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Sudanese-born student helps a world in need

Sudanese-born student helps a world in need

Ibrahim Younis gives a community talk to share his worldwide experiences working for the Doctors Without Borders organization. (David Pujol/Aztec Press)

By DAVID PUJOL

Ibrahim Younis, a 44-year-old Sudanese-born Tucsonan, has worked as a coordinator for Doctors Without Borders since 1997.

“To save a life, to feed people, to be able to make this change, it’s addictive,” Younis said during a Pima Community College presentation that drew students, faculty and community members. “When you’re back home, you’ll want to do it again.”

Younis grew up in the United Kingdom and in Belgium. He holds citizenship with three countries: Sudan, Belgium and the United States.

After obtaining his primary school education in Sudan and attending school in Europe, Younis enrolled at PCC two years ago. He hopes to transfer to the University of Arizona to continue studying political science.

Younis worked in the early ‘90s with a United Nations consortium called Operation Lifeline Sudan, handling and managing the food distribution logistics.

He then moved to Doctors Without Borders, which is also known by its European name of Médecins Sans Frontières.

He started with MSF as a logistician, and later became a logistics coordinator and then a program coordinator. He’s now worked as a manager in MSF’s European headquarters and has also traveled to more than 50 countries.

Much of his early MSF work focused on conflicts in Islamic countries, including Afghanistan, Iran and Somalia. He worked on the front lines in African areas where Boko Haram extremists were active.

His non-medical work with emergency units made him an emergency specialist, so he now concentrates on emergency preparedness and response for both human-caused and natural disasters.

“I find it sad that the kind of work he is doing is necessary, but I appreciate the work that he does,” said Elizabeth Moisin, a PCC nursing student who attended Younis’ presentation.

“I think it’s heartwarming that there are people who have the courage to go out there and do this kind of work,” she said.

Lizette Durazo, another PCC student who attended his talk, said she will consider working with a relief program like MSF in the future.

“To hear that there are people who risk their lives to save lives is miraculous, especially in the face of danger on the front lines,” she said.

Younis said 60 percent of his job involves gaining access and developing strategies. He must deal with politics, security and diplomacy while working with local authorities.

He has seen tragedy and loss throughout his time working with MSF, but said he continues to return because of its potential for good. When patients recover and start smiling, Younis said he knows MSF has made a difference.

“There are a lot of sad and happy memories, but in general the fact that you save lives gives you so much consciousness of the situation and the work you do,” he said. “And we do save lives, especially for children, pregnant women, the elderly and the wounded.”

He supports MSF’s belief in staying neutral, and said aide workers can’t differentiate by color, gender, age, religion or creed.

“Whatever comes on the table, you treat,” he said. “That, for me, is fundamental if you want to provide humanitarian assistance, especially in conflicts.”

Younis met his physician wife about five years ago through MSF. They now both live in Tucson with their two children.

He sees himself doing what is right no matter the danger. “I get to have that pleasure of making a difference in somebody’s life,” he said.

State budget harms community colleges

State budget harms community colleges

Brittney Young

By BRITTNEY YOUNG

The more time spent looking at Gov. Doug Ducey’s educational funding budget, the more it sucks.

Kindergarten through 12th grade spending isn’t the only thing that has been reworked in the governor’s new plan to redefine educational spending.

Community colleges have endured the most in Arizona’s “redefined” state funding.

Rather than rework the numbers in the budget under the guise of changing it, the budget simply cut funding for state community colleges.

Pima Community College students know that better than anyone, as tuition rates have increased in part due to lack of state funding.

The school received nearly $6.5 million from the state in fiscal year 2015, according to the PCC budget report. State funding listed in the 2016 budget report was a big fat $0.

Last year, tuition cost $75.50 per unit for in-state students. This year it cost $78.50. PCC cut tuition rates for out-of-state students, in hopes it would encourage those students to come to our community college.

The 10 Phoenix-area schools in the Maricopa Community Colleges system are also no longer receiving any funding. They and PCC are the largest community colleges in the state.

It won’t stop there either, as plans are being made to cut funding from other community colleges statewide in the future.

The state has already moved to cut funding from Central Arizona College in Pinal County, but CAC was saved by legislation that protected its funding.

The immediate problem these schools face is the hardship the funding cuts create for their students. PCC has had an expenditure limitation in which it needs to reduce costs by $5 million.

Suggestions for ways to do this include tuition increases, department and campus consolidation, hiring freezes, elimination of certain positions and leasing equipment rather than purchasing it.

Another issue that has been created by the state is how dependent PCC has become on federal aid for its students.

The Pell Grant is pretty much the only aid a community college student can receive that isn’t a loan. It’s no wonder admission rates have decreased when no one can afford to attend.

As a nation, more emphasis has been put on community colleges as a starting place for higher education, but in Arizona it seems to be penalized.

At least this doesn’t seem to be a growing trend throughout the country. Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam began the Tennessee Promise program, which focuses on ways to make community colleges essentially tuition-free for graduating high school seniors.

Arizona continues to be the anomaly that baffles educators and students alike.

Brittney Young is a financial aid student and appreciates the opportunity of starting at a community college rather than a university.

Believing in the power, not the institution

Believing in the power, not the institution

By MARIA ANGULO

I am a person of faith. I believe in a higher power. I believe in God. But I disagree with most of what the church has to say.

Sunday has been church day ever since I was a little kid.

I grew up with a Christian mom who came from a very devoted family. My granddad was a pastor for most of his life and many of my relatives are involved in the church as well.

My dad, on the other hand, was raised Catholic but rarely goes to Mass.

I was taught in church that we must follow the rules to go to heaven. If I did not behave correctly, God would punish me.

But as I started to grow up, things the church said did not make sense to me anymore.

We live in a society that is more liberal than in the past but still people use their religious beliefs to discriminate against others.

Churches are becoming places where you can judge others who don’t agree with you.

Not all churches are bad but not all of them work for all people.

There are so many religions and each has aspects different from the others. One thing they have in common is that each religion feels it is the right one.

A quote in the movie “Spotlight” stuck with me: “The church is an institution of men and that’s passing. My faith is in the eternal. I try to separate the two.”

That made a lot of sense to me. I don’t need to go to church to have a relationship with God or to believe in something.

If you don’t go church or identify yourself with a specific religion, people automatically think you are an atheist.

There is nothing wrong with being an atheist but I disagree with the assumption that anyone who stops attending church is a non-believer.

I don’t need someone to be an intermediary for me. I don’t need an institution to know that I have a relationship with a higher power.

We should believe in whatever we need. Belief is something people look to for comfort.

What may work for you may not work for somebody else.

Maria Angulo is a journalism major at Pima Community College. She hopes to transfer and graduate from one of the three state universities.

GUEST COLUMN: Lyft, Uber prime time a rip-off

GUEST COLUMN: Lyft, Uber prime time a rip-off

By ISABEL FORSMAN

Things that should be illegal: stealing, murder, drug use and prime time on Lyft and Uber rides.

As a college student, I use Lyft and/or Uber when I don’t want to drive on the weekends. Ergo, I always use it.

Prime time happens when potential customers request an excessive number of Lyft or Uber rides within a short period of time. A formula compares the number of Lyft/Uber drivers available to the number of ride requests, and multiplies the price of rides by a multiple.

On Friday and Saturday nights, prime time rates typically go up 50-100 percent. This is a little ridiculous but doable, especially if the party I need to get to is going to be worth it.

Just last weekend, however, I was out with a friend. We were going to request a Lyft to take us home, until we saw it was a 500 percent prime time markup.

Five hundred percent? This outrageous amount would have been roughly $50 for a 15-minute ride. If this isn’t robbery, I don’t know what is.

As a college student with enough to worry about and pay for, I am appalled by Lyft and Uber for putting these prices on their rides.

So why do they do it? They say that at times of high demand, the number of drivers become limited and higher prices encourage other drivers to become available.

With that in mind, I did a survey to determine whether college students (ages 18-24 from Pima Community College) would rather pay the extra $20 or wait an extra 45 minutes for an Uber/Lyft driver to become available.

The results concluded that 39 of 50 students would rather wait than pay. This survey shows that Uber and Lyft should have consulted with their users before raising prices.

Here I am thinking that whoever invented Lyft and Uber had a main goal of helping to provide cheap, easy and reliable rides for people who want to get to where they are going.

In my humble opinion, that person is doing a crummy job. College students should not, under any circumstances, have to pay prime time for services that are supposedly the “best deal” for rides,

Pima Community College sophomore Isabel Forsman is from Hagerstown, Maryland. She is a studying political science and plans to pursue a career in law after completing her education.

Nostalgia: How sweet it was

Nostalgia: How sweet it was

pg07-nostalgia

By KATELYN ROBERTS

While on Facebook the other day, I received a notification from my friend Mike. His profile picture appeared to the left of his witty comment and I clicked on the thumbnail to get a closer look.

That had been his picture for awhile now, and I could tell it was a childhood portrait. When I clicked to see the full-sized image, a brief thought of how cute he was crossed my mind, but I was quickly overtaken by a deep sadness.

I looked into the child in the photograph’s eyes and compared them to Mike’s eyes now. I started crying.

Mike is not the type of person to make me cry.

I’ve felt this way looking at my own childhood photo albums but I wondered why a friend’s baby picture, especially one as insignificant as an old coworker’s, could also make me sad.

I dug deeper. Why does childhood nostalgia make us sad?

When you’re a kid, you’re not intentionally painting memories to make yourself sad later in life, and that’s the joy of being a child: being able to take every sweet, careless moment for granted.

Well, those fond memories get bundled up and shoved into a treasure chest in your mind.

They later come out to strike you with a bittersweet, wistful sadness.

I asked some Tucson friends what sort of scents, objects, sounds or memories brought them back. Some of their replies included:

  • Joop Cologne
  • Maltese puppies
  • The hour before the sun sets in October
  • The smell of citrus blossoms
  • Cedar wood
  • A-Ha’s “Take on Me”
  • The sound of snow crunching
  • Legos
  • Root beer floats
  • Reading books during the early hours before the sun rises
  • Strawberry Shortcake dolls
  • Scented pencils
  • Grandma’s makeup
  • The elementary school library
  • Darkroom fixer
  • Dove soap
  • Freshly-mowed grass
  • Little League
  • Doug
  • Bath and Body Works Cucumber Melon
  • Smoking pipes
  • Antibacterial soap
  • John Denver’s “Rhymes and Reasons”
  • Orange and purple Halloween lights
  • A skateboard’s wheels rolling over cracks in the sidewalk
  • The New York City subway

Anything can take you back, particularly picturesque objects like fireflies or a sunset.

For me, it’s my mom’s sundresses and the smell of fresh dill.

The duo reminds me of my mom hanging out in the backyard with us, gardening, or calling us inside to try on the matching dresses she sewed us.

I find myself yearning for a past that feels comfortable and normal.

For many of us, being a kid was lonely, even frightening. Why would those with tough childhoods want to go back?

You’ve heard it before: “Things were better back then.”

I always figured people referenced the past as “the good old days” because it had less technology and simpler pleasures. Or, they were blurring out the hardship and remembering the good stuff, as we all do.

In my research, I found many online forums about the topic. A number of people admitted to even having addictions to nostalgia.

Nostalgia is, after all, a concentration of all the good memories we’ve collected. That sounds like a drug to me.

But that is between you and your therapist.

Apparently, if these folks, myself included, were around during the 17th through 19th centuries and fell into a stupor of memories, we’d be diagnosed with a psychopathological disorder.

The Swiss physician Johannes Hofer created the word “nostalgia” in 1688 by combining the Greek word “nostos,” meaning “homecoming,” with “algo,” meaning pain.

It seemed to be most common in soldiers missing their home and children missing their mothers.

In “The Future of Nostalgia” by Svetlana Boym, the first people stricken with the disease were those displaced during the 17th century like “freedom-loving students from the Republic of Berne studying in Basel, domestic help working in France and Germany and Swiss soldiers fighting abroad.”

Boym described nostalgia as a disease of an afflicted imagination.

The melodrama of deeming nostalgia an illness sounds crazy itself, and should be filed away with other ridiculous ailments of the past like “women’s hysteria.”

According to “Dying of the Past,” Michael S. Roth’s study on nostalgia in the 19th century, nostalgia as an illness was considered so serious that some soldiers even faked it.

But there is a helpful lesson in this research.

For me, nostalgia is my biggest kryptonite. As soon as I sense the feeling coming, it cripples me into a somber daydream.

While my sister will patiently listen to me dwell on the past and even interject with her own memories, we eventually cry it out, snap out of it and continue to live our lives.

Just as baby Mike grew up and was replaced by 40-something Croc-wearing Mike, many moments we hold onto from the past will change, age or decay.

And that’s life.

It’s OK to be afraid to face something from the past. It’s OK to miss something from the past.

Luckily, this is the 21st century and we won’t be electrocuted, tortured, shamed or covered in leeches for it.

But too much of it won’t get you anywhere. Living in the past is easy. Facing the unknown is not.

Childhood nostalgia is my fear of the unknown, my apprehension to take steps into my unwritten future, my search for comfort.

After all, we find comfort in the familiar.

FROM THE EDDIE-TOR: Navigating Thanksgiving family politics

FROM THE EDDIE-TOR: Navigating Thanksgiving family politics

By EDDIE CELAYA

Food is definitely the best part of Thanksgiving. Second best are the utterly insane political points of view that start spewing after the third course of food and fifth bottle of beer.

Every typical family has a “racist uncle.” Try growing up with seven uncles of varying political outlooks, an aunt who is a high-level Republican political consultant and extended family with fingers in local and state government. Let’s not even touch my parents.

Unless my brothers, cousins and I want to get sucked into a conversation about Janet Reno possibly overstepping her authority by ordering the raid on Elian Gonzales’ home during Easter of 2000, we need a strategy.

My strategy is time tested and encompasses the full political spectrum. Because I halfway enjoy Mitch Albom and his sappy, moralistic short stories, I call it “Six People You Avoid in Food-Heaven.”

 

The alt-right lite

The Samuel Addams lager is a dead giveaway, but there’s more. Listen for key names and phrases: Rush, :, DeSouza, Hillary for Prison and this season’s favorite, “Did you see Breitbart?”

These conversations are usually funny in a pathetic, ironic way. They won’t let you get a word in, so just listen. It’s the best way to get to know the other side.

 

“They’re all the same”

They didn’t say they were voting for Trump, and probably said they weren’t a year ago. But life gets busy and politics is far off and, damn it, those politicians are all the same!

They’ll be the first to complain that Trump no longer hosts “Celebrity Apprentice.” An “I told you so” is warranted.

 

The true believer

These relatives hail from both sides of the aisle.

On the left, they were “Bernie or Bust” and can’t imagine attending that Country Thunder “gathering of the young sons and daughters of the Confederacy.”

On the right, Fox News is news (except for that rude traitor Megyn Kelly), John Wayne is their moral compass and everything wrong with society is caused by government intervention and/or PC culture.

It can be fun to talk with them, but the self-sanctimony on the left and insistent whining on the right get boring after one beer. Move the conversation towards sports (not Kaepernick!) and you’ll manage.

 

The operative

Perhaps this is unique to my family, but you better bring your A game if you find yourself across the table from an actual political strategist. This relative is the most fun to talk to, until he/she finds your intellectual weakness. Mine is economics.

The conversation starts out fun and seems like normal chitchat, but these relatives always steer to politics in general and your weak spot in particular.

There’s no winning here. Sports and the upcoming family wedding are not worthy distractions. Cut your losses and help Nana with the dishes.

 

The disillusioned lefty

My family always has one or two. They’re apoplectic about the state of the Democratic Party, public education and public sector unions with the exception of police and firefighters.

This happens to be the group I fall into this holiday season. Younger family members should approach only after we open the good tequila.

 

The honest-to-goodness apolitical one

It’s a trap. These relatives may not have any interest in politics but they definitely will ask why you can’t hold down a serious relationship and what you plan on doing after writing for the school newspaper.

My advice: give Nana a hug. Tell her you’ll find the right one with long legs and red hair soon, and then show her this column. She’ll love you for it.

Electoral College needs a fix

Electoral College needs a fix

By FRANCISCO ZAPATA

It troubles me that we don’t actually vote for president of the United States. Instead we vote for “electors,” who then vote for presidential candidates on behalf of the people from their respective states.

This sequence known as the Electoral College was put in place by our Founding Fathers and dates to the 1787 Constitutional Convention. They instituted the system to ensure that voters wouldn’t elect criminals, or anybody unfit for presidential duties.

The Founding Fathers decided against popular vote because they believed the people didn’t have sufficient resources or information on candidates from other states.

It’s safe to say most modern Americans have sufficient information on out-of-state candidates.

The Electoral College questions the voice and intelligence of the people, deeming them unfit to decide who should be their president. It violates democratic principles.

Regardless of how you feel about the result of the 2016 election, the Electoral College needs to be amended or eliminated.

Hillary Clinton found herself on the wrong end of the popular and electoral vote split.

She became the fifth candidate to win the majority of the popular vote yet lose to the Electoral College, thus awarding the presidential election to Donald Trump. At press time, she led by a million votes.

The popular vote count previously lost to the electoral vote count in 1824, 1876, 1888 and 2000 elections.

In a country where “majority rules,” how can the majority vote for their candidate and have their voices unheard due to an outdated system? The Electoral College really should have been ditched after the 18th century.

I have heard people argue that the Electoral College has worked for over two centuries, so why change it? The key word is “worked.” We all know even a dead clock is right twice a day.

We must continuously evolve to maintain democracy.

Congress constantly amends the Constitution and comes up with compromises. Why? Because what worked two centuries ago isn’t necessarily what will work or is working in the 21st century.

Situations change, people change and our traditional ways of thinking change to ensure an ever evolving and stronger country.

I could support two possible solutions:

Solution 1: Amend the Electoral College to make every state equal in terms of electoral votes. If there is an ensuing tie, settle it through the majority vote count. Why give bigger or swing states a distinct advantage in the presidential race?

Solution 2: Eliminate the Electoral College entirely in favor of the popular vote. Win or lose, everyone in America has a voice. This would eliminate the controversy of the split between electoral and popular vote counts.

Let Americans decide who they want to be their leader. Give us a decisive voice in picking our leader and stop depriving us of our right to democracy.

Francisco Zapata studies journalism at Pima Community College and the University of Arizona. He enjoys writing about sports, politics and entertainment.

Revise transfer class

Revise transfer class

Editor’s note: This guest column was written by a Pima Community College student who requested a pseudonym. The student is currently enrolled in STU 210.

 By PAT SMITH

 The Transfer Strategies class at Pima Community College starts out helpful, but after a few weeks becomes redundant and pointless.

Transfer Strategies, better known as STU 210, seems like a great way to integrate yourself from Pima to the University of Arizona, especially since the class offers priority registration at UA for two semesters after you take the class.

The class emphasizes the idea that you’ll be at a great disadvantage if you don’t take it, because you won’t have the knowledge of UA that other students enjoy.

At first I was enamored with the class. I received a packet with a map and a booklet that lists programs offered by the university.

Our first UA visit included an information fair in the South Ballroom of the Student Union building. I could talk to advisors from the different departments of study and gather contact information for the future.

I’ve since decided the class could cover everything in a few sessions. It seems too drawn out, like they need reasons to justify it being a 16-week course. It would be better as an 8-week course.

If it has to be a 16-week course, it should include the other two state universities.

Not all Pima students want to transfer to UA. Some want to go to Northern Arizona University or Arizona State University. STU 210 puts students at a disadvantage with other universities because the class doesn’t cover transfer processes for them.

Instructors could still cover financial aid, outline the different programs offered at UA, provide contact information for advisors and give tours of UA in an 8-week course.

So far this semester, we’ve had three tours and one scavenger hunt. That’s excessive.

The scavenger hunt I understand, because we had to find places like the financial aid and admissions offices. However, the rest of the tours have been generalized and simply not useful.

How am I supposed to find my classes if all I know is the way around the Hall of Champions?

It also costs $2 an hour to park at a UA garage. That’s $56 or more a semester for class, because the class is two hours long and you usually must arrive an hour early to find a parking spot.

I’m not saying we shouldn’t have to pay for parking, but it would be nicer if there was a way we could have guaranteed parking and a flat rate parking pass for the semester.

Then again, parking passes at UA aren’t even guaranteed for actual enrolled students, who apply each academic year.

At this point in the semester, it’s become more of a hassle than a benefit to attend class.

Pat Smith does not like sports and does not care about UA basketball.

 

Increase educational funding

Increase educational funding

By BRITTNEY YOUNG

 Arizona ranks dead last among states when it comes to educational funding.

The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities gave Arizona that ranking when it compared state funding for K-12 schools from 2008 to 2014. It found Arizona cut its state funding per student by 23.3 percent.

Most jobs now require more than a high school diploma. If K-12 funding keeps getting pushed aside, our students won’t even be ready for an entry-level job.

Education spending averaged $10,700 per student in 2013. The gap between the highest and lowest state was more than $12,000, with New York at $19,818 and Utah at $6,555. Arizona was just above Utah, spending $7,208 per student.

Past cuts have damaged art programs. Teachers had to turn to parent fundraising, grants, donations and voter-approved bonds to keep programs like music going.

Five local school districts sought voter-approved bonds in the Nov. 8 election. Amphitheater Unified School District requested $58 million for general maintenance such as replacing or restoring structural components of school buildings.

However, cuts have gotten so bad that even voter-approved bonds aren’t enough.

The budget Gov. Doug Ducey released in January will modify education funding. State voters approved Proposition 123 in May to provide other changes.

Teachers appreciate the emphasis Prop. 123 put on educational funding, but opponents worry the new structure won’t benefit schools as much as promised.

Changes reset the base per student to $3,600 for the 2016 and 2017 fiscal years. Just last year, the base was almost $8,000.

Building Renewal Grants will increase by $15 million to $31 million, and the state will provide $200,000 to the State Board of Education for academic standard setting to assist with the review of standards.

In the 2017 fiscal year, the budget will include a net addition of $46.5 million for more student growth, a continuation of the Building Renewal Grants, a Public School Credit Enhancement Program and $46.9 million in New Initiatives programs.

The changes may put more emphasis on funding but educators still worry.

For instance, the New Initiative programs reinforce academic programs already in place rather than helping struggling art programs.

It will also take time to build funding back to what it used to be. Schools need money now rather than later.

The new budget needs to be thrown out. Ducey made it look like he fixed educational funding, but he hasn’t. He merely disguised new funding cuts by saying he “restructured it.”

We should just increase the amount of money allotted per student.

Education should not be an afterthought. Arizona’s future is being diminished for the sake of the all-mighty dollar.

 Brittney Young grew up in California and moved to Arizona to attend college.

Women deserve respect

Women deserve respect

By ARLAETH RAMIREZ

Disrespect toward women is becoming “normal.” I’ve encountered a lot of men who disrespect women. Even though men will claim that not all of them are the same, most of them are.

A while ago I was on my way to a party with some male friends when they started cat-calling every young woman they saw in a skirt or dress. I asked why and without hesitation they said, “They’re hot.”

During the conversation, they said, “Respect is earned, so if you dress like a slut you will be treated like one.”

There is nothing OK with cat-calling. It’s demeaning and it won’t get you anywhere. Cat-calling or grabbing a woman repeatedly after she has requested that you stop is not right.

Women deserve respect. Just because they are wearing a dress doesn’t mean they should be looked down upon.

Why should women be symbolized as a sex object? Women are not there to please men.

It happens everywhere, whether we’re at a store or a bar. If we’re dressed provocatively, someone will most likely come up to us and — trust me — they don’t have good intentions.

Every time I go out with a group of friends, there is always an annoying guy trying to make out and buy drinks. He will later expect us to “pay back” the drink he bought, and not with money.

I’ve seen young women forced to do things they don’t want to do just because of a drink, or because men were drunk and wanted pleasure at the moment.

Women are expected to dress a certain way. When they show a lot of skin or party too much, men see them differently. On the other hand, men can do whatever they want and society doesn’t say anything.

Women deserve respect no matter how they are dressed or act. The type of men who disrespect women are not real men.

My advice to fellow females: Respect yourself enough to not accept disrespect.

My advice to men: Before you do anything stupid or try to disrespect a woman, think about it. You are also disrespecting your own mother.

Arlaeth Ramirez studies journalism at PCC and plans to transfer to the University of Arizona next fall.

Shocking election result means it’s time for soul-searching

Shocking election result means it’s time for soul-searching

By EDDIE CELAYA

 Donald Trump pulled off one of the great political upsets in American history Nov. 8, defeating Hilary Clinton in the race for president.

Trump won the Electoral College with 276 electoral votes. Clinton was winning in the popular vote as of press time.

In a night that will be remembered for its outcome, Trump outlasted Clinton in numerous battleground states from Florida to Ohio. Along the way, he picked up states thought to be Democratic strongholds, like Michigan and Pennsylvania.

The country now finds itself at an existential crossroads. Down one path lies a pragmatic future, which will require a reasonable and realistic Trump. Down the other path there is only unknown, with storm clouds gathering and buzzards circling.

The defeat has left the Democratic establishment reeling. With a Clinton presidency expected to carry on many of the policies of the last eight years, a total re-think of the party’s national strategy will be needed.

However, there may be more pressing matters at hand.

Along with the presidential victory, Republicans picked up five of eight contested Senate seats, assuring that Republicans control all three branches of government.

The dream scenario has come to fruition for conservatives. Coming into the election, there was some speculation that the Senate could be taken under Democratic control. A wave of Republican voters put that fever dream to rest.

That could spell doom for a host of liberal policies once thought untouchable. With a Trump victory and a current open seat on the Supreme Court, sacred cows such as Roe v. Wade, the Civil and Voting Rights acts and marriage equality will be assailed.

Not since Richard Nixon has there been a president-elect so hostile to the ideals of the New Deal and the Great Society.

These concerns are even more pressing than what Trump has warned will be his policies: building a wall with Mexico, “extreme vetting” of Arab and Muslim refugees/immigrants and an eventual trade embargo with China.

As if on cue, the Asian Futures market was down nearly 700 points in the early morning hours of Nov. 9 and the Mexican government was expected to hold emergency meetings to address the most rapid devaluation of the peso ever.

The immediate aftermath of the loss may leave the Democrats stunned, but much soul searching lies ahead. The most obvious conclusion is that the Clinton Dynasty is now done.

What started in 1991 with Bill Clinton’s ascendency to the Democratic nomination has come crashing down in the most surprising of fashions. The party will be wise to cut ties with the duo and let them lick their wounds.

If the Democrats are smart, they will continue to play to their strengths, and resist the temptation to look at this election as a total rejection of their platform. The country may want a businessman at the helm, but it is still socially liberal.

That is, of course, as long as liberals stay put.

With the results becoming more and more apparent as Tuesday night wore on, a real estate run of anxious Americans crashed Canada’s immigration website.

The rush to leave the country is real. Fear, especially among communities Trump has singled out, is warranted. Leaving the country, while it may feel good, only leaves those fighting the good fight that much more outnumbered.

Instead here is what Democrats can do to begin the turnaround:

First, it’s time to embrace the label “liberal.” Oftentimes, Democrats are just this side of ashamed when branded a liberal by the other side. Instead, embrace and own the title by defining why being called a “liberal” is such a great thing.

Liberals fought for the modern 40-hour work week. Liberals fought for women’s rights and child labor laws. Liberals were abolitionists and pro-choice. In short, remind conservatives that the modern world we live in is shaped by liberal ideals.

Second, it’s time to draw clear distinctions on issues. Perhaps the biggest complaint heard from independents is the unwillingness of Democrats to define what they believe in a moral context.

This is a simple fix. On issues such as the Dakota Access Pipeline, Democrats would be wise to use an old Republican tactic: stand firm no matter what. Say what you will about conservatives, at least they pick a cause and stand up for it, no wavering allowed.

Third, and most important, Democrats must explain why multiculturalism is a benefit and not a boon. It is not enough to trot out great stories at the convention. There has to be more outreach. There has to be different faces making the decisions.

For that, the Democrats are equipped but time will tell if they are willing. Running diverse candidates for positions as mundane as school board takes more than guts: it takes bravery.

The Democrats must show their willingness to get behind untraditional minority candidates for positions that aren’t sexy and glamorous. In so doing, you normalize a population that, while represented, is still looked on as the “other.”

In doing so, Democrats can put themselves into a position not just to win minority votes, but to win over the hearts of those who would otherwise not give second thought to minorities plights.

That’s what it comes down to. In order to beat or stifle Trump and his agenda, liberals must convince many of the same folks who voted for Trump that his policies are disastrous.

It’s doable. If the country can survive eight years of Bush, four years of Trump is survivable.

Eddie Celaya is editor-in-chief of the Aztec Press.

Just put right man in charge

Just put right man in charge

By NICHOLAS TRUJILLO

As the nation draws closer to election day, it’s nice to see a man who has faced many hardships on the ballot.

Donald Trump used a small loan from his father to start his own business, which is now worth $3.9 billion. His reality TV show raked in 6.4 million viewers on average.

A man of his stature surely represents the best-case scenario of a well educated and highly respected presidential nominee.

In a world of sink-or-swim, the man swam to Australia and back with one hand tied behind his back.

When Trump takes his rightful seat in office, this country will be the best it has ever been. Go ahead and measure any time period. The Jackson era and his battle with the banks? Trump putting up the wall to regulate Mexicans coming into the United States will be more heroic.

The wall he’s going to put up won’t even be expensive. At first, yes, it could cost from $10 to $25 billion. But we’re looking at an investment here, folks. What’s $10 billion to saving lives in America? How much are we worth to our government?

The future won’t even ponder that question after the wall goes up faster than you can say, “Make America great again.”

Money doesn’t talk in America. Important decisions talk. Decisions like keeping out the people who want to kill and rape others because they’re “bad hombres.”

You know who else talks? Celebrities. Give them a hot mic and anything they say turns to gold.

But enough about talking. It’s the “doing” that really matters. We’re do-ers with or without consent.

Do-ers like the 1 percent.

Actually, more like the top 20 percent. They provide 87 percent of the income tax collected in America. So who’s really holding up this country?

The bottom half of taxpayers end up getting money from the government, like welfare to help them out of poverty, but it rarely works.

It’s like communism in China. The concept works on paper but it’s actually an inefficient idea.

This is what we’ve let America become. It can be so much better if we just put the right man in charge.

Trujillo rarely take sides, prefering to look at the pros and cons of each candidate.

Want change? Generate noise

Want change? Generate noise

By D.R. WILLIAMS

In the United States, one can receive a million-dollar loan from one’s father, star in a crappy reality show, sexually harass women and then gain credibility for a presidential campaign.

Now that isn’t the typical American experience but, best-case scenario, you can be a real asshole and people will love you for it.

The more knives you strategically place in the back of anyone unwitting enough to turn, the better. If that means tax evasion, DO IT. More power to you.

This is the country of winners or losers, sink or swim, rich or poor. If you don’t like it, get out. America is the country where the top 20 percent get the pie. It’s too tasty to share because the other 80 percent are complainers who wouldn’t adapt and overcome.

We have a capitalistic society. Being a good person doesn’t pay the bills. Andrew Jackson on the 20 does.

Execute the rape, murder and eviction of native peoples and you could be glorified for 200 years. That’s reality.

Money talks in the USA. We love our millionaires more than our bleeding-heart activists and protestors, and no one apologizes for it.

The possibilities are endless. We have more potential and opportunities than anywhere else in the world. We’re bigger, faster and stronger, and we don’t stop.

Security is top priority. Our drones keep a constant lookout, making sure the people stay in line.

The working class holds the country together. If it wasn’t for their back-breaking work, we would be lost. Of course, that doesn’t mean we value them accordingly. That’s the beauty of it: have the largest, most skilled labor force and keep them at each other’s throats for the scraps the upper class leaves behind.

Accept our country for all its glory: the giant mansions on the sides of beautiful mountain ranges, the skyscrapers rising to the clouds, the breast implants, the gold jewelry and fancy cars.

This is what we’ve let America become. If you don’t care, just keep doing your thing. If you love this country enough to want change, speak up. The ones who make the most noise (good or bad) gain the most following.

Williams has 10 years until he’s eligible to run for presidential. Don’t hold your breath.

AZTEC PRESS EDITORIAL Hillary Clinton earns our endorsement

AZTEC PRESS EDITORIAL Hillary Clinton earns our endorsement

azp_avatar

In a field that includes a conspiracy theorist, a know-nothing and a sexual predator, the editorial board of the Aztec Press unanimously endorses Hillary Rodham Clinton for the office of U.S. president.

As a public figure on the national scene for the last three decades, Clinton has established a name for herself apart from her husband, former President Bill Clinton.

Clinton was twice elected senator in New York and held the highest appointed position by a woman when President Obama appointed her secretary of state in 2008.

She has the resume and the high-level government experience.

Unlike her closest rival, Clinton has composed herself well in the face of scandals (both real and imagined) that have threatened to derail her campaign.

She is the only candidate with the temperament to be president. Though far from perfect, she is the best choice to lead America through these dangerous times.

Clinton may not possess the oratorical skills or likability of her predecessor but she is the only safe choice for the nation’s highest office.

Consider her rivals:

Green Party candidate Dr. Jill Stein, while principled in her liberal ideology, is little more experienced in government than a layman.

Her inexperience in high-level politics, coupled with her propensity to latch onto far-left, half-thought-out conspiracies, disqualify her from consideration.

Libertarian Party candidate Gary Johnson is not libertarian and not a student of geography.

Johnson’s position on marijuana may seduce some millennials, but his penchant for foreign policy blunders makes even The Donald look like a worldly scholar.

Then there is the 800-pound gorilla in the room.

In the last year, Donald Trump has gone from reality TV host to the de-facto head of the Republican Party. His ascent has been the most spectacular train wreck in modern American political history.

From his first press conference, where he referred to undocumented Mexican migrants as “rapists,” Trump has had little time for coalition-building with any group not lead by David Duke or Ann Coulter.

He has threatened immigrants, mocked a disabled reporter, disparaged prisoners of war and bragged of being able to maul women.

Trump has mobilized his most “deplorable” followers in ways that his predecessors, Pat Buchanan and George Wallace, would envy.

Instead of quelling the growing mob he created, Trump has doubled down. His most recent assault seems to be on democracy itself.

In the final debate, Trump refused to answer whether he would accept the election results if he lost. His response: “I’ll keep you in suspense.”

The only suspense is whether Trump will dawn a Brown or Black shirt when the inevitable loss comes.

It would be naive to think that electing Clinton is a panacea to all of the nation’s problems.

However, a Trump presidency would threaten not only the fragile and improving U.S. economy but throw a monkey wrench into the even more complex global economy. With Trump, the juice is not worth the squeeze.

Clinton is the only candidate who can effectively navigate the federal bureaucracy while making tough decisions to cut and expand programs when needed.

In addition, she more closely represents the positions of a diverse, vibrant nation.

Times are hard. Yet the country readies itself to show the world its greatest export. Voting. Democracy in action, on a grand scale.

This election, we encourage you to do something great. Keep America great, again. Vote.

This editorial was written on behalf of the Aztec Press editorial board by Editor-in-chief Eddie Celaya.

LETTERS

LETTERS

 

In 1975, the Campus News newspaper and Pima's athletic department held a logo contest.

 

Limit marijuana to medical uses

The “medical marijuana” of today is NOT like the marijuana used in the ‘70s and ‘80s.

Through artificial selection experiments, strains of marijuana have been developed by the marijuana drug industry that substantially increase the potency of the drug. As such, its use poses serious potential consequences.

This drug is effective in treating some medical conditions: muscle spasms caused by multiple sclerosis, nausea from cancer chemotherapy, poor appetite and weight loss caused by chronic illness such as HIV or nerve pain, seizure disorders (childhood epilepsy) and Crohn’s disease.

Purified extracts from whole-plant marijuana can slow the growth of cancer cells from one of the most serious types of brain tumors.

Research in mice showed treatment with purified extracts of THC and CBD, when used with radiation, increased the cancer-killing effects of the radiation.

The combination of cannabidiol and 9-tetrahydrocannabinol enhances the anti-cancer effects of radiation in an orthotopic murine glioma model.

Scientists are also conducting pre-clinical and clinical trials with marijuana and its extracts to treat numerous diseases and conditions, such as the following:

  • Autoimmune diseases (diseases that weaken the immune system): HIV/AIDS; multiple sclerosis, which causes gradual loss of muscle control
  • Alzheimer’s disease, which causes loss of brain function, affecting memory, thinking and behavior
  • Inflammation
  • Pain
  • Seizures
  • Substance use disorders
  • Mental disorders

The FDA has not recognized or approved the marijuana plant as medicine.

Marijuana use for medical purpose should be supported by scientific evidence, including clinical trials, and regulated by the FDA; closely monitored by the tending physician and state department of health.

“Medical marijuana” should be available by prescription only (in a pharmacy) issued by a licensed physician.

Congress should amend the Controlled Substances Act of 1970, making marijuana available for medical treatment.

The major consumers of this drug, if legalized for so-called recreational purposes, will be the younger generation, destroying the very fabric/future of our democracy.

This drug should NOT be legalized for recreational purposes.

The PCC community, particularly students, should be aware of the dangers in using this now very potent drug for so-called recreational use.

Francis P. Saitta, Ph.D.

Governing board candidate

 

Expand self-love to all humanity

Re the Issue 2 opinion page essay on patriotism: Kudos.

One of the highest goals of most religions and philosophies is to extend the natural love of self to ever widening circles: one’s family, one’s own tribe or culture, then to neighbors, other peoples, even to one’s enemies.

Eventually one can take in all of humanity as worthy of love, respect and consideration, and from there go on to love and respect all sentient beings.

This has been the achievement of all great souls since the beginning of humanity, whether one speaks of Jesus, Buddha, various teachers from indigenous peoples, etc.

Now humanity is at a crisis. There are more of us than ever before, with powerful technology to bring massive life or death beyond our ancestor’s wildest dreams.

If we as a species are to survive this crisis, the rare achievement of great souls — to generalize self-love to love of all — must become the everyday achievement of all.

One may ask, “but what about survival?” The fact is, none of us gets off this planet alive and we cannot take anything with us except the love and wisdom we’ve achieved in our lives.

Joni Pinkney

West Campus Learning Center