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.

EDITORIAL: Retire the unfabulous FAB

The Fee Allocation Board (FAB), composed entirely with SGA members, is a biased and archaic way of providing funding for student groups. FAB was created to so that student groups would be given funding from an entity totally independent of SGA.

Clearly, that is not happening.

FAB was created in 2011 as the solution to a funding conflict of interest between The Leader and SGA and was intended to be a place where a diverse range of students determined budgets based on student proposals without SGA. Students from any groups could apply and student organizations would make appeals to ask for a specific amount of funding.

This year, each of those students is a member of SGA, which defeats the purpose of FAB. FAB needs to be abolished and replaced with an improved way of allocating student funds.

One proposal has been a media board where student media on campus would receive funding from an entity separate from SGA. The media board would be made up of students, teachers, and a professional who represent the different parts of campus that make up media (English, digital media, etc.). This way, the entities that comment on the campus and SGA are not going to pressed by the bias that these organizations may hold against them.

Beyond just the Leader, FAB is never necessarily fair to any organization. Students on SGA hold biases, and representation in SGA is not equal across campus groups. Throughout the year, SGA has funded certain groups that directly correlate to the majors and interests of the members represented on SGA.

For example, several music majors serve on SGA and approved a request for recognition for the Elmhurst American String Teachers Association chapter even though the group only affects a small amount of students. In another proposal, which was submitted by Pre-Law Club, several SGA members who were also members of Mock Trial, expressed disfavor of the club because they felt it went against their own activity group, Mock Trial.

Both of those groups above were eventually approved by SGA, and we are not saying that they should not have earned recognition or funding—we are simply highlighting this as some examples of bias within SGA that have come up this year. These are just some examples, but if there is bias in SGA, what insurance is there that any of that bias goes away in FAB when there is even less representation? All students have preferences, associations, interests, and friends on campus that, if not carefully balanced, can inform which students receive funding and which do not.

SGA has demonstrated bias throughout the entire year. Whether it is against the press or in favor of only select student groups, the impact is obvious, and there is nothing that suggests it would stop with FAB.

Since FAB has diverted so much from its original vision, the obvious solution is to abolish it and develop a system of student funding with representatives from multiple majors and clubs. Additionally, student media should have a media board or some form of funding totally independent of the school and SGA to avoid an inherent conflict of interest.

COLUMN: It is time to stop policing fat bodies

Nova Uriostegui

COLUMNIST

Being fat is not a bad thing, and embracing the word “fat” has become the new wave of body positivity. The body positivity movement has been exclusive to only some bodies, excluding the fat bodies, and this defeats the purpose of the movement itself. But now overweight people are taking back the term “fat” and embracing their fat bodies, giving the body positivity movement we have known a run for its money.

Being fat has problems that should not be ignored. You have a higher risk of conditions that might not be risks if you were thin; however, everybody comes with unavoidable risks. Human life is not infinite, so why should only certain people be able to love the skin they are in while fat people must always live in shame with their own body? The shame becomes an internalized debate between whether or not they should love or hate themselves.

Embracing the word “fat” as a way of describing an overweight body is a liberating moment for many fat individuals, but a scary moment for people who are not fat. It allows a group of people who have been belittled with a term to now use it as a positive physical description rather than an insult.

When a fat person calls themselves fat and gorgeous, it feels better than someone else calling them fat just to be a bully, and it is the power behind embracing this word that gives a fat person confidence to be unapologetically fat and to love themselves, whether they are on a weight loss journey or not, which is the exact reason for the body positivity movement in the first place.

As a fat person, you already make others uncomfortable just by existing. Whether it is the way you walk or the way you look, there is something about the fat body that makes people uncomfortable, yet pair that with confidence, and people are sure to start policing fat bodies and telling them that you should not be proud of your size.

Most fat people do not condone being fat. There is a difference between promoting obesity and accepting your body as it is in the moment, and that seems to be something the current movement just does not understand, or if it does, does not address. Thin people can live unhealthy lifestyles just as much as fat individuals, but they do not go flaunting it if they are aware of how their life may be unhealthy. Both ends of the spectrum can be unhealthy and dangerous, yet the main focus is loving the skin you are in as it is right now.

It is okay to be fat, and the sooner we can realize that fat people are just like everyone else, the sooner the body positivity movement will become more inclusive. Being fat does not need to be a curse or a label that society stamps on your forehead. Embracing being fat and not limiting the word “fat” to be a negative term should be how the movement supports fat people. It should not police them.

Body positivity is not a movement that can just pick and choose what it supports. The movement was born from the restrictive nature of society’s beauty standards, yet in some ways it has become just as restrictive. Either everyone is allowed to love their own body for what it is, or no one is allowed to.

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.

COLUMN: Vote radical: tradition won't beat Trump

Noah Pearson

OPINIONS EDITOR

What do Hitler, Nelson Mandela, Martin Luther King Jr., and Donald Trump have in common? They were visionaries of what seemed like preposterous goals at the time, but every single one of them, with the possible exception of MLK Jr., was immensely successful.

Trump has made a mockery of every part of American politics. He has attained the highest political position in the world with a platform that accused an entire nation of people of being rapists and alleged crimes ranging from tax evasion to rape.

He did this, however, because like MLK Jr., he had a dream. A dream that to rational, intelligent people was a nightmare, but to many in this country—ranging from dirt-poor voters down south to some of the biggest powerhouses in Washington—was a godsend.

All this while Democrats pushed forward powerful, qualified, and dignified candidates, who made the fatal flaw of preserving the status quo. They pushed forward members of the establishment, using the powers of the establishment, and promised to protect the establishment.

Even though they were wrong in their decision to vote for Trump, those who did did so because they finally had a candidate who was promising what they wanted.

None of this justifies Trump’s behavior, and the kind of radical we need to win is not one who will give false promises on a bigoted platform, but one who has some kind of vision of the world their voters wants to see, and for them to make it happen.

Trump was a wrecking ball to the American political establishment. What we do not need is someone gatekeeping and defending the wreckage; what we need is someone who is willing to be a wrecking ball that will knock down his wall. There is no sense in preserving political tradition when we have entered an era where political tradition has been the butt of every sick joke this president calls political action.

When MLK Jr. stood on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial to speak to the whole country, he did not say “Let us wait, our time will come” he said “I have a dream that one day little black boys and little black girls will be able to hold hands with little white boys and little white girls as sisters and brothers” to an America that blew up churches with black children inside, and beat and hosed black people for sitting at the wrong lunch counter.

In the same way black people needed MLK Jr. to articulate the dream and inspire the country to achieve it, many people in this country needed Trump to bring their racist dreams to light. The civil rights amendment was born from a radical’s dream, and so will be the wall between us and Mexico. It will need to be a radical to take that wall down, but that can only happen when America is ready, and time is running out.

COLUMN: One step forward, two steps back

Nova Uriostegui

COLUMNIST

The True Colors living community is a mediocre answer to a very real problem for residential students of the LGBT+ community on campus: Safety and accessibility. While the college is providing a safe space, it still is shortchanging its students of a safe and accessible living experience and that needs to be changed.

True Colors is a living community dedicated to providing a safe housing option for members of the LGBT+ community and their allies, however it is located in an old building with no air-conditioning, not easily accessible, and not to mention the chances of flooding that can occur. It is these restrictions that make it impossible for someone with asthma, allergies, or any other medical condition that requires air conditioning to live in this housing, thus they have to make a decision between safety and their health, which isn’t one someone should have to make when living on campus.

If we began updated dorms, then we wouldn’t run into this problem. There should be no excuse why some students have air-conditioning options and others don’t, especially at an expensive school like Elmhurst College.

Every residential student deserves to be able to live and learn safely.

A lot of LGBT+ individuals have no place to escape as they are harassed by fellow residents, or have little resources provided to them by residence staff. True Colors is supposed to combat this, but how effective is it if they can’t even find refuge here due to things out of their control?

LGBT+ housing has been proposed in the past, but has been rejected numerous times, but when the honors program proposed their living-learning community in the same location, it was met with a yes, and now True Colors is in the lower level of Schick Hall. People say it is because the honors program brought up their proposal first, but this is the first year anyone has really been hearing about it, whereas conversations about LGBT+ gender inclusive housing for several years.

The biggest issue is not the honors community, but with the accessibility and quality of the dorms both communities were given. It really looks bad for Elmhurst College.

The minority community who face safety issues on a daily basis solely on their sexuality and/or gender identity, are given an old dorm that is barely livable during the first few weeks of the semester due to the temperature, while the honors community who are held in prestige get to live in a newer dorm with better living conditions all around.

If Elmhurst College was an ally like they market themselves, they would either update the Schick space to be more physically inclusive, move both communities into Cureton, or find a more inclusive space for True Colors because this “solution” just isn’t it.

Just because we are grateful to have the option doesn’t mean it’s all perfect. Many of the dorms need to be updated, but the location of True Colors should start pressing the college to update the buildings or risk it seeming like the college plays favorites.

COLUMN: Boycott The Joker

Noah Pearson

OPINIONS EDITOR

Popular media tends to paint people with mental illnesses as people with an inclination towards violence. These portrayals are inaccurate and while fictional, shape public perception of people with mental illnesses.

The Joker is a classic character that gets revisited every several years, and every time his role is characterized by stereotypes of mentally ill people, and people applaud and celebrate these portrayals en masse.

He is a mass murderer, bank robber, and terrorist on a grand scale and besides his clown makeup, is known for his instability and his “insanity.”

Often the Joker’s origin is that of a man who is abused and turns his abuse against society through violence. In this upcoming Warner Bros. depiction, he is a mentally ill person whose illness becomes so unmanageable, he devolves into violence.

The trailer makes specific reference to the Joker being someone who is mentally ill. They even go so far as to show imagery parallel to how people with mental illnesses can be treated in real life, however, the idea that he would then become a massive terrorist is simply not true.

The reason this is especially problematic is because in real life, people with mental illnesses are criminalized for their behavior as opposed to helped, and are criminalized at a disproportionate rate to the amount of crime they are responsible for. While making up only 3-5% of violent acts, they make up for a rising percent of the prison population.

In New York in 2000, there were only 5,000 patients with a mental illness in a hospital, but 72,000 in the New York Department of Corrections, 8 times as much as it was in 1973.

While we cannot define any one problem as the cause of this kind of discrimination, negative representation in a likely box office breaking film is not helping.

Art has always shaped the way the public perceives groups of people. When “Birth Of A Nation” came out, there was a resurgence of the Klu Klux Klan, and they began using their iconic burning cross after it was used in the movie.

When writers chose to create characters based on problematic stereotypes, it is on the consumer to respond. We have the option of supporting harmful stereotypes by seeing the movie, or the option of telling these creators we are not willing to support stereotypical characters and boycott movies like the Joker.

While fiction has no obligation to be based in reality, creators need to be considerate about how their characters, although not fictional, will have an impact on how people act in real life. This is especially true for marginalized groups of people, and we can no longer let problematic projects gain such wide success.

We have come too far as a society both educationally and creatively to support a tired trope such as a person with a mental illness becoming unhinged and hurting people. There is simply no excuse for us to continue to support films like the joker. Many more will come, but the Joker is a quickly upcoming opportunity to show Hollywood that these problematic tropes will no longer be an option and we can only do that by not showing up.

COLUMN: Respect black performance spaces

Noah Pearson

OPINIONS EDITOR

Support for black artists is important. However, when nonblack people enter these spaces, there needs to be an increased sense of respect and a willingness to learn.

Too often audiences are not prepared for how black culture manifests in performance art. It is loud, it is unconventional, it is impure, it is edgy; it is everything nonblack performance art is and more that many nonblack people are ready to perceive.

When black actors and comedians use African American Vernacular English, it is met with laughter; when black musicians perform well but are not as proficient technically, they are written off as bad musicians.

What is worse than any of this is that it happens regardless of the context. Even if black performers are expressing pain or race related trauma, their powerful testimony is disregarded simply because they said “you is” instead of “you are.”

Audiences laugh at racial slurs and talk during quiet scenes simply because the means of expression used in a given artform are different than those in nonblack traditions.

Black artists have to work twice as hard to get half as far as white artists in any performance space. When black artists take the initiative to create their own spaces in line with their own traditions, they are still mocked.

When attending a performance, it makes sense to be critical: performers mess up, things go wrong, and it makes us feel smart to comment on it and laugh.

However, it is important to understand where it is appropriate. When we watch operas in Italian, we do not judge them on their ability to speak English. When we attend a gallery, we do not judge the artist on their ability to play the drums.

Criticism can be great, but when we see black art, why should we judge it through a white performance art lens?

All art can be enjoyed by everyone, but a sense of respect and a gauge of who we are in relation to the audience is needed.

Just because a performance is not what we are used to does not mean it is not good, and it does not mean mocking it is okay. When having the privilege to observe another culture’s art in action, an audience should be grateful. An audience should be trying their best to observe the norms practiced by others in that space, and certainly should not act in ways they never would otherwise.

Respect should be the standard, even if we are not totally sure what is going on. We owe it to all artists to give them an opportunity to showcase their best, but that is impossible if they are being judged according to a standard they never set out to meet.

COLUMN: SGA is slacking

Nova Uriostegui

COLUMNIST

As an organization run by students for the students, Student Government Association has been slacking on including the voices of the individuals they are supposed to represent. It really has not been clear what they have done for the students besides approve budgets, cut budgets, and reprimand organizations for not attending legislator meetings.

The information SGA provides to the students seems to be skewed in the direction of student leaders and individuals who are involved in organizations, and they miss the mark with the rest of the student body. Most of the information they are relaying to students is done in such a way that unless you are an active student leader, you just might miss.

In between a crammed protective hour when meetings are held, the navigation of Engage as an every day student for the minutes, and legislator meetings every now and again, the information they discuss and the way people can get their concerns to the Board of Trustees needs to be clearer and more accessible.

Unfortunately, the BOT meetings are closed to the public, and in order to be able to sit in, you must be invited. This is a big issue as well since SGA could simply sugar coat everything as to keep the board members happy or oblivious.

Student Government Association is meant to bridge the gap between the student body and administration, as well as the BOT; however, it seems this year they have almost closed the bridge, or at least have not been maintaining it.

The SGA executive board meets with a select few BOT members during the Student Life Committee, and all they do is show the trustees what they have done for the year.

Last year, there was a survey sent out before the BOT, by SGA, that asked for student input. It was sent to the student body, and SGA received and presented the feedback.

This year, no such thing has happened; they did not ask for the voices they are supposed to be representing, and not many events connecting with the students has happened either, or at least it has felt that way. No more civic conversations, open forums, or even metra pass giveaways. It seems like there has been more drama and entitlement as a replacement.

Not every issue that students bring up can be addressed in one meeting nor does every issue have a simple solution the board members can just sign into action, but simply bringing something up to the trustees to have them think is a reasonable goal that should not take much from our SGA.

Until they have public sessions, we have to settle for the image that the members of SGA create on our behalf.

Let SGA know your concerns sooner rather than later. The BOT members have meetings once a semester on campus, so tell SGA what you want them to hear.

We can only hope that SGA does their job, and as of right now, it seems like a lot is being swept under the rug. Maybe someday the BOT will see the need for public sessions, but until then, we have to hold SGA to a higher standard.

EDITORIAL: All buildings should be held to the same standard of livability and accessibility

Elmhurst College should ensure that all spaces are accessible for every member of its community.

Students with mobility disabilities have limited options for accessible spaces. Even in buildings where elevators are present, there are still small or heavy doors and narrow hallways to get in and out of the elevator, making it difficult to access.

On top of that, some spaces have all of the above issues, and do not even have an elevator.

When space in Cureton and West Hall fills up, some students find themselves in a dorm with wheelchair accessibility, such as in Schick, which has a ramp, but also has small rooms, no air conditioning, and only one accessible floor.

Some faculty offices are only accessible by stairs, and some classrooms are cramped and require extra tables to accommodate students, and at that point, space becomes limited.

Some classrooms are set up on risers that would require a wheelchair user to sit directly in front of the teacher or to lift their chair over a step to sit at a desk.

Another example that hits close to home is The Leader newsroom, which is located in the basement of Dinkmeyer. If an editor or a staff member who uses a wheelchair wanted to join The Leader, they would not be able to access our office.

Students deserve an education that goes above and beyond to ensure their equal inclusion and opportunity to succeed. Is this not what the school proudly boasts in their mission?

Even if these standards are acceptable within the American Disabilities Act’s rules, we believe EC should be responsible for more.

Our handbook mentions disabilities and accessibilities, and it puts the burden of requesting “reasonable accommodations” on the student.

While EC cannot anticipate everything, the handbook should mandate certain guaranteed protections, resources, and processes for students with disabilities beyond “reasonable accomodations.”

The school covers several bases and stays within the parameters of the law, but we should hold the school to the highest standard possible.

Our living and learning environments are limited to only certain populations of the campus, and that is not fair. It is not enough that certain buildings have elevators; the entire campus needs to accessible beyond the requirements.

The school should explore the possibility of creating a more inclusive environment to live up to its own expectations of inclusion.

Everyone deserves the opportunity to learn comfortably, and EC must be held accountable for ensuring this beyond the bare minimum.

COLUMN: They are humans, not 'bad hombres'

Nova Uriostegui

COLUMNIST

Border security is not something new; however, the dialogue around it has become filled with misconstrued information. It is time to challenge and fix to have more educated discussions and not just uninformed arguments.

The misconception that all immigrants are monstrous rapists and drug dealers has become the main stereotype when talking about undocumented citizens.

This is far from the truth.

We have actually observed a decrease in violent crimes in certain areas where the undocumented population has actually risen since the 1980s.

Individuals who come to the United States have no interest in breaking the law, especially when that means deportation.

Additionally, many immigrants come to the United States for a better life, new opportunities, and even asylum, and bring with them only what they can carry while they dangerously depart to the United States. Most of them are not even guaranteed entry.

When they do arrive, many have no family, no money, and can have hard times finding an employer that will even hire them.

Most jobs require social security numbers, and they do not have that, so they settle for jobs that do not ask questions, often leading to poor working conditions, being taken advantage of, and getting little pay—all with the threat of deportation being held over their heads.

It is also a rumor that these undocumented citizens do not pay taxes, yet they are able to abuse the welfare programs.

Many employers who hire these immigrants actually do take taxes out of their pay, yet unlike individuals with social security numbers, they are not able to file for tax refunds at the end of the fiscal year nor are they able to even apply for welfare.

You need a social security number for all of these things.

Yet people still believe much of this rhetoric when discussing border security, and very few tend to fact check or investigate any further than surface level.

The undocumented citizen story is often very unique and different than the common misconceptions that are blindly followed.

There are stories that need to be shared to show the flaws and struggles in the journey of becoming a legal citizen.

The journey boils down to money, lawyers, and a bit of luck, but even then, nothing is promised.

Just as the journey into the country was one of ambiguity, the journey of finally being recognized by the government is just the same.

While border security is something that needs to be discussed, the citizenship process and bold stereotypes need to be addressed as well.

The misconceptions need to be challenged.

Just because it aligns with one’s political affiliation does not always make it true, and not every undocumented person you meet is going to be a “bad hombre” simply based on their citizenship status.

There is a reason you cannot tell the difference between ‘us’ and ‘them’.

COLUMN: The liberal left's true colors: why MAGA country is all of America

Noah Pearson

OPINIONS EDITOR

On Tuesday, November 29 “Empire” star Jussie Smollett was the victim of a racist and homophobic attack at the hands of several men wearing MAGA hats. They called him racist and homophobic slurs, yelled “this is MAGA Country,” poured chemicals on him, and tied a noose around his neck.

Instead of the expected righteous outrage and various anti-homophobia/anti-racism media campaigns that could be expected following a remarkably violent hate crime, the response has been a combination of conspiracy theories and victim blaming.

What is even more shocking than the active harm that many are spewing online is that it is coming from liberals from diverse pockets of the internet.

Gay individuals, black individuals, jewish individuals, members of the theatre community, and any other identity group that Smollett can claim have members boldly claiming that he was lying, or that he created the situation for himself by being out at 2 a.m. without protection.

Several sources including NBC Chicago reported that the police reported the attack to be a hoax. The police then had to release a statement disproving this, forcing these sources to admit to lying and false reporting, and eventually arrested two persons of interest in the case.

While it is painful to admit and no excuse, “MAGA Country” as Smollett’s attackers put it, is to be expected. When the president creates a campaign based in hate for specific types of people using pre-civil rights era rhetoric all while encouraging violence against his dissenters, this behavior is no surprise.

What is surprising is that those who MAGA Country love to hate have turned against a member of their own communities, proving to MAGA, and any future and past victims of these crimes, that if they happen to be attacked at a bad place and time, they will not have your support.

When the communities at risk point fingers at victims of one of the most visible non-police related hate crimes in recent history, the mentality that created MAGA Country is reinforced across every side of the aisle.

Why are we all of a sudden detectives when Smollett is asking for community support, but silent when in 2017, over a thousand hate crimes related to sexual orientation were committed, according to the FBI Hate Crime Statistics?

What happened to everything we learned from the #metoo movement about believing victims, even when they bite their tongues for decades?

Even if Smollett for some insane self-publicity-related reason had lied about his attackers, what this shows MAGA Country is that they can not only get away with hate crimes, but get away with the active support of the communities of the victims.

If communities dissolve when their support is needed most, it shows the rest of the world that there was never any community in the first place.

Is the generation born in the wake of Matthew Shepard's death going to be the same generation that allows MAGA Country to be the only country we know?

Jussie Smollett being attacked was a gruesome test for all of us, and we failed, and those who wish to make America great again will take notice, and soon, may just get what they want.