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Politics

Debate: Opening Weekend of the NFL Gets Political, Against the Protest

NFL Gets PoliticalLast Sunday was significant to many Americans as it was the opening weekend of NFL football, and more importantly, the fif-teenth anniversary of the attacks on our nation suffered on September 11th, 2001. However, perhaps what was getting the most at-tention from the fans this year were the actions of the players before the game and not during– due to the symbolic protest of not standing during the national anthem because of racial inequalities started in the preseason by San Francisco 49’s quarter-back, Collin Kaepernick, that has caught on with players from around the league. These protests represented the controversial topic of race that has especially consumed the nature of the media and politics of the nation over the last year and a half and the topic is much bigger than football. However, it is my firm belief that some of these NFL players are demonstrating on this issue the wrong way.

To be fair, there were some players that showed strength and symbolism in noncontroversial ways. For example, there were ru-mors swirling around the media that the entire Seattle Seahawks team would kneel during the national anthem. However, they in-stead chose to all link arms for the anthem. By doing this, the Seahawks took the high road by showing respect to the flag on the an-niversary of a great tragedy, while showing unity among their players– white and black.

It was upsetting to me that many players did not stand for the national anthem, especially on the anniversary of 9/11. Although race relations in our country have improved a great deal in the past few decades, there is no denying that racial tensions still exist. However, disrespecting our nations flag isn’t going to help the cause. First, demonstrating frustration in that way just adds fuel to the fire. The NFL players that didn’t stand are not the only people in the country that have used irresponsible rhetoric in response to this problem.

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Debate: Opening Weekend of NFL, For the Protest

NFL Gets PoliticalFootball is America’s favorite sport, and millions tune in to watch during the season, let alone opening weekend. So when Colin Kaepernick decided to not stand up during the National Anthem, it caused a huge discussion of the nature of protests.

Something that I have always found astonishing about American history is that some of the greatest social developments have been advanced with the help of protests. Women, racial and even animal rights have had their breakthroughs in society because brave men and women have voiced their opinions and stood for what they believed was right, sometimes even when the consequences could have been deadly.

And of course, this is the “Land of the Free” and the very first amendment that our founding fathers wrote was the freedom of speech. It sets America apart from other countries, and is the reason why the progression of the quality of life and people’s rights has been what it is and I hope that never changes.

Having Kaepernick take a stand by not standing because of the racial inequality in America has sparked a conversation of the issues at hand. He knew he had the platform to get the nation’s attention and he went for it. He risked his career and having his peers look at him differently for something he believed deserved to be looked at. And now other people have fallen in his footsteps.

Many people, however, have disagreed with the actions of these players, deeming it disrespectful to the country and to the men and women that fight for our rights.

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Governor Cuomo Enacts $15 Minimum Wage for New Yorkers

Governor Cuomo Minimum WageGovernor Cuomo of New York signed legislation enacting a statewide $15 minimum wage plan and a 12-week paid family leave policy. The legislation was passed as a part of the 2016-17 state budget as an attempt by the governor to restore economic justice to working families in the state of New York.

Cuomo signed these two pieces of legislation prior to attending a huge victory rally, which included workers, labor leaders, along with elected officials. The rally took place at the Jacob K. Javits Center in New York City. Senior communications Major Matthew Spineli said, “It may seem like a good idea, but I personally hope it doesn’t limit the amount of jobs available for people.” Then continued, “It’s overall going to cost employers a ton of money to provide that minimum wage to every single employee.” 

Professor Jennifer Shamrock, lecturer of communication, said, “The overall increase to the minimum wage has the ability to help out individuals in a positive way, and allow workers to earn a much more stable income that will hopefully help them live a more comfortable lifestyle in the near future.”

The Governor had the following to say about the overall policies, “By moving to a $15 statewide minimum wage and enacting the strongest paid family leave policy in the nation, New York is showing the way forward on economic justice, these policies will not only lift up the current generation of low-wage workers and their families, but ensure fairness for future generations and enable them to climb the ladder of opportunity.”

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Do Celebrity Endorsements Influence Political Elections?

Candidate Celebrity Endorsement 1In modern times, it isn’t surprising to see or hear many celebrities endorsing, appearing, and supporting political figures. Whether it’s at a rally, through social media sites such as twitter and Facebook, or even recognized news and magazine sites such as the New York Times coming out with articles whenever a celebrity makes a statement whether the statement is political itself or is related to political figures.

Dr. Michael Phillips Anderson, Associate professor of the Monmouth University’s Communications Department commented that “we see it more now with more media outlets and social media.” Professor Claude Taylor added that there is “Too much media saturation on celebrities and even on information sources on policy issues” and that even “Media sources are splintered into party affiliations.” Professor Taylor also mentioned that “Every day people are skeptical of celebrities endorsements.” Mostly because celebrities are not seen or considered to be experts in the political field.

The question however, is do celebrities have any pull on their fans when it comes to voting? Arguably, it was movie star and singer Al Jolson who was first used as the first celebrity to endorse Warren Harding as a presidential candidate in 1920. Ever since then, multiple candidates have attempted to use celebrities to help receive more votes.

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New Jersey Democratic Primary Preview

NJ PrimaryNew Jersey’s presidential primaries historically don’t matter because the party nominations are secured by the time the Garden State holds its contests in June.

That may change this year however, as Hillary Clinton fends off a late rally from her rival, Independent Democratic Socialist Senator Bernie Sanders from Vermont.

Sanders won the last seven contests leading up to a potentially decisive contest in New York on Tuesday April 19. With Clinton polling 51 percent to Sanders’ 39 percent in the Empire State according to the latest Monmouth University poll, it is unlikely that New York’s 247 unpledged delegates will give Clinton a decisive victory according to the state’s proportional allocation where delegates are awarded based on the percentage of the vote received by candidates.

Clinton could however, cash in on New York’s 44 superdelegates (an unelected delegate who is free to support any candidate for the presidential nomination at the party’s national convention, regardless of state vote results), at least a half dozen of which have already pledged their unwavering support for Clinton.

After New York, the next highest-stakes contest is Pennsylvania (189 delegates) on April 26, followed by California (475 delegates) and New Jersey’s “winner take all” primary (126 delegates) on June 7.

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Divide in The Republican Party Continues to Grow

GOP DivideRepublican front-runner Donald Trump shook up the GOP race for the presidential nomination in the Mar. 15 primaries by winning the states of Illinois, North Carolina, Missouri, and Florida and then Ted Cruz responded by winning the crucial state of Wisconsin. However, one factor of the race has stayed the same–the divide in the Republican Party between the “outsiders” and the “establishment.”

Chair of the Political Science  Department, Dr. Joseph Patten, said, “The rules of the party have changed were the [Republican] establishment and party elites have lost control.”

That loss of control was evident last week as Trump rolled through the primaries, winning four of five state contests with the only exception being Ohio, which was won by the state’s governor, John Kasich. Mr. Trump’s most significant win of the night was in Florida, whose winner-take-all primary awarded him all 99 of the state’s delegates and effectively knocked Florida Senator, Marco Rubio, out of the presidential race after suffering a crucial loss in his home state.

The loss of Rubio is significant to the establishment. According to Fredreka Schouten of U.S.A Today, Senator Rubio’s Super Pac raised $25 million in the month before the Mar. 15 Florida primary. Republican donors that prefer an alternative to Trump viewed Rubio as that viable alternative. For the past eleven months, Senator Rubio has tried to toe the line between establishment and anti-establishment, in hope that the voters would see him as the best alternative to Trump and someone who can unify the party.

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The Leak of a Century: The Panama Papers

Panama PapersOne of the most discussed topics in the news and overall world of politics currently is the Panama Papers. These leaked documents revealed how some of the world’s most powerful people may have used offshore bank accounts and shell companies to conceal their wealth and or avoid paying taxes.

The papers were a collection of millions of leaked confidential documents from the Mossack Fonseca law firm in Panama, since 1977 to 2015. These documents  identify business leaders, celebrities, and various international politicians.

All of the individuals mentioned were noted to be in multiple traces of suspicious financial transactions. Overall, this groundbreaking story has sparked concerns about security and corruption in the global financial system.

Some of the most well-known names that were mentioned in the leaked documents were associates of President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia, the father of Prime Minister David Cameron of Britain and relatives of President Xi Jinping of China. Along with King Salman of Saudi Arabia, and Sigmundur David Gunnlaugsson who resigned as prime minister of Iceland. And lastly soccer superstar Lionel Messi who happens to be one of the world’s wealthiest athletes.

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How Involved are MU Students in Political Issues?

MU Politcal Involvement 1 (Front)For something so important to the country and its wellbeing, college students seem to lack the care and/or knowledge of why their democratic system is so important. They do not realize the impact of their vote and how it can make a difference. It isn’t just our vote matters, it is the message that that vote carries—it says “I am here” and “I care about our country’s future.” With the upcoming presidential election, it is a good idea to step back and reevaluate the ideals of our age group according to the US Census.

According to the Census, 46 percent of young adults vote in New Jersey elections. In 2012, the age group of 18-29 year olds voted at lower levels than any other age group nationally. That means that less than half of young are voting in any election. For such an opinionated demographic, they are not utilizing the tools available, such as voting, to get their points across.

On campus there is a lot of push to get students involved and aware of the elections, registering to vote, and pledging to vote. Monmouth holds on campus events, like Rock the Vote to keep students involved. Furthermore, the political science club hosts viewings for every debate with food and friends to have a great time and get informed on the election.

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Red Bank Hosts March For Bernie Sanders

Red Bank Bernie MarchN.J. supporters of Democratic Presidential Candidate Bernie Sanders gathered in Red Bank to march on April 2. Over 400 individuals were in attendance to bring awareness about the candidate for the upcoming election.

Organizers Kate Triggiano and Boris Kofman, with the help of others, planned for about a month in advance after being inspired by the similar acts that happened in Asbury Park a couple months prior.

Pat Dunn, an avid Sanders supporter, was the inspiration behind the march in Red Bank. Marc Adamo, who is a labor activist and participated in “Occupy Wall Street”, explained how the idea of the march started. In Asbury Park, Dunn was able to bring together 200 people to come out to support Sanders on the boardwalk, on very short notice.

Dunn explained on Facebook, “I was sitting home & saw the marches happening all over, yet nothing seemed to be going on in N.J. I’m just some guy. I picked a day/place/time and threw it on Facebook. [I] didn’t know what to expect at all. Before long, people I didn’t know were responding in no small way. I received more help and enthusiasm than I could have anticipated.”

He continued, “Asbury Park was wonderful. It came from one person’s idea and 100s of folks I never met came out and yelled and marched with joyful purpose. Kate took that and followed suit and built an amazing event in Red Bank!”

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My Experience with March For Bernie Sanders

Experience in Bernie MarchBefore this event, I had never experienced being a part of a political march. So it was to my excitement to go out and experience it about 20 minutes away from campus.

Before the March

A week before the march, I added myself to the “Red Bank N.J. March for Bernie Sanders” group page on Facebook. There, I had realized that this march was being planned out for over a month. The organizers, Kate Triggiano and Boris Kofman, were very active in answering people’s questions and keeping everyone up to date.

Nights before the march, people began to post pictures of their posters and signs and others commented being supportive. They bounced ideas off of each other, and they were getting rather creative with slogans and paints.

One of the biggest reminders that was mentioned on the page was that during the march, the most important thing was to remain peaceful. The organizers wanted to make sure that the message that was being evoked was positive. They suggested not to litter or be rowdy, to shop in the local stores, and eat at the local restaurants. Most of all, support Red Bank in the best way possible.

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Debate: Capitalism vs. Democratic Socialism

Capitalism

Brendan Greve | Politics Co-editor


Much of America’s youth has been “feeling the Bern” and have been gravitating towards the self-described “Democratic Socialist”, Bernie Sanders. The Senator from Vermont is the first politician that has ever ran for President with the label of “Socialist” and it is shocking to me that he has made it so far. I believe that much of Mr. Sander’s youthful supporters do not understand the ideas of socialism and how dangerous they are.

Let’s start off with Merriam- Webster’s definition of socialism. It is, “a way of organizing a society in which major industries are owned and controlled by the government rather than by individual people and companies.” This is similar to th idea of communism, which is the form of government that has arguably brought the most pain and suffering to the world through terrible dictators like Joseph Stalin, Kim Jung-un, and Mao. Leftists believe that these horrible idea’s of massive government control will someohow work in America, despite failing everywhere else. Why would anyone want to implement a system that would even remotely resemble the system that has brought on the atrocities like those of the North Korean and Soviet regimes that have consistently failed and brought devastation though out the history of mankind?

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