It’s time to look policy right in the face, and The Tempest is doing exactly that

At the close of 2016, many of us looked back on the year with a mixture of incredulity and sadness. We felt the deep reverberations of a changing political global landscape, riding the shockwaves through events like Brexit, an attempted Turkish coup, and the American election campaign. For many, politics took a dark and sudden turn the night Donald Trump was elected.

Donald Trump’s rise to power and ultimate capture of the White House was jolting for many. The rhetoric he used to incite support was divisive, destructive, and crass — but the sad truth is that he was merely capitalizing on the sentiments of his support base. He’s all of our childhood bullies personified: the ones who picked on us for our names, sexualities, clothes, lunches, appearances. Our bullies tried to make us feel small, alien.

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Donald Trump’s victory is an affirmation that those bullies don’t merely exist on the playground. And as of today, he was sworn in as 45th President of the United States of America.

That’s not something we’re going to take lightly.

We’re not here to participate in internet slacktivism — we’re here to assert our political presence. Which is why The Tempest is launching a new Policy vertical to kick off the dawn of a new political era.

We’re here to help people like you decipher laws and policies in ways that are easily digestible for everyone. In times like these, the most powerful thing we can do is equip ourselves with knowledge.

However, keeping up with politics requires time, energy, and (more often than not) an advanced dictionary/thesaurus. Truth is, many of us become discouraged with the seemingly daunting and clunky language of politics. Bills can be up to hundreds of pages long and full of legal jargon that’s difficult to break down. It’s all-too-easy to disengage from the endless bills that flow through the congressional labyrinth.

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This section is going disrupt that flow, take out the haphazard fluff and get straight to what matters. We’ll walk you through some of the hottest bills, what they aim to do, and whether or not they’ll disproportionately affect you.

Given that this is such a crucial time for politics, it’s extremely important that we understand the policies which govern us. Practicing active citizenship is the best favor we can do for ourselves, regardless of whoever’s in office.

And we’re here to shake things up.

Politics The World

6 things Trump and his administration have already screwed up

On Friday, January 20th, many people cringed as Donald Trump officially became the 45th president of the United States of America. It was a moment that some Americans have been dreading since the election results were announced in November. And it’s not just Americans who have been paying attention to Donald Trump–the whole world is watching his actions carefully and closely.

There is no doubt that Trump and his administration will be under scrutiny over the course of the next four years. In the short time since he took the oath of office, he and the Republican leadership have already made some questionable decisions.

1. Donald Trump’s inauguration speech

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His inaugural address did not sound very different from the stump speeches he gave on the campaign trail. For an inauguration speech, it had an extremely dark and negative tone. He discussed crime and “American carnage,” but failed to deliver a hopeful and unifying message. Some of his words even echoed the Batman villain, Bane.

2. There’s no longer a climate change or LGBT page on the White House website

While Barack Obama was president, there was extensive information regarding his policies on climate change. When Trump officially became president, the White House page was updated. The page on climate change is now gone. And if you type “LGBT” into the search bar, nothing shows up.

Screenshot of search result for climate change on the White House website after Trump's inauguration.
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3. Trump lied about the size of his inauguration crowd

Though the exact numbers are not known, the estimated crowd size at his inauguration was 250,000 people. During a speech at the CIA headquarters in Virginia, Trump called out the media for what he considered to be inaccurate reporting of the number of people who attended his inauguration.

“It looked like a million, a million-and-a-half people. They showed a field where there were practically nobody standing there,” he said. “We had 250,000 literally around, you know, in the little bowl that we constructed. That was 250,000. The rest of the, you know, 20-block area all the way back to the Washington Monument was packed.”

4. Then Trump’s press secretary lied about the inauguration crowd size

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During his first press conference, White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer criticized the media’s reporting of crowd sizes at Trump’s inauguration. The White House even set up crowd size pictures on televisions in the press briefing room to try to defend their claim.

“This was the largest audience to ever witness an inauguration, period — both in person and around the globe,” Spicer said.

But photos from Obama’s inauguration in 2009 prove otherwise. An estimated 1.8 million people attended Obama’s inauguration, clearly exceeding the numbers at Trump’s inauguration.

5. Trump signed an executive order that could gut the Affordable Care Act

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Just hours after taking the oath of office, Trump was in the Oval Office signing an executive order on Obamacare. The order is allowing agencies to interpret regulations as loosely as possible in order to lower the financial burden on individuals, insurers, health care providers and others, according to CNN.

6. Trump changed the Oval Office curtains to gold

During the Obama administration, the curtains in the Oval Office were burgundy. But now, Trump is president so of course he chose gold curtains. To be honest, the curtains look pretty gaudy especially next to the beige striped walls inside the Oval Office. Perhaps gold toilets will be coming to the White House next?

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Politics The World

To the Texas Electorate who told a citizen to commit suicide: Nice try, but we’re not going anywhere

In the aftermath of Donald Trump’s election win, there has been a lot of fear and anger among many of us who feel like we will be directly targeted. Those of us who have expressed these genuine fears have been told by the more affable – and I use this term loosely – Trump supporters to calm down. We have nothing to fear, they say. It was all just rhetoric to ramp up his base, is all. Give the guy a chance.

In just six days since being the official President-Elect, Trump has hired an outspoken white supremacist to be his chief strategist. Steve Bannon is the man behind alt-right website Breitbart, home of such “articles” as “Gabby Giffords: The Gun Control Movement’s Human Shield,” and “Would You Rather Your Child Had Feminism or Cancer?”

So you’ll have to excuse us for hedging our bets. For many, this has involved appealing to the common sense of the nation’s electorates, asking them to take into account Trump’s track record and the fact that Hillary Clinton won the popular vote, and refrain from putting Trump in the White House.

Yes, it’s a long shot. And yes, it undermines a long-standing, if perhaps faulty, institution of our democratic system.

But people are concerned, and as concerned citizens they have the right to approach their officials and representatives to ask questions and make requests, no matter how unorthodox those requests may be.

What they’ve received in response can only be described as the kind of unwarranted vitriol that sadly has become a hallmark of Trumpites all over the country. One Texas elector called the young woman who wrote to him “foolish” and threatened to pursue legal action against him over the “unsolicited email.”

But so far, no one has quite managed to top this colossal asshole:

In response to an email from Renee Reynolds, Texas electorate Marti Settle told her that had Hillary Clinton won the election, she would have committed suicide. “If you are so unhappy,” she posits in the response, “…why don’t YOU commit suicide?” She then ends the letter with the always classy “stick it where the sun don’t shine” retort.

In a diatribe she posted on Facebook, she goes on about “mentally ill” liberals who “hate” God and Jesus. She also suggests that those protesting against Trump should be shot:

Here it is, in all its horrific glory:

I have something to say to Marti:

You are not a good person, and you are not a well person. Healthy, happy, God-fearing people do not tell people to kill themselves. There are people across this country who truly do feel suicidal, whether it’s because of this election or any other reason, and for you to suggest it as a response to unhappiness shows that you do not have the compassion or the empathy that you claim your religion teaches you.

But this is not about compassion or empathy or mental well-being to you, is it? You would be happy to see women like Renee die, and if she doesn’t do it herself, well, you’re happy to provide a helping hand, or at least encourage someone else to. Because you don’t believe she belongs here, in America, in your country. Her presence defiles it. Her politics corrupts it.

Guess what, Marti? Renee, and the millions of women, people of color, Native peoples, LGBTQ people, disabled people, Jewish people, Muslim people, and our allies, people with a common sense of decency that live all over OUR beautiful country are not going to kill themselves. We will not leave. We will not be scared of you and your hate, because this is OUR COUNTRY. Our presence beautifies it and our politics elevates it and cleanses it from a bloodstained past.

We’re not going anywhere, Marti, so enjoy what you can of your Trump presidency, because no matter what happens, for the next four years we will be here, protesting, organizing, petitioning. We will protect our lands from oil-hungry corporations and our people from policies of hate. We will make a wall, a wall of people standing together to reiterate again and again that we ARE the people, that all men AND women are created equal, and that we all have the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Something I suggest you look into, because you seem like a miserable person.

And just in case it wasn’t clear, this is me shaming you for your speech, because your speech is shameful. That is my right as an American citizen, and my duty as a human being.

Renee Reynolds has since made her Twitter private.