Thursday, December 8, 2011

Pro Gay Marriage

I definitely agree with this post. Of course, no one can count on Obama, so his contradicting actions don't surprise me. But making steps towards legalizing gay marriage should be congratulated.

In my opinion, it's discriminatory to ban gay-marriage. Who are we to tell gay people how to live? If a church wants to say they won't marry a gay couple, that's their choice. But keeping gay couples from being married by the state is just not right. In this day and age, anti-gay is an irrational, stone-aged concept that needs to be let go.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

21 Is Less Than 18

Lowering the drinking age has been a mild yet persistent issue for a long time. The initial enactment of the 21 year old drinking age came about because the national government demanded that states either raise their drinking age or lose 10% of their funding for highways. Many people hoped that raising the drinking age might contribute to less dangerous drinking habits, but in practice it had the opposite effect. Accident fatalities in the US are greater than European countries whose drinking age is 18. Also, because underage drinkers are forced to do so in private locations, they lack supervision that could be vital in reducing accidents and fatalities.
Another argument is the fact that at 18, citizens are able to give their lives for their country. With freedom comes responsibility, so how can the government expect men and women who have the enormous responsibility of ensuring our nation’s security to not drink? The reasons behind raising the drinking age are vague and are in direct violation of our personal freedoms. The constitution does not give the government the right to dictate who can and cannot consume alcohol.
The fact is underage people drink alcohol, whether it’s legal or not. In light of that fact, there are many dangers that come with having to drink secretly. It doesn’t allow teens to learn how to drink responsibly, and causes them to do things, such as binge drink and drive while intoxicated, that they might not do if the drinking age were lowered. When approaching this issue, we need to shed old assumptions and take a good long look at the facts.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Vote for Education

Reading Sara’s article, “Creating a Brighter Future,” is about President Obama’s proposal to help students with their loans. This article was, as you can imagine, very personal to me. As a college student struggling to pay bills, the entire time I was reading this article I was shouting, “Yes! That would be amazing!” in my head. Attending ACC isn’t expensive for a kid living at home, but as I contemplate moving out, school moves further down the list of top priorities. I start thinking about what expenses will be necessary, such as rent, food, and my car, and I get frustrated, because I shouldn’t have to choose between moving out and completing my degree. The decision to help students out with their loans would be an excellent one. Sara’s point that “our future depends completely on the younger generation” is absolutely true. We shouldn’t be so burdened with making ends meet that we are unable to further our education. Without an educated society, America cannot continue in all aspects to move forward in the world.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Cutting Defense in the Face of Trillions

The growing debt of the United States is something we Americans have become accustomed to. We know that the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq have added to it, and that under Obama the debt has increased by $4 trillion. So yes, something has to give. We simply can’t go on at this pace. However, cutting Department of Defense funds is not the way to go. At a time when we’re finally making progress, such as finding and killing Osama Bin Laden, how can cutting DOD funds even come into the mind of our president? The military in itself is a lifestyle. Our servicemen and women must eat, sleep, and train together, or the necessary bonding and overall mindset that they need to succeed in the field will never manifest. Never mind the fact that the development of better, more efficient weapons that can cut down civilian loss would all but cease. And what if we had another 9/11? What if, by cutting DOD funds, there aren’t enough personnel to monitor security threats? What if we didn’t have the personnel to respond to those threats?

Now I’m not completely ignorant. The military, as with any organization that has been around for a long time, could probably make a few cuts here and there. The government should give the DOD time to work on this, and in the meantime take from other, less absolutely necessary departments. We as Americans need to recognize the substantial protection our military gives us, as well as the immense sacrifices they make to do so.

Friday, October 14, 2011

The Price of Freedom

The title of this article, “Why Topeka, Kan., repealed its ban on domestic violence”, immediately caught my attention. Mark Guarino explains that Topeka stripped the district attorney’s office budget by ten percent. On September 8th, “District Attorney Chad Taylor… said he no longer had the money to prosecute misdemeanors, including domestic battery.” This meant that many misdemeanors were dropped because they weren’t able to be prosecuted in a timely manner. Because of this, the DA had to choose which cases would be heard, and as a result, many people were upset.

To show how they felt about misdemeanors such as domestic battery being dropped, Topeka repealed its ban on domestic violence, prostitution and animal cruelty. They did this in an effort to force the DA to hear more cases. It worked, but at what cost? The financial crisis still remains, and this isn’t the first incident of extreme action in the face of budget cuts. “Prosecutors in North Carolina's Wake County had to fill in as receptionists this summer to cover staffing cuts.”

Guarino seems to hold the importance of the cases over the strain on the workers. He points out that “most domestic-violence cases in the county are misdemeanors ‘perpetrated by extremely dangerous offenders’”, and that “victims rely on the criminal-justice system to hold their abusers accountable.” Guarino is appealing to the public’s sympathy for the abused, since he focuses on this issue and not prostitution or animal cruelty.

I can see the point the city of Topeka was trying to make. After all, who would follow the law if they knew their charges were just going to be dropped? On the other hand, how can we expect cases to be heard fairly if all the DA is thinking about it getting through them? If courthouses are so understaffed that lawyers are serving as secretaries, how many hours would they have to work a week to hear all the cases? If the city of Topeka is going to react so strongly to the DA not hearing cases, they need to provide him with the means to do so.

Friday, September 30, 2011

Liberty VS Safety

American Strike on American Target Revives Contentious Constitutional Issue by Scott Shane is about Anwar al-Awlaki, and American citizen who was killed in an air-missile strike on Friday. The issue is that the American government labeled him a terrorist “making him a target for capture or death like any other Qaeda leader” despite the fact that he was a US citizen. Some believe that his actions, from supporting the killings of 13 people at Fort Hood, TX, to planning numerous other terrorist acts, justify his immediate murder without trial. Others, however, argue that as a US citizen, he was entitled to a trial before conviction.
Scott Shane is reaching out to American citizens to try and explain why Awlaki’s actions, as well as his influence as a well-adapted American, legitimize the US government’s actions. Shane explains that Awlaki was born in the United States but grew up in Yemen, an area with Al Qaeda influence. He came back to the US for college. Because he was so well versed in American culture and language, he was able to reach a wider audience than, for example, Bin Laden, who only spoke Arabic. He has connected to many American’s via the Internet, amassing an audience of tens of thousands, and has been linked to several terrorist plans, including “plots to blow up a Detroit-bound airliner in 2009 and to bomb two cargo planes last year.”
There’s no doubt that this is a difficult issue to take a side on. On one hand, Awlaki was clearly siding with terrorists and helping their efforts. On the other, he was an American citizen, and the decision to kill him without giving him a trial does violate the US Constitution. This is a tough case of constitutional liberty vs. national safety. However, I believe that upholding our Constitution is more important than safety. As Benjamin Franklin said, “Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.” After all, if we don’t expect our government to respect other American’s rights, how can we expect them to respect ours?