Too Early to Choose a Candidate

The 2020 elections are on: Mayor Pete, Biden, Bernie, Warren are a few of the many names making headlines. With the 2020 election getting closer, news outlets everywhere are starting to ponder who will be sitting in the Oval Office as the 46th President of the United States. While the excitement over the next presidential election—especially considering how much attention the last election drew—is understandable, I believe we should wait a little longer before we begin to jump on political trains and choose a candidate.

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Hate Speech, Political Gain, and the First Amendment

In 1789, when the newly created House of Representatives debated the proposed First Amendment to the Bill of Rights, two sentiments were predominant in regard to its clauses on religion: the necessity of impartiality on the part of government, and the protection of the individual. James Madison initially supported a version of the First Amendment that protected “equal rights of conscience,” understood as a right applying to both religion and moral beliefs.  But the House concluded that the Establishment Clause and protection of the individual’s exercise of religious freedom were sufficient. When these are viewed along with their sister clauses guaranteeing freedom of speech, press, assembly, and petitioning, it is clear that all of the amendment’s principles are related to freedom of expression, freedom for any act that involves imbibing or distributing ideas.

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America’s Nutritional Inequality

Just a week ago, I was in a van for roughly thirteen hours, driving from New York to South Carolina. My job entailed helping with navigation via Google Maps. Although we stayed mainly on highways and freeways, I couldn’t help but look at the rural, seemingly poor towns we passed. As I zoomed in closer on the map, I noticed the recurring presence of McDonald’s, Burger King, Hardee’s (once we reached Virginia), and other fast-food establishments. I thought about Whole Foods and a local health food store back home called Down to Earth, and the variety of fruits, vegetables, and health products one can choose from. Whole Foods and Down to Earth would be anomalies in most rural areas, where fast-food establishments dominate. Often we find ourselves so invested in the outcomes of major domestic and international events that we fail to think about issues like nutritional inequality, an issue that even one road trip can raise.

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Theresa May and the Aftermath of Brexit

On June 23, 2016 Britain voted to leave the European Union. This set off a populist wave across the Western world that resulted in, or encouraged, the election of Donald Trump and the success of a variety of right-wing and far-right European parties. After the vote, Britain embarked on a long process of negotiation that was supposed to end by March 29 of this year. Although that allowed Prime Minister Theresa May nearly three years to work with the EU on the terms of a deal, it proved to be not enough time to settle their differences.

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Charles Ives, an American Composer

Inspired by German Romanticism, transcendentalism had its roots in the writings of Immanuel Kant. Hoping to see beyond the surface of things, transcendentalists ultimately rejected all things European, shed the stilted confines of the 19th-century Unitarian Church, and eschewed the cold, calculating gaze of the Enlightenment. It was a refreshing way of moving forward intellectually, spiritually, and artistically in the New World.

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Elizabeth Fox-Genovese, Southern Society, and the Sectional Divide

In Within the Plantation Household: Black & White Women of the Old South, Elizabeth Fox-Genovese argues that women in the Old South differed fundamentally from their Northern counterparts. Unlike women in the North, Southern women lived in a household that remained at the center of economic production. Accordingly, they lacked a separate private sphere and were perpetually subject to masculine influence. Fox-Genovese’s conception of the Southern household, as distinct from the Northern home, helps to explain the evolution of the South’s slave society and provides an explanation for distinctly Southern cultural mores that reinforced and exacerbated the divide between the regions.

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