Donald Trump

Patriots Of The Left And Right Must Unite Against Trump’s Personal Rule

By Jacob Kaye

Throughout much of the last two years, talk of patriotism has been at a fever pitch.

Although defining patriotism – and what it means to be a patriot – has long been a contentious debate between the left and the right, the nationalism evoked by President Trump has added new life to the conversation.

The conversation itself, it seems, has been fairly inadvertent.

Few politicians, political pundits, or journalists have spoken of patriotism by name.

Instead, we have been subjected to certain phrases that speak to the core of what the two sides believe is patriotic behavior – or, more often, what they believe it is not.

Whenever someone suggests that we give President Trump a chance – to fail or succeed, they never do specify – or that those who are upset by his electoral victory or his onslaught of executive orders should move out of the country, they are speaking to the core of their form of patriotism.

One that relies on the belief that the actions, policies, and traditions of this nation should be unquestioned and often celebrated.

This is typically the belief of a patriot of the right.

Conversely, when someone proposes that we overhaul or dismantle large and deeply embedded systems of American society, they are speaking to their form of American patriotism.

One that relies on the belief that the actions, policies, and traditions of this nation be questioned often and celebrated when reformed, calibrated, or undone.

This is typically the belief of a patriot of the left.

Photo Credit: Jeff Turner/ Flickr (CC By 2.0)

Both forms of patriotism come from a place of love and an insatiable need to believe in American goodness or, at the least, it’s potential for goodness.

But both forms of patriotism ­– at their worst – can also inspire great and terrible violence.

The inability – or, in some cases, willful ignorance – to question the country, it’s people, or government, can lead to a national blindness that allows evil actors to bring injustice upon groups of people indiscriminately.

On the other hand, the constant destruction of long-standing institutions – in the name of either love or despair – can lead to anarchic revolution.

Of course, both cases speak the most extreme deployment of one’s patriotism.

What I find most curious is that a both sides feel their patriotism is in direct opposition to the patriotic believes of the other.

It is not simply a matter of disagreement but both believe the other patriot is inherently acting to destroy America.

One patriot uses their love as a weapon against the other.

Both sides have failed to recognize how their patriotism is rooted in the same belief-American Exceptionalism.

Patriots of the left believe that America has the ability to solve the world’s ills – inequality, systemic injustice, racism, or poverty – and that we have a duty, as well as a unique gift, to diagnose these flaws.

Patriots of the right believe that the exceptionalism of our past has so strongly guided us to a present in which the world’s ills exist in America only fractionally and this difference is worthy of celebration and continued dedication.

Whether or not one can be an American patriot without believing in some form of American Exceptionalism is a conversation for another day – or if we can put it off, another election cycle – but I believe that the two patriots outlined above both feel that this country is unique.

Photo Credit: MarieEly/ Flickr (CC By 2.0)

Although it certainly isn’t the only disagreement between left and right, the definition and qualities of a patriot remain a critical cause of the current political chasm.

But still, we avoid a deeper conversation about what a patriot is because it is rude, tacky, confrontational, and at times, incendiary, to proclaim one’s self a patriot or to say that someone is not.

Maybe we believe that the times are not dire enough to speak fervently about patriotic notions.

But they are.

Every day, we adjust and recalibrate most aspects of our lives to the 21st century.

A patriot of 1776 is not a patriot of 2017.

American institutions and systems and history have informed the patriot over time and the patriot has a duty to allow American institutions, systems, and history to do so.

There is one patriot who has decided to change the definition of American patriotism altogether.

He even declared that January 20, 2017, this year’s inauguration day, be forever remembered as the “National Day of Patriotic Devotion,” implying there is no further discussion to be had over what patriotic behavior is.

President Trump, as suggested by Paul Krugman in The New York Times, believes in a haunting credo – “L’état, c’est moi,” or, “I, myself, am the nation.”

Patriotism, as he has defined, is devotion to him.

As patriots of the left and right, we owe it to the love we both have for this country to empathize with one another and open our eyes to the common ground we all stand upon.

Understand that this is not a fight over who loves the country and who doesn’t but instead, it is a fight over how we, both as patriots, choose to express our love.

If we don’t, one man will make sure, through credo, proclamation, or law, that both patriots are patriots no more.

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

Cover Photo Credit: Luz/ Flickr (CC By 2.0)

The Republicans Won. Why Are You Surprised?

The presidential election is a little over three months past us and Americans all over the country are still in denial and angered, left feeling hopeless— well the Americans that voted for the Democratic ticket of course.

But to be quite frank, why are Democrats so upset?

Did they really think they had a shot at winning the presidential elections when time after time, America seems to be making progress just to be set back in a time frame of our turmoil filled past.

Did American voters truly think that a liberal women on a Democratic ticket would win against a wealthy white man who claims to have a conservative ideology?

The idea of being a Liberal is a stance on being open to change and progression, being able to embrace ambiguity, while excepting new ideals and concepts.

Liberal policies generally highlight the need for the government to step in and often solve some of our biggest issues to ultimately get rid of society’s problems while ensuring equality for all people; this most often aligns with views Democratic voters.

This sounds attainable right?

Well what is our America today without opposition, and the opposition to Liberal America is indeed Conservative America, where the stance is on upholding America’s core values, traditions, and emphasizing on the need for the government to protect the freedoms that allow us to solve our own problems.

This more often than not aligns with the views of Republican voters.

READ MORE: “I had to lock my door at night to prevent him from breaking in and raping me…This is the sort of thing I have done for science.”

If you look at America’s history there has always been more red states then there are blue states, and their equivalents even before political parties were created.

America has historically been a conservative country.

The ideologies and foundations of America have always been to uphold tradition and to be cautious of change.

Change causes unpredictably and un-comfortableness, and just as “America runs on dunkin”,America thrives on being conformable.

When you are comfortable in situations there is less of a chance that conflict will arise, and when conflict does arise, it is usually because someone is calling for progression, change, or something new.

If this were not the case, we would not have such turmoil when passing laws state by state as oppose to nation wide.

READ MORE: Milo Isn’t Going Away

Why would we need check and balances if everyone had the same ideologies and concerns for those around them?

So Democrats, it may not be ok that we have lost the country for the next four years, and the progression and positive change that America was moving towards despite little glimmers of historical repetition may indeed be undone, but although we are sad, we should not be surprised because we must never forget that is extremely hard for Democrats to win elections, you do not even need various electoral maps to know that in this past election alone there were only five Democratic candidates whereas there were seventeen Republican presidential candidates.

We must not be so hard on ourselves for not allowing giant leaps of history to take place made possible by a Democratic female taking the cake, because America has always been a Conservative country and the majority vote likes to be comfortable.

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

Cover Photo Credit: Just some dust/ Flickr (CC By 2.0)

Japan Seems Ready To Do Anything In Order To Strengthen Ties With The US

The Trans-Pacific Partnership was bashed in the 2016 elections by both Democrats and Republicans.

It was portrayed in the campaign as another “bad” trade deal that would cost our country decent jobs and lower wages.

It was no surprise when President Donald Trump pulled the U.S. out of the TPP in his fourth day of office and suggested focusing on more bilateral trade agreements.

Whether or not Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe tried to convince Trump in November to stay in the TPP during their first meeting, it is apparent he has changed his tune now.

Abe seemed optimistic about replacing the TPP with investments from Japan in America’s infrastructure, suggesting a railway that uses their high-speed technology and increased bilateral trade during a trip to the US.

Sounds too good to be true?

The Japanese government has already invested two million in a maglev line project that would connect Baltimore, Maryland to Washington and expects the forty-mile line to open in a decade at an estimated cost of ten billion, with them covering much of the cost.

Many young Americans may be unfamiliar with this meeting, but as our generation starts to shape the public opinion of the time, it is critical that attention is paid to East Asia, as well as other parts of the world.

A 2015 survey by Pew Research Center found that seventy-three percent of Americans had never heard of the Japanese Prime Minister, who has served since 2012.

I asked Dr. William Boettcher in the Political Science Department at North Carolina State University why our relationship to Japan should matter to the incoming generation.

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe meeting with American Defense Secretary Jim Mattis. Photo Credit: Jim Mattis/ Flickr (CC By 2.0)

“Japan is the chief U.S. ally in East Asia (with South Korea a close second) and is a key contributor to stability in this very important region,” Boettcher told me. “Japan hosts significant deployments of American troops and is also our fourth-largest trading partner.”

While future relations seem unclear and the two countries have had a rocky history, for the past seventy-some years the relationship has been deeply rooted in mutual trust.

This trust has its beginnings in the U.S.-Japan Treaty of Mutual Cooperation and Security, signed in 1960.

The treaty has been strengthened over time with the US Japan Economic Harmonization Initiative in November of 2010 and the release of the revised U.S.-Japan Defense Guidelines in 2015.

According to the State Department, the latter allowed for expanded forms of security-oriented cooperation, which brings us to the uniqueness of our relationship with Japan.

Due to Article Nine of the Japanese Constitution, the county cannot enter into war and can only use their forces in matters of self-defense.

As Japan’s only treaty partner, we are committed to protecting it with the presence of our forces.

The 2016 Index of Military Strength stated that we currently maintain “38,000 military personnel and another 5,000 Department of Defense civilian employees in Japan under the rubric of U.S. Forces Japan (USFJ).”

Japan offsets some of the cost by providing around two billion annually, but they have been pressured in recent years to provide more and increase their own military.

This was especially expressed by Trump during his campaign as he espoused that our allies must give a little more for relationships to continue.

Photo Credit: Flickr (CC By 2.0)

Japan has loosened some of their restrictions on defense and arms sales in recent years, and they can do more.

The reason a strengthened relationship with the U.S. is so important: China and North Korea.

While President Obama practiced “strategic patience” with North Korea, the rogue regime practiced more missile tests and failed to return to any negotiations.

The long term goal of rejoining families and reinstituting democracy in the North will be a long way off if it is continued to be put on the back burner for issues in the Middle East (an important lesson for President Trump).

Read More: Why This Vietnamese Student Studying In The US Still Loves America Despite Trump’s Hate.

Both the United States and South Korea support the policy of reunification, but a policy of constructive engagement from the U.S. may prove to be more effective.

Japan’s formidable neighbor, China, has not been sanctioned for facilitating North Korean prohibited behavior and does not seem to share concern for the safety of our allies in East Asia.

To move toward the reunification of Korea, it stands to reason that our presence in East Asia should not be depleted, but enlarged.

How does this support President Trump’s claims that our allies need to do more?

Japan can do more and it appears that now that they have been pressured, Prime Minister Abe is rising to the occasion.

The first foreign leader to jump on a plane and meet with our new president, this is a man who is interested in not only dinner, but chocolate and roses too.

Japan has asserted its dominance in East Asia in recent years, meaning it has a dog in the fight.

In 2010 China challenged Japan over the Senkaku/Diaoyu Islands in the East China Sea, and the Obama Administration responded by saying that the islands were protected under the security treaty between the United States and Japan.

Then the Japanese central government furthered tensions with China by purchasing three new islands in 2012.

While we must uphold our end of the security treaty, in the coming years Japan must strengthen the Japanese Coast Guard, increase defense expenditures so as to strengthen the Self-Defense Forces, reinforce the National Security Council, and alter its interpretation of the right to collective self-defense.

The Economist maintains that some of the money to improve American infrastructure can come from Japan’s $1.2 trillion public-pension fund, the world’s largest, so perhaps this can also support their own needs to improve and expand defense.

We can increase our militaristic and economic ties with Japan as long as they are willing to do the same.

While in the past public opposition to altering the Japanese constitution would have made it difficult, the increasing buildup of the Chinese military and Japan’s desire to work with the U.S. has changed the public’s outlook.

These short-term changes are now possible to work toward our common long-term goals of standing up to North Korea and China.

It looks like this alliance might make for a sweet relationship after all.

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

Cover Photo Credit: Flickr (CC By 2.0)

Political Correctness Could Be Making Millennials More Conservative Than They Want To Be

On the Jan. 27 episode of HBO’s Real Time with Bill Maher, the eponymous host burst into a montage of situations where celebrities were forced to apologize for comments and actions which were viewed as being culturally insensitive.

He began by saying, “Republicans apologize for nothing, Democrats for everything. Can’t we find a balance?”.

Maher is absolutely right.

Political correctness has gone awry in America.

What was once believed to be an instrument to bring us all together, to blanket our society in expressions that brought the marginalized into the fold has only deepened the divide among liberals and conservatives.

It is also apparent that the 2016 election was the battlefield on which this separation raged on.

The main problem is the restriction on language that follows the insistence on political correctness, and college campuses have become its overwhelming stomping ground.

Political correctness places rules and procedures on the way we communicate, which is only to lead to a skewed and incomplete form of dialogue.

Currently, there are things that you can say, and things that you can’t.

Unfortunately, the things you can’t say haven’t been deemed incomprehensible through debate.

No, they have been shut out completely in an attempt to eradicate them forever.

Instead of having individuals discuss opposing opinions, one view tends to be accepted as fact and the other is pushed underground because the surface is now inhospitable to a civil disagreement.

If some views are incomprehensible, shouldn’t it be simple to defeat it in debate?

If so, why the need to stop the conversation instead of using it to prove the point?

We all know what some of these disavowed ideas are.

Have a not-so-liberal opinion on the transgender bathroom issue?

You’re transphobic.

Want a tightened immigration system?

Don’t talk to me you xenophobe.

Are you a big believer in capitalism?

It sucks that you hate working class people.

It’s a perfectly democratic notion to disagree with someone on political issues because the very nature of these questions show a lack of consensus.

Their elimination from civil discourse is tyrannical.

These responses, or ones with similar sentiments, have succeeded on campuses for a number of years.

However, I believe it has come back to haunt the liberal cause.

These politically correct attitudes have backed people into a corner and micromanaged them into submission.

This leaves them no political escape other than doing exactly what they were told not to do.

Photo Credit: Pug50/ Flickr (CC By 2.0)

We have all done things simply because we were warned against them and, at times, we have all wanted to be the person that is completely rebellious to a status quo we don’t like.

We listen to music that asserts no remorse for their honest lyrics, we watch movies in which recalcitrant characters are respected, and we look up to individuals who never change their resistance even with the strongest of winds in their face.

Yet, you may not express a politically incorrect opinion because you were told not to.

It’s quite obvious why our generation is splitting at the seams.

I can’t even count the amount of people I know that have rejected many a liberal cause not because they disagree with it, but because the way they felt forced into the belief.

Political correctness has stripped the human element from conversation.

Our conversations have become robotic, mechanical, hierarchical, something relegated to you at the permission of someone else.

People do not give their honest opinion because we have branded those that disagree with us as bigots, or ideologues, or fascists, or mentally ill.

This is where the difference Maher referred to becomes relevant. The two major parties differ on this topic in vast ways.

Donald Trump, whether you love him or think of him as an evil ruler, is clearly the antithesis to a politically correct way of speaking.

Other Republicans aren’t very cozy with it either.

To many average college students, the Democrats demand an apology before they seek safety for your family, a truthful media, or accountable governance.

To a rather aloof millennial, they very well may see Democrats as the party of political correctness.

Some of these young people found solace in a candidate like Trump. Not because they like him or his policies or what he speaks of, but because they saw the majority of elected Democrats and those running for office as the enforcers of this PC mindset they are disgusted by. A mindset that is omnipresent and affects them on a daily basis.

This drug was initially meant to numb the pain of the oppressed, which is an effort worth respect.

Unfortunately, it has done serious damage to the language we use to express ourselves.

Language is the waterway on which humans explore the unknown; it’s the mechanism from which society breathes.

The greatest conversations about life, religion, politics and love occur when, in that moment, our words have no filter.

It’s just your free flowing thoughts and emotion that unleash the truth.

People love Quentin Tarantino’s “Pulp Fiction” because it’s raw and unflinching.

We read Wilfred Owen’s “Dulce et Decorum est” because it is bold and shakes us to the core.

Honestly, how can you describe the horrors of the First World War while using a filter? You can’t.

The truth is ugly.

It stings, it’s chaotic, and at times makes us writhe.

But we won’t solve anything if we refuse to listen to other arguments.

It is how we find the truth.

Without it, who knows where it will lead.

For the time being, this is an issue met with warm applause and visceral condemnation, sending many into the ballot box aiming to remove it from their lives entirely.

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

Cover Photo Credit: Nicolas Raymond/Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

In Canada, Trudeau Is Meeting Fear With Progressive Strength

In the wake of Donald Trump’s election as President of the land of the theoretically ‘free’, and home of the allegedly ‘brave’, a series of hate crimes broke out throughout the United States.

Young children exposed to hate speech at home, began imitating it in elementary schools throughout the country, bullying children whose skin tones were different from theirs, and insisting that they “go home”.

Any naïve hopes that Trump would change his ways once elected—that a year of bigotry, misogyny, and explicit racist behaviour would change once he became president—came crashing down with the White House’s announcement that Muslims from seven nations would be banned from entering the United States.

The slamming of the door to innocent Muslims created a gust of wind so strong, that it made its way up to Quebec where once again, we saw that hate inspires hate.

Canada, which has experienced very few acts of terror on its home soil, was faced with a devastating one last month.

A young, Trump and Le Pen supporting, Quebecois male decided to open fire on a room filled of innocent Canadians.

While no borders were closed in Canada—no bans were mindlessly ordered—the feelings of exclusion, hatred, and division were undoubtedly felt by Canadian and American Muslims alike.

It was with great pride and relief to watch Canadian Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, say in the aftermath of the attack “this was a group of innocents targeted for practicing their faith. Make no mistakes, this was a terrorist act.”

Too long, have acts of violence perpetrated by Muslim individuals been distinctively classified as ‘terrorist acts’.

Justin Trudeau at a 2013 event. Photo Credit: John McCallum/ Flickr (CC By 2.0)

But what precisely, distinguishes an act of violence committed by a Muslim individual versus one perpetrated by a non-Muslim individual?

Read More: Rory, Obama, And Me

Why are certain individuals’ acts of violence categorically different?

If every shooting in the US got the same press coverage as a ‘terrorist’ attack—if every white-skinned American murderer was labelled a terrorist—islamophobia may not have seeped its way into the homes of millions of American and Canadians; Racism may not have been so rampantly contagious.

Trudeau stayed quiet after the election of Donald Trump.

But since his inauguration, Trudeau has been subtly standing up to our southern bully by supporting Women March protestors, demanding that FOX NEWS rectify false information victimizing Muslims, and by reminding Trump in his speech last week, that violence against minorities is an act of terrorism.

Justin Trudeau is stuck between a rock and a hard place.

As a self-proclaimed feminist, whose socially liberal ideals have defined his leadership, he is faced with the difficult task of navigating relations with a racist President who stands for everything Trudeau ideologically condemns.

Meanwhile, healthy relations with the United States is pivotal for a stable Canadian economy.

Trudeau is faced with a difficult task.

Photo Credit: trumpvstrudeau/ Flickr (CC By 2.0)

Either he stays quiet, embodying the Canadian stereotype of being polite to a fault or he takes a far scarier path, and refuses to surrender in the face of hatred.

Read More: Here’s How Trump’s Gaslighting Reminds Me A Lot Of My Abusive Ex

Although his future actions are unknown, perhaps Trudeau has already unveiled his plan for the next four years.

Last week he said simply, “we will not meet violence with more violence. We will meet fear and hatred with love and compassion, always.”

Maybe hate—which divides and alienates—can be overcome when met with love and compassion, which unifies.

Perhaps Canadian values of politeness & kindness are not so impotent after all.

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

Cover Photo Credit: John McCallum/ Flickr (CC By 2.0)

This 700 Year Old Gargoyle Looks Just Like Donald Trump

This 700 year old gargoyle carved into Southwell Minster Cathedral in Nottinghamshire, UK looks just like the most powerful person in the free world.


The picture started circulating on social media in August when a reporter for the BBC shared it.

So what do you think?

Could Donald Trump be immortal or is this a sign of the end of times? (Of course it could just be a coincidence, but that isn’t that fun is it?)

HT/ The Independent

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

Here’s How Trump’s Gaslighting Reminds Me A Lot Of My Abusive Ex

Originally published on Everyday Feminism.

This election was triggering for a lot of abuse survivors. Calls to RAINN’s sexual assault hotlinesurged after Trump’s Access Hollywood tape leaked, and many have pointed out that he used verbally abusive tactics in the debates.

As a survivor of emotional abuse, one tactic of Trump’s in particular reminded me of my manipulative ex partner: gaslighting. This is when someone tells you that your thoughts aren’t based in reality, to the point that you start to distrust your perceptions.

In my case, when I tried to discuss my partner’s habit of borrowing money from me and not giving it back, he’d tell me I was being too negative. When I got upset with him, he told me that life was too short to get angry. If I felt hurt by a word he used, he’d say that nobody can “make” you feel anything without your consent, so it was my problem.

This led me to feel that I was too unreasonable to trust my feelings. I internalized his arguments and believed that if I was unhappy about anything he’d done, I just needed to put it out of my mind because life was too short, nobody can make you feel anything, and it was all my fault anyway.

Since I’ve learned about gaslighting, I’ve understood that all the things my partner blamed on me weren’t actually my fault. Looking at Trump’s words can also help us understand our own relationships, as well as the ways gaslighting can shape our political climate.

While people in relationships may gaslight to discredit and manipulate their partners, Trump does it to discredit his critics and manipulate public opinion.

Here are some phrases he’s used that either were used by my abusive partner or remind me of him – because they’re clear examples of gaslighting.

1. ‘I Never Said I’m a Perfect Person’

After Trump was caught on tape saying that if you’re famous, you can just do whatever you want with women, including “grabbing them” by their genitals as your heart desires, he released a video attempting to mitigate the seriousness of his comments.

“I’ve never said I’m a perfect person, nor pretended to be someone that I’m not,” he said.

My ex has told me something similar: “Nobody’s perfect. What do you expect?”

If anybody ever responds to your concerns about them by saying that they never claimed to be perfect or that nobody’s perfect, be very, very skeptical.

If “I’m not perfect” were a real defense against criticism, nobody would ever be justified in criticizing anyone’s behavior. But obviously, things don’t work that way. If they did, people could just avert jail time by pleading imperfection.

The “nobody’s perfect” defense isn’t just irrational, though; it’s also malicious. Its goal is to imply that by criticizing someone, you’re being so demanding and unreasonable that you expect perfection, and that if you truly understood that humans are flawed, you would’ve kept your mouth shut.

Photo Credit: Oli Goldsmith/ Flickr (CC By 2.0)

Photo Credit: Oli Goldsmith/ Flickr (CC By 2.0)

Of course, people’s issue with Trump isn’t that he’s imperfect; it’s that he’s promoted misogyny, racism, ableism, and a whole lot of other negativity and oppression.

By reducing all these nuanced problems to mere imperfection, he’s distracting people from the real issues and painting people as overly critical if they want to talk about them.

Similarly, if your partner is toxic or abusive, you deserve to be treated better – and that’s not an unreasonable request at all. Asking for better isn’t asking for perfection.

2. ‘This Is Nothing More Than a Distraction From the Important Issues We’re Facing Today’

Trump also said this in the “apology” video regarding his Access Hollywood tape.

Similarly, he said in the second presidential debate that we need to forget about the tape so that “we can get onto much more important things and much bigger things,” like defeating ISIS.

He also tweeted, “I’m not proud of my locker room talk. But this world has serious problems.”

As if sexual assault weren’t serious or important.

These comments aim to convey to Trump’s critics that they’re blowing something out of proportion.

This type of gaslighting comes up a lot in conversations about social justice: “How could you talk about eating disorders when some people can’t even afford food?” “Who cares if queer people can get married when in some places, they’re killed?”

It also came up in my own relationship.

If I was angry with my significant other, he implied I was being myopic for focusing on supposedly small issues. He invoked lofty notions of love and forgiveness for the same reason Trump invoked ISIS: to illustrate the necessity of looking past the problem for a worthier cause.

Beware people who tell you your problems are small. They don’t get to singlehandedly decide what’s important. And if they claim to be the authorities on the topic, it’s often to serve themselves.

More often than not, the “small” problems are the ones they’ve contributed to – and the “small” problems can add up to something much bigger.

This type of gaslighting functions to dismiss people’s very real problems on the grounds that they’re not serious enough. And when it’s used as self-defense, it has another insidious effect: It makes the person who brings up the issue look petty.

When Trump said we need to focus on more important things, he was trying to dismiss people concerned about sexual harassment and assault – many of them survivors themselves – as uncaring, self-centered people who just can’t see the big picture.

That not only detracts from the real problem, but also penalizes people for speaking out about injustice.

3. ‘This Was Locker Room Banter’

Dismissing something that hurt another person as a joke or otherwise not serious is textbook gaslighting.

And it showed up when Trump called his Access Hollywood comments “locker room banter” ina statement following their release. He also referred to it as “locker room talk” in the debate.

This defense only worked because “locker room talk” serves a very specific function in our society. Without the connotation of “not serious” or “not a problem,” it wouldn’t even be a defense. It would just mean something unacceptable that’s said in a locker room.

But in our culture, we have phrases designated for the purpose of gaslighting – specifically for men to gaslight women. “Locker room talk” is one. “Boys will be boys” is another.

Both imply that certain misogynistic behaviors are forgivable and even inevitable, so if we take issue with them, we’re just being too demanding.

We’re essentially being told that we’re asking for too much when we say that sexual assault and entitlement should not be acceptable casual conversation.

My ex-partner didn’t use these phrases, but he did, for example, defend using the word “silly” to describe an observation of mine, arguing that “silly” isn’t a serious or hurtful word.

This language serves the same purpose: invalidation and belittling, by claiming someone else’s concerns aren’t serious – which is a huge component of gaslighting.

4. ‘She’s Playing That Woman’s Card’

Trump accused Clinton multiple times of “playing the women’s card on me,” or, alternately, “playing that woman’s card left and right.”

Accusing someone of playing a card, like the “woman card” or the “race card,” is also an example of gaslighting because it implies that someone’s trying to find a problem because the problem they’re seeing isn’t real.

In Trump’s view, if Hillary Clinton tried to talk about gender, she was just doing it because she wanted to win the election – as if being a woman or speaking out about sexism gave you an advantage.

Similarly, I and many other feminists have been accused of discussing the struggles marginalized people face just so that people will feel bad for us and we’ll gain special treatment.

It wasn’t always in these words with my ex-partner, but I knew what he was getting at. Once, when I pointed out a nudity double standard in a movie, he said I may be interpreting it as sexist because I thought about sexism a lot.

Another partner told me to stop “playing the woman card” after I suggested a hiring decision at his friend’s company could’ve been influenced by sexism.

Both of these instances made me feel like I had to stay silent if I ever had an opinion related to gender again – even if it was my own lived experience.

Once again, this form of gaslighting is more than a defense. The person using it is also on the offense, attacking the other person for supposedly making up injustice for personal gain.

Whether it’s used in politics or in the context of a relationship, “woman card” accuses the other person of being not only wrong, but also dishonest and opportunistic.

5. ‘I Think It’s Pure Political Correctness’

One gaslighting technique used by many politicians and everyday people discussing politics is accusing people of trying to limit free speech through political correctness.

Trump called putting Harriet Tubman on the twenty-follar bill and moving Andrew Jackson to the back “pure political correctness.” His former campaign manager said it was “political correctness run amok” when people criticized an anti-Semitic tweet by Trump.

“We can’t afford to be politically correct anymore,” Trump said in a statement to defend his view of Muslims as terrorists.

When equality and justice become mere “political correctness” and political correctness is portrayed as a threat to free speech, every social movement becomes subject to attack.

And that’s what makes Trump so popular. His supporters have been dying for an outlet for their hateful opinions. They’re sick of being politically correct – so much so that he’s been elected into office.

By deeming efforts to not be oppressive mere “political correctness,” Trump gives people permission to let out all the thoughts they’ve felt pressured to suppress. He’s brought sexism, racism, and classism back in style.

In reality, “political correctness” is just being considerate. And telling people not to be hateful isn’t limiting their free speech. They can still legally say what they want.

Gaslighters like Trump are themselves trying to silence people by painting their standards as unreasonable and oppressive.

That’s the effect my ex had on me. He often accused me of trying to be the PC police if I pointed out a gender stereotype or racist joke he made. I started to feel ashamed and think that maybe I was just being a killjoy.

Trump wants people who care about social justice to feel like killjoys who are just out to rain on everyone’s parade – rather than people with legitimate concerns.


Gaslighting can happen on both macro and micro levels and takes many forms. But its message usually boils down to this: “If you have a problem with something I’ve done, the problem is actually with you.”

The same way this reasoning teaches people to suck it up when their partners hurt them, it teaches them to stay silent about injustice.

If they speak up, they fear they’ll be accused of expecting perfection, ignoring important issues, being unable to take a joke, playing a card, or limiting free speech.

It’s this kind of intimidation that actually does all these things. Trump criticizes people unfairly, discourages them from discussing issues that are in fact important, expresses extreme defensiveness, takes advantage of his privilege, and suppresses people’s opinions.

And no matter what he’d have us believe, we’re not irrational for observing this.

Trump has put gaslighting on a very public stage. Perhaps recognizing this abuse tactic in this context will help more people build the tools to recognize when it’s happening on a personal level, too.

Suzannah Weiss is a Contributing Writer for Everyday Feminism. She is a New York-based writer whose work has appeared in The Washington Post, Salon, Seventeen, Buzzfeed, The Huffington Post, Bustle, and more. She holds degrees in Gender and Sexuality Studies, Modern Culture and Media, and Cognitive Neuroscience from Brown University. You can follow her on Twitter @suzannahweiss.

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

Cover Photo Credit: Kanesue/ Flickr (CC By 2.0)

Here’s What President Obama Told His Daughters After Trump Won

The election of Donald Trump has been tough for millions of Americans.

But it has been especially difficult for parents of girls.

The President-elect has a checkered history (to be mild) regarding women and his lack of respect for them.

Many have tried to figure out what to say to their young daughters.

It should come as no surprise that President Obama has had similar thoughts as those parents and has come up with a pretty good answer, at least for his two daughters.

In an interview with the New Yorker, Obama recalled what he told Sasha and Malia:

“What I say to them is that people are complicated,” Obama told me. “Societies and cultures are really complicated … This is not mathematics; this is biology and chemistry. These are living organisms, and it’s messy. And your job as a citizen and as a decent human being is to constantly affirm and lift up and fight for treating people with kindness and respect and understanding. And you should anticipate that at any given moment there’s going to be flare-ups of bigotry that you may have to confront, or may be inside you and you have to vanquish. And it doesn’t stop … You don’t get into a fetal position about it. You don’t start worrying about apocalypse. You say, O.K., where are the places where I can push to keep it moving forward.”

Man, he always knows the right thing to say.

We are going to miss him.

Watch A Young Barack Obama Rise In The New Trailer For Netflix Movie

H/T: New York Magazine 

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

Tila Tequila Is A Desperate Little Nazi

Another day, another desperate celebrity trying to bring attention to themselves and revive their 15 minutes of fame.

Tila Tequila, who became famous back when MySpace was still a thing and we had a Bush in office, has upped the crazy meter on her antics to DEFCON One.

Read More: Tila Tequila Is Apparently A Nazi Now

In case you have either stopped listening to the news altogether since the November 8th Presidential Election, or you choose to ignore the growing white nationalist pride and racist rhetoric being spewed in this country, Ms. Tequila has decided that she wants to throw her hat in the race for craziest racist and modern day Nazi sympathizer.

Here is my problem with Tila Tequila.

She is a Vietnamese American sexually fluid woman who is named after a Mexican liquor who would have been exactly what Hitler would have tried to rid during his time in power.

She is everything white Nationalists want to get rid of. As much as she provides an outlet to spread the racist and vitriolic message that is promoted by the Nation Policy Institute, it also makes for strange bedfellows.


In an article in 2013 from Tablet Mag, they chronicle her journey from Jewish convert to her path to posing as “sexy Hitler” and openly and honestly explaining why she sympathizes with the man who proudly brought upon the deaths of over 12 million people who were deemed a problem and were not part of his perfect race.

Tila Tequila is not a credible person.

Having been a fan of Tila Tequila’s scandalous bi-sexual dating show “A Shot at Love with Tila Tequila” I can’t quite fathom how she went from being someone who was representing the LGBT community to turning around and supporting an ideology that wants to see the end of those who brought her credibility.

Her brand is extremely tarnished and now she will continue to spew whatever comes out of her very fragile, damaged brain in an attempt to bring further relevance to herself, without thinking about the long term repercussions.

Unfortunately in 2016, it is no longer about your message having meaning, it is only about the message you are putting out.

While Tila Tequila has had a rough go of her life since she hit peak fame during the course of her show, she does not have much to show for herself since. Her failed relationship and then death of her girlfriend Casey Johnson, her very public and nasty abuse lawsuit against former NFL football player Shawn Merriman, her attempted suicide and subsequent rehab stint, her numerous outlandish and offensive remarks about the Jewish people all paint the picture of a woman who is not mentally stable.

As a Jewish-American, I am of course baffled by the idea that white nationalist pride and the growing Nazi sentiment are becoming prevalent in 2016, but I am also baffled at people who are part of the “minority” lying in bed with the people who view them as lesser human beings.

Even though I am still a white male in today’s society, I also understand the struggles of those who are not as privileged as I am because of the horrific history of my ancestors, those who had to suffer so future Jewish individuals could live a better life than they did.

The growing anti-Semitism and white Nationalist pride and assault on free speech by those on the extreme right are damaging the reputation of this country, and the true reason for the founding of the original colonies here in North America.

Our settlers were looking to escape persecution and no longer live in fear because of their beliefs.

Now we have celebrities like Tila Tequila (and using the phrase celebrity is being extremely generous) being used by the very individuals who they support, especially if what is being supported is not well received or downright inhumane.

Read More: Watch A Young Barack Obama Rise In The New Trailer For Netflix Movie

America was, has been and will always be great, so if anything, we need to make America respectful again.

We need to make America tolerant again. We need to stop breeding hate and we need to be willing to turn away notions of racism, of sexism, of misogyny, of anti-Semitism, of xenophobia, fear of anything that is not homogenous with the dominant white patriarchy that has run this country for 240 years.

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

Alabama GOP Leaders Must Reap What They Sow With Trump’s Downfall

By Everett Secor

I’m not mad at Trump.

Sure, the things he’s revealed to have said during a 2005 taping of Access Hollywood are beyond repugnant. More than the blatant objectification of women, they describe harassment and sexual assault with a sense of pride and bravado.

But it feels a little silly to feel sudden anger towards someone for once again genuinely displaying who we already knew they are.

Trump’s history of misogyny steeped in sexual objectification, body shaming, and toxic masculinity is well documented.

We have several decades of sexual harassment, vulgar language about women, incestuous remarks about his own daughter, and even rape allegations to show for it.

The recent revelation of how he described Miss Universe winner Alicia Machado as “Miss Piggy” and an “eating machine”, forcing her to embarrassingly exercise in front of a horde of news crews, resulted in his bizarre response of feigning disgust at her involvement in a non-existent sex tape to discredit her.

This comes from a man who has proudly been featured giving intros in multiple exploitive Playboy films.

We all knew who he was.

Which is why, when the recordings were released two weeks ago, my shock was not at all at their content, but at the reaction to them.

What I saw as run-of-the-mill behavior for this man was finally drawing harsh rebuke from his political supporters.

Multiple Republican politicians who have either endorsed Trump, or stated they’re voting for him, have since withdrawn their support.

Read More: Tuscaloosa Isn’t Such A Good Place For The LGBT Community According To HRC

Speaker of the House Paul Ryan disinvited Trump from a speaking engagement in Wisconsin.

Trump’s running mate, Mike Pence said, “I do not condone his remarks and cannot defend them.”

None of these objections were more shocking than when they came from one of the most steadfast strongholds of republican power: Alabama.

If there’s a place that will bend before it breaks blue, it’s the land that proudly pronounces “we dare defend our rights.”

And yet, United States Representatives Martha Roby, R-Montgomery, and Bradley Byrne, R-Mobile, both made announcements denouncing Trump.

They were joined by none other than Robert Bentley, Alabama’s own sex-scandal plagued governor who was elected twice in landslide elections on sentiments of Christian family values and integrity and is now facing impeachment.

Even, Alabama’s #1 online media site and the state wide web presence of the Birmingham News offered up their endorsement to Clinton.

Alabamians are no strangers to making excuses and seeking reconciliation for impropriety, but it seemed this time, Trump’s actions were beyond absolution.

Representative Martha Roby (R-AL) did the right thing by withdrawing her support for Trump. Photo Credit: (S.K. Vemmer/Department of State)

Representative Martha Roby (R-AL) did the right thing by withdrawing her support for Trump. Photo Credit: (S.K. Vemmer/Department of State)

At least for some.

Rather than rebuke Trump, unendorse him, renounce his words, denounce his behavior, or share any sentiment that women should be treated better than this, Alabama Senator Jeff Sessions decided the best response to Trump’s comments that his power and influence allowed him to grope women without consequence was to say “I don’t characterize that as sexual assault.”

As one of Trump’s most vocal supporters who reportedly helped him prep for the second Presidential debate, it seems Sessions has strapped himself to the Trump Rocket and is prepared to go wherever it takes him.

But as this shock wave of disgust spreads through the rest of the GOP, the question is:

Why now?

Why, after all Trump has said about women, are they suddenly surprised and offended?

Even outside the realm of misogyny, why did his disparaging marks about Latinos, Muslims, and African Americans not disqualify him from being the party’s standard bearer long ago?

That he has consistently been giving the benefit of the doubt again and again, to the extent that his VP pick just flatly denies his words ever happened, proves how acceptable these attitudes are to the Republican party until they’re staring the worst manifestation of them squarely in the face.

Read More: Jeff Sessions Says That Trump “Grab Them By The P—y” Video Comments Not Sexual Assault

Take out the private microphone conversation on the bus in the leaked tape.

Watch only the video of Donald Trump and self described “apolitical” Presidential nephew/cousin and Ryan Lochte apologist Billy Bush walking with Arianne Zucker onto the set of Days of Our Lives.

Their immediate focus on her physical appearance and jockeying for opportunities for her embrace is a pathetic and disgusting spectacle on its own.

But without the preceding conversation on the bus, this tape wouldn’t raise an eyebrow among Trump’s prior supporters.

The fact is that this treatment of women as an inferior gender whose primary purpose is to serve the sexual appetites of men is central tenant to the Alabama Republican party.

Senator Jeff Session continues to be a strong Trump supporter. Photo Credit: Ryan J. Reilly/ Flickr (CC By 2.0)

Senator Jeff Session continues to be a strong Trump supporter. Photo Credit: Ryan J. Reilly/ Flickr (CC By 2.0)

Beyond the typical hyper-masculine attitude associated with American conservatism, the religious right’s war on sexual education has done nothing but perpetuate these attitudes in the name of “family values”.

The sort of abstinence-only sex education taught in Alabama refuses to teach our kids about the nature of consent, instead treating sex like a shameful act in which young women, trained frequently on how to say no, are the responsible gatekeepers while young men, rarely taught how to take no for an answer, are the hapless victims of their own hormonal urges.

This stigma is strong enough to drive young female victims of sexual assault to stay silent about their experiences, driven by a sense of shame and diminished self worth.

The state’s flagship college, The University of Alabama, is not immune from the sexual assault epidemic plaguing American universities, and recently announced the number of reported sexual assaults more than doubled from 2014 to 2015.

While an increase in reports could be indicative of better support programs to shed light on sexual assault rather than an increase in incidents, the school still has a long way to go.

Last month, Rebecca Walden, a woman who attended a UA football game, published a piece in the Huffington Post telling “young ladies of the SEC, cover it up!”.

She claimed female Alabama students they looked like they were at a “Victoria’s Secret fashion show” and that any sense of class they had was rendered “tasteless” by their attire.

Huffington Post has since deleted the controversial article, but not before RISE NEWS captured her indignant slut shaming that perpetuates the idea that women are not allowed to make decisions about their own sexuality.

There was no word from Ms. Walden what she thought about the young men who proudly go shirtless every game with letters painted on their chest.

WATCH: What Real “Ladies Of The SEC” Have To Say About That Slut Shaming HuffPost Piece

“Boys will be boys” should just be a permanent item on the RNC Platform.

In fact, that’s essentially Donald Trump’s response in 2013 when facing the staggering rate of sexual assaults that occur in the US Military:

“26,000 unreported sexual assaults in the military-only 238 convictions. What did these geniuses expect when they put men & women together?”

Men are left largely unaccountable for toxic behavior and women are left to deal with the consequences.

The statehouse in Montgomery, AL. Photo Credit: David Brossard/ Flickr (CC By 2.0)

The statehouse in Montgomery, AL. Photo Credit: David Brossard/ Flickr (CC By 2.0)

Forty-three years after the passage of Roe V. Wade, Alabama still isn’t sold on the notion that women have autonomy over their own bodies.

The abortion battle rages on, with new legislation constructed every year finding loopholes in the decision to combat a woman’s right to chose whether she serves a purpose beyond procreation.

Trump’s past comments that women seek abortions should be punished drew some ire, but this isn’t a far cry from the already established stance of the GOP.

Many lawmakers even believe in preventing abortions in rape cases, attempting to give the sort of legislative legitimacy to sexual assault that most infamously resulted in former Congressman Todd Akin’s comments that “If it’s a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down.”

In Alabama, legislation signed this year blocks abortion clinics from being within 2,000 feet of public K-8 schools, or from performing a common method of second trimester abortions. While currently being considered by a federal judge who may block the statutes, the laws threaten the operation of the state’s four abortion clinics which serve over four million people.

This misogyny is present in stances all across the board of the Republican party:

Their anti-transgender laws, fueled by a notion that a transgendered woman who doesn’t fully conform to their notions of desired femininity doesn’t fulfill the value of a woman.
Their opposition to equal pay legislation.

Their opposition to paid maternity leave (something Trump is bizarrely progressive on by comparison.)

Their opposition to mandating employers allow contraception to be covered by health insurance.

Conservative have spent years decrying “political correctness”, but are now running for the hills when given an politically incorrect phrasing of their attitude towards women.

Make no mistake.

Sexual assault and mistreatment of women are by no means purely a conservative problem.

They exists in “progressive” realms of literature and academia.

Misogyny was seen too well by the often gendered vitriol thrown at Hillary Clinton and Debbie Wasserman Schultz by a certain sect of Bernie Sanders supporters during the Democratic primaries.

Heroes of the new atheist movement have expressed seriously disturbing attitudes towards women.

While it doesn’t serve as any sort of defense of Trump, try as me might to leverage it, former President Bill Clinton has his own troubling history with crass behavior and sexual assault allegations.

The Alabama GOP headquarters. Photo Credit: Dystopos/ Flickr (CC By 2.0)

The Alabama GOP headquarters. Photo Credit: Dystopos/ Flickr (CC By 2.0)

Additionally, conservatives certainly have their champions, too.

Governor Bentley’s deeply religious ex-wife, Dianne, endured her marriage well after clear evidence of infidelity by the governor to continue to push through her agenda giving stronger support to domestic violence victims in Alabama.

But despite the actions of these individuals, you’d be hard pressed to find an organization in America where misogyny such an unabashed, central theme as it is in the Republican party.

Barring the impossible, it seems Trump will lose in November. But that’s not enough to stem the right’s war on women, and all of those who have stood by him until now should not suddenly be able to jump ship without being taken down too.

Denouncing Trump is an absolute necessity, but it’s not enough to hide how they’ve enabled him until now, or to rescue the heart of dixie from its politicized misogyny.

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

Cover Photo Credit: Vicky van Santen/ Flickr (CC By 2.0)

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