DeGeneres, Bush outcry indicative of political climate

This month pictures surfaced online of famous Hollywood talk show host Ellen DeGeneres sitting and laughing with former President George Bush at a Dallas Cowboys game against the Green Bay Packers.

With such a difference in opinions (DeGeneres being liberal as they come as well as a lesbian, and Bush a Republican) criticisms quickly flooded in, decrying DeGeneres for somehow compromising her principles by simply sitting next to someone whose opinions differ from her own. These conclusions quickly reached by critics are indicative of the political climate today.

Why should it be such a big deal that a liberal sat next to a conservative? Why is it that people are so angry that two people were able to set aside their politics and come together to enjoy a football game without constantly making everything political?

People should be able to be friends without politics getting in the way. One of thr main reasons our country is so critically divided along party lines is that people have stopped being friendly with one another when their opinions differ. People no longer care about civility, and politics has become the hill on which friendships and common courtesy die.

DeGeneres talked about the outcry against her actions by saying, “Here’s the thing: I’m friends with George Bush, and in fact, I’m friends with a lot of people who don’t share the same beliefs that I have … Just because I don’t agree with someone on everything doesn’t mean I’m not going to be friends with them.”

DeGeneres’s response is a refreshing return to the wild concept that people with different political beliefs can be friendly with one another, and that politics should not be the reason friendships end.

I may be a conservative, but I do not tend to let politics get in between me and my friends. I may think that the Second Amendment is the most critical amendment in the Bill of Rights, but I do not end friendships with people who think guns should be confiscated, and I hope my friends would show me the same courtesy. There is a time and place for everything, and the time and place for politics is not a Cowboys football game.

I think it is great that DeGeneres and the Bushes sat next to each other because it symbolizes what America needs in order to return to a world that truly emphasizes kindness and civility: the ability to cross party lines and sit down with a friend to enjoy a common interest without the stumbling block of politics getting in the way.

So, a call to action: sit down with someone who does not share your opinions. Laugh with them, eat a meal with them, be civil and friendly. Because until Americans can return to civility, politics will continue to consume our lives until one side gets the upper hand.

By Tess Perdue

Register to vote and save our democracy

As election season heats up, voter registration is coming closer to the forefront of the minds of many Americans. More than ever, with a country apparently split along party lines and policy issues, it is essential to maintain American democracy through our civic duty: voting, one of only a few ways that citizens can make their voices heard. In order to vote, you must register to vote.

In many states, and the District of Columbia, registration is available online through Vote.gov, though this does depend on each individual state’s legislation on the matter. In all states, though, you can register to vote in person, including at your state or local election office, the Department of Motor Vehicles, armed forces recruitment centers, local Democrat or Republican headquarters, or state and county public assistance offices. Check your local area to see what would be the most convenient for you.

Many students at Greensboro College, though, are far from their permanent residences. Several students are from states like Florida or Virginia, which makes it hard to get home and register during the school year. It is important to check to see whether you can register online with your state so you can save yourself a trip home.

Freshmen in particular who live in states other than North Carolina could register in North Carolina and then change later if they move out of Greensboro after their graduation. If students register, they can even apply for an absentee ballot and mail their vote in.

Even though it might sometimes be difficult to make it happen, it is crucial to the survival of our democracy that everyone, especially young people, register and eventually vote in every election. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, in 2016, 51% of young people (ages 18-24) reported registering to vote, with only 39% actually voting.

Every single American citizen must make their voice heard to make sure that our democracy is maintained. The voices of students in particular should be heard because even though they might be new to voting, their vote counts just as much as anyone else’s. Therefore, in order to maintain our democracy, the voices of all Americans, even young ones, must be heard.

Image courtesy of youthvote.org

To register to vote online, you can go to youthvote.org

By Tess Perdue

Bishop defeats McCready in N.C. special election

The special election in North Carolina’s 9th Congressional District came to a close Sept. 10 with Republican Dan Bishop’s narrow victory over Democrat Dan McCready. The election, which was held due to voter fraud in 2018, concluded with Bishop earning 96,000 votes and McCready earning 92,000, a difference of only 2 percent.

In the 2018 election, Republican Mark Harris went head to head with McCready in a district that has been red since the 1960s. Harris seemed to win by a narrow margin of 905 votes, but before the results could be confirmed, evidence surfaced of voter fraud. An investigation was held by the election board which concluded that an operative under Harris had illegally tampered with absentee ballots. The election results from 2018 were voided and a special election was ordered.

Once the special election was announced, Harris backed out, claiming health issues and a Republican primary determined Bishop would front the GOP’s campaign in opposition to McCready. McCready ran on a relatively moderate platform, promising to “always put country over party” and to seek bipartisan solutions to issues such as healthcare and education. Bishop branded himself as a “pro-life, pro-gun, pro-wall” conservative aligned firmly with President Trump and argued that his opponent would fall in line with other congressional representatives as Rep. Ilhan Omar and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortes.

Even Trump recognized the importance of the special election, traveling to Fayetteville on Sept. 9 to rally for Bishop, tweeting, “Big day in North Carolina tomorrow. Make sure you get out and VOTE for Dan Bishop in #NC09!” He asserted that victory in the 9th District would be crucial to winning more power for the GOP in congress, despite the House being majority democratic.

Bishop’s narrow victory in North Carolina’s 9th Congressional District may have implications for the 2020 election, but it also adds one more Republican to the House for that much more political sway.

Dan Bishop celebrates

By Tess Perdue

SGA president plans to unite students

Chance Bryant, newly elected Student Government Association (SGA) president, plans to unite Greensboro College students through his position.

Bryant, a junior, has been involved with various campus life activities the past two years. He served as a resident advisor and is the catcher for the Greensboro College baseball team.

Bryant says his current goal for SGA is to enhance the feel of a community. To do so, he would like to have more student body involvement throughout the campus, including combining clubs’ involvement for campus events.

Bryant commented on how he plans, with SGA, to dissolve campus division between athletes and non-athletes and create more of a united community.

“The divide between athletes and non- athletes is caused by ourselves, but SGA has a mix of both athlete and non-athletes to ensure a balanced voice to represent the students,” Bryant said.

Chance Bryant, SGA president

By Ashley Hawkes

9/11 memorial

Greensboro College’s Young Americans for Freedom (YAF) chapter held a memorial as part of the nationwide 9/11: Never Forget Project in commemoration of the victims of the terrorist attacks that occurred on Sept. 11, 2001. The event was held at 9:11 a.m. in front of Main Building on Greensboro College’s campus where students and faculty gathered for a moment of silence.

YAF members Ethan Wilson, Brent Omar and Thomas Atwell set up 300 flags on front campus of Greensboro College. These flags were provided and funded by Greensboro College’s SGA who recognized the chapter this fall semester after YAF recruited the required number of members to form a club. They are now up to 13 total Greensboro College members with Thomas Atwell as their chapter chairman, George Knight as vice-chairman and Tess Purdue as treasurer. YAF is committed to advocating for students with conservative views and values across campus and giving them a platform to voice their opinions.

The YAF foundation began the Never Forget Project in 2003 and since then over 200 schools nationwide have joined this tradition by putting up flags on their campuses. Originally Greensboro College’s YAF chapter wanted to put up 3,000 flags, inspired by the large numbers of flags put up in large universities also participating, but realized 300 was a more realistic number for the small campus.

For Thomas Atwell, a history major at Greensboro College, this event was very important as it not only was the first school- wide YAF event but according to Atwell, “reminds us of our goals as Americans to never forget the biggest attack on America and how unified it made us after.”

Thomas Atwell, chairman of YAF, junior, putting up American flags for the 9/11 memorial.

By Cristy Samano-Romo

The Most Diverse Race

For many years there have been issues regarding racism and racial inequality. The separation of races is seen all the time. Even in the school system, school officials make it an obligation to put the percentages of each different race. For Greensboro College, over half of the student population is Caucasian (52%), followed by African American(33%), Hispanic(2.7%), Asian (0.8%), and American Indian ( 0.3%) according to college factual undergraduate diversity breakdown.

Diversity tends to play an important role on school campuses, and students, for the most part, would like to see a diverse student population. Being able to experience many different cultures and activities from one’s own would be ideal. Race is a very subjective topic. One may think race refers to physical appearance, cultures/traditions, or even ancestry. Reverend brewer was interviewed regarding how he felt about the meaning of race from a religious perspective.

How would you define race?

I do believe that race is a mono-genesis.  We are one race, the human race.  Race is a construct used by people to control, subjugate, and oppress others.  We are all one family, one community, one world of people with diverse backgrounds, cultures, traditions, and skin tones, but we are all one human race.  In the beginning God created human beings in God’s own image and from that beginning human beings expanded, moved, and diversified.  We are all children of God and thus one human race.

If race was thought of from a mono-genesis perspective, would that somehow take away the diversity?

Saying that we are all one human race should also not negate the fact that we are diverse.  This diversity is of God.  We are called to be diverse, learn from each other, grow in our connections to each other, and understandings of each other.  I would not want the one human race to all be monolithic and thus make everyone conform to the same ways of being human.  Diversity is necessary and essential in being human.  Race (if it exists) is a way to describe our diversity

Based off of Rev. Brewers response about race, it was found that race can be viewed as a poly-genesis thing, meaning that there are many different ones. This is how race is typically viewed now by the vast majority. Race can also be viewed as mono-genesis, meaning that their is only one race. When thinking about race from a religious perspective, mono-genesis is often brought up. The idea that there is only one true race, the human race, which is also the most diverse race. There is a tendency to use race to oppress subjugate and control others considering that it is still a construct. Race, still, not having a true definition due to being such a subjective topic. Moving away from race as a descriptor, and more towards using culture, tradition, and ethnicity as a way to describe the diversity of the human race, the most diverse race, would be more ideal. Thinking of race from this perspective could possibly lead to different races connecting and bonding more.

By Marvin Edmondson
Reverend and Campus Chaplain, Rev. Brewer, photo taken by Edmonson

Fake News Awards Highlight Distrust in News Media, Students Respond

by Gwyneth Navey

On Jan. 17 the Republican National Committee announced on their website the winners of the first ever “Fake News Awards.” The awards were created by President Trump himself and included 10 news articles that were falsely reported by various news outlets and reporters, plus a bonus award for all media attention given to the Trump campaign’s collusion with Russia, or what the GOP site called, “perhaps the greatest hoax perpetrated on the American people.”
The articles included in the list were from major news outlets like The Washington Post, The New York Times, Newsweek, Time Magazine and ABC News, but CNN took the cake winning four separate awards. According to Politifact, the list included stories that never made it past social media before they were retracted as well as articles that were later retracted, edited, apologized for and that often had serious consequences for the
reporters. Following the list of awards was a list of 10 accomplishments of the president that the site claimed were not getting enough coverage.

 

While many late-night talk show hosts and celebrities mockingly campaigned for the
event, such as “The Daily Show’s” Trevor Noah who bought a full page ad in The New York Times, many criticised the awards ceremony as a direct attack on free press. 2016 presidential candidate Evan McMullin co-authored an op-ed in the Los Angeles Times deeming the awards a direct attack on the First Amendment, and Republican senators Jeff Flake and John McCain named the president’s attacks on fake news “unwarranted” and catalysts for other countries to “silence and shutter one of the key pillars of
democracy.”

 

A study done by the Knight Foundation on the level of trust Americans have for current news media and the effects that trust has on our democracy found that although most Americans believe that news media plays an important role in democracy, they do not believe that news media is currently fulfilling that role. The Collegian reached out to students on campus to ask them questions regarding this issue as well as other topics in the study such as how well students believe they can sort fake news from objective news and what students’ definitions of “fake news” really are.

 

Students generally aligned with the findings of the Knight Foundation study, mos claiming that the news media does serve an important role in democracy, but that the current news media only fulfills that role “in some ways” or not at all. Though students were almost always confident in their abilities to sort objective news from biased news, students were unsure of their definitions of “fake news.” One student stated that she considers fake news to be any news that “doesn’t sound right” or that “goes against what I believe or my morals.” Another said that news must come from a “well-known news site” for them to trust it. Another stated that fake news is any news with “an agenda or a bias towards one side or the other.” When asked to name one objective news source off the top of their heads, students’ answers were varied as well, ranging from fairly moderate news sources such as The New York Times, ABC News and the Associated Press to further right-leaning programs such as Fox News. One student noted about ABC and Fox News, “I like that on [those] news stations, they always have debates on the
topics going one, so I feel like it’s normally reputable.”
In general, students’ answers aligned with the Knights Foundation’s findings. Though students are aware of the issue of “fake news” and its implications, students do not agree on the definition of fake news or which news outlets are trustworthy. Readers deeming news sources that do not align with their existing beliefs “fake news” is a growing issue and was a common critique of Trump’s Fake News Awards by reporters and celebrities, citing the fact that all of the fake news awards were awarded to articles that painted President Trump in an unflattering light. “Fake news” has become a hot-button issue that has greatly affected the reputation of news media and will surely continue to affect its reputation in the future across the nation and on Greensboro College’s campus. But, the question remains, will we ever really know what “fake news” is or what that means for the press?

Protesters Defend DACA

By Cristina Samano-Romo
Protesters hold a banner that reads, “Our Dreams are not Illegal.” Photo courtesy of Cristina Samano-Romo

On September 7, dozens of people gathered at the Fountain View steps of University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG) to protest Trump’s decision to overturn DACA, which will strip away the opportunity to remain in the U.S. from approximately 800,000 young people. The people marched through campus carrying signs that supported the protection of thousands of “dreamers” under this program. DACA, which stands for Deferred Action Childhood Arrival, was begun by the Obama administration in 2012 and provides support for people that were brought into the U.S. as children (before the age of 16) without proper documentation. DACA provides “dreamers” with administrative relief from deportation, a two-year work permit and the ability to acquire a driver’s license. The people under DACA had to meet strict requirements to be approved, including a clean criminal record with no conviction of any felonies, and either a high school degree or current enrollment in school. The majority of dreamers are enrolled in school and 91 percent of them have jobs. They have hopes and aspirations of building a life in the only country they’ve ever truly known.

The people protesting on UNCG’s campus marched with a unified purpose, shouting chants such as “D-A-C-A immigrants are here to stay” and holding signs high that read slogans such as “our dreams are not illegal” and “defend DACA destroy white supremacy.” The march came to a stop to allow individuals in the crowd to step up and voice their opinions on the issue. Among these individuals speaking was Laura Garduño García, a UNCG alumni and DACA recipient who urged people to speak up and contact their local representatives about the issue. She also encouraged them to attend city council meetings, and to voice their opinions where it matters most.

During her speech to the crowd, she spoke of the fears she has knowing DACA will be taken away. One of these fears includes not knowing what President Trump will choose to do with the information he now has on all these undocumented dreamers.

“I just don’t trust when Trump says ‘we are not going to do anything with the information’” said Garduño. “I have two children and I have mixed-status family, so if they come looking for me they will find the rest of my family. Then it won’t [only be] 800,000 people, it will be millions affected.”

The crowd cheered for those that spoke and those who raised their hands revealing themselves as DACA recipients. The energy of the protestors was passionate and strong. Anyone watching could tell they were outraged and ready to stand their ground and fight for the future of dreamers.

NC House Majority Whip Jon Hardister

By Tyler Fuller
Jon Hardister. Photo courtesy of JonHardister.com.

Jon Hardister is a member of the North Carolina House of Representatives. His district includes coverage of a large portion of Guilford County and parts of Greensboro. He was born and raised in Greensboro and was a 2006 graduate of Greensboro College with a bachelor’s degree in political science. We at The Collegian were fortunate enough to speak with Hardister on his experience at GC and his post-graduation career in politics.

Hardister chose GC over the plethora of colleges in the area because of “the friendly staff, historical campus and small class sizes,” also mentioning that the campus “felt like home from the start.” He describes his most cherished moments from college as being the debates in his political science classes, as they were “thoughtful and productive” and inevitably proved invaluable in his career as a state politician.

Hardister recalls initially becoming interested in pursuing politics during his senior year of high school after he turned 18 just in time to vote in the 2000 election. The voting process led to him wanting to become a more informed voter, and thus spurred a deeper interest in politics and government.

As a member of the North Carolina House of Representatives, Hardister places community involvement at the forefront of his focus, indicating that staying active in the community will ultimately lead to a more communicative and productive relationship between the legislator and the constituents. He currently holds the position of N.C. House Majority Whip, one of the top legislative positions in the state.

Hardister encourages anyone interested in pursuing a career in politics to engage themselves in the political process as early and as often as possible. He recommends seeking out internships with political offices just as he did, citing his internship at the office of then-Congressman Howard Coble as a “great experience” that “helped to prepare me for a career in politics.”

To the student body as a whole, Mr. Hardister encourages all “students to stay focused on their studies, have fun and look toward the future with a positive attitude. You can achieve your goals if you work hard and believe in yourself.”