Tag: elections

Walter Jones: A Hero to the Anti-War Movement

Kenneth Casey | United States

On Sunday, America lost one of their most principled and honorable members of Congress with the passing of Walter Jones, the U.S. Representative of North Carolina’s 3rd Congressional District. According to Fox News, Jones had suffered a broken hip at his home on January 14th and underwent surgery at Vidant Medical Center in Greenville the following day, which was just one of a series of ailments that Jones had faced.

The North Carolina politician first entered the cutthroat world of politics in 1983 after being elected as a representative of North Carolina at the state level, serving as a Democrat for the entirety of his tenure. After his father vacated his U.S. Congressional seat as a member of North Carolina’s 1st Congressional District in 1992, Jones decided to run for his father’s seat and did so successfully. While being a Democrat and serving his first term as so, he decided to switch his party affiliation to the Republican Party in 1994 and has remained a member of the party since.

For around a decade, Jones worked like most people in Washington. He flew under the radar, for the most part, not garnering much national attention. He often served as the standard Republican member of Congress by commonly voting in line with his party as most members of Congress do. The practice of rarely breaking party line and staying away from even the slightest hints of contrarianism is popular in Congress as it increases your chances of being re-elected. That’s why, just about every year, 90% or more of Congress gets re-elected. As long as you do your part and vote in line with your party on the most important issues, the party leadership will support your re-election bid and make the threat of a primary challenge extremely unlikely.

It wasn’t until 2003 that Jones did something that garnered widespread mainstream media attention. Unless you know Walter’s path of getting where he is today, what he did may just surprise you.

A Figure Emerges

Walter was one of the biggest supporters of the Invasion of Iraq back in 2003. His passion for the war was so strong that when France announced their opposition to the United States’ involvement in Iraq, Walter, along with fellow House Republican Bob Ney of Ohio, led the charge to alter a couple names of food choices on the House Cafeteria menu. “French Fries” were to be changed to “Freedom Fries”; “French Toast” was changed to “Freedom Toast”. Yes, Jones’ first real moment of prominence after 10 years a Congress was when he became known as one of the Republicans who bootlicked for the Invasion of Iraq so much that he made his disapproval of France’s stance on the issue known by removing the word “French” from the House Cafeteria Menu.

By the end of 2005, the number of American casualties had reached 2,181. It was around this time that Walter Jones drastically changed his views on Foreign Policy. He called on President Bush to withdraw from Iraq, stating he had “come to believe that there had been little reason to go to war, despite his earlier support, which had been based upon selective intelligence supplied to Congress.” Walter did something that we hardly ever see in politicians, and that is admitting that they are wrong. After coming to the realization of his past faults, he became one of the biggest non-interventionists in Congress, supporting peace every single chance he got and opposing war at all costs.

Because of his heroism among anti-war activists, he earned the label “Champion of Peace” by fellow non-interventionist Congressman Ron Paul. In the years following his change of heart towards the Iraq War, Jones has signed over 12,000 letters to families and extended families who have lost loved ones in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars and has hung posters displaying the faces of the dead along the hallway leading to his congressional office in Washington D.C. “That was for me asking God to forgive me for my mistake,” Jones told the NPR in 2017.

An Enemy of War Hawks

Of course, whenever Jones defied the Republican and neoconservative establishment by advocating for non-interventionism and going against their mainstream ideology, they did not take kindly to that. In both 2014 and 2016, Jones a faced primary opponent who benefited from having received millions from neoconservatives, most notably Bill Kristol, who despised Walter for his foreign policy and didn’t think that he belonged in the modern day Republican Party. Even though his views didn’t exactly coincide with the majority of the Republican Party’s, he still managed to easily brush off his primary challengers both times from the hawkish right, with his constituents proving they wanted to keep their principled politician. This led to him being awarded another nickname from Ron Paul: The Neocon Slayer.

Later on in his congressional career, following the changes in his foreign policy beliefs, he lived by a mindset that he felt his father had failed to follow. That mindset was doing what he believed was right even if it resulted in his career ending abruptly ending. He noted in a 2005 interview that he remembered the worst day of his father’s career was when he had to vote for a financial bailout of New York City in 1970, something his father personally opposed but had to vote for because of “political reasons”.

A Legacy to Remember

If you asked Jones, prior to his death, how he feels looking back at the time in which he was known as the guy who was the reason for the Freedom Fries and Freedom Toast denominations on the House Cafeteria Menu, he most likely would have reacted by laying his cheek in his left hand. This was a habit he said he would “repeat dozens of times a day when lost in thought or sadness”. He would uncharacteristically say nothing, wishing to erase that point in his political career from his and everybody else’s memory. Sixteen years after his vote to send American troops into Iraq, Jones would still have been furious with himself and shaken that he reacted with the dramatic response to a problem much bigger than that, ashamed and regretful of his past votes and rhetoric. In a 2015 interview, he stated he would “go to his grave regretting that he had helped kill 4,000 American soldiers.”

In his later days, Walter ended up becoming so much more than what I previously described in this article: an unprincipled politician who really doesn’t have a person in Congress other than to be there as a yes-man. Walter ended up becoming something that is such a rare species. Some wonder if principled, honorable politicians are already extinct. The type of morality that Walter Jones displayed earns the amount of respect none of us are capable of giving. For that, he deserves to be recognized, honored, and never forgotten in our memories.

May he rest in peace.


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An Appeal to Centrism

At its core, public policy appeases the masses. The roots of democracy dig into public input. For that reason, I propose rooting for the candidates that rarely get much attention: Centrists. Not everyone belongs to the far-left or right. However, the candidates on the ballots are.

Moving further to the end

“Both sides can be seen as equally insane.” To many people, this statement rings true. For others, it shows how polarizing our politics can be. Now more than ever, people are voting the idea of centrism out. In fact, many moderate Republicans were replaced with further right Republicans in last years midterms. Unfortunately, media outlets constantly give the louder and more radical voices a microphone. As a result, voter turnout is on the rise, while Republican enthusiasm is down.

Victory for Centrists

The victory of Abigail Spanberger against Republican Incumbent Dave Brat, a member of the ultra-conservative House Freedom Caucus, is a prime example of a centrist candidate rising over a more extreme candidate. Spanberger, an ex-CIA agent, ran on a Centrist agenda in the rural 7th District of Virginia; a Republican stronghold. Her platform held many signature Democrat principles, but she opposed single-payer healthcare and vowed to vote against Nancy Pelosi for Speaker of the House. She was victorious by a margin of 2%. If she had been more progressive, she likely would not have won.

These results are not across the board. However, if fully embraced, more voters would be happy with the actual legislative policy being produced in Congress. Congressional approval is at a low point, and it has been there for a while now. If the middle ground was more represented and given more attention, there would be less extreme candidates winning elections. There would also fewer stalemates in the legislative process. Centrists would, not only enact more common sense measures but also bring more logical ideas to the floor.

How do we define Centrism?

However, it is without a doubt that Centrism is a subjective term. Your middle ground may be different than mine. Another argument from the New York Times quotes that Centrists are hostile and wish for the destruction of democracy. 

The future of politics with Centrism

The citizens of the United States want Congress to work together and do their jobs. In the House of Representatives almost every viewpoint in recognized-whether you are pro-life, pro-amnesty, or pro-single-payer. However, we need more reasonable and logical candidates to run on issues that everyone can agree on, while putting their personal issues aside. With direction, time, and accountability, Centrism would prosper and radical agendas would die in the primary ballot box.


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Ocasio-Cortez: The New Norm of Congress

William Ramage | USA

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is the youngest woman ever to be elected to the house of representatives. Her victory in New York’s 14th Congressional District is a victory for progressive ideas and millennials. As younger generations form the bulk of the United States population, politicians with a similar style to Ocasio-Cortez will become the new norm. Millennial voter bases favor progressive action. Congressional candidates are becoming younger and younger. Ocasio-Cortez’s drive and passion have bought an entirely new dynamic to Washington. 

The Disconnect

The world of the baby boomers and the world of today are much, much different. Traditional policies aren’t catching on with the millennials and the younger generations. The current representative base of wealthy older white men inaccurately represents our population. We tend to elect the highest educated and most wealthy as our representatives as they reflect more successful people.

The voter base needs to stop putting financial success on a pedestal for political candidates. Success doesn’t reflect the ability to represent. So why elect someone who is extremely successful living amongst a majority of those who have struggled to become financially efficient? While education is important in this field, financial gain is not. Americans need to start electing members who accurately represent their living situations. Then they will see representation that better suits working class people.

The Rise of the Millennials

Older generations are beginning to lose their influence in politics. As a result, policies similar to those proposed by Ocasio-Cortez will become more prevalent within Congress. Millennials have been subject to the policies of the baby boomer generation for decades now. Cortez is much more in touch with the younger generations. One could anticipate millennials will start running for office and push for legislature that better represents them.

However, a major criticism of younger candidates is their lack of experience and in some cases education. 

While Ocasio-Cortez’s attitude in Congress has come across to some as overly aggressive, many have found it inspiring. More and more charismatic people like her will be elected to office with the same drive and passion. It’s not abnormal or dangerous, it’s simply the attitude of younger Americans.

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Libertarians Should Support Wisconsin’s Lame Duck Bill

By Jack Parkos | United States

Following the Wisconsin 2018 gubernatorial election, which saw incumbent Governor Scott Walker lose, Republican state legislator officials got to work on a lame duck bill. The bill would limit the powers of Democrat Tony Evers, the Governor-elect of Wisconsin.

Republicans defend the bill as “balancing the powers of the legislative and executive branch”. Democrats are calling foul, claiming that Republicans are only doing it to limit Tony Evers because he is a Democrat. Democrats point out how Republicans never attempted to limit the governor’s power while Walker was in office.

The debate went on until the early hours of the morning but ultimately did pass Tuesday night. Walker, who was attending the Bush funeral, was unable to sign (or veto) the bill. Many Democrats are requesting to meet with Walker to encourage him not to pass the bill.

So it seems clear the position of each party. Majority of Republicans support the bill, while the majority of Democrats do not. Where do libertarians stand? It seems to be a difficult issue to take a stand on, but Libertarians should ultimately support the bill.

Democracy Vs. Liberty

The common attack the Democrats have on the bill is that it “undermines democracy”, which may or may not be true. Assuming this is true, the Libertarian should respond “so what?”. Liberty is paramount to democracy. They claim that because the majority wanted Evers, the bill should be vetoed. Libertarians must not fall for this trap. Ben Franklin said that democracy is no more than two wolves and a lamb voting on what’s for lunch.

This new bill will weaken the power of the new governor (who is by no means a libertarian). If one believes in libertarianism, this is a great idea. Governor-elect Tony Evers plans on making the capital a gun free zone, but the new bill will take away his power to do so.

Limiting the power of a leader is something libertarians support. Thus, they should logically support the bill, even if it is done for political reasons. It still will limit the power of a governor who is no friend to liberty. Those libertarians who may respond “it undermines democracy”, should ask themselves. Is democratic tyranny better than undemocratic liberty?

Obamacare Lawsuit

Wisconsin is part of a coalition of states planning on suing the federal government claiming the Affordable Care Act is unconstitutional. This is in direct correlation with the libertarian position. Meanwhile, newly elected Attorney General Josh Kaul plans on pulling Wisconsin out of this lawsuit. The new bill will require legislator support to do such a thing. The current legislation is controlled by Republicans who want to continue the lawsuit. A libertarian would support such a lawsuit that could rule Obamacare regulations unconstitutional. Logically, they should support this collation with the same goal in mind.

Politics is a dirty game. The bill is likely motivated by partisan politics. The bill will balance the power in the state government. It may stop the government from growing bigger, thus it must be seen as a necessary evil. 


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The Tyrannical Nature of National Debt

By Jack Parkos | United States

There are two ways to conquer and enslave a country…One is by sword. The other by debt. – John Adams

The US national debt is rising at a dangerously high rate. In fact, it is nearly impossible for me to write the exact amount of the country’s debt as it will change every second. Right now, the United States national debt is at 21 trillion dollars and is approaching 22 trillion. One can observe the rising rate by looking at the US national debt clock. America is the most debt-ridden country out there, which is something truly frightening to look at. Even as tax revenue goes up, the debt too goes up.

Source: http://i2.wp.com/metrocosm.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/02/us-national-debt-history.png

Many may wonder: how could this possibly happen? Quite simply, it was irresponsibility with our government. They keep spending more and more and never learn their lesson. Like a teenage girl with a credit card, they either had little knowledge of money or simply did not care. Essentially, we gave the teenage girl a credit card that won’t cancel, and we set her free to the mall. Now “she” racked up a bunch of debt, and someone must pay that off.

Naturally, this responsibility will fall unto the taxpayers. It would make the most sense that those who voted for the Congress that got us into the mess to pay it off through their taxes. But this will not be the case. The next generation will be the ones forced to pay off the debt, they will have trillions in debt slumped unto the backs of their shoulders. Already, the national debt per taxpayer is over $178,000. This will only continue to rise.

The Tyranny of Debt

The people who will be paying off this debt did not vote for the leaders who put them into this crisis. They had no say in the matter. The past generation forced this onto them. The responsibility mostly lies with the Baby Boomers. Since they did not vote for this and must pay the cost through taxes, are they not being subject to taxation without representation? Certainly, they are. Taxation is already high enough-now, and now the wallet of the American will have to feel the burden of another man’s debt. The colonists fought a revolution over taxation without representation, and now we simply punish future generations with this!

People can typically avoid credit card debt by being responsible. When they are not responsible they must pay back their debts. This is seemingly just, as they are paying debts that they got themselves into. But if someone was forced to pay another’s credit card debt, would this be justice? Would it be fair to punish someone for an act they did not commit? Any reasonable person would find this unjust.

Similar to paying for another’s credit card debt is paying the debt of the last generation-it’s simply unfair. Not only is it unfair-it is tyranny.

The current state of the debt is a crisis. We are already trillions of dollars in debt and Congress does not show any sign of changing its poor habits, still signing trillion dollar spending bills and raising the debt ceiling. Perhaps Congress needs to be taught a high school level economics course; where you learn to not spend money you don’t have.

Even if Congress stops its bad habits (which is unlikely), there is still trillions to be paid off, the next generation would see taxes increased and spending cut. The debt is owned by Essentially paying for services they never used. Unfortunately, the damage has already been done. The boomers gave millennials debt and the millennials are giving the current generation debt. If the current generation does not pay it off, the next will get the debt. This process cannot continue forever, economic failure will result if this keeps happening.

The future does look dark, but let this be a reminder to my fellow younger citizens that you should care about politics. The actions today will ultimately affect your future.


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