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LETTER: It's a myth that young people don't care about politics – North Shore News

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Dear editor:

We’ve all heard the myths that young people don’t care about politics. When post-secondary students come to the table to engage in political discourse and bring forward the concerns of our peers, we are often met with dismissive attitudes, and the assertion that if we don’t show up to the polls, we don’t get to criticize the way that things are.

These myths ignore some crucial evidence about students and our political engagement. Studies show that students are 15% more likely to vote than non-students in our respective age groups. In BC, the voter turnout amongst people aged 18-24 increased by 17.1% since 2009 according to Elections BC. The under 40 population now makes up the largest voting demographic, and our needs and concerns need to be fully considered by each party and every candidate this election. Students do care, and we do show up to vote. We are engaged in our communities, and are participating in an enormous undertaking by pursuing an education for the betterment of ourselves and our province.

Young people were the hardest hit by the pandemic in terms of job loss, meanwhile, many students were unable to get the financial assistance they needed through this economic downturn. Students are continuing to pursue their education in hopes of improving their situation and positively contribute to our communities, despite the fact that 75% of students have suffered significant financial hardship and will be impacted well beyond 2020.

We need to see our party leaders putting forward policies that not only consider the interests of students and how we have been uniquely impacted by the pandemic, but that properly recognize the diversity within the student experience. Students with dependents are navigating childcare and schooling during the pandemic while trying to complete their studies. Students living in remote areas that have poorer wifi connection are struggling to keep up with the demands on online learning. Student mental health was already declining, and is in serious jeopardy due to these exacerbating circumstances.

We call upon every candidate and each party leader to commit towards putting forward initiatives to support students as we move forward through the pandemic. The future is uncertain, but students are working hard to find solutions and support our recovery efforts. Students are not just the leaders of tomorrow, we are already working for a brighter future for our province.

Grace Dupasquier
North Vancouver

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Identity politics vs. melting pot vision – OCRegister

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The jousting over Gov. Gavin Newsom’s appointment of a U.S. senator to succeed Vice President-elect Kamala Harris is fast becoming the epitome — or nadir — of identity politics.

It’s a mindset in which the personalities, talents, character and accomplishments of individual human beings are secondary to being defined by their race, ethnicity, gender, age and/or sexual identification — and are expected to automatically reflect the values and mores of their designated categories.

Inevitably, then, politics become a competition among identity groups for power and distribution of public goods — a modern version of tribalism that succeeds the earlier vision of America as a melting pot that blends immigrant cultures into a unique society.

Oddly, ordinary Americans increasingly resist such categorization. We intermarry, we happily live in integrated neighborhoods, we have and adopt children of mixed ethnicity, we send our children to integrated schools and we embrace food and music from disparate cultures. That’s especially true in California, the most ethnically and culturally complex of the 50 states.

Harris herself is both a product of the melting pot vision — her mother migrated from India, her father from Jamaica and they met as students at the University of California — and of the politics of identity. Depending on the audience and the moment, she identified herself as Black or Indo-American, but she also married a white man who is Jewish.

Not surprisingly, therefore, Newsom is feeling pressure from identity groups to choose a new senator from within their ranks, each saying Newsom “must” pay homage with an appointment.

Willie Brown, the former Assembly speaker and San Francisco mayor who was also Newsom’s political mentor, is leading a public drive for a Black woman to succeed Harris, who is also a former Brown protégé.

San Francisco Mayor London Breed, still another Brown protégé, is on his list, along with Congresswomen Karen Bass of Los Angeles and Barbara Lee of Oakland.

The LGBTQ Victory Fund is another group publicly pushing Newsom to make history by appointing the nation’s first openly non-heterosexual senator.

Several women’s organizations are demanding that Newsom replace Harris with another woman.

Finally, Latino groups are pressing Newsom to honor the state’s largest ethnic group by appointing California’s first Latino senator.

Asked about his intentions during a briefing on COVID-19 this week, Newsom said he doesn’t have a self-imposed deadline, “But progress has been made in terms of getting closer to that determination.”

The odds-on favorite among political handicappers is that Newsom will appoint a Latino, possibly Secretary of State Alex Padilla, who has a lengthy and close relationship with the governor.

As the cynics — or realists — see the situation, Newsom has already given a nod to Black and LGBTQ groups by naming Martin Jenkins to a seat on the state Supreme Court. He could placate one of the other groups by naming a successor to Padilla in the secretary of state’s office. The same dynamics would apply if he chose another Latino, Attorney General Xavier Becerra, for the Senate.

While the competition for Newsom’s senatorial appointment typifies identity politics, it also demonstrates their unfortunate aspect of ignoring what should be the most important factor. We should have someone in the Senate of good character and demonstrated competence and who approaches the position with an independent mind, as the state’s other senator, Dianne Feinstein, has done.

It should not matter which identity group wins the competition. It should matter that whomever Newsom chooses will be seen as representing every Californian, not just one faction of the state’s 40 million residents.

CalMatters is a public interest journalism venture committed to explaining how California’s state Capitol works and why it matters. For more stories by Dan Walters, go to calmatters.org/commentary

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Munk Debates: Should we fear, or embrace, populist politics? – National Post

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Elites cannot reform themselves, as seen throughout much of American history. We do see occasions where established parties undertake reform. But serious reform often necessitates the mobilization of people. So in the end, we shall welcome and not denounce populist politics.

Donald Critchlow is a Katzin family professor at Arizona State University’s faculty of history. He is the author of “In Defense of Populism: Protest and American Democracy.”


By Timothy Garton Ash

I’m all in favour of popular protest as part of a democracy, but that’s not populism. If it were, then Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King would have been populist.

Populist politics, which comes in our resolution, is a style of politics that we have seen from U.S. President Donald Trump, Jair Bolsonaro in Brazil, Narendra Modi in India, Boris Johnson in Britain, Jarosław Kaczyński in Poland and Viktor Orban in Hungary. The remarkable thing is that, different though these people and countries are, in the last five years they’ve had a style of politics that has distinct features in common.

First of all, they all counterpose a supposedly pure “the people” to allegedly corrupt liberal metropolitan and cosmopolitan elites. Although, by the way, the leaders of these movements are seldom actually men or women of the people. Donald Trump is a millionaire son of a millionaire, and Boris Johnson is hardly a horny-handed son of toil.

Secondly, when you look more closely, “the people” they talk about in the abstract, rather revolutionary style, turn out to be only a part of the people. There’s always an “us” and “them.” The “us” is very often defined in ethnic terms. It’s often nativist — it’s a native population. The “them,” immigrants, be it Hispanics in the United States or east Europeans in the United Kingdom during the Brexit debate.

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Covid might mean fewer family political fights over Thanksgiving – CNN

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A version of this story appeared in CNN’s What Matters newsletter. To get it in your inbox, sign up for free here.
I wrote a sort of guide on how to get smart on the Democrats’ investigation and politics before sitting down over turkey.
This year, Biden is President-elect, and with the pandemic raging, the federal government is counseling Americans not to go to Thanksgiving dinner at all.
You might give your crazy uncle, and anyone else you eat with, Covid. Or they might give it to you. That’s the truth, even though the way lies and conspiracy theories have taken root — thanks not just to social media but to new, fringe media outlets — makes it very difficult to counter fake with fact.
It’s obvious, for instance, that Trump, who might spend the holiday thinking about the notion of a self-pardon, may never publicly recognize Biden as president or concede that he lost. And he’ll carry that fantasy into the next four years, along with a war chest of small-dollar donations he’s squeezed from supporters with countless fundraising appeals after his loss and which he’ll clearly use to fund his post-White House public life.
Related: Read this CNN investigation into how dark money helped prop up three phantom candidates in Florida.

Dow hits 30k! What is it thinking?

Why would the stock market hit a record now, a time when:
  • Wall Street expects the government to pump trillions more dollars into the economy as stimulus
  • Millions of Americans are out of work
  • There are real questions about the health of US democracy
  • No one has actually gotten an approved Covid vaccine stuck in their arm
You can buy into that wisdom of crowds stuff, or you can look at how the stock market is forever and increasingly distinct from the economy as a whole.
This video with CNN’s Jon Sarlin does a really good job explaining how the market can do well no matter how the economy feels to actual Americans.
It’s really a marker of indices, it’s loaded with surging tech stocks, it’s affected by speculation, it’s compounding inequality and more. So, yes, Tesla has soared more than 10x in a year and Elon Musk is almost as rich as Bill Gates. Best Buy is having its best year in decades. Amazon is on a tear. But that’s not the economy. It’s the market.
And a picture of the economy must include the disgustingly long lines outside US food banks this Thanksgiving and the 12 million people about to lose expanded unemployment benefits in the new year.
Note: The CNN Business Fear & Greed Index is now showing levels of Extreme Greed.
What kicked the Dow to this new record? Trump emerged briefly to give a statement bragging about the market Tuesday, but it’s actually the acknowledgment by his government, without his consent, that Biden won the election, that appears to have triggered this latest bump. That, along with news of Covid vaccines and Wall Street’s comfort level with Janet Yellen, according to CNN’s Paul LaMonica.

Virtual school still sucks

Experts have been warning that virtual school will lead to a lost year for some kids and compound inequality in US schools.
Here’s the proof, from CNN’s Elizabeth Stuart, writing about the largest school district in Virginia:
The Fairfax County Public School District found a sharp increase in failing grades for the first quarter of the 2020-21 school year, especially among younger students, students with disabilities, and students who speak English as a second language, according to a study released this week examining student performance with virtual learning.
Among middle and high school students, the study found an 83% increase in “F” marks, when compared to the number of students who got “F’s” during the first quarter of the 2019-20 school year.
The increase was largest among vulnerable populations, including a 63% increase among Black students, a 106% increase among English learners, and a 111% increase among students with disabilities.
“More students were failing courses during the (primarily) virtual instruction period than had occurred when instruction was delivered in-person,” the study said.
This is horrible news if you’ve been following the growing number of school closures as states and districts deal with Covid outbreaks.

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