COLUMN: You cannot pick and choose

Nova Uriostegui

COLUMNIST

With the recent anti-abortion laws being introduced in states such as Ohio and Alabama that would only allow abortions if the mother’s life was a risk, or if the fetus would not be able to live, it is important to talk about what it really means when someone says they are pro-life. Often times, it feels as if pro-lifers only care about a fetus when it is being threatened by an abortion, and not so much when children are relying on public assistance to simply eat a meal everyday.

We often forget that the decision of getting an abortion leads to many other things along the line. Making it hard to get an abortion legally will lead people to begin harming themselves by getting illegal abortions, and more children will be born into an oppressive system where they might not have access to healthy food, shelter, or education. Denying an abortion to someone who became pregnant due to rape could even lead to child abuse down the line.

If pro-lifers want to be so loud about their decisions, they need to advocate for mental healthcare for parents and children. They need to advocate for education for all children, including proper transportation. They need to advocate for access to food, and healthy food as well, and they need to advocate for the funding of public assistance programs that help needy families.

Not every pro-lifer acts hostile towards children in the same way they act hostile towards individuals who have to enter a Planned Parenthood, yet they also are not as compassionate towards children who rely on public services and are often the same individuals who are rallying for public service budget cuts. It seems a lot of pro-life individuals pick and choose what children they support, and unfortunately, with a stance such as pro-life, you cannot do that.

Abortions are not for everyone, and you are never forced to ever get one, but the option is still easily obtainable if you were to ever need one. Pro-choice is about the individual and their reproductive needs. Pro-choice never has been about murder. Some people are pro-choice but will never get an abortion due to religious beliefs, or because they just will not get one, yet they do not shame those who do get abortions, as it is not their place. It is not their body, so it is not their choice, and that is the beauty of pro-choice laws and legislation.

Getting an abortion is often a very tough decision to make, and abortions are not always free. Many individuals who get abortions do it because they need to, whether it is due to financial reasons, school/career reasons, family reasons, or traumatic reasons, not because they want to be murderers.

Pro-lifers often have a privilege that they will never or have never experienced the hardships that come with being forced to have an unplanned child. Although some of the people spearheading these anti-abortion laws in Alabama, Georgia, and Ohio are women, many of them are upper class cisgender men who do not have to make a choice of carrying a baby or not.

Pro-lifers cannot pick and choose the lives they speak out for. They need to either advocate for helping every life, including children in high risk conditions, or they need to call themselves something else.

COLUMN: Stop pretending politicians reflect your interests

Noah Pearson

OPINIONS EDITOR

Politics are the tool of lobbyist and large corporations to enact their will in the name of their own profit. Politicians are the pawns that enact and protect those interests in their name. If these interests ever intersect with your own, it is because a billionaire said so, not because that politician has any actual desire to advocate for your interests.

Elections are characterized by catchy slogans, appearances in key states, and empty promises. Politicians kiss babies, meet local organizers, and make grand statements about the change they wish to enact, and when they speak to change we want, we feel inspired and hopeful that someone at the top actually cares about us and our needs. This is simply not true.

People have normalized the amount of money politicians spend and receive to the point that we think someone being paid 21 million dollars by real estate companies (Barack Obama in 2012) is saying anything other than what those investors want them to say. Us little people do not have 21 million dollars to contribute to manipulate policy, so why would politicians give up that kind of money to act in our favor?

Over two billion dollars was raised for the five major candidates in the 2016 election. Five people raised over 30,000 times the median household income in the U.S. We cannot continue to act as if our voice, as people who represent that median, can ever have our needs at the forefront of a politicians interest unless we are happen to align with the interests of major corporations.

The idea that the average person, that poor people, that middle class people, that anyone in this country without several million dollars laying around can do anything to impact the status quo through voting or political action alone needs to be abandoned. It is manipulative, but more than anything it is just not true.

If you want to see change, be change. Act, do not just vote, do not just expect politicians to take care of you. True justice has never been awarded to anyone through a ballot box, and even the right for everyone to vote was fought for with literal blood, sweat, and tears.

Feed your community and communities near you, teach people in your community to read, start funds to help members of your community pay rent, whatever it is just do it, do not wait for the mouthpiece of some billionaire to promise it for you.

Obviously policy has massive impacts on our everyday lives, but we have to understand when policy negatively impacts us, using those systems to advocate for ourselves has never and  will never be effective.

COLUMN: Retire the conversation on gun control

Noah Pearson

OPINIONS EDITOR

The only real solution to America’s gun problem is a universal ban on all firearms. Because this solution is unrealistic, the conversation serves us no purpose and should shift to a more productive conversation on prevention.

Every time there is a mass execution by firearm, the same tired calls for sensible gun control resurface only for no or little progress to be made. There has been stricter and stricter regulations on where one can have guns, who can have guns, and what kind of guns/accessories one can uses on their guns.

While on paper these solutions appear beneficial, if there are guns anywhere, there are guns everywhere. In 2015, the New York Times found that 50,000 guns used in crimes were transported illegally over state lines from states with loose laws to states with stricter laws. In New York and New Jersey, two states with some of the strictest gun laws, over two-thirds of all of the guns connected to crimes came from another states.

Additionally, much of the legislation proposed to end gun violence is stricter regulation on who gets to own a gun. However, historically legislation like this has been intentionally and unintentionally discriminatory against black and brown individuals.

It should be obvious that repeating the conversation calling for discriminatory gun legislation that does not even work should adapt and change, but that has yet to be the case. A federal ban on all firearms is the only solution, and so long as guns are legally trafficked anywhere in this country, they will be illegally trafficked everywhere.

Since we live in country where politicians are bought and laws that would regulate guns are written by the organizations that sell them, this solution is impossible.

The conversation now has to shift away from the stalemate we reach when talking about guns to a conversation about how to be preventative in a world where guns run rampant. We have lost that battle, and that will always be the case, so let's talk about how we can prevent children from dying en masse in the world we actually live in, not the gun free utopia we want.

For starters, let’s confront the fact that identity is often a motivator for many of these mass shooters—maybe fostering a more equitable culture where people are not motivated to murder other people on the basis of their race. Let’s continue the conversation about how we can support individuals in high risk environments instead of allowing their environment to lead them to create harmful decisions.

The pandering and foolishness in the mainstream conversation about guns has to end. Evidence supports the fact that guns are far stronger than any state legislation and that the law is determined by those who stand to make money from what it says.

The violence has to end as well, and that starts by moving past proposed solutions that just will not work, and putting in the time to have an honest conversation about what we actually have control over.