Category Archives: Opinion

Women Make History, Too

by Cindy Pena

The women’s right to vote amendment was passed and implemented almost 100 years ago. The fight to get this passed was definitely not an easy one. It required time, determination and most importantly, unity. Unity with all women to fight for what they deserved; it was a fight for political representation.  

However, until this day, women are still extremely underrepresented in politics. According to the Center for American Women and Politics, nationally, women make up 19.6 percent of the 535 seats in Congress: 21 percent of the 100 seats in the U.S. Senate and 19.3 percent of the 435 seats in the House.

In 2016, Connecticut was listed as one of the top states for women in politics with 28 percent of elected state officials being women and 53 of female elected officials in the state legislature, according to CT Post. InsideGov used information from the National Conference of State Legislatures and ranked Connecticut the fifteenth highest state of women in elected office. Although this is a good sign, there is still room for improvement.

The underrepresentation of women in politics means laws pertaining to women’s rights, like paid family and medical leave, are created mostly by men. That needs to change. We need more women to enter the political arena to not only to represent womens issues, but also to inspire the younger generation to do so as well.

Mayor of New Britain Erin Stewart is one woman leader breaking that mold. Stewart is the 40th mayor of New Britain and is the youngest mayor in the United States. She went to New Britain High School and is a Central Connecticut State University alumna. She is also a role model to women and girls in New Britain who may have political aspirations.

Her impact in New Britain is tremendous. She has revitalized the New Britain area, improved the economic state of New Britain, and worked with community members, like CCSU, to better New Britain. She is just one local example of a woman flourishing in the political arena, and I know there are more around the U.S.

Ultimately, we need more women like Erin Stewart to not only motivate women, but create future political leaders. We have made substantial progress since 1920 when the 19th Amendment was passed, but unfortunately not enough. So go vote, talk to your congressperson, or even run for office; let your voice be heard.  

As Michelle Obama once stated, “You may not always have a comfortable life and you will not always be able to solve all of the world’s problems at once but don’t ever underestimate the importance you can have, because history has shown us that courage can be contagious and hope can take on a life of its own.”

What Is It Going To Take?

Just days after a van barreled through a New York City crowd, killing eight people, the country was rocked by yet another attack. This time, the First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs, Texas was targeted.

The shooter was later identified as 26-year-old Devin Kelley. Kelley had previously been discharged from the Air Force for bad conduct, and was later denied a gun license by the state.

According to Gun Violence Archive, we have now had 307 mass shootings since Jan. 1. That averages out to be roughly one per day.

That statistic is going off the definition for a mass shooting as when the shooting kills four or more people and occurs around the same time and location.

The weapon: a Ruger AR-556, a variation of the AR-15, which notably is one of the weapons used in the Las Vegas shooting.

For the record, an AR-15 can be purchased without a waiting period or permit in Texas.

According to The Independent, the rifle Kelley used has a retail price of $849.

$849. That was the cost of the lives of 26 people who died Sunday afternoon, along with over 20 who were injured.

The saddest part is that this has become something we should be used to.

It seems as though we wake up every day to the news of another shooting, dating all the way back to Sandy Hook.

President Donald Trump has already come out and said that this is not a gun control issue.

“This isn’t a guns situation,” Trump said. “This is a mental health problem at the highest level. It’s a very, very sad event.”

You are right, it is a mental health issue. Obviously, there is something wrong with someone’s mental state when they are willing to go and kill over two dozen people; at a church, no less.

But at the end of the day, this was a man that was able to get a hold of an assault rifle, despite being denied by the state. That is a problem the president has yet to address in the days after the Texas shooting.

Something has to be done here. We have to find a way to restrict the sale of guns to prevent people like Kelley from carrying out these senseless acts.

I don’t care if the NRA is in your back pocket, funding your campaigns just so you can blindly worship the Second Amendment.

That is not to say we need to forget about the Second Amendment altogether. But we need to evaluate how advanced these weapons have become

We need to learn from Las Vegas. We need to learn from Texas. We need to learn from the countless other mass shootings that have taken place over the course of American history.

How many shooting — how many lives — is it going to take before we say “enough is enough?”

But something tells me there will not be any real change until we find a president and Congress that are willing and able to look past party lines and realize that this simply is not okay.

Harvey Weinstein Is A Disgrace To Humanity

by Angela Fortuna

The alleged unforgivable and inhumane acts of American film producer Harvey Weinstein have sparked media attention across the country.

The co-founder of The Weinstein Company allegedly committed sexual harassment crimes dating back nearly 30 years; these allegations came from actresses as well as former employees of the Weinstein Company and Miramax, the previous company that Harvey Weinstein and his brother founded, according to The New York Times.

Weinstein, a powerful film producer, stands accused of sexual misconduct by about two dozen women, including actress Rose McGowan, over the past few decades, according to NBC News.

McGowan tweeted Thursday afternoon regarding her own accusations against Weinstein.

“@jeffbezos I told the head of your studio that HW [Harvey Weinstein] raped me. Over and over I said it. He said it hadn’t been proven. I said I was the proof,” McGowan said in a tweet.

In response to McGowan’s tweet, Twitter temporarily deactivated her account.

McGowan used social media as a platform to inform others across the country of her own sexual harassment experience with Weinstein.

With the rise in popularity of social media, it is a good medium of communicating information with the public.

Other women allegedly affected by sexual harassment acts by Weinstein include Angelina Jolie, Gwyneth Paltrow, Ashley Judd and others, according to Fox News.

“Any allegations of non-consensual sex are unequivocally denied by Mr. Weinstein. Mr. Weinstein has further confirmed that there were never any acts of retaliation against any women for refusing his advances,” Weinstein’s spokeswoman has said in a statement, according to The Guardian.

The accusations against Weinstein conclude that women who were allegedly sexually harassed were too nervous to speak up about the incident at the time it happened.

Women who are victims of sexual harassment are often embarrassed and afraid to share their experiences because of how it will affect their personal lives.

Up to 94 percent of victims of sexual harassment do not file a complaint, while one in four women experience it, according to a report by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

Speaking out about personal sexual harassment experiences can be a long and difficult process; however, it can be rewarding.

If a person affected by sexual harassment does not speak up about it, there is no way in knowing if that person will ever harass others. Keeping quiet about traumatizing events can cause mental instability for some people, like post traumatic stress disorder.

The allegations against Weinstein indicate that he may have abused his power on a variety of fronts over a few decades, and identify a behavioral pattern in which Weinstein often invites women to hotels for “business meetings,” only to make sexual advances against their will, according to VOX.

The newly discovered evidence of sexual harassment can be seen as similar to that of Bill Cosby: after one victim shares their experience, more victims seem to come out and share theirs with the public.

Bill Cosby has been accused of drugging and sexually harassing dozens of women, many of which testified against him during his trial. The Cosby trial was declared a mistrial back in June, according to U.S. News. No new information has been provided since then.

People like Weinstein and Cosby have allegedly committed acts that are unforgivable. If people do not come out and share personal experiences of sexual harassment, then these offenders will never realize what they are doing is wrong and no justice will be served to victims.

Trump Administration Deserves The Multiple Lawsuits Filed Against Them

by Angela Fortuna

The Trump administration’s plan to halt key payments that lower health insurance deductibles and co-pays for families with modest incomes could affect millions of people across the country, according to CBS News.

Nearly 20 states have filed a lawsuit against President Donald Trump so far in accusation of Trump violating former President Barack Obama’s signature health care law as well as violations against a law that governs the way presidential administrations can establish new regulations, according to the Hartford Courant.

More than 40,000 people in Connecticut that already qualify for cost-sharing reduction payments will continue to receive them, but the move of the Trump administration is anticipated to further destabilize insurance markets with the brunt of any premium increases borne by higher-income Obamacare customers, which could lead people to choose to stop buying health insurance, according to the Hartford Courant.

“Insurers who sell Affordable Care Act plans — including Anthem and ConnectiCare in Connecticut — faced months of uncertainty over whether the Trump administration would continue the cost-sharing reduction payments, which offset the expense to insurers to sell silver-level plans with reduced deductibles and copays to low-income customers,” according to the Hartford Courant.

In response to the Trump administration’s decision, Trump tweeted “Very proud of my Executive Order which will allow greatly expanded access and far lower costs for HealthCare. Millions of people benefit!” on Oct. 14.

The tweet received a majority of negative comments regarding the executive order.

Twitter user Bishop Talbert Swan responded to Trump’s tweet saying “You’re proud of an order that will throw the insurance markets into chaos, take healthcare away from millions, and literally kill people?”

Another Twitter user, @DC_Resister_Bee, informed that Trump’s actions “will destabilize insurance markets and jeopardize access for people with cancer.”

Connecticut Governor Dannel Malloy tweeted about the executive order, saying “this latest move to cut off cost-reduction subsidy payments is vindictive and deliberately designed to sabotage healthcare insurance markets.”

Trump has not tweeted about the nearly 20 states’ decision to file a lawsuit against him as of Monday night.

The Associated Press reported that nearly 70 percent of people hurt by proposed cuts to healthcare subsidies by the Trump administration live in states he won in the 2016 election.

Because of Trump’s disloyalty to his original supporters, the chance of getting reelected could be slim to none. By Trump disrespecting those who have respected him from the beginning, he could be losing a large support group if he decides to run for reelection in 2020.

With the Trump administration’s executive order to dismantle the Affordable Care Act, many individual states believe the decision is chaotic and illegal.

It should be common knowledge that a proposed executive order as such would violate a law that governs the way presidential administrations can establish new governance.

“Trump’s decision to stop ACA payments is nuclear grade bananas – a temper tantrum that sets the entire health system on fire. My god,” tweeted United States Senator Chris Murphy of Connecticut.

Individual states have made the decision to act on the unreliability of the proposed executive order by filing a lawsuit against the Trump administration.

Trump’s unprofessional behavior and lack of knowledge on the topic makes for an interesting sequence of events on the aftermath of the plan, and how each state in particular will react to the executive order.

Gun Control Now

by Sarah Willson

I have had my heart broken by the news over a thousand times. This time, by far, was the worst.

As a journalism major, I am always buried up to my eyeballs in information. Most of the time I love it, but there was something particularly difficult to watch about the Las Vegas massacre that undoubtedly shook me to my core.

In the deadliest mass shooting in modern United States history, 58 innocent souls were taken and over 500 more were wounded. Like most of the world, I watched in sheer horror as the mass carnage that took place unfolded right in front of my eyes on the television screen before me.

This was a scene, one I had witnessed so many times, that looked all too familiar to me.

Even before this catastrophe, I had always known the U.S. had a problem with weapons, particularly guns. But the moment I realized that America was one of the most developed countries in the world with one of the biggest problems in the world, was when my 13-year-old cousin shook this incident off, an event that seemed all too common to her, and called it “normal.”

At that exact moment, I knew America was facing one of the most underrated, under-talked about problems out there: gun control.

Without question, the new normal of a mass shooting taking place on a day-to-day basis should be both alarming and terrifying to every American citizen, as it ultimately poses a danger to themselves and the ones they love.

In order to understand the large threat gun violence poses to American society, it should be noted that the catastrophe in Las Vegas marked the 273rd mass shooting in America since Jan. 1, 2017.

And like so many, I find it amazing that Americans are forced to live in constant fear of gun violence.

Like most things, the solution to solving this problem is not an easy one. Of course, banning weapons all together is entirely unrealistic, as it does not mean people will no longer find a way to get a hold of them.

What is more realistic is passing a law that prohibits any and all Americans from purchasing semi-automatic and automatic weapons, which are ultimately used to kill large groups of people. Although it is understandable to keep a gun in the house to protect yourself or your family, no one needs an AK-47.

When our Founding Fathers wrote the Second Amendment, which states that an individual “has the right to keep and bear arms,” guns at the time could only shoot one bullet per minute. Today, they can fire over 600 or more rounds per minute. Our guns have changed; why should our laws stay the same?

Like President Donald Trump said, it is a “miracle” how fast the Las Vegas Police were able to find the shooter, but Americans should not have to depend on miracles to save them from being slaughtered by gunfire as they go about their daily lives.

In order to combat the large scale of gun violence that takes place every day in America, Congress needs to stop sleeping with the National Rifle Association, do the right thing and pass meaningful gun control laws immediately.  

But if this gruesome act that claimed the lives of so many does not scream action for gun control, nothing ever will.