected. The real fear is how many people will he convince and how will it affect this election?

Trump has made this an issue of political correctness. He believes that the term “radical Islam” is a phrase not used enough in our discourse and therefore allows things like this to happen.

But again, let’s look at the facts. Mateen was an American citizen, and his ex wife has explained that she does not feel this was religiously motivated as much as it was the outcome of him being mentally ill.

Mateen legally bought an assault rifle, a weapon clearly for more than one needs for hunting or protection. He was an American, and he murdered people out of hatred.

The so called “praise” that Trump is receiving for predicting this horrific event is not only insensitive, repulsive, and narcissistic, but it is also false.

Religion is an ideology that has a great deal of power over a people. Many terrorist attacks have been executed at the hands of radicals sometimes related to the Islamic nation, but often they are not.

Terrorism is defined as the use of violence and intimidation for a political aim. In Colorado Springs when Robert Lewis, a white man from South Carolina shot up a Planned Parenthood, that was political, that was terrorism.

In fact, between 1982 and 2015, out of the 72 mass shootings in America, 44 of the shooters were white. However, Trump is not advocating to ban Lewis and all white people.

Terrorism is a domestic and foreign issue. It does not end if a people are cast out of this country and oppressed for their religion. Guns are easily accessible and end up in the hands of unstable individuals.

In his speech for the Orlando shooting, Obama said, “America has to decide what kind of country it wants to be”. If it were up to Trump, we would be a country driven by hate and racism. Guns would remain accessible and people would continue to be murdered by the hundreds each year; but there would be no Muslim Americans.This is a violent and unacceptable way of thinking.

The numbers are there and clearly show that the real problem is guns and an undeniably stubborn culture that revolves around them.

This is a tragedy beyond consoling. The victims of the Orlando shooting were targeted out of hate and murdered because a mentally ill man had access to an assault rifle. This is the poignant issue of this massacre.

Unfortunately, because of the general hate and fear of Muslims in this country, Trumps sentiments could potentially serve as a dangerous outlet for enraged Americans, and will allow the topic of gun control to once again fall silent.

There are no words to console the victims and their families after this massacre. Cynically, it appears that if the Sandy Hook shooting did not change people’s feelings about guns, perhaps nothing will.

But right now, Americans are in a powerful position to stop a man filled with bigotry and callousness from becoming President and oppressing people in the same ways a fascist dictator once had.

This event is frightening, but our fear cannot be directed in the wrong places. We simply cannot afford to give in to such ways of thought.

Instead, we must stand in solidarity with the LGBTQ community, discuss productive methods to avoid something like this happening again, and evaluate the kind of country we want to either remain as, or become.

RISE NEWS is a grassroots journalism news organization that is working to change the way young people become informed and engaged in public affairs. You can write for us.

What Would Trump And Clinton’s Tax Plans Actually Mean For Your Wallet?

Sometimes, the presidential election can seem like a fight happening in an alternative universe that doesn’t actually mean anything to regular people.

But luckily the folks at USTaxCenter have crunched the numbers and figured out something more concrete: what do the leading candidates for President tax plans mean for your bottom line?

Here’s what they found:

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Now, one note of caution when looking at this.

While Donald Trump’s plan looks good on paper, there are many reasons to think that it could actually do damage to the overall health of the economy. His plan would take out nearly $10 trillion in government revenue. Presumably, if he wanted to cut the deficit and debt, he would have to offset that loss of revenue with massive cuts. And it is not at all clear that he would actually be able to get his tax plan through Congress.

For Hillary Clinton, her plan is basically maintaining the status quo with some minor adjustments and some more tax credits for caregivers.

RISE NEWS is a grassroots journalism news organization that is working to change the way young people become informed and engaged in public affairs. You can write for us.

Photo Credit: USTaxCenter/ Submitted

Here’s Why Memorial Day Really Matters This Election Year

By Christopher Kelly

Memorial Day this year calls on all Americans with particular significance. It requires us to look backward at our past and forward to our future as our nation considers its choices for its next commander in chief.

Just last year we celebrated the seventieth anniversary of the end of World War II, the worst war in human history. Americans like Lieutenant Dick Winters of the 101st Airborne parachuted into Normandy seventy-two years ago, in 1944, in Operation Overlord.

In the spring of 1945, American soldiers discovered the horrors of the Nazi concentration camps. After Eisenhower visited Ohrdruf concentration camp, which had been liberated by American troops on April 4, he declared: “We are told that the American soldier does not know what he is fighting for. Now at least he will know what he is fighting against.”

Over the course of just under four years, over sixteen million American men and women had served in some capacity in the war. Today in 2016, fewer than one million WWII vets are still alive.

Just over 400,000 Americans, most of them young, never returned from their duties in World War II. On Memorial Day, Americans will visit cemeteries such as Arlington in Virginia, as well as many more around the nation. Many Americans who paid the ultimate price are, however, buried overseas, in twenty-four different cemeteries in eleven different countries.

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Throughout its history, Europe has been a blood-soaked continent. Two World Wars scarred the twentieth century. The Napoleonic Wars raged on and off for over fifteen years. The Hundred Years’ War between France and England actually lasted for 116 years.

After World War II ended, American servicemen and women stayed in bases across Europe. The Marshall Plan helped to rebuild the shattered economies of postwar Europe. In 1946, Winston Churchill warned of an “Iron Curtain” that had descended on Eastern Europe. NATO was founded in 1949 to confront the challenge of Communism.

In 1989, the Cold War finally ended and the Berlin Wall came down. The defeat of Fascism and Communism was due in large part to the sacrifice of the American servicemen and women that we honor on Memorial Day.

Since 1945, Europe has enjoyed a period of peace, interrupted only by the breakup of Yugoslavia, that is unprecedented in its history. America as well as Europe have benefitted from this long peace.

Simultaneously, though, Americans have been fighting a war of unprecedented duration.

On September 11, 2001, our world suddenly changed. Since the autumn of 2001, American troops have been engaged in Afghanistan fighting Al Qaeda and the Taliban.

There are soldiers serving today in Afghanistan who were toddlers when the Twin Towers in New York were struck by hijacked commercial airliners.

Americans in 2016 confront many dangers. In the Middle East, we must face the challenge posed by ruthless ISIS operatives who have waged a war against diverse people in different countries, and even against history itself.

The Syrian civil war has claimed over 100,000 lives and has created the worst refugee crisis since World War II. Recent attacks in Paris, Brussels, and San Bernardino, California, remind us that terrorism remains a threat around the world.

This year, Americans will select a new commander in chief. As we go to the polls in November, we should reflect upon the need for sound, mature judgment in all of our leaders, and particularly in our president.

Americans must consider that they are choosing an individual who controls the most powerful military in the world and who has the power to end life as we know it.

Memorial Day imposes a duty on all Americans to remember the sacrifice of our fallen heroes and to reflect prayerfully on how best we should steer a course through our dangerous and turbulent world.

Christopher Kelly is the co-author of America Invades: How We’ve Invaded or Been Militarily Involved with almost Every Country on Earth and Italy Invades: How Italians Conquered the World. For more information, visit www.americainvades.com and www.italyinvades.com.

RISE NEWS is a grassroots journalism news organization that is working to change the way young people become informed and engaged in public affairs. You can write for us.

Cover Photo Credit: Patrick Emerson/ Flickr (CC By 2.0)

Epic Fail: JebBush.com Does Really Redirect To DonaldJTrump.com

Jeb Bush just can’t catch a break.

Just as things are starting to turn around for him, he gets a reminder that Donald Trump is a thing that exists.

Bush never registered JebBush.com before he announced his presidential campaign and has been using Jeb2016.com instead.

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Bruh.

Vox reports that a company in Australia scooped up the domain and has since set it up to redirect to DonaldJTrump.com.

The Trump campaign has recently said that it has nothing to do with the stunt.

Talk about a real kick to the self esteem for ole Jeb!

Dude just can’t any sort of break. At least his mom and brother are with him to make it all better.

Right?

RISE NEWS is a grassroots journalism news organization that is working to change the way young people become informed and engaged in public affairs. Anyone can write for us as long as you are fiercely interested in making the world a better place. 

Cover Photo Credit: Sarah Russell

This Video From 1988 Shows How Consistent Bernie Sanders Really Is

One of the strongest selling points for Sen. Bernie Sanders in his campaign for President has been his incredible ideological consistency. (Of course not everyone is buying it.)

The Sanders campaign is working to play up on the consistency card as both the Nevada caucus and South Carolina primaries approach.

On Feb. 13, the campaign released footage of then Burlington, VT Mayor Bernie Sanders endorsing Rev. Jesse Jackson in his historic 1988 Presidential campaign.

The video shows Sanders giving a familiar pitch arguing for closing the gap between rich and poor and shifting government focus on those closer to the bottom of the economic ladder.

In fact, if you close your eyes, you wouldn’t be blamed to think it was a speech delivered in this election cycle instead of one from before most of us were born.

NPR has also picked up on how remarkably on message Sanders has stayed for over 30 years.

Just take the following quotes that the public radio giant dug up to really drive the point home.

Sanders in 2015:

“There is something profoundly wrong when the top one-tenth of 1 percent owns almost as much wealth as the bottom 90 percent, and when 99 percent of all new income goes to the top 1 percent.”

Sanders in 1976:

“The fundamental issue facing us in the state is that ½ of 1 percent of these people — the richest ½ of 1 percent — earn as much as the bottom 27 percent and the top 3 percent earn as much as the bottom 40 percent.”

Whether you like the guy or not, you have to admit that he has never given up the fight.

WATCH: Bernie Sanders endorses Jesse Jackson for President in 1988. 

 

 

Cover Photo Credit: Bernie Sanders Campaign Youtube/ Screengrab

Does Bernie Really Think He Can Win This?

By Lou Gumede

When President Barack Obama won re-election in 2012, there was already speculation if then Secretary-of-State Hillary Clinton would choose to run for the Presidency in 2016.

Three years later, Hillary Clinton would declare her intention to become the first woman President of the United States and instantly became the frontrunner to replace Obama as the head of the Democratic Party.

Hillary would later be joined by another two major candidates, namely Martin O’Malley and Bernie Sanders; with Sanders being Hillary’s main opposition.

Clinton began the polling season with a large lead over all her counterparts and is currently enjoying a favourable lead over Sanders and O’Malley.

However, Sanders has gained some ground on Hillary in a New York Times/CBS News poll that was released this week.

The poll shows that Hillary received 48% of Democratic votes nationwide, whilst Bernie received 41%.

This information coupled with two other state polls released on Tuesday, a poll conducted by Quinnipiac University found that 49% of Democratic voters in Iowa would back Sanders, whilst 44% would choose Clinton.

This is a far cry from the results a month ago, where Clinton led Sanders by 11 points.

Another poll by Monmouth University showed an even larger gap, where Sanders leads Clinton 53% to 39% in New Hampshire. Clinton led Sanders in New Hampshire in November.

Nationally, Clinton’s lead has been slipping gradually; according to a CNN poll in December Clinton led Sanders 50% to 34% compared to a poll conducted in late November where Clinton was up 58% to Sanders’ 30%.

This should be worrying to Clinton, as the last three rounds of national polls have seen Sanders pull closer to her.

However, according to the national poll released on Tuesday, 7 in 10 Democratic voters, including most of Bernie Sanders’ supporters, still believe that Clinton will win the Democratic primary according to the New York Times.

However, University of Rhode Island Political Science Professor Brian Krueger cautions not to read into the poll results too much.

“We are not talking about big swings, he [Sanders] was low 30s in November and is now high 30s,” Krueger told RISE NEWS. “Part of the explanation in that O’Malley’s support has gone from 4 or 5 to about 1 or 2 percent, with Bernie picking up most of that support.”

Nevertheless the numbers have forced Clinton to start confronting Sanders more and try to dispel or disapprove of his electability and his apparent stance on gun violence.

Clinton has repeatedly tried to bring attention to Sanders’ vote to legislation that broadly shields gun manufacturers and dealers from liability lawsuits in 2005; this is to show that Sanders is not in line with the standing of Clinton, President Obama and the Democratic Party.

According to Krueger, Sanders was not probably expecting to win the race but rather wanted to run in order to make Clinton address issues that matter to those on the left of the party.

“In other words, he did not expect to win, but he could expect to have an enthusiastic following and force the discussion of issues otherwise buried,” Krueger said.

Interestingly though, Krueger believes that as GOP candidate Donald Trump becomes more successful, so will Sanders.

“I also think that as Trump succeeds so will Sanders, in that Bernie supporters will feel that he would actually have a chance of beating Trump in a general election.”

Krueger believes that Sanders could “pull a primary victory or two” but never actually take an overall lead.

RISE NEWS is a grassroots journalism news organization that is working to change the way young people become informed and engaged in public affairs. Anyone can write for you us as long as you are fiercely interested in making the world a better place. 

Cover Photo Credit: Phil Roeder/ Flickr (CC By 2.0)

Here’s Why You Shouldn’t Trust Polls

In our modern world, public polls are still assumed to be accurate representations of people’s sentiments on current issues.

As in any other election cycle, polls have been utilized — almost exclusively — to determine and understand the current state of the 2016 U.S. Presidential race. These polls tell both the public, as well as the candidates, how each contender is fairing.

At least, they do that in theory.

Not only do these polls have implications for shifting public sentiment, but based on their standing in them, a candidate may choose to shift strategies or even drop out of the race before a single ballot is cast.

But basing a campaign strategy on poll results is dangerous and unwise — largely because these polls are often inaccurate.

Some polls predicted Mitt Romney to barely defeat Barack Obama in the 2012 Presidential Race.

Polls in Kentucky predicted Mitch McConnell to lose to Alison Lundergan Grimes in 2014, but McConnell went on to win by close to 20 points.

Outside of the U.S., polls inaccurately predicted the results of the most recent Israeli and British elections.

President Romney? Yeah, not so much. Photo Credit: James Currie/ Flickr (CC By 2.0)

President Romney? Yeah, not so much. Photo Credit: James Currie/ Flickr (CC By 2.0)

These erroneous results have lead analysts to question the industry and whether it has kept up with a “rapidly transforming, highly-mobile electorate.”

Not only have polls become less accurate, but their results are often oversimplified and sensationalized.

Polls conducted with 300 or so participants are said to describe a group as large as “the Democrats” or “the Republicans.”

If our polls are becoming less accurate, the fact that their results are sensationalized to increase a partisan divide is extremely worrisome.

Michael Traugott, a University of Michigan political science professor told US World and News Report, that polls “give the public an independent voice that’s not generally present” in other news coverage.

Recent polls are coming back with false results due to a lower number of responses as well as a concentrated group of respondents.

Polls are targeting people’s home phones (in addition to cell phones), which due to our culture, are now being answered less than before.

Not only are they being answered less, but more than 40% of American adults, such as myself, no longer have landlines.

Those with landlines are often older and poorer.

86% percent of people over 65 still have landlines. That number drops to 44% for those between the ages of 25-29.

Further adding to the woes of pollsters is the 1991 Telephone Consumer Protection Act, which bans autodialing to cell phones.

This law applies to public-opinion polling and market research, thereby limiting their reach. One would assume that increasingly inaccurate polls which reflect an extremely small slice of the population wouldn’t be utilized to represent the sentiments of whole groups.

Unfortunately, this is not that case, as these inaccurate, non-representative polls are utilized to represent the views of “Democrats” or “Republicans.”

Wilson Perkins Allen Opinion Research recently stated that “44 Percent of Democrats Support Taking Refugees from a Fictional Country.”

This poll was issued in response to a left-leaning Public Policy Polling result which found that 30% of Republican voters would support bombing Agrabah, a fictional country/city from the Disney film Aladdin.

The WPA poll, reporting to represent the entirety of “Democrats,” polled 384 registered Democrats, and 1,132 total voters.

Utilizing 384 people to purport to represent the entire Democratic Party is absurd and wildly disingenuous.

Utilizing 384 people to purport to represent the entire Democratic Party is absurd and wildly disingenuous.

To be clear, it is not just the WPA nor solely Right-leaning polling sources which perpetuate this nonsense.

The original Public Policy Polling survey polled 532 Republicans to represent the entirety of the party.

Public Policy Polling even went as far as to post the results on their Twitter, stating “30% of Republican primary voters nationally say they support bombing Agrabah. Agrabah is the country from Aladdin,” along with the mocking hashtag of #NotTheOnion.

In an attempt to demean those they disagree with politically, PPP claimed to represent all “Republicans” with 532 respondents. Both left and right-wing pollsters and media groups utilize these misrepresentative pols to decry the other.

There is no question that polling has a future in our political process, but we must do better. Polling 400-500 people and labeling the results as representing the entirety of a political party, race, or religion is both demeaning and reckless.

More importantly, they are inaccurate, and promote false narratives. 44% of all Democrats certainly to not support taking refugees from a fictional country. 30% of Republicans also certainly do not support bombing the same fictional country.

This sensationalism shows Democrats to be soft and overly welcoming while it decries Republicans as warmongers. Instead of finding issues to agree on, this type of sensationalism further divides the two parties.

We should try to figure out a better way to do it.

RISE NEWS is a grassroots journalism news organization that is working to change the way young people become informed and engaged in public affairs. Anyone can write for you us as long as you are fiercely interested in making the world a better place. 

Cover Photo Credit: Gage Skidmore/ Flickr (CC By 2.0)

“America’s Already Great”: What It’s Like To Be Roughed Up By Trump Thugs

Three weeks out from the first votes of the 2016 presidential election, Republican front-runner Donald Trump is better-positioned than ever to win his party’s nomination.

Dismissed as little more than a sideshow just a few months ago, the long-predicted Trump collapse has failed to materialize, and political professionals increasingly view Trump as a possible, perhaps even likely, general election candidate.

The magnate attributes his success to support from a “silent majority,” but Trump backers are neither.

Earlier this week, fed up with Trump’s hateful rhetoric, I traveled to Lowell, MA to protest at a Trump rally.

What I saw horrified me. The crowd packed into the Tsongas Center at UMass Lowell resembled nothing so much as a physical manifestation of blinding rage.

Generally speaking, people waiting to enter a political rally are happy and excited, eager to see their favorite candidate. But from the moment I encountered them, Trump supporters seemed to wear a permanent scowl, trading dim-witted barbs about “libtards” and other enemies.

Countless numbers wore shirts attacking Hillary Clinton, often reading “Hillary for Prison 2016.”

Once inside, as we waited for the rally to begin, an announcement played over the PA asking rally attendees to refrain from attacking people who disagreed with Trump. Folks around me laughed menacingly, and remarked that the Trump campaign was asking too much.

But I had no idea what I was in for when a few minutes into Trump’s rambling speech, I held up a sign reading “America’s Already Great.”

It didn’t take long for the glowering people around me to take issue with my sign. A nasal voice behind me told me to put down my sign or else.

I turned to ask the voice’s source, a balding, fat man older than my father, if he disagreed with my sign—which again, contended that America is already a great country.

“You think America’s not great?” I asked. “You think I should hurt you?” he responded.

WATCH: Trump supporters rip up sign of Kiernan Majerus-Collins and friend at Lowell, MA rally.

Things went downhill from there.

Another man, who could have been the goatee-clad brother of my first critic, told me “You’re at a Trump rally? Ditch those,” referring to my sign. “Do you disagree with this?” I shot back. “Yeah. Ditch ’em,” he responded, and at that moment, both of the men grabbed for my sign and tore it up.

The crowd around me began to loudly call for my removal, which was shortly accomplished (although not before the first man hit me on the head and tried to grab me).

The next day, a video of the encounter shot by a friend of mine who’d accompanied me, went viral, and in the days since I’ve become even more familiar with the special brand of thuggery and intimidation Trump’s supporters practice.

Read More: Trump People- A RISE Reporter Spends The Day At An Alabama Donald Rally With His Liberal Girlfriend And Mexican Friend

My family and I received death threats, and messages poured in calling me every name in the book (although typically, the names were misspelled).

If this was an isolated incident, it would be awful, but it wouldn’t have any greater meaning.

But I’m sad to say my experience is part of a pattern.

Trump is running a campaign fueled by the anger of poorly educated, racist white people, the kind of people who love to criticize “PC culture,” but became offended to the point of violence when I held a sign asserting that ours is a great country.

And as Trump soars in the polls, these people are becoming emboldened. The billionaire blowhard has convinced millions of Americans that not only is their bigoted hatred of Mexicans, Muslims, African-Americans and others justified, but that it is the key to making America “great again,” as if it wasn’t great already.

It’s possible that Trump’s fall, so long awaited, will finally come. I certainly hope so. But Trump’s political demise will not undo the damage he has done to our politics, or to America’s reputation in the world.

RISE NEWS is a grassroots journalism news organization that is working to change the way young people become informed and engaged in public affairs. Anyone can write for you us as long as you are fiercely interested in making the world a better place. 

Cover Photo Credit: Kiernan Majerus-Collins/ Facebook

BEN Times: Carson Campaign Collapses All Around Him

Some twenty of Ben Carson’s top aides resigned last Thursday, throwing Carson’s campaign into turmoil with less than a month before the Iowa Caucuses.

According to CNN, Carson’s campaign manager Berry Bennet, deputy campaign manager Lisa Coen, and communications director Doug Watts all resigned following speculation of a staff shake-up.

The Carson campaign has been dogged for months by internal conflict and rumors of personnel change. According to Reuters, Bennet said his resignation was due to differences with another top adviser to Carson, Armstrong Williams.

Bennet blamed Williams for an interview given by Carson to the Washington Post in which Carson spoke openly about the problems in his own campaign, as well as a number of articles detailing Carson’s weakness on foreign policy.

“It’s one of the stupidest things I’ve ever seen a candidate do,” Bennett said.

Williams has blamed Bennett as well as former communications director Doug Watts for not adequately preparing Carson for public appearances, and said that they chose to leave Carson’s campaign over being fired. Carson and Williams have both stated their belief that a change in campaign staff will reinvigorate the neurosurgeon’s campaign.

According to Politico, Robert Dees, a Carson foreign policy advisor and retired Army general, will now chair the campaign, filling another leadership role that’s been vacant for months. It is still unclear who will fill the newly vacated positions, but it is widely speculated that veteran campaign strategist Ed Brookover may fill the position of campaign manager.

Carson was in stiff competition with businessman Donald Trump for the position of GOP front runner in mid-October. Carson has since fallen to a distant fourth place behind Trump, Texas senator Ted Cruz, and Florida senator Marco Rubio in most national polls over concerns surrounding his lack of experience in foreign policy.

Williams stated his belief that Dees’ foreign policy and national security experience will be a vital asset to the Carson campaign and that his leadership will help to reinvigorate it.

If Dees does take over as chairman of Carson’s campaign, the decision may come with some degree of controversy.

In the former army general’s 2014 book, “Resilient Nations”, Dees argued that the greatest threat to the United States isn’t an external threat but rather the loss of the nation’s “spiritual infrastructure.”

In 2014 Dees also stated in an interview, “trying to appease the Muslim religion by saying that they are a peace-loving religion is problematic,” and that, “they need to demonstrate how their religion does not lead people to a final end state of violence and oppression.”

Despite sliding poll numbers and internal conflict, Carson’s campaign on Wednesday announced that it had raised an impressive $23 million in the fourth quarter of 2015. With the Iowa Caucuses only a month away, time alone will tell whether this staff-shake up will be a fresh start for the Carson campaign or the beginning of its end.

Cover Photo Credit: Marc Nozell/Flickr (CC By 2.0)

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