American infanticide: the final solution 2.0

     What would you consider to be the greatest tragedy in living memory? You might say the attacks on Sept. 11. Perhaps you’d say the crisis in Flint, MI., where thousands of people are without clean drinking water. Most would agree that this too is a great misfortune.

     If you were to survey any number of people and ask them this same question, I would wager the majority would name the Holocaust as the single worst, most horrific disaster in living—if not recorded—history.

      Yes, I would agree that the ethnic cleansing of what Nazi Germany considered “undesirables” to be an atrocity, unlike anything the world had seen prior. However, when discussing disaster and tragedy, we must decide how to measure such events: how to rank them.

      Many different criteria may be used but for the sake of this discussion, I will focus on the numbers. In terms of numbers, there is only one event that stands above the rest. It is responsible for the death of millions of innocent people. It is an American Holocaust.

      Since 1973 with the passing of Roe v. Wade by the Supreme Court, 60 million children have been murdered in the name of “reproductive freedom.” Compared to abortion in America, Hitler’s “final solution” pales.

     There is no definite figure on the lives lost to Nazi genocide, but most agree there were no less than six million Jews killed due to racial bigotry. A rough estimate could be around seven or eight million people in total. Eight million compared to 60 million.

     At least with the Holocaust, we can find comfort in the fact that it ended over 70 years ago. No more people will suffer at the hand of Hitler and his Reich. But we cannot say the same for the issue of abortion. In America, we allow and fund the murder of millions of innocent children, over 630,000 in 2015 alone.

     Humans have been killing each other since the beginning of time. In each case, we have always justified our actions by saying a victim is simply “not a person.” Sound familiar?

     In the early days of America, slavery was condoned as an enslaved individual was considered property, “not a person.” How about the Holocaust? Germans felt justified in killing Jews because a Jewish individual was “not a person.” And now we find ourselves at a similar crossroads.

     When faced with the decision to kill or raise a child, we choose the former in the name of convenience because, after all, it’s only a fetus, a clump of cells, not a baby, “not a person.” No human has the right to define another’s worth.

     Just because we assign a certain person value, we deem to be less than a human does not deprive that person of his or her humanity. A person is a person despite their race, religion, creed, sexuality or their location in relation to the womb. America has found the “final solution” to the problem of personal responsibility.

     Some may argue “my body my choice.” This argument is invalid as the body growing inside the womb, which has its own DNA and a heartbeat 22 days after conception, is not your body. A person inside the womb is the same person it will be outside the womb.

    In America, we have always, albeit not always successfully, striving for equality and justice for all. We cannot claim to care about the lives and liberties of those we deem oppressed while we facilitate infanticide with tax dollars. In the words of the esteemed Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., “Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.” We must not fall silent about this.


Vic Mignogna and the crime of being too nice

     If you are a fan of video games or anime, chances are you may have encountered the name Vic Mignogna at one point or another. It’s no surprise, as he voiced the main character Edward Elric in the “Fullmetal Alchemist” series, and is currently voicing the character of Qrow Branwen in Rooster Teeth’s popular show “RWBY.” Or, he was until recently, when accusations of sexual assault, of both adults and minors, as well as accusations of homophobia, began to gain traction online. These accusations have lead to him being fired by both Rooster Teeth and Funimation and ridiculed online.

     Some of the accusations have ranged from him hugging fans or kissing them on the cheek without consent, to him groping fans, as well as being rude to staff and homophobic in general. But without evidence, all these accusations can be considered is hearsay, rumors, or in some cases, flat out lies.

     Probably the biggest factor in support of the groping and sexual assault accusations are countless pictures of Mignogna hugging fans of all ages, or sometimes giving them a kiss on the cheek.

     People have come out to say that they did not give consent to this, however, there’s no real way to know if this is true or not. Like many of the stories being spread about him, this all amounts to “He-said-she-said.” It is known that, in at least one instance, it was consensual, as the girl in a picture with Mignogna came forward to clarify that she did ask for the hug and kiss.   

     It’s possible that many more asked as well. Mignogna is a star who draws crowds of adoring fans wherever he goes and has been very supportive of his fans, many of whom have come out in support of him. What I see is a man who loves his fans, who is very physical, and made the mistake of letting himself get too familiar with his fans too easily.

     As Mignogna said in an emotional convention speech shortly after being fired, “Just because 1,000 people want a hug doesn’t mean everybody does. And I got really lazy. Over the years I got really lazy. And I got used to being the same person all the time.”

     But if pictures out of context weren’t bad enough, now there have been leaked screenshots of a Facebook group trying to Photoshop pictures of Mignogna hugging a fan to make it appear as though he was groping them, to the shock of other members. (It has since come out that one of the people in the group might be a fake account impersonating another.)

    Some have argued that they were trying to smear Mignogna, others say that they were trying to discredit his accusers. That doesn’t change the fact that there have been talks of falsifying evidence. But sure, people don’t ever lie about sexual assault, right? It’s not like Emmett Till or the Duke Lacrosse team ever happened, right?

     As for the allegations of homophobia, this stems from Mignogna refusing to sign gay fanart of characters or comments he’s made about the sexuality of characters in shows he has been a part of. At a deeper level, I think it has to do with the fact that Mignogna is an outspoken Christian, and there are some people who can’t stand that.

     I personally don’t care about where he stands on the issue, be it the old-fashioned belief that homosexuality is a sin or the belief that it’s fine. What I do care about are his actions, and him not wanting to sign homosexual fanart is not a crime. He doesn’t have to sign everything that’s put in front of him by fans, and you are not entitled to him doing so.

     “But, these allegations aren’t new! They’ve been made against him for years!” people have argued. Some of Mignogna’s fellow voice actors have come out now and said that he’s always been this way. And to that I say: no evidence means no evidence. If you didn’t have it five years ago and don’t have any now, then it still amounts to nothing but rumors and accusations. Also, to the voice actors and convention workers who have now come out and said he’s been this way for over a decade, why didn’t you do anything?

     If you thought him hugging and kissing fans of all ages was wrong, or thought he was assaulting fans, including minors, why didn’t you speak up? Why did you wait until it became the trendy thing to do to dogpile him? Why did you work with him and behave friendly with a man who you thought to be a predator for years, only to speak up when you knew it would get you a lot of likes and retweets?

     Also worthy of note is that this movement only began as the newest “Dragon Ball Super” film premiered in America, a highly anticipated film that did well in Japan, and features Mignogna voicing one of the main characters. The timing appears suspicious.

     Now in the spirit of fairness, there have been fans of Mignogna who have sent death threats towards some of Mignogna’s accusers. Mignogna has since come out to denounce these people on Twitter. So there are bad actors on both sides.

     Now, maybe Vic Mignogna has done some of the things he’s been accused of. It certainly wouldn’t be the first time a celebrity has been caught doing this sort of thing. But unlike people like Weinstein and Cosby, I see no evidence. If it ever does come out, then expect an opinion piece where I eat humble pie and admit I was wrong.

     But right now, all I see is a man whose only crime was being too nice without thinking first. So until this evidence comes out, I stand with Vic.


Is the 21 Savage situation funny or upsetting?

     On Sunday, Feb. 3, rapper 21 Savage was arrested by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) on charges of being in the U.S. illegally. According to ICE, he is a British citizen in the U.S. on a visa, which had expired. According to his attorneys, Savage (whose real name is Sha’yaa Bin Abraham-Joseph) had reapplied for a visa in 2017.

     In the wake of the arrest, memes about 21 Savage began circulating the internet, along with jokes about his arrest and his deportation. One such meme was originally tweeted by Chris Brown and appeared to use a clip from a music video of 21 Savage to make fun of the legal situation that he is currently experiencing.

     While some might say that the jokes are all in good fun, and that no harm is intended by sharing memes and “humorous” posts, that doesn’t negate the harm that they do. American or British, legal immigrant or not, 21 Savage is a human being with a family that depends on him.

     According to his lawyers, he was not only brought to the U.S. as a child, but he was already taking steps to ensure that he remained in the country legally. Mocking a situation that he and many others are experiencing while being separated from their families and not knowing what will happen next does nothing but make light of the fact that people are suffering.

     Would the people making jokes at the expense of this rapper be doing the same if he wasn’t famous, or if he was an immigrant from Mexico or Central America? Would they laugh about his separation from the people they love?

     If the answer is no, then the question becomes why they think it’s wrong to mock other detained immigrants but not to mock 21 Savage. If the answer is yes, then the question becomes why they find the situation amusing.

     Not only has 21 Savage been detained, but as of Friday, Feb., 8, he was being held in the Irwin County Detention Center in Ocilla, GA, from where many reports of abuse of detainees have originated. Rolling Stone ran a report on Feb. 7, detailing the conditions that researchers, former detainees and attorneys have reported from the facility.

     Several news outlets now have stories that mention the conditions at the detention center. This makes it even more sobering that people are so quick to make fun of what happened. It took 21 Savage getting arrested for major news outlets to start reporting on conditions in detention centers.

     The arrest and detention of 21 Savage is not a joke, just like the arrests and detention of the thousands of other immigrants being held in the U.S. is not a joke.


The Government shutdown-bad for Americans

     Congratulations to President Trump for leading the nation into what is now the longest government shutdown in U.S. history. The country has not seen a shutdown this lengthy since 1995-1996 during the Clinton administration. Unlike that shutdown, which was due to healthcare, environment and educational budgeting, this current shutdown is all because of Donald Trump’s beloved border wall.

     Despite the majority of the country not wanting an expensive wall, there are still some Trump supporters in favor of it. However, even with its large budget, protesters gathered at the border proved the futility of the wall by sawing a giant hole in Trump’s wall prototype.

     With this shutdown being the longest one on record, there are already negative effects directly related to the lack of an organized central government. National parks, such as California’s Joshua Tree National Park, have been permanently damaged by unsupervised visitors. The FDA has stopped their routine food inspections, putting the entire country at risk for foodborne illnesses. Both FDA and National Parks employees along with many other government workers will not be receiving their paychecks.   This unfortunate situation will mean government employees will have to take money out of their savings or find another source of income if they live paycheck to paycheck. To add more complications to this, certain government employees will have to find entirely new jobs in order to keep supporting their families.

     The worst part to this continuing story is according to Donald Trump, he is prepared for the shutdown to last for “months or even years.” Though the president is prepared for this, it is safe to say the rest of the nation most certainly is not.

     With the 2020 presidential election approaching quickly, this shutdown could cost either party the presidency depending on who ends up taking the blame for it. Donald Trump has already begun blaming the Democrats for it, despite him being the one to threaten a national emergency.     This has been Trump’s second government shutdown in his short two-year term. This shutdown has already caused irreparable damage, and playing the blame game won’t stop the country from descending into further chaos.


Democrats currently don’t look too hot for 2020

   With the 2020 election approaching, one question is present in the mind of voters: who will be the Democratic nominee?

   At the time of this article’s writing, one of the most speculated possibilities is Joe Biden.

Senator Elizabeth Warren is obviously considering running; Hawaii Representative Tulsi Gabbard and Obama’s former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julián Castro have announced their plans to run, and Maryland Representative John Delaney announced his campaign back in 2017.

  There is some speculation that Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders will run again, though this is not as certain, and neither have officially declared anything. So what does this all mean for Democrats? Are any of these prospects good? Can they beat Trump?

   First and foremost, I want to start with a warning to people who think Trump will utterly demolish any competition: that’s exactly what people thought about Trump vs Hillary.

   Hillary was seen as a shoo-in and had mainstream media, Hollywood celebrities, many Democratic politicians, roughly $1 billion from her campaign and affiliates, and she still lost.

   Come 2020, Trump will have his avid supporters, partisan Republican support, and the advantage of being the current president. Despite the president’s major wins and talk of how his supporters will get tired of winning, 2016 proves that nothing is ever a given.

  That said, two of the most noteworthy names, Biden and Warren, are terrible picks for the nominee. Joe Biden carries the baggage of the Obama administration, and Elizabeth Warren has become a living meme after her Native American claims, DNA test and her Instagram Live video.

   Delaney, Gabbard and Castro do not have as much baggage, but also not as much name recognition—though that may not be a bad thing.

    And then there’s the issue of what the Democratic National Committee will do. It’s proven that they stabbed Sanders in the back in order to make Clinton the nominee. Will they learn from their past mistakes, or will they steal the nomination in favor of an establishment candidate? If they do, this will probably hurt them just as it did in 2016, with disenfranchised voters going to support other candidates in protest.

   There’s still a while before the 2020 election, and there are no doubt many more politicians who will announce a run on both sides in the year to come. However, none of the current declared and likely candidates bode well for the Democrats.

   If they wish to have a chance at retaking the presidency, they need a candidate who is truly in touch with lower and middle-class Americans, who doesn’t have a whole repertoire of bad history and baggage, and actually allow the candidate to have a fair run.