Vaccine Passports are the way we gather again and should be supported.
By Riley Mulcahy
Early last year, there was a collective shift in our way of thinking like humans. New guidelines on interacting with people and going out into the world dramatically changed because of COVID-19. Instead of birthday parties and other celebrations, we were told to stay home for a couple of weeks, and we would turn the corner and beat the virus. A year later, we are still restricted in gathering with other people.
How do we get back to a sense of normalcy? If a person was asked this in the Fall of 2020, their answer might be herd immunity or wearing masks, however, in December of 2020, a revolutionary effort came to market: the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines. The notion that a life-saving vaccine would be available in a matter of months was unfathomable; however, America was able to do it,; however there is still hesitancy in continuing the measures that will create a safer future for everyone, including taking the vaccine.
Hesitancy isn’t the correct term. Rather, there is a politzacation and fear amongst conservatives about the vaccine, which was created by former President Trump when he refused to take the pandemic seriously. Instead of acting like a leader, Trump took all of the time in the world to come up with a response, which was to attack Asian Americans by calling the virus the “China Virus,” among other racist terms.
The solution is simple: vaccinate as many Americans as possible to return to a somewhat “normal life.” Countries are announcing that vaccine passports will be implemented, allowing only those who are vaccinated to travel, go to sporting events, and gather. However, for some, this is seen as an attack on their freedom. Just like the mask, a vaccine passport would be taking some type of freedom they can’t put into words at risk. They are struggling to find reasons because for the most part, there are none.
To suggest that a hundred percent of the population trusted the vaccine process from the beginning is absurd. The disconnect comes in when over a hundred million people have been vaccinated, only presenting with rare cases of side effects, and not take it because the government is tracking you. We have been in a pandemic for a year and there is a solution that is or will be available to you; please take it so we can remember COVID as a thing of the past, rather than a recurring nightmare of the present. If the joys of seeing friends and family comes in a vaccine passport that is the least of our worries.
The virus has taken so much away from us, our mental health, friends, family and a way of life we cannot get back, not to mention the death toll that continually rises. President Biden has done his best to bring Americans together, even through a pandemic, but people refusing to protect their fellow Americans causes division. In a year that has taken so much of us, we should not be creating barriers for each other.
Vaccine passports will be how we are able to connect with others. Instead of fighting it,
Americans should embrace the fact that they have a life to live and are able to do the simple acts those who died from COVID-19 virus don’t. The fear that is associated from the vaccine is understandable, however what is not is the manipulation of American’s emotions from politicians who have already have taken the vaccine. Passports are a logical conclusion to a preventable pandemic, and we all should be grateful for what we have, not arguing about freedoms that are not being taken away.
By: Brent Dondalski
In recent years, cancel culture has emerged at the forefront of American discourse. While loosely defined, most people would agree that cancel culture, which carries a negative connotation, is when a celebrity or public figure has their career sabotaged, or “canceled,” by the public because of something they said or did. The process usually takes place online and, in the early stages of cancel culture, the celebrity’s incident was from something in the distant past, such as a 2010 tweet or an old interview. Right now, it’s one of the hottest topics in popular and political discourses. However, my interpretation of cancel culture really boils down to one singular concept: it doesn’t exist.
If my definition of cancel culture sounded vague, it’s because it is. The term is so ill-defined that it has exploded into describing anything and everything. Did a movie director get fired because of old tweets joking about pedophilia? Another victim of cancel culture. Did an actress lose her role because of anti-semitic comments? Another victim of cancel culture. Did a musician get accused of sexual assault? Another victim of cancel culture. These are not hyperbolic examples; these are all real situations in which the “cancel culture” buzzword has been implicated. I’m sure you have realized at this point that the three situations listed are quite unrelated, and that’s the problem: a past tweet does not hold the same gravitas as a rape accusation. Rather than put them in the same conversation, the rational thing to do is to look at each incident individually and decide for yourself if you want to support these people and companies. Yet the cancel culture discussion abstracts the details of each respective incident and defaults to the position that the celebrity is receiving unfair consequences.
This abstraction has been completely intentional and subsequently weaponized to shield people, usually in positions of power, from legitimate criticism. One recent example of cancel culture is the Gina Carano and Disney situation. Gina Carano was an actress for the highly popular, and quite good, Star Wars show The Mandalorian. An outspoken conservative, Carano was ultimately fired by Disney after posting a photo of Jewish people running from death squads during the Holocaust and comparing that persecution to being hated for having “different political views.” Naturally, this firing came after a big push on Twitter to #CancelDisneyPlus. After she was fired, there was of course a counter push, mostly by conservatives, to end cancel culture. Defendants of Carano cite the age-old argument claiming that its horrible to cancel someone just for having a different opinion. Notice how the idea of anti-semitism suddenly left the conversation?
That’s arguably the most common reason people give for why cancel culture is wrong, and simultaneously the reason I say it does not exist. The conversation always gets abstracted into “they got silenced just for having a different opinion.” Well then tell us the opinion. It’s an easy point to make because all you have to do is hide behind saying “different opinion,” then nobody will know why someone got canceled, only that they did and that it was unfair. That different opinion could be that Trump supporters experience the same level of persecution as Jews did during the Holocaust or that pineapple belongs on pizza.
Opinions can be wrong and harmful. Despite all the consensus against it, I could say “murder is a good thing” and it is still technically an opinion. It’s just a horrible, uneducated, and dangerous opinion. The problem with being canceled over “having a different opinion” is that the phrase doesn’t actually tell us anything. It doesn’t mean anything. It tells us that someone is facing consequences and then omits what warranted those consequences, giving the illusion that the consequences are unfitting.
Those perpetuating the cancel culture narrative omit it because the incident is often either racist, sexist, or something equally offensive. Another recent example is Dr. Seuss getting canceled. People were absolutely livid that The Left would go so far as to taking Dr. Seuss off the shelves. Cancel culture had truly gone too far, nobody was safe. Except that isn’t what happened. What happened was that, after months of discussion, Dr. Seuss Enterprises, which was founded by Dr. Seuss’s family, decided to cease publishing six Dr. Seuss books because they included some racist stereotypes and caricatures. They announced that “ceasing sales of these books is only part of our commitment and our broader plan to ensure Dr. Seuss Enterprises’ catalog represents and supports all communities and families” (AP News). Truly the downfall of society.
The irony is that so many of these scenarios are simply just business decisions. Gina Carano was making a product called The Mandalorian. Consumers then decided they wouldn’t buy the product because of Carano’s ignorant posts. The company, Disney, decided to terminate her employment because it was going to hurt the company. That isn’t cancel culture. That’s the free market. Boycotts have existed for decades and, if anything, cancel culture is just a glorified boycott exaggerated into somehow being the end of western civilization.
The cancel culture narrative is just a tool by the elite to gain sympathy and maintain dominance over the public. Why isn’t it cancel culture when Amazon workers are fired for attempting to unionize? Why isn’t it cancel culture when people bring up George Floyd’s past drug possession charges to justify the police murdering him? Our attention should be towards helping the socially and economically disadvantaged peoples in this country and all cancel culture does is distract from that. When celebrities are canceled they still live comfortable lives. Carano’s net worth is currently reported at $8.5 million (Celeb Net Worth). I honestly struggle to name a public figure whose career is completely over because they were unfairly canceled. Either you have people like Kevin Spacey, who can’t land roles anymore because he sexually assaulted someone, or you have people like James Gunn, who was briefly fired by Disney for several offensive jokes he tweeted many years ago. One of those people absolutely deserved to be canceled, the other one is directing the new Suicide Squad movie.
A response must be given to mass shootings in the US, however, this response should not be gun control.
By Katelyn McCarthy
Most every high-profile instance of gun violence in America is followed by press conferences and social media posts assuring the viewer that an individual’s “thoughts and prayers” are with the victims. The sentiment of thoughts and prayers, however, has become the “please” to our “yes.” It follows so unthinkingly as to have lost all meaning.
In itself, the promising of prayers to be said in the aftermath of a tragedy is the most efficacious course of action, presupposing, of course, that prayers are actually said. The commending of one’s thoughts to an individual, however, while courteous, doesn’t actually accomplish anything, except, perhaps, to stir one to a course of action.
Some do have a course of action: gun control. The best way to stop gun violence, they argue, is by removing guns, or at least limiting them. The fewer guns there are, the fewer shootings there will be. But is this true?
The concept of gun control cannot be effective because it functions like a bandage placed over a festering wound. On the outside, everything looks smooth and healthy. Underneath, however, there is serious decay.
One sometimes hears the slogan that “Guns don’t kill people—people kill people.” Slogans, of course, are not arguments. But this one offers a valuable point. No firearm ever picked itself up, pointed itself at someone, and pulled its own trigger. A person does that. A broken person. “So,” one might say, “if we take his gun away, our problem will be solved!”
Here is a second slogan for your consideration: “If guns are outlawed, only outlaws will have guns.” Advocates of abortion and marijuana make the same claim: abortions will occur and marijuana will be purchased even if they’re illegal, they say, so they should be legal. This logic, though, is faulty. That an act will be performed despite its illegality is not grounds for the act becoming legal. People are going to drink and drive even if it’s illegal, but that doesn’t mean it should be legal.
In the case of gun ownership, however, the fact that guns will still be had even if they are illegal is all the more reason that they should stay legal. If guns are outlawed, one would expect that law-abiding citizens, not criminals or lunatics, would be the ones to turn their guns in. Then, when the criminal or lunatic decided to deploy his illegal gun on innocent people, the innocent people would have little with which to defend themselves. But isn’t this, at least in certain areas of the country, already the case?
One might think here about the tactics one is taught to employ should one find oneself in an active shooting: locking doors, shutting windows, blocking entrances, hiding under tables. But why must we be trained to act as sheep in the presence of a wolf? Would not sheep be more likely to survive the wolf if the sheep were not sheep but, say, bears? Rather than instructing someone on how to hide from a shooter, wouldn’t it be better to teach him how to shoot, too?
The best way to stop bad guys with guns is good guys with guns. There will always be bad guys, and if they want guns, they will get them. Such is the nature of the criminal underworld. Outlawing guns would only put innocent people at the mercy of criminals.
Teaching law-abiding citizens how to protect themselves with firearms is not, however, the ultimate solution. A culture that totally disregards the value of human life, that pays little heed to one’s moral accountability to God, and that denies a significant portion of children a healthy home environment is not one in the best position for creating healthy people. The way to end gun violence is to foster a culture that instills good values, instead of the principles of relativism, secularism, and excessive individualism, in children and adults alike.
Recent allegations of child sex crimes against Florida Congressman Matt Gaetz highlights a pattern of politcians being excused for sexual misconduct.
By Brent Dondalski
Over the past few weeks, reports have come out detailing how Congressman Matt Gaetz (R-FL 1st District) allegedly trafficked and had sex with “underage women,” as the media sometimes calls them, which are more popularly known as children. The accusations include a myriad of crimes, including paying for flights for these children, exchanging money for sex, and even requesting a preemptive pardon from Trump. While Matt Gaetz denies the validity of these reports, the evidence is embarrassingly abundant and also exposes a larger trend of apathy towards sex crimes when they are committed by powerful individuals.
Though the investigation is ongoing, mountains of evidence are already piling up against Matt Gaetz. This is stemming from an investigation into Florida politician and close friend of Gaetz, Joel Greenberg, who was indicted on multiple sex trafficking and sex crime charges. The same morning that The New York Times broke this story, rumors emerged about Matt Gaetz retiring from Congress so he can take on a role at Newsmax, an organization that spreads right-wing misinformation. Gaetz already seemed ready for the controversy coming his way.
One of Gaetz’ bizarre defenses against these allegations is that he claims he has been very generous towards his past partners and that the hotel rooms and flights he’s paid for were for a past girlfriend or girlfriends who were definitely of age. Gaetz seems to acknowledge that these excursions took place, with the only disputed fact being of the woman’s or women’s age. In an interview with Tucker Carlson, Gaetz also denied having photos taken of him with child prostitutes, which is strange considering he was never actually accused of this.
Additionally, it’s been reported that Gaetz at one point sought a blanket pardon from Trump, whom he has been a staunch defender of, even through his worst scandals. I’m pretty sure innocent people don’t ask to be pardoned from crimes they think they’ll be convicted of in the future.
The most damning evidence comes from Gaetz’ past Venmo transactions. In May 2018, Gaetz sent $900 to Joel Greenberg, with the description of the transaction reading “Hit up _____.” However, instead of a blank, he wrote the nickname of an 18 year old girl, who, along with two other girls, then received a payment from Greenburg. In fact, for a couple of men approaching their forties Greenburg and Gaetz seem to have a eyebrow-raising amount of interactions with really young women on the Venmo platform. Seminole County auditors took note of these transactions, and found similarly questionable transactions amounting to over $300,000 between the two politicians.
This is just the tip of the iceberg. These are a few key pieces of evidence belonging to a much more extensive investigation. At this point Matt Gaetz is looking pretty guilty, however, he is just one example of a politician committing a sex crime. Issues of sexual assault and sex trafficking are made worse when surrounding politicians, pundits, and journalists are quick to defend such indefensible actions. In his interview with Matt Gaetz, Tucker Carlson began by admitting he had not prepared any questions for the interview and that Gaetz was invited on simply to “tell us what the truth is from [Gaetz’] perspective.” Of course, finding new ways to spit on journalistic integrity is nothing new for Fox News, but this invitation to have an accused rapist get on stage and tell us whatever “the truth” is reveals just how apathetic journalists can be towards issues of sex crimes.
Of course, this attitude is very much partisan. Fox News would certainly have no issue running a story on trafficking allegations if they were made towards a Democrat. Conversely, more moderate-liberal news outlets might be reluctant to seriously report on allegations made towards prominent Democrat politicians. Joe Biden was accused of sexual assault by Tara Reade, and the story struggled to pick up mainstrem traction from moderate-liberal outlets. Donald Trump has his very obvious history of misogyny and sexual assault.
It seems we as a society have almost accepted that sex crimes come with the package of being president. In fact, you could extend this logic to politicians too. It feels like people almost expect politicians to carry a certain questionable history. Is this attitude surprising though?
Sexual assault is normalized. Apathy towards sex trafficking is normalized. Predatory behavior, especially by older men, is normalized. The solution to cases like the Matt Gaetz scandal doesn’t solely lie within a conviction, which would be legal accountability, but also starts with attacking problematic attitudes as a form of cultural accountability. We saw shades of this with the #MeToo movement in Hollywood, which forced Harvey Weinstein and other Hollywood personnel to finally face the consequences of their actions.
We can’t just point our finger once someone is accused or convicted of a crime. We must scrutinize behavior that normalizes sexual assault. That means when Matt Gaetz tweets “I say we change Florida’s welcome signs to this” in response to a tweet reading “there’s no age that you can’t be be sexy,” we can’t look away. When Nick Fuentes, a conservative streamer who is either a Neo-Nazi or friends with a lot of Neo-Nazis, can tweet “17 years old? What is even the big deal” and still keep his blue checkmark from Twitter, we can’t look away. When the president brags on a radio show about not getting consent, we can’t look away.
When people engage in behavior that disrespects victims of sexual assault, often times they’re telling on themselves. Matt Gaetz being the only “NO” vote on a 2017 anti-human trafficking bill is as symbolic as it is disgusting. I can only imagine what skeletons Nick Fuentes has in his closet if he’s willing to come out as pro-statutory rape. We must pay close attention to all the red flags that pop up in someone’s behavior and be willing to scrutinize them intensely since these behaviors are paving the way for sexual assault. If you can’t confront a culture that encourages misogyny and sexual misconduct, especially within the elite and powerful, then holding them legally accountable will be infinitely more difficult.
In response to recent mass shootings the majority of Americans are calling for gun reform, yet politicians continue to ignore the calls.
By Riley Mulcahy
Last year, when the COVID-19 pandemic first started, there was a silence in America. This silence became a welcomed respite for a country that has struggled to contain gun violence for decades, however with states beginning to open up; there has been a resurgence of mass shootings in America. Many news outlets define the term “Mass Shooting” as a shooting that involves four or more victims. Just in 2021 alone, there have been more than 120 mass shootings across the country, and we are not even five months into the year.
America has a domestic terrorism problem, and the solution is not as tricky as politicians in Washington want you to believe. There need to be universal background checks, a ban on assault, military-style weapons that are often used for shootings, and more education on mental health. Republicans argue that humans are responsible for the shooting, not the gun. Although this sounds logical in theory, that is where it ends. We do not hear reports of mass stabbings or mass beatings that result in dozens dead. People struggling with mental illness should not have access to guns, and the general public should not have access to firearms that have one use: to kill enemies without the need to reload your weapon.
Even when little kids have died from gun violence, there is a lack of action amongst politicians. In 2012, Americans thought that maybe a gunman going into Sandy Hook elementary school and killing innocent students might affect some change. However, the most action that there has been in regards to Sandy Hook is conspiracy theorists such as Alex Jones going after victims and calling them “crisis actors.”
When high schoolers took action after the 2018 Parkland High School shooting, there was a feeling that something might happen. Instead, students again were attacked and told to “learn CPR instead of marching” by disgraced former Senator (R-PA) Rick Santorum. The process of enacting meaningful change will ruffle a few feathers, but Santorum’s statement is not a few feathers. Sadly, it shows how America views the Second Amendment and guns in this country, that firearms and the protection of assault-style weapons are more important than innocent children’s lives.
How do we go forward? Although there are actionable steps, it has been discouraging to see Washington’s lack of legislative progress. Gun control is needed in a country that cannot control Americans by shooting innocent Americans, and we have reached that point. Even though Democrats won back the government in 2020, if we do not end the filibuster, any meaningful laws will be at the hands of the Republicans, hands that have blood on them. Senator Joe Manchin of West Virginia, a Democrat, came out in the last weeks denouncing any filibuster reform, which means gun reform will likely die on the Senate floor. Even though he lost the election, Minority Leader McConnell is smiling. He knows that he has the votes to block gun reform, which considering the NRA’s influence in Republican politics, is a massive win for him. The minority party should not have the power to change the American people’s will, especially when there are lives at stake.
The majority of Americans want gun reform. Eighty million people voted for Biden under the pretense that real change would finally happen with gun reform, correcting America’s racial inequalities and an end to the COVID-19 pandemic. When everyone is struggling, there is a need to become bold in protecting American citizens, not shy away from it due to old archaic and racist rules such as the filibuster and the electoral college. America has the right to vote for America’s vision every four years, and the current administration mustn’t take responsibility for granted.
If anyone is the blame for COVID-19 vaccine hesitancy amongst Americans its politicians who have exploited the vaccine for their political agendas.
By Emmanuel Simon
Many Americans are ecstatic that COVID-19 vaccines are becoming more widely available for the general public, thinking that the world can finally return back to normal once enough people are vaccinated. Yet, there are a minority of Americans who remain skeptical of whether they should get the COVID-19 vaccine in its current form. Given the utter inconsistency of how America was and is handling the vaccine, I don’t blame them.
Many of us still remember current Vice President Kamala Harris’ words and attitude regarding the development of the COVID-19 vaccine during her Vice-Presidential debate with Pence. “If Dr. Fauci, if the doctors tell us that we should take [the COVID-19 vaccine], I’ll be the first in line to take it, absolutely. If Donald Trump tells us we should take it, I’m not taking it.” Vice President Harris has severely damaged the vaccine’s credibility since most of its development was done under the Trump administration. Yet, even though Trump advocates for others to get vaccinated, Harris still decided to get the vaccine.
Furthermore, the governor of New York, Governor Andrew Cuomo, has also damaged the credibility of the vaccine prior to the Biden/Harris administration. In an interview, the governor is recorded saying, “you’re going to say to the American people now, ‘here’s a vaccine, it was new, it was done quickly, but trust this federal administration and their health administration that it’s safe? And we’re not one-hundred-percent sure of the consequences.’ I think it’s going to be a very skeptical American public about taking the vaccine, and they should be.” Here, the governor seems to have a point, the vaccine is new, was done quickly, and we’re not one-hundred-percent sure of its consequences. Hence, the CDC claims, “...The FDA and CDC continue to monitor Vaccine safety to make sure even long-term side effects are identified.” In other words, the CDC and FDA have to pay attention to the vaccine in order to learn more about the short and long term side effects, implying that they don’t know what all the side effects are. But because they do not know all the side effects of the vaccine, it logically follows that they do not know whether some of the side effects are more deadly than the virus itself! There is, therefore, good reason to be skeptical of the vaccine in its current state. But now, Governor Cuomo flopped on the issue. On April 1st, the governor took pride in the fact that more than 9.5 million total COVID-19 vaccine doses have been administered across New York. One would hope that Cuomo’s utter inconsistency is merely an April fools joke rather than a failure to properly reason.
One who is skeptical about taking the vaccine might wonder how it was that Vice President Harris and Governor Cuomo felt more comfortable with taking and administering the vaccine. Former President Trump advocates for people to take the vaccine, so why did Harris decide to take it, given her stance? What made Cuomo more certain that there is nothing to fear in receiving the vaccine? One wonders whether there was anything to fear in the first place and whether Harris and Cuomo merely put on an act to show their disgust and disapproval with Trump. If such is the case, then Harris and Cuomo were and are playing politics with people’s lives.
But, giving Harris and Cuomo the benefit of the doubt, let’s suppose that the skepticism toward the vaccine was justifiable six months ago. Is it still justifiable now?
Well, let’s see. One might think that those who get both doses of the vaccine no longer have to be masked since such persons would be immune to the virus. Apparently, that's not the case. We are told that one can still be a carrier of the virus even if one is vaccinated and does not feel any symptoms. For that reason, one must remain masked. Furthermore, according to the ‘experts’, the vaccine isn’t fully effective, and therefore one might be able to get sick from the virus. For this reason, one must continue to act as if one were an asymptomatic carrier of the virus. Again, to echo Cuomo’s earlier words, we don’t even know whether the benefits of the vaccine outweigh its side effects. Finally, at our college, students who are either vaccinated or unvaccinated still need to take a COVID-19 test. Looking at all these facts, it should be obvious that there isn’t any benefit for people who aren’t at risk to take the vaccine, since one still has to live as if one were not vaccinated, and, as seen earlier from the CDC’s implication, the long term effects of the current vaccines are unknown, and therefore may or may not be more detrimental than COVID-19 itself. We just don’t know.
Personally, I’m not even against getting a COVID-19 vaccine. If I am given an opportunity to receive the vaccine and I think it prudent to take it at that given moment, I see no reason why I shouldn’t get it. But, those skeptical about taking the vaccine make a powerful case as to why one should be skeptical, and their justifications shouldn’t go unnoticed. Their reasons have persuaded me to wait a bit longer before taking the vaccine, and, until their justifications are no longer valid, I see no reason why any person not at risk of the virus should hurry to take the vaccine.
Harris on taking the Trump Administration’s Vaccine: https://twitter.com/ABC/status/1314013262082723840?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw%7Ctwcamp%5Etweetembed%7Ctwterm%5E1314013262082723840%7Ctwgr%5E%7Ctwcon%5Es1_&ref_url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.businessinsider.com%2Fkamala-harris-rejects-a-coronavirus-vaccine-from-trump-2020-10
Cuomo on COVID Vaccine skepticism:
Link from the CDC including a section on serious, long-term, or unknown side effects:
Attending therapy is not a sign of weakness but instead is a beneficial and empowering form of help that all people, regardless of their personal circumstances, can benefit from.
By Lenin O’Mahony
For many people growing up, the word therapy had a lot of negative stereotypes and assumptions to describe the process. Some individuals may be worried that others might think they are crazy for going to therapy, or that there's something wrong with them. This is especially true for men, who are told they should just “man up” or pull it together instead of going to therapy. I mean, it’s the man's job to lead, right? It's his job to take charge, make the decisions, be firm and confident. But a man who goes to therapy, who needs to work through his emotions can’t simultaneously be strong and a good leader, right? In truth, the opposite is true.
Therapy is a key tool for individuals to address their fears, anxieties, worries, and emotional frustration in a healthy way. To actually become the strong and healthy leaders they want to be, no matter their gender. Therapists help people think about why they behave or react in certain ways, and work with them to break down why those things are happening and how they can be addressed and worked on. Men should not be afraid to go to therapy, to get the help they need. Stigmas around therapy hurt many people, and keep them from living full and joyful lives. People should not be forced to remain in negative mindspaces and stress when often, there is an answer that can help them.
One of the biggest reasons people I know refuse to attend therapy isn’t just worries about judgement and the opinions of their peers, it's being forced to admit that they need help. Often today we try to make as many excuses for ourselves as we can, that we were just raised a certain way, that we just don’t like something, or that something isn’t that big of a deal.
But then our relationships suffer, our habits remain unhealthy, and we don’t succeed in becoming the person we seek to embody. Ignoring our problems because we do not like the solution seems crazy, but that often happens because of the judgement around therapy. Accepting that we have imperfections is often the first step in the journey of improving those issues and living happier lives. Therapy can help anyone through almost anything. Therapy isn’t just for people who have diagnosed mental health struggles, or people who experienced trauma.
Someone from a happy family with a good job and plenty of friends can still benefit from therapy. The truth is, no matter how great your life is, you aren’t going to be perfect. At some point in your life something will come up and you might not know where to turn, or how to address this unforeseen struggle, and that is where therapy can help. Therapy helps us break down our emotions, difficult situations, and make smart and healthy decisions during times of stress or frustration. No one will have a life that is an easy breeze, without any kind of anxiety. Being open to turning to therapy and getting help makes us better people, it helps us be strong and confident individuals. We should let go of our society's stigmas around therapy and realize that anyone can and should attend therapy in order to get them the help they might need.
Author’s Note: If you are a SMC student and want to look into possible sessions through the college, feel free to reach out to the CAPS center through the Saint Mary’s website.
The MLB’s Baseless Response to Georgia’s Voting Law
By Katelyn McCarthy
An increasing regularity in American life is the accusation of various discriminations employed against any given group by some law, corporate action, or tweet dug up from 10 years ago. A recent example is the hullabaloo regarding The Election Integrity Act of 2021 signed into law in Georgia on March 25. The bill, it is claimed, is modern voter suppression tantamount to a second Jim Crow. But, after having read the bill, I suspect that individuals making such assertions have not actually done the same.
If you have heard of the bill, it has likely been under a headline that reads something like, “Racist Georgia Bill Denies Water to Voters.” Such a statement is grossly erroneous. The bill specifically states that poll workers may “mak[e] available self-service water from an unattended receptacle to an elector waiting in line to vote” (33.3). The statement that people may not give “any money or gifts, including, but not limited to, food and drink, to an elector” (33.a) is in the context of an individual doing so so as to solicit votes. The media pundits, however, won’t tell you this. If you don’t believe me, check the bill: Section 33, Article A.
The bill, moreover, attempts to ease voter discomfort by shortening lines and waiting times. It does this by allowing either for the division of precincts of 2,000 or more voters if voters in such precincts have to wait in line at the poll for longer than an hour or for the supplying of the precinct with more voting equipment or poll workers. Surely, this cannot be described as discouraging voters from voting and forcing them to wait in long lines, can it?
Another complaint is that the bill closes polls at 5PM, before many people have gotten off of work. People who argue thusly fail to mention that this is applicable only for advance voting and that hours can be extended until 7PM. Notification of polling times and locations must be provided at least two weeks before advance voting begins, as well. If you can get to the dentist, the doctor’s, or the library before 5-7PM, then you can get to a polling place, too.
Some lament that drop boxes, while provided for in the bill, are not as prevalent as they would like. They fail to note that this actually makes voting easier in Georgia than it had previously been. Drop boxes did not exist in Georgia prior to the pandemic. The Georgia Assembly is, therefore, taking an extraordinary practice developed due to the extraordinary situation of the pandemic and extending it into non-pandemic times. Expansion of voting places equals voter suppression? Only on opposite day.
The final major complaint is of the age-old topic: voter I.D. In order to cast an absentee ballot in Georgia, an individual must prove identification verification, like a driver’s license or an I.D. card. Such a policy for absentee voting isn’t restrictive—it’s common sense. A fair election is one in which everyone who wants and is eligible to vote votes once and under their own name. The process of mailing a ballot to an individual is certainly apt to be exploited by the unscrupulous. Voter I.D. laws help rout out those who try to cheat the system, not prevent people of color from voting.
Every one of these policies applies to white people just as much as it does to people of color. Ultimately, those who claim that the bill is racist are themselves promoting a “soft” racism by implying that African Americans are less capable than people of other ethnicities of turning their paperwork in on time and being able to prove that they are who they say they are. The bill is meant to discourage voter fraud and establish a uniform election system so as to count votes accurately, securely, and swiftly. Can such a goal legitimately be described as racist?
The MLB seems to think so. Over Democrat backlash against the law, the MLB pulled its scheduled all-star game from Georgia and relocated it to Colorado. “Major League Baseball fundamentally supports voting rights for all Americans and opposes restrictions to the ballot box,” MLB commissioner Rob Manfred stated. His statement is wonderful, except for the fact that the bill at which it is aimed has nothing at all to do with setting up “restrictions to the ballot box.”
Sports exist to encourage athletic development, entertainment, and the unification of a people with goodwill. The international Olympics are a case in point. Sports are now, however, becoming leftist tools caving to small but vocal mobs to contradict the entirely reasonable will of a democratically elected assembly and governor.
Senator Marco Rubio wrote to Commissioner Manfred to point out an interesting hypocrisy. “Will Major League Baseball,” he wrote, “now end its engagement with nations that do not hold elections at all like China and Cuba? Will you end your lucrative financial relationship with Tencent, a company with deep ties to the Communist Party and actively helps the Chinese Government hunt down and silence political dissidents? Since Major League Baseball now appears eager to use its “platform” to demonstrate “unwavering support” for fundamental human rights, will you cease your relationship with the Chinese Government, which at this very moment is committing genocide against the Uyghurs Muslims in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region (XUAR)?”
The answer, Senator Rubio correctly decides, is, “No.” The MLB’s action, thusly, does not signal virtue. It signals nothing except, perhaps, that they might need to hire lawyers who can read a bill before they make a misguided decision. I suggest that, as the MLB relocates to Colorado, fair-minded MLB fans relocate from the MLB to sports organizations that do not make unfounded political judgments.
Opinion Columnists Katelyn McCarthy and Emmanuel Simon debate whether or not capital punishment should remain a form of justice. McCarthy argues in opposition of the death penalty, Simon argues in support.
Pro: The Place for Mercy, An Argument in Opposition to the Death Penalty
Although some crimes could warrant a sentencing of death, capital punishment is not the best decision to achieve lasting and humane justice.
By Katelyn McCarthy
The death penalty, when applied to duly-convicted criminals guilty of heinous crimes, is perfectly just. It is not a “wrong” decision. But that does not mean that it is the best one.
While not an intrinsic evil, the death penalty no longer serves a pragmatic purpose. In present-day America, criminals can be housed and the public kept safe at the same time. According to the U.S. Bureau of Justice Statistics, in 2013 there were 10.5 escapes from prison for every 10,000 prisoners. That’s a rate of .105%. Applied to the entirety of the prison population in America, that’s about .24% (and almost none, if not none, will be prisoners who are on death row). 1.93% of those who have been sentenced to death since 1973, on the other hand, have been innocent (Voice of America News). A person brought to court, then, is more likely to be wrongly sentenced to death than is a prisoner to escape from jail.
The death penalty, moreover, does not seem to be a deterrent to crime. Of the 18 states (including Washington D.C.) with the highest murder rates (of 6.2 or more deaths per 100,000 people), four have abolished the death penalty, while 14 retain it. Of the 11 states with the lowest murder rates (of 3.1 or fewer deaths per 100,000 people), 8 have abolished the death penalty, one has a moratorium on the practice, and 2 retain it. The homicide rates in most states, regardless of their stances on the death penalty, are, however, relatively even across the board, suggesting that there are other factors than the existence or lack thereof of the death penalty that impact them.
Some argue that, because the state has the right to administer justice, the penalty of death is one that can be decided for certain crimes. This argument presupposes the existence of an infallible justice system. According to a recent study, “[O]f every death sentence handed down since 1973 – more than 9,600 in all...185 death row inmates had been exonerated after being wrongfully convicted, 11 more than previously known.” (Voice of America News). In a time and place in which an innocent person can be spared while a guilty one can be securely locked in prison, due concern for the dignity of human life might suggest that the death penalty be discarded for a more prudent option.
Others argue that the taxpaying public ought not to have to provide for the sustenance of a criminal and that, should his crime fit the bill, he should be executed so as to relieve them from their expenditure. One can never justify the taking of a human life, even if one lived monstrously, on monetary grounds. The life of even the lowest criminal could not be given up for the sake of all of the money in the world. No person is a means to an end, no matter if that end be fiscal gain. Similarly, one can never execute a criminal out of vengeance. Doing so makes the executing party little better than the convict.
There are crimes, however, for which death is a fair punishment. There is a proper place for justice. But does that mean that there is no place for mercy? The judicial decision as to what sentence to hand down to an outlaw should not be seen as one between the two options of death and serving time. Rather, it is a decision between justice and mercy. That is not to say that criminals should get off scot-free, but that the harshest punishment they receive should not be execution. It is entirely true that a genocidal maniac deserves to die. But can we not take a higher course of action than giving to him what he deserves, especially seeing as the prison system of today is effective? Life imprisonment without the possibility of parole in a system that can dole out such a sentence securely seems a just punishment.
It would be ludicrous for an opponent of the death penalty to argue that the justice system ought to try to turn criminals into teddy bears. Perhaps—and hopefully—this will be true in some cases. But, as the public is no longer at the risk of danger from prisoners, whenever possible, those convicts who might otherwise be executed should be seen as souls to be saved rather than as outlaws to be disposed of.
After having built up a system that can house convicts effectively, perhaps we ought to look into better methods of reforming those criminals who can be reformed and withhold execution from those who otherwise would receive it, not because they deserve to have their life spared but precisely because they don’t. Our infrastructure has made the protection of the common good and mercy for the wrongdoer simultaneously achievable. A humane society should jump at the opportunity.
For more information regarding the research of this article please visit the links below.
Con: The Appropriate Justice for the Most Violent Crimes, A Defense of Capital Punishment
For the most violent and horrific crimes committed the death penalty is the only form of justifiable punishment in order to achieve justice for the victim and protect society from the perpetrator.
By Emmanuel Simon
On the evening of November 21, 1996, a man named William Mitchell abducted a 38 year-old woman from a parking lot after being released from prison for stabbing a woman to death. Mitchell drove the woman under a bridge, where he beat her with blows to the head, strangled her, and even sexually assaulted her vaginally and anally, causing severe damage to her vagina and anus. With the woman still alive, Mitchell ran over the woman several times with his car, crushing her skull, finally murdering her. In March 22, 2012, the State of Mississippi executed Mitchell a little over 13 years after his sentencing. Did Mitchell deserve the death penalty?
It is my position that the civil authority may lawfully exercise capital punishment on malefactors where this is truly necessary to preserve the existence of just order in societies, and thus the death penalty ought not be abolished. Preserving the just order within society can be done by means of punishment.
There are at least three aims or purposes of punishment. The first is retribution, where, for example, the state inflicts on an offender harm proportionate to his or her offense. Another purpose of punishment is correction, where the offender may be rehabilitated. Finally another purpose of punishment is deterrence, so that either the criminal and/or other people may not commit the same crime.
It can be said without controversy that punishments ought to be proportionate to the crime. For example, a rapist and murderer like Mitchell ought not to merely pay 10 dollars in order to pay necessary dues for his crime. Given this to be the case, it follows that some crimes are more grave than others, and therefore greater punishments ought to be administered to greater crimes, and lesser punishments to lesser crimes. But here, we must ask a question. Are there crimes that are so grave that only punishment through death is befitting?
Let us first examine the facts. There are crimes that are as grave as death, or even graver. In the case of Mitchell, not only did he abduct the 38 year-old woman after getting released from jail for stabbing a woman to death, but he also beat her, raped her, and finally, smashed her head over with a car until she died. What punishment is proportionate to such a crime? A year in jail? Five years? Ten? Maybe a lifetime? Well, if we are to take seriously one of the purposes of punishment, retribution, the answer is none of the above. In this particular case, the proportional punishment of the crime is death, and any other punishment fails to take seriously the principle of proportionality, making it merely arbitrary. Furthermore, such punishment may also be an occasion for deterrence, so that criminals who love their life more than crime know that they have been warned. Examining all this, we find that Mitchell’s case has nothing to do with how strong the American infrastructure of jails and prisons are, and everything to do with preserving the common good of a society. Abolishing the death penalty is therefore an attack on the common good.
Yet still there are those who want to abolish the death penalty. Let us look at some of the opposing arguments to see what they have to offer.
Some argue that because the state is not infallible in its judgments, it follows that the death penalty ought not to be administered, since innocent people can be wrongfully executed. Putting aside the ironic truth that those who propose this argument are also not infallible, and can therefore be mistaken in their judgment about the death penalty, such an argument merely calls for a prudential state, and not a call to abolish the death penalty itself. Thus, even if proponents of the death penalty concede to this argument, it does not follow that one ought to abolish the death penalty. Furthermore, if objectors to the death penalty wish to be consistent, then they must also apply this particular view of theirs to other forms of punishment, such as incarceration. For example, since the state is not infallible in its judgments, should we keep criminals in jail for a long time if they could be innocent? A society which accepts this way of reasoning quickly finds its way to insanity.
Other objectors might hold that because our prison system is so secure, there's no need to administer the death penalty, since a criminal can spend life in prison. Thus, the death penalty should be abolished. But these same objectors who wish to abolish the death penalty cannot, as already shown, take seriously one of the many ends of punishment, retribution. Thus, the principle of proportionality can only be arbitrary for these people, which, taken to its logical conclusion, leads to absurdities. For in this view there is no way to measure the grave matter of any crime. Furthermore and with great irony, Pope Francis himself writes in his Encyclical Fratelli Tutti, “I would link this to life imprisonment… A life sentence is a secret death penalty.” For the Holy Father, keeping a criminal in prison for life is practically the same as administering the death penalty. Such a view puts many advocates who wish to abolish the death penalty in an awkward position, since they would be substituting the death penalty for the death penalty.
Again, some argue to abolish the death penalty by arguing that it fails to permit rehabilitation or deterrence. Though this is not always true, especially in regards to deterrence, let us assume for a moment that the opposing view is right. So what? Because there are at least three ends to punishment, retribution being the most prominent for this debate, it does not necessarily matter whether punishment through the death penalty permits rehabilitation or deterrence, as long as at least one end of punishment is fulfilled. A magistrate who exercises the death penalty justly most certainly fulfills at least one of the ends of punishment, retribution. Thus, objectors who wish to abolish the death penalty must show that capital punishment does not fulfill any of the proposed ends of punishment.
Finally, there are some well-meaning Catholics who call for the abolition of Capital Punishment on the grounds that it is up to God, the most just judge, to keep a man alive or to take his life away. The state therefore should not judge whether a criminal ought to live or not. Thus, so the argument goes, the death penalty ought to be abolished. Yet these same people who make this argument fear to take it to its logical conclusion. If it is ultimately God’s decision as to whether a man ought to live, and neither man nor the state ought to interfere, why not do away with doctors and medical care? For all we know, doctors, according to the logical conclusion of this pro-abolition argument, are hindering God’s will, keeping a man alive when God potentially wants the man dead! But surely, Catholics with even an ounce of reason know that God does not work in this way. In most cases, God works through his people, and thus we have doctors who care for the life of the patient. Similarly, God can work through the state, and for this reason, St. Paul, inspired by the Holy Spirit, notes that the magistrate is the minister or deacon (διάκονός) of God, not bearing the sword in vain, thereby refuting those who wish to abolish the death penalty. Thus, just as a good doctor brings about health to the body through medicine, so too may a just magistrate bring about health to the body politic through punishment. It is for this reason that the Author of Life writes, “Whoever sheds the blood of man, by man shall his blood be shed, for man is made in the image and likeness of God.”
Though I currently take the negative position on abolishing the death penalty, I too wish that one day, we no longer need to use the death penalty. Indeed, I can only hope for a time where there is no longer injustice, where love of God and neighbor reign in the hearts of men. Yet that is not the world we live in today, and until we do, the death penalty remains as an admissible form of punishment.
For more details of Mitchell’s history, murder, trial, and prosecution, see
Morgan, a “Journalist” leaves “Good Morning Britain” after attacking Meghan Markle on-air. Morgan’s outburst displays his unprofessionalism and lack of empathy to Markle, and other victims of mental health. Morgan was not “canceled” but instead his removal is justifiable.
By Riley Mulcahy
In his latest round of insensitive comments, British commentator Piers Morgan delivered a scathing review of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s recent Oprah Winfrey. In the interview, Markle laid out accusations of racism and harassment against “The Firm” and the Royal Family members. Morgan, known for his stints as an editor and writer at various British tabloids and his CNN show “Piers Morgan Tonight,” is known for stirring up controversial opinions for ratings. While at his position at The Daily Mail, it has now been alleged that Morgan participated in and encouraged the illegal tactic of phone hacking to get dirt on celebrities. Morgan also was a judge on the Simon Cowell-produced “America’s Got Talent”.
Markle and Morgan were once friends; however, just like his show on CNN, Morgan’s friendship with Markle evaporated quickly. Morgan feels slighted by Markle and has called her a “social climber” who ghosted her friends. Regardless of his personal feelings, Morgan is supposed to be a journalist who should separate his own personal feelings of a celebrity at that particular moment. Obviously, Morgan has not read the handbook on journalism because, after being questioned about his comments on-air, he walked off set and out of his job at “Good Morning Britain.” Since he has continuously been placing himself as the victim, claiming to be an advocate for “free speech.”
In her interview with Oprah Winfrey Markle accused the Royal Family of having concerns about the color of the skin of her and Prince Harry’s son Archie when she was pregnant. Markle is biracial, and the “concern” of skin color allegedly made by a member of the British Royal Family is extremely bigotted, and racist. By speaking out Markle has been put at a disadvantage, forced to face the repeated criticisms of institutionalists who will defend one of the most powerful families in the world and a corrupt system.
The allegations made by Markle and Prince Harry are severe, and for Morgan to negate them based on a personal difference is ridiculous. Should there be an independent investigation of Markle’s claims and chance for the truth to come out? Absolutely. However, for Morgan to verbally attack Markle for sharing her experience as a Black woman, unless proven false, looks bad only on Morgan and the British press. Morgan’s support of the British royals is only based on attacking Markle for telling her truth, invalidating her experiences as a Black woman. He does not even acknowledge that there could be anything wrong with the royals’ behavior.
Although his comments did not go over well in most social circles, Morgan has an ardent defender: Sharon Osbourne. Osbourne, a talk show host, and manager to her husband Ozzy Osbourne, used her platform on the CBS daytime show “The Talk” to defend her longtime friend on air. Osbourne pointed to Morgan’s dislike of Markle and remarked that she “did not know what he has said that is racist.” In an odd moment, Osbourne then said she felt like “I am going to be put in the electric chair” for her defense of Morgan.
Osbourne then accused the talk show of setting her up by asking her questions that she was not prepared for, and mischaracterizing her other cohost’s reaction to Morgan’s outburst. The problem with Osbourne’s argument is that the vile things Morgan has uttered over the years have been well documented over the years, showing a pattern of Morgan’s behavior. Also, defending someone who openly degrades a Black woman is defending bigotry. Osbourne’s show is on indefinite hiatus due to the controversy.
Britain is going through what America has for the last several years, a reckoning of understanding that society has routinely degraded people of color throughout history. Morgan deserved to lose his job, and no, this is not “cancel culture” coming after a celebrity. When a person is vulnerable and sharing their story on national television, the first thought should not be, “this person is a complete liar.” No one will truly know what went on with Markle and the Royal Family, however, when reporting on the news, a journalist should stick to what is being reported, not bash the victim and then try to play the victim themselves. It does not work that way.
Victoria Vidales '21,