Tag: donald

It’s Time to Replace the Electoral College

Jack Shields | United States

The 2016 election was a showdown between Donald J. Trump and Hillary Clinton. The fact that the leader of the free world was going to be one of these individuals, both of whom were under FBI investigation, shows that our electoral system is in need of reform. Further compounding this need is the fact that Donald Trump received 2.8 million votes fewer than the loser, Hillary Clinton. The Electoral College is clearly a disaster which does not do an adequate job in achieving any of the noble goals presented by its supporters. However, the solution of going to a popular vote, by far the most popular idea, would be even worse. The Electoral College must be repealed and replaced with a ranked choice voting system, rather than relying on the popular vote.

The Failure of the Electoral College

The Electoral College was a disaster from the start. The system went unnoticed during the first two elections as George Washington was running, so it was really more of a formality than an actual election. Its flaws, however, became apparent in the election of 1796 between Federalist John Adams and Democratic-Republican Thomas Jefferson. At the time, the Electoral College operated under the rules prescribed in Article II Section 1 Clause 3, which gave each elector two votes for President. Whoever had the majority of votes became President, and whoever had the second most became Vice President. Adams won, becoming President, but rather than fellow Federalist, Thomas Pinckney, receiving the second most to become Vice President, Jefferson of the opposite party did. This made the Executive branch split ideologically for the only time in American history, causing tension and inefficiency. Problems continued in the election of 1800 when Democratic-Republicans Thomas Jefferson and Aaron Burr each received 73 electoral votes and the outcome of the election went to the House of Representatives. It was a brutal political battle that took 35 deadlocked votes before Alexander Hamilton convinced a minority of Federalist Representatives to back Jefferson in the 36th vote, making him the third President of the United States (a decision that would help lead to Burr killing Hamilton in a duel). Both sides understood our electoral system was a mess, so to remedy this the Twelfth Amendment was ratified in 1804, making each elector now have only one vote for President and one for Vice President.

While certainly an improvement, ratifying Twelfth Amendment was like applying a band-aid when surgery is required. Many more problems have surfaced since regarding Presidential elections and more and more band-aids have been added.

With electoral votes being what matters and not the votes of the people, the right to vote in a Presidential election was not and is still not guaranteed. The Fifteenth, Nineteenth, Twenty-fourth, and Twenty-sixth Amendments had to be ratified, along with the passage of countless laws, to at least clarify which characteristics can’t be used to prevent Americans from voting.

The Twenty-third Amendment was ratified in order to actually let American citizens in our country’s capital have any say in who would be running the nation. For 172 years they were spectators in their own country. Today, millions of Americans are unable to vote for who should be their Commander in Chief simply due to the fact they live in territories rather than states.

There have been five elections in which the winner of the popular vote was defeated. Additionally, small states are disproportionately represented in the Electoral College. Both of these are hailed by supporters of the Electoral College as its benefits. Small states should be represented and the tyranny of the majority should be kept at bay. The problem is that neither of those has really happened. When is the last time you saw a presidential candidate visit Wyoming or Vermont? Small states have not been represented, while swing states receive large amounts of media and campaign attention. Rather than a national election, the Presidential election is an election of Florida, Ohio, and Virginia. This is not how it should be. While power should be decentralized and overall, states should have more powers and influence in the lives of the American people, when we are holding an election for the head of the national executive the entire nation should be involved. The idea that we need a system that checks the tyranny of the majority is absolutely true. The Electoral College just isn’t the way to do it. Checks and balances, a small list of enumerated federal powers, decentralization of power, and state legislatures picking Senators were effective ways to check the majority. We have abandoned many of these ideas as government has grown bigger while our rights have shrunk, and the Electoral College hasn’t been able to stop any of this. The way to change course and keep small states powerful and the tyranny of the majority in check is to stick to checks and balances and decentralization of power, not have a terrible electoral system where someone can become President with only 27% of the popular vote. We should keep powers limited to protect the states. We should keep the amount of positions people get to elect limited to check the tyranny of the majority. But once we’ve decided to allow the people to vote, as we should do when deciding who gets to be the powerful man in the world, we should treat it as any other vote: winning 51% of the vote means winning the election.

The final supposed benefit of the Electoral College was it would protect us from the ignorance of the masses. It did this through the Electors, which are in no way constitutionally bound to vote for who the people of their state picked, although many states have laws requiring them too. But has it at all checked the people’s ignorance? The reality TV star who cheated on his wife with a porn star is President right now. President Wilson (re-segregated the federal government), President Roosevelt (put Japanese people in camps and appointed a former KKK member to the Supreme Court), and President Johnson (helped filibuster civil rights legislation) all were elected without any opposition from Electors. In fact, the only time the Electors have had any significant impact was during the election of 1872 when the Democratic nominee for President, Horace Greeley, died after the popular vote but before the electors cast their votes, causing them to split their votes between four other Democrats. Just like the tyranny of the majority, the ignorance of the majority should not be checked by the way we hold our elections. The way to check it is to limit the power of the federal government and what positions we get to vote for.

With the Electoral College being the disaster it is, many have proposed we move to a popular vote. In this system, whichever candidate receives the most votes becomes the next President. But this cure is worse than the disease. There have been eight elections in which the winner won with a plurality of votes, and this system exasperates this problem. It requires there to always only be two candidates, stifling many viewpoints and competition. The clearest example is with Bill Clinton’s election in 1992. Clinton won with an electoral landslide despite winning only 43.01% of the vote. This was because the third-party candidate, Ross Perot split President George H. W. Bush’s base. A Democrat won the election despite the fact that 56.36% of the electorate chose a conservative-leaning candidate. This is a problem that will continue to occur with a popular vote. A different solution is clearly needed.

Ranked Choice Voting

A Ranked Choice Voting System is the best way to elect the President. In this system, rather than picking just one candidate, a voter ranks his or her favorite candidate 1st, the second 2nd, and so on. If when the votes are tallied in the first round, none of the candidates received above 50% of the popular vote, then the candidate in last place is eliminated and the votes for those who voted for the now-eliminated candidate go to their highest ranked, non-eliminated choice. This process continues until one candidate has above 50% of the vote, making them the next President of the United States. President Bush would’ve been able to win in dominant fashion in the second round of the election under this system; giving the American people a President most closely aligned to the wishes of the electorate. That should be the most important goal of any electoral system, and none do it better than ranked choice voting.

While ensuring the majority of the American people actually voted for the next President is the most important goal, there are many other goals that are achieved by Ranked Choice Voting.

The candidates will be less radical. Primaries allow radical bases to select candidates not in line with mainstream America, causing most Americans to choose between the lesser of two evils as seen best by the 2016 election between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. Under this system primaries are weakened and may even become totally irrelevant and eliminated as multiple people from each party would be able to run without destroying any chance of victory as with the elections of 1912 and 1992.

With more candidates being viable the American people will have more options and more opinions will be represented. With votes transferring, the idea of ‘wasting your vote’ will be a thing of the past. All voters will get to vote with their conscience for the candidate most representative of their values without having to pick the least worst option.

The presidential candidates will have to campaign everywhere. Democrats in Texas and Republicans in California will finally have their votes matter and the need to campaign nationwide rather than Florida-wide will be the new path to victory.

Millions of American citizens living in territories such as Puerto Rico will be able to have a say in who their President will be. All Americans will have their votes matter now that we will have a system which ensures citizens do get to vote for President and there is no Elector who can go against the will of the people.

Lastly, this system has the potential to make elections more civil and unifying, something badly needed in this country. Most Americans disapprove of negative campaign ads, but their use is increasing. It is much easier to prove someone else wrong than to prove yourself right. A ranked-choice system creates negative consequences for disparaging your opponent and incentives to be civil; voters aren’t just voting once, they are now ranking candidates, so every detail of a campaign matters. And while not everyone is going to make a candidate their first choice, the candidate will want them to rank him or her second. A voter is not likely to rank a candidate anywhere on their list if the candidate is in a calling the other candidate’s supporters deplorables who are racist, sexist, bigoted, homophobic, and xenophobic. Candidates will now have to play nice if they hope to stand a chance should the election go to round two.

With an electoral system that has failed us from the beginning, many Americans are turning away from the Electoral College and looking for alternatives. While this is a necessary first step we must be careful not to stumble upon the first alternative and end up with an even worse electoral system. Ranked Choice Voting is by far the most efficient and beneficial system, making it the obvious choice for the Presidential electoral system of the future.


71 Republic is the Third Voice in media. We pride ourselves on distinctively independent journalism and editorials. Every dollar you give helps us grow our mission of providing reliable coverage. Please consider donating to our Patreon.

Featured Image Source

Advertisements

Childish Gambino Inaccurately Portrays American Culture

By Casey Ward | United States

The new music video by Childish Gambino (AKA Donald Glover) is all anyone can talk about. Across America, news outlets are praising how different and courageous the new music is. In the video, you can see references to cultural issues like mass shootings and historically racial tensions. With all of the people raving about what the video means it is nearly impossible to find someone with an opinion other than “oh how rebellious and deep.”

The first voice that I heard calling Mr. Glover out on this new video was Maj Toure of Black Guns Matter.

After seeing Mr. Toure speak out about the video I contacted him to discuss this issue further. Mr. Toure commented that to Mr. Glover’s credit, the cinematography was great, especially for one take. However, people are tired of being portrayed in a negative light.

In Mr. Glover’s video, the assumption is that America is filled with violence and guns are at the heart of it. This just isn’t the case for a majority of gun owners. On average there are 9,289 homicides using a gun but there are nearly 111,000,000 gun owners making only .008% of gun owners violent. Coupled with people interjecting what they believe the video meant just makes the entire situation negative towards your average gun owner.

The content of the video is not actually that good, because Mr. Glover used so many different topics. It appeared he could barely finish one reference before starting another. This leads to people being lost and constantly distracted leaving the references unexplored and unexplained.

This leaves many people wondering, where is Mr. Glover? Since Mr. Glover seems absent from the conversation as to follow the same suit as every celebrity that has taken a similar route. Say something controversial, start the conversation, win an award, and then move on from the issue. Celebrities merely accept their award and fade out of the discussion until the next time ratings need a boost. Another issue is that in the video Mr. Glover reprimands other creators for using violence to sell their art.

Instead of criticising others for their use of violence to get views while in the same breath using that exact tactic as a “prop” you should set an example. Talk is cheap especially in today’s world and as Mr. Toure put it, “The true power is galvanizing people, solve the problem instead of just talking.” The real issue with the video is the vagueness of it all, it’s not that deep since he does not actually go into anything specific but instead repeats issues everyone already knows about.

To conclude Mr. Glover did a good job as far as art goes… but as for being deep or controversial about America and its culture, the entire video is a failure.


Featured Image Source

A New Hope for Congress – Jason Hope for House of Reps

By John Keller | United States
Jason Hope is the libertarian candidate for Congress in Texas’ 31st Congressional District.
Keller: What inspired you to pursue a career in politics?
Hope: I have thought about running for office for many years, I was first inspired by Ron Paul.  Ron Paul showed me that you could be a politician and stand on principles.  When I realized that you could be a principled politician and could actually help people in the quest for freedom I was all in!
Keller: With such a political duopoly by the Democrats and Republicans, what made you join the Libertarian Party?
Hope: I joined the libertarian party because it is the party of principle, they believe in the non-aggression principle which means I can live my life as I please as long as I don’t harm anyone else.  This is a great philosophy, which extends to so much that the government has overreached on.  If it is wrong to take something from someone by force than how do we allow taxation of any form?  The only thing the other two major parties believe is how to attain more power and money.  After considering all of that it was a very easy decision.
Keller: In your own words, what is a Libertarian?
Hope: A libertarian is a voluntarist who believes people should be free to live their lives how they choose to live, as long as they don’t try and impose there way of living on anyone else (that’s the best part I think, we can have gun restrictions that I don’t agree with just do it somewhere else away from me and I probably wont go there and visit but that is freedom).
Keller: What policy and change do you hope to bring to Congress?
Hope: There is several things I want to change with congress.  I would like to drastically reduce spending especially on the military budget.  I would like to reschedule Cannabis so it is no longer considered class 1 felony.  I would heavily push to audit the federal reserve so we can take our currency back and end the income tax.  I would also push to reduce regulation on business and commerce to allow the free market to thrive better so we have a better economy. Lastly I would like to end many government agencies including but not limited to the department of education, EPA, DEA, CIA and I’m sure I could go on for a while with this list.
Keller: Although Libertarians tend to believe less laws and less government is better, what is one law you would like to see passed?
Hope: If I had to come up with a law I would want passed it would have to be that the president or anyone who can be held liable that aided in the attack/waging of war on another country without congressional approval would be arrested and subject to criminal trial.
Keller: If elected to Congress, how will you see legislation passed through the duopoly majority?
Hope: The only way I have ever been able to get anyone to aid in the quest for liberty is stand on my principles and speak out hoping the rest will hear the message and realize what they are doing is wrong and correct the mistake.  I was a die hard republican for many years until I was shown there is a better way of liberty and true individual freedom, so if I can hear that message so will others.
Keller: Donald Trump has been very controversial to say the least. In Congress would you work with President Trump to get his agenda passed?
Hope: That is a broad statement, first we have to figure out what his agenda is.  He campaigned on bringing troops home and ending wars abroad but so far I have heard the drums of war only get louder. He has flip flopped on many things just like so many presidents before him.  I would work with him if it was to reduce government or something of the like, but to say I would help get his agenda passed 100% would be a lie.
Keller: What is the key to winning your election? If someone wanted to get involved, how would they do so?
Hope: Getting the message out to the people of District 31 in Texas that they have a principled candidate with their freedom in mind.  Go to my Facebook page you can message me and we can figure something out to help, also like and share it with others in that district tell them to vote libertarian.  I am self funding this campaign so I don’t really have any money for the campaign but if people want to make a sign or whatever I encourage individuals to speak out in their community on my behalf as long as it aligns with what my message is. 
Keller: Do you have any final remarks for the readers?
Hope: I believe the time has come to take our liberties back, the people are tired of politics as usual and Donald Trump being elected speaks volumes to this. Regardless if he has stuck to his word or not, the message he put out of ending wars and eliminating federal overreach with regulation and reducing welfare etc is why he was elected.  If the people realize there are people running for office who really mean what they say, the Democrats and Republicans will have no chance.   Also my district is a military district which has Fort Hood as part of it, so I have decided that if elected I would give $100,000 of the $174,000 congressional yearly salary to help veterans coming home from these illegal wars with PTSD and also help organize local militia to have local protection against all enemies foreign and domestic.
Thank you Mr. Hope for your time. Be sure to visit his website if interested in getting involved.


 

Bring Back Liberty – Nickolas Wildstar for California

By John Keller | United States

Nickolas Wildstar is a Wisconsin native who moved to California in 1999. After over a decade of office work, he is pursing the mission to “Bring Back Liberty to California”. To achieve this aim, Wildstar is currently running to be the next governor of California. 71 Republic’s John Keller spoke with Mr. Wildstar about his ideas and the campaign:

Keller: What inspired you to pursue political office?

Wildstar: Most of my inspiration to run for office has come from being moved by the wisdom of Dr. Ron Paul. His 2012 presidential campaign opened my eyes to the benefits of having a limited government that doesn’t operate on debt, and returning the power of governance back into the hands of the people where it belongs.  Being a black man, my life experience already included first hand abuses by police officers and the justice system, as well as economic inequality and other difficult circumstances stemming from statist policies, so when the Occupy and Anonymous movements came along, I got involved in community activism and protesting in the streets to demand change. Learning from Ron Paul and others seeking to elect him about how constitutional government was intended to hold official abuses in check, was the last bit of encouragement I needed to excite me to seek to become a public representative myself.  

Keller: In your words, what is libertarianism and why is it the right choice for California?

Wildstar: Libertarianism to me is an individual’s peaceful expression of their natural right to live freely and without restriction. As with classical liberalism, freedom is the heart of its value. While this traditional American sentiment is widely cherished, California is a special reflection of that since it is home to one of the most diverse and multicultural populations and largest entertainment industry in the country. People from all walks of life come here to live, start their careers and businesses, and pursue their dreams, because this is a state where they can come true. But it’s quickly becoming a nightmare for many, which is why I am fighting to bring back the principle of liberty and restore California’s promise as a place where you can be free to live out your dreams.

Keller: What encouraged you to run as a libertarian? What attracted you, and what should attract others, to the message of liberty?

Wildstar: From all of the face to face discussions I’ve had with people while campaigning throughout the state, I’ve come to find out that not many of them have a clue what liberty even means anymore, and this is mainly due to their being conditioned to believe that whenever a problem arises, there needs to be a government solution. I used to suffer from the same belief, and I’m sure there are people reading this who think some level of authoritarianism is needed. This very thought enslaves the mind. As people forget what is possible with freedom and lose the ability to dream, it results in restrictions that prevent innovation, creativity, ingenuity, and evolutions that advance humankind. We The People are not at liberty to act outside of the box anymore, and this is because a small minority are desperately working to keep the masses asleep. It’s time to wake up to the real world we’re living in and break out of the controlled existence into which we’ve been shackled. With liberty as the cornerstone of politics, there would be respect and protection of personal property and choices. There would be no taxes collected under threat of violence. There would be no mass incarceration. From how you work, to how you play, to your health and financial decisions, to the risks you take, to what you do with your own body, you would be allowed the autonomy that America’s founders, at their best, intended you to have. Only politicians who are committed to refusing to use the power of office to boss other people around and impose their own agendas, can make this happen, which is why Libertarians are best suited for the job, because they’ve been preaching this for years! If I were elected as a Libertarian governor, shackles would start coming off. People would still be free to sit there like they were chained to a post and had to wait for someone else’s permission or assistance in order to be able to do anything! I’m all about choice. But I believe most people would look and see the new freedoms around them and be attracted to experience a bit of it.

Keller: Recently a study was released that showed, when factoring in cost of living, California is the state with the highest poverty rate – despite spending the most money on poverty relief and welfare programs. As governor, what will you do to fix this issue?

Wildstar: I’d change the laws to let people help each other directly, instead of doing it through government. Good ideas don’t require aggression. The establishment gubernatorial candidates all want to keep taxing you and most of them want to add new taxes for one thing or another, but they have no viable plans to stop tax money being wastefully spent, misappropriated, and countless of politicians being caught red handed stealing hundreds of millions of dollars from public funds. If elected governor, I would immediately seek a completely independent and transparent audit of the state’s finances so the people of this state can see exactly where all of their tax dollars have been going. Reduce the personal income tax to 0% and end the double dip taxing of businesses. Reduce the property tax to zero and eliminate zoning laws to make buying or renting a home truly affordable again. I would also reduce the regressive sales tax to 7% statewide, so that the cost of everyday goods and services can be lower than ever before. With these reforms, more ordinary people will have the means to help themselves instead of relying on government, and Californians will be more ready and able to do their part to help the smaller number of less fortunate members of our communities who remain in poverty.     

Keller: The Trump Administration has declared a virtual policy war against California. How will you balance federal mandates and the need to govern California as a sovereign state?

Wildstar: By upholding the United States Constitution and incorporating federalism. California is one of the few states in which state tax money funds the majority of federal programs. Taxpayers in this state are being bilked by the Feds for much more than they are getting in return. Our state economy could easily be healthily revived were this line of credit cut off and would serve its residents best in the long run. Whether it’s the recreational use of marijuana or peaceful individuals migrating here from every corner of the world, the people of this state deserve a governor who will protect their rights as residents. My goal would be to end the subservient relationship with the federal government, and meet any actions reducing federal support or spending in California as punishment for exercising local control and upholding state law, with an equal response to reduce support and cooperation with the federal government. Washington D.C. needs to stay in Washington D.C.

Keller: In regards to the policy war, Attorney General Jeff Sessions has expanded the Drug War. Where do you stand on this issue?

Wildstar: It’s sad how the “War on Drugs” is still being waged on people despite decades of data proving it has done more to hurt more innocent people than to protect them from dangerous threats. I support decriminalization. People should never be incarcerated for victimless crimes. I’d advocate for such legislative changes here in California, and would defend the people of this state from any outside enforcement of law within state borders. Peaceful adults should be left to take responsibility for their own choices whether it be smoking marijuana, taking prescription drugs, or eating certain foods. Government should not be the nanny for grown human beings. We are capable of making our own decisions and our bodies belong to us.       

Keller: What three policies are most important to you to be implemented should you be elected to the governorship?

Wildstar: The majority of my agenda of getting the power back to the people would consist of seeking to reverse current policies which have harmed Californians and damaged the state as a whole. For a long time the practice of taxing and spending has been done without the people of the community who fund these efforts having any individual say in the matter. I would seek to change that so there would be no more surprise raids on your pocketbooks. One top priority for me would be putting measures in place to prevent taxation without representation. No one who cannot vote in a jurisdiction should not be required to pay taxes there. That was one of the fundamental principles of the Revolutionary War. Another priority would be ending welfare for the insurance industry by eliminating requirements to purchase insurance for things like cars, homes, and healthcare. A third top priority of mine is police reform. Removal of policies like the “Police Bill of Rights” would make police officers more accountable and restore honor to their traditional role as heroes and pillars of our community.   

Keller: If someone is interested how can they get involved with your campaign or the Libertarian Party?

Wildstar: Any way you can contribute right now is much appreciated. This campaign is a team effort, with many of the key campaign staff roles, like campaign manager, media coordinator, etc., being filled by multiple volunteers. The more dedicated people who are willing to jump in and lend a helping hand the more successful we can be! Even if you cannot get directly involved, talking with people about my campaign for governor in person and on social media gets that buzz going that will help make me a household name so I can be more effective at spreading the libertarian message and building the freedom movement. Most importantly at this time, with a $4000 filing fee due March 7th, I’m in need of donations! Libertarian candidates don’t get much funding and I myself am not a rich man so please do give what you can even if it’s only a few dollars, so I know you appreciate me being out there promoting what we stand for and want that to continue. To make a donation to my campaign, visit my website Wildstar2018.com. If you believe people have the right to live as they choose so long as they do not initiate force or fraud against others, please also become a member of the Libertarian Party and come to the state convention in Long Beach this April where you can vote to endorse me. I also encourage you to get involved with your local party chapter. You can support their activism and attend local meetings whether or not you are a member. Like the system of federalism I’m seeking to restore, the Libertarian Party is made up of affiliate parties in each state which are independent from the national Libertarian Party. You can join the California LP at LPC.org, and the national Libertarian Party at LP.org.

Keller: Do you have any final remarks for the readers?

Wildstar: There are many more things I would love to talk about and share with your readers like jury nullification, the common law tradition and how the courts have gotten away from it to the detriment of liberty, the whole fiat currency house of cards, etc., but doing some of these topics justice would take more space than we have here. I encourage curious readers to do their own research. This Matrix of a world we live in has a lot of interesting rabbit holes! But if you decide to go exploring down any of them, try to keep your eye on the big picture. We are at a critical time in history. Events are accelerating, and rapid technological advances have the potential to give us a brighter future we can scarcely imagine. But if we don’t stand up and resist government control, these changes could also take us down the road toward a police state. We must stop this from happening, and realize the possibility of freedom without undergoing the suffering of chaos and war. If we can successfully stand up for our rights using the democratic system today, flawed as it is, our future won’t have to involve battling to overcome increasing poverty and inequality, diminishing opportunities, or tyrannical control. It’s up to us today to bring about the necessary shifts that will liberate our nation and spare future generations’ untold agony and hardships. Vote Libertarian and be the pioneers of a revolution that will show the world what a constitutional republic looks like can be. Together we can do it, and we will!

I would like to thank Nickolas Wildstar for his time in conducting this interview. If you would like to get involved or want to have further dialogue with him please visit Wildstar2018.com.

Donald Trump Made A Bad Move On Guantanamo Bay

By Willie Johnson | United States

Like numerous presidents before him, Donald J. Trump has been widely criticized for failing to keep campaign promises. From building a border wall with Mexico to imprisoning Hillary Clinton, he has failed to live up to many expectations, but that’s not always a bad thing. His recent executive order to keep open the detention facility at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, serves as a shining example of how our president’s failure to follow through (and the outrage it would incite) would have been a better alternative to his choice of maintaining a system that is both illegal and morally corrupt.

Let’s flashback to January 2009—Newly inaugurated President Barack Obama tried to keep a campaign promise of his own by signing executive order 13492, mandating the closure of the Guantanamo Bay facility no later than one year in the future. It stated that prisoners still being held would either be released or transferred to a detention facility elsewhere. It was meant to serve the interests of both national security and foreign policy by treating detainees as enemy combatants under the rules of the Geneva Convention. A solid plan, no doubt, but one that was unfortunately overturned by congressional legislation. Nine years later, it’s back to bite us all.

What’s the issue with Guantanamo Bay, anyway? First of all, the grounds for its very existence is shaky at best. It was first established as an American naval base in 1903, but even the Department of Justice admits that its status as a U.S. territory is up for dispute. It isn’t under foreign jurisdiction either, making it the perfect place to carry out internment and interrogation techniques that would otherwise be illegal. The camp’s classification as a detainment facility is a thinly veiled attempt at hiding the obvious. If we are fighting a war on terror, Guantanamo is a prisoner of war camp, and should, therefore, adhere to the regulations of the Geneva Convention and Red Cross—both of which clearly state that there exists no status between a prisoner of war and a civilian. Detainees there occupy that illegal middle ground. Failing to close the facility is failing to respect international law.

In his first State of the Union speech, President Trump stated that his decision to keep the Guantanamo Bay facility open was based on the need for a place to detain newly apprehended ISIS and Al Qaeda terrorists. The executive order he issued the same day calls for humane and legal treatment of detainees, but as stated before, such behavior cannot be assured without the threat of repercussions that simply aren’t present at Guantanamo. If the infamous Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq was any example, fair treatment of prisoners is not always a prerequisite in American facilities outside of American soil. Regardless of alternative solutions, however, the potential for such crimes should be snuffed out as soon as possible.

The president has failed to realize that in trying to crack down on terrorism and improve the nation’s security, he is perpetuating a cycle of injustice established long before he took office. If he can find a way to agree with his predecessor and approach the issue with the no-nonsense attitude he is famous for, that cycle will end. No government should operate outside its own laws, and the United States is no exception.


Image from NBC news.