American Horror Story: 2014 Mid-terms.

So the American mid-terms happened on Tuesday, and in a result that surprised no-one, the Republicans took control of the Senate.

Now, when I say that the result wasn’t surprising, that doesn’t mean I approve of it in the slightest. Honestly? After two years of political and legislative gridlock worse than the US has ever seen, all down to Republican congressman who have since admitted that they have, literally since Obama’s 2008 inauguration, done everything they can to make sure that none of his legislation passes, regardless of public support, I’d hoped that the result would be different.

I suppose that was a naive hope, but the Republicans’ blatant and obvious misogyny, racism, homophobia and general nastiness surely should have been enough to persuade voters the other way, shouldn’t it? This is a party whose members and supporters have said, in the past, that women who protest sexual harassment want to be sexually harassed, that in cases of “legitimate rape,” a woman’s body has a way of “shutting that whole thing down,” and that “Obama is the most racist president America has ever had” – this last comment in spite of the fact that a significant proportion of American presidents have actually been slave-owners.

It seems surreal to me that a party which has consistently expressed views as absurd and offensive as this has actually become the most powerful party in the USA, especially since America has always tried to portray itself as a beacon of freedom and equality. Given all this, I literally cannot comprehend the popularity of the Grand Old Party, and I begin to feel desperately sorry for President Obama, who, having already had to fight tooth-and-nail against Congress for the past two years of his presidency, is now going to be completely ineffective. A lot of people like to talk about Obama as someone who hasn’t kept their promises, but how can he have hoped to, after inheriting the worst economy since the Great Depression, and with Republicans fighting him every step of the way?

If this mid-term was a referendum on the president, the negative feeling towards Obama has won a decisive victory, but I can’t help but view him as a victim. After all, he’s been fighting a losing battle since his 2008 win, and, at this point, I honestly wouldn’t blame him if he was looking forward to the end of his second term in 2016.

– Lana Wrigley, A2 Politics

Land of the (Sometimes) Free

So, it’s been over a month since white cop Darren Wilson shot unarmed black teenager Michael Brown to death in Ferguson, Missouri.

As it stands, Wilson is on paid leave, and cries for his arrest have been met – unsurprisingly – with stony silence by the Ferguson police. After all those “violent clashes” in the streets, with police in military-grade vehicles not only trying to enforce a media blackout, but firing tear gas and wooden bullets into crowds of peaceful protesters, there hasn’t been a move made against the murderer – who, witnesses agree, fired at the surrendering teen no less than 11 times.

Now, this is far from the first case of white-cop-kills-black-kid the United States has seen, and unfortunately, it is not likely to be the last, but what is significant is the national outrage it has sparked. There have been protests up and down America, calling on the White House for stricter control of police (with petitions circulating which demand that officers wear body cameras), and the internet, at least, is not willing to let the outrage die. In fact, this incident has really demonstrated the power of social media, with protesters and journalists on the ground getting around the police media ban by tweeting events as they unfold. However, all of this means nothing if nothing is done to punish the man who murdered that boy, and it doesn’t look like that’s going to happen any time soon, because the last thing the institutionally-racist police force of America wants to do is set a precedent.

For years they have been – literally – getting away with murder, and if Darren Wilson goes down for killing Michael Brown, as he surely should, that won’t be allowed to happen again. It is now those who should protect and enforce the law who are trying to obstruct it. The police do not want Darren Wilson to be charged, despite the six witnesses who saw him gun down the 18 year-old, because they know that it will mark a turning point in what they will be allowed to get away with.

But, it is for precisely that reason that he needs to be charged. Police brutality is a scary, scary thing, and if there is even the smallest chance that getting justice for Michael Brown will ensure justice for any other innocent man or woman attacked by police in future, then that is what needs to happen.

So, to the protesters in Ferguson, keep fighting the good fight. By challenging the rotten, racist core of the American police force, you are making history, and I for one, even though I’m typing this hundreds of miles away, applaud you.

– Lana Wrigley, A2 Politics.

What makes Americans attracted to Presidents from Mars rather than Venus and what will it take for a woman to break through America’s most exclusive glass ceiling?

Every year in Luton Sixth Form College the Politics department holds the Politics Prize competition. Last year Adam Deacon won the prize with his article on North Korea. This year Sophy Lelliot won with her excellent piece on the glass women that American females face on the quest for political power which you can read below.

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ABOVE: Sophy Lelliot receiving her Politics Prize from the principal, Chris Nicholls.

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Eleven Years On: Freedom in a Post 9/11 America

In 1776 Thomas Jefferson began the Declaration of Independence; ‘We hold these truths to be self evident, that all men are created equal’. America then went on to discriminate against women, African-Americans and Hispanics for over two hundred years. Hypocrisy is arguably synonymous with the American constitution. The First Amendment states;

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

The First Amendment essentially outlines freedom. Freedom from government intervention. The Freedom of speech, press and assembly that America consistently criticises totalitarian regimes of not upholding.  Most recently, criticisms against the North Korean regime but also in the past America has heavily criticised the USSR and China for the lack of political freedoms in their country. Of course, on no level is the USA an equivalent to these dictatorial regimes but it begs to question how much the America people, and indeed we in Britain, know how much we’re being lied to. A cynical joke from the Cold War can be applied to this question:

‘What’s the difference between East Germany and West Germany?’
‘The People of East Germany know they’re being lied to.’

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