News-auguration: “What if I were the president…”

Keisha Colon, Maianna Taylor, Cody Ascuncion, Ronald Crivello-Kahihikolo, and Grace Branham

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As America welcomes in the 45th President of the United States into office, it calls on the Konawaena news staff to reflect on what they would wish if they were to take public office. We reflected on our desires for this country’s future and what sorts of plans we would put into action.

By: Keisha Colon, editor (Senior)

The 2016 Presidential Campaign and Election really got me thinking about dreams that I have for this country. Before high school, I was never the kind of person who fussed over politics, human rights, or anything of the like. To young me, all that mattered was having fun and doing the stuff I loved doing, but as I became more aware of the world around me, I realized, “Hey, it isn’t just me here.” Millions (billions, really) of other people matter, too, and not all of them have the same unconditional rights as others.

My own views are more commonly the opposite of the 45th President of the United State’s ones. I oppose him on his opinion of immigrants, Muslims, and more. While many of my ideals are founded on the idea of peace, unity, and equality, his are often those of hatred, war, and fear. Though I don’t look forward to seeing the plans he has for this country, I know what sorts plans I would put into place that are in the better interest of the popular vote and the next generation.

  1. Raise the minimum wage to $15/hour or higher. Any citizen who is paying taxes and contributing to the economy should be paid a living wage, so that they need not work a second (or third) job and can afford to feed themselves and their families. Perhaps, they may even have the means to set aside extra funds for themselves. Studies have also shown that higher wages are in relation to employees leading happier and healthier lives and having a higher work ethics.
  2. Lower the cost of pursuing higher educationFormer President Obama unveiled a plan to make the cost of community college free by funding the colleges through the government, but perhaps a similar idea could be placed on private colleges and universities. Lowering the cost or lightening the stress of student loans with forgiveness would encourage more people to pursue a Bachelor’s degree and beyond.
  3. Keep jobs in America. Banning or restricting outsourcing opens up the prospect of more jobs for Americans. While outsourcing allows companies (especially the large ones) to make cheap materials and pay works minimally while selling it at a high profit, keeping it in America pays our citizens and improves the economy.
  4. Tax the wealthy. I’m looking at you, Wall Street suits. Imagine having so much money that, in the end, you have no idea what to do with it so it sits in a bank. That bank will continue to fill up. Why? Because no one is spending it, and all of that extra cash you never found a way to use will continue to accumulate. All of that cash will never cycle through the economy or trickle down to the middle class. (Forget about the lower class, while we’re at it.) This is actually one of the primary causes of the 2008 recession, so by simply taxing the wealthy, while they’re paying the same percentage as us, they can easily afford to pay a higher percentage and it still wouldn’t make a dent in their wallet. Also, this way, more taxpayer money would go towards the education system, etc.
  5. Free healthcare for everyone. Healthcare, which is viably important to making it easier to have access to medical health and medicine, is a pricey expense on families—especially poor and large ones. Meanwhile, there are many poor and homeless people (children, too) who can’t afford healthcare and go untreated when ill. Even if this would raise taxes, it’ll benefit those who cannot take care of themselves alone. We could learn a few things from Canada’s healthcare system.
  6. Reform immigration. One of America’s original claims involving immigration was in the poem written by Emma Lazarus: “Give me your tired, your poor,/Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,/The wretched refuse of your teeming shore./Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed, to me:/I lift my lamp beside the golden door.” It is one of my mail goals to welcome in any person who aspires to have a better life than the one they would like to leave behind.
  7. Promote and establish strong international relations. This one should be pretty straightforward. Without good communication between countries, the smallest misunderstanding could be futile. Positive world relations leads to a safer world, especially for living and travelling in. Not to mention, we’ll have allies if there’s the possibility of war, good trade relations, and more. This also opens up the opportunity to learn about other cultures and respect our differences.
  8. Promote anti-hate crime laws and end all discrimination-based practices. Have you heard of the gender wage gap? Gone. How about the race age gap? That’ll be gone, too. Being fired for being gay? That can’t happen anymore, either. While you may think that these things “don’t happen in America anymore,” they do, and trust me, it’s worse than you think. There are organizations that target and harass specific groups, too. Any kind of discrimination based on gender, race/ethnicity, sexuality, country of origin, religion, etc. will not be tolerated.
  9. Legally acknowledge nonbinary as a gender. Social sciences have been improving and advancing, and validating all citizens as equally recognized has become a top priority of mine. Oregon has already recognized nonbinary as a legal and valid gender, and while a big part of society has done so already, most states have not.
  10. Fund the education system. The White House has admitted at 3x the amount of money that goes into the education system goes towards the military. That’s about $610 billion, which is also 3x the amount that China puts into their own. Only $107.6 billion goes into the education system, which gets divvied up among every single school in the United States. We’re spending more money on war than we are on furthering our education system, which needs to stop. Our children need to learn in an environment that is clean and has the latest materials so that they may learn and enter society ready.
  11. Endorse the Paris Agreement and work towards clean, renewable energy. The Paris Agreement, in layman’s terms, is the mutual agreement among more than 100 countries that they will limit their greenhouse gas emissions by using clean energy methods. It’s already been proven that enough energy can be gathered from sun, wind, and water methods, and they aren’t dangerous to people at any point in time. While humans back away from our dependence on oil, this will stop any wars over oil before they can even begin, and once we rely on renewable energy, we’ll be one step closer to making the Earth healthier again.

There are plenty of other things I have in mind for my own presidency, but to me, all that matters is one thing: people must never stop speaking their minds. While the person in power may not be representing what you (or the majority) are standing for, if you make enough noise, they cannot ignore you. Make such a ruckus that you are all that they can hear. While one person may think they hold the power, it’s really you. You’re not just the everyday citizen you think you are.

By: Maianna Taylor, writer (Senior)

This is a concept many people (subconsciously) talk about. When we disagree with the current president’s policies, we talk about what we would do in that situation. We, the media, critique current president constantly. I am sorry to inform you, but I will be writing an article about all of the things I would change or enforce if I were the President of the United states of America.

To start off, I would go down in history, simply because I am a woman—no brainer there. I would hope however, that I would also be known for what I did during my presidency.

There are a dozen and more things that need to be addressed in our country, and I am a firm believer that if you don’t like a policy, but you can’t propose a solution, say nothing. With that said, I will only mention things that I would be able change or fix.

For starters, climate change. Most scientists believe that climate change is real, and I feel they are a lot more qualified to determine whether we should, as a country, be concerned with this growing issue. It is our responsibility to take care of this earth, not only for ourselves, but for future generations to come.

Another issue I feel is important to address is the building of the North Dakota Access Pipeline. I would stop construction immediately and order them to reroute the pipeline, so that an oil spill will no longer pose a threat to nearby citizens and nature. The Native American Indians have been pushing for the halt in construction relentlessly, and that leads me to my next topic.

The Native Americans have lived on these lands far longer than any of us have. However, we have constantly disrespected them and their culture, disregarding our treaties and their beliefs and traditions. And, this needs to stop. I would like to return all Native American land we have taken so that they may cherish the earth.

Newable energy is another issue we need to address. Oil is expensive and dangerous to harvest, especially because of the high risk of causing oil spills, and I foresee that prices will increase over time as oil becomes less accessible. Our country need to find a natural energy source that will have a minimum effect on the environment and maximum effect on energy production. We have the technology to gather energy from the sun, wind, and water with minimal detrimental effect on the environment.

Gun-related violence has been on the rise. I would impose stronger restrictions and guidelines to procure a gun, especially by screening every person wants one. Guns don’t kill people, people with guns kill people. We need to make sure people are in good mental health before obtaining a gun. I would not dare to remove the Second Amendment.

Education should be our utmost priority. Schools need more funding and to give students better opportunities to learn and grow in a healthy environment. Instead of suspension or detention, teach students how to cope with difficult situations using meditation rooms. Fund art, music, and other programs that promote creativity. Teach our youth to think for themselves, outside of and inside of the box. It’s also important to make sure that students are able to show their own strong points and learn in an environment that they can prosper in. Paying teachers more for their great contribution to society and helping our children grow into adults, I believe, will greatly enhance teaching. Teachers influence our lives as much as anyone else, taking charge in educating the youth, which is a task not all are up to doing. These are the everyday heroes our society needs. After all, not all heroes wear capes.

As president, I would also like to promote a change in the justice system, making sentences related to drugs or self defense shorter, and those of murder, rape, and abuse longer. They should be sent to a correctional facility, so instead of just keeping people locked up, correcting their behavior and give them as many opportunities as possible to grow and demonstrate they can be functioning, contributing members of our society.

Marijuana, a very controversial topic, I believe should be legalized both medically and recreationally in all fifty states. Not only are there tremendous health benefits in marijuana, hemp is a great product that can outsource many others easily. Other drugs such as method, cocaine, LSD, ecstasy, and others, however, should be legalized, because of the detrimental effects that they can have on a person’s health. Drugs, such as method, contain harmful chemicals. Definitely not something anyone should put into their bodies at any time, huh? Marijuana is completely plant-based, which I think demonstrates that it isn’t all bad.

Health Care would be virtually free, as I believe every citizen deserves to have the opportunity for good health. To provide free healthcare, taxes would have to go up, but I think the idea that your tax dollars saved someone’s life makes it worth it.

How we pay our political leaders is outrageous. I propose that we pay our politicians, not based on when they clock in and out, but rather on their a work basis. The more good they do for our country, the more they get paid. It is important to reinforce that they work for the people and should be doing things for the people. As I’ve noticed, some of our political leaders have lost sight of just that. This proposal would motivate the politicians to work for what’s right in America and encourage them to work efficiently.

I would like to raise the minimum wage to at least $17/hour for everyone. It has been shown that by raising minimum wage, the economy benefits greatly. It will reduce poverty and homelessness, along with giving everyone the ability to sustain their livelihood.

You may be wondering my stance on gay marriage, LGBT+ rights, and abortion.Simply put, I believe that it is none of the government’s business what people do in their personal lives as long as it is not harming anyone. Everyone is entitled to live their lives the they see fit.

With all these things on place, I would hope that our country, our people, and our planet would benefit.

By: Cody Ascuncion, sports editor (Senior)

With Donald Trump coming being inaugurated as the 45th President of the United States, it makes you wonder what he will really do for the country when he gets sworn into office, and for me, what would I do if I was to be sworn into office?

  1. Create drug centers that allow users to receive help and prevent unnecessary deaths
  2. Establish more and better diplomatic relations with foreign countries
  3. Pull country away from using gasoline as the main source of fuel
  4. Focus on creating organizations that will help certain groups of people
  5. Increase minimum wage in all states
  6. Reduce the cost of living by lowering the cost of healthy/organic food, the price of rent or owning a home, etc.
  7. Have military forces for defense primarily and only fight overseas if absolutely necessary
  8. Demilitarize police forces (to lower the possibility of police brutality)
  9. Denote and attempt to abolish targeted hate (racism, etc.)
  10. Improve the education system nationwide through funding

Overall, the difference between saying what you do and what you actually doing what you is just that—whether or not you take charge. You have to get out there and make the change, rather than expecting that others will eventually do it for you. In the “Realm of Hypotheticals,” anything is possible.

By: Ronald Crivello-Kahihikolo, writer (Junior)

If I were handed down the opportunity to become the face of the United States, I’d start off by establishing healthy and secure connections with other countries like Syria and Iran. Personally, I would really like promote a more positive relationship between the government and its citizens in these countries, being a positive role model to denounce brutality and inequality.

Another thing that I would do as the president is decrease the use of social media. It may sound hypocritical coming from a lover of the online realm, but it is imperative that this happens! Otherwise, the world will be run zombies! It’ll also reduce the drama and rumors that flood the Internet every minute of every day.

Moreover, the third thing I would act on as a president is to send any and all discriminatory people to peaceful therapy sessions. It’ll impact our nation in a way that brings out unified and positive nature.

The fourth thing I’d do is create a system where all politicians are restricted from campaigning for money. I believe everyone should have the same budget, so that our officials are based more off of skill and devotion, rather than being focused on winning.

I would then raise the minimum wage so that people of all classes, with or without a college degree, are able to make more money, as well as enabling them to have the option to set money aside for future endeavors.

(Finally, the last thing I’d do is decrease the prices of my Starbucks coffee and Acai bowls, because they are so expensive! Ugh…)

By: Grace Branham, writer (Sophomore)

  1. Remove the tax on pads and tampons, because that’s total bull.
  2. Install a bouncy house in the White House yard. Use it.
  3. Go out to get ice cream in a really obvious disguise.
  4. Donate time helping out at soup kitchens or homeless shelters.
  5. Constantly order takeout just so the delivery guys have to go through security.
  6. Hold my own guided tours-without any prior knowledge of the White House.
  7. Pass a pro-abortion bill in all 50 states.
  8. Invite other female politicians over for slumber parties.
  9. Improve sex education in school to lower teen pregnancy & lower abortion rates.
  10. Not get assassinated.
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