Week TWO (time flies!)
It’s already second Wednesday! Every block I say, “Wow this block is going by so fast!” and then I forget just how fast it went by, and then I say the exact same thing the next block. Consistency is key!
Last week I was in a state of distress over writing my paper, but I did, rest assured, finish the paper and get it turned in on time. You all (my many devoted and loyal fans) can breathe a sigh of relief. I have another short paper due on Friday, same as last week. I’m not quite at the point of being stressed about this paper, but I’m sure I’ll get there. If you’re lucky, there will be another frantic blog post about my difficulties with engaging in complex thought.
A lot has happened in the last week! Both in class and in the world. On Monday in class we did a simulation of Congress. We each got assigned a specific Congressperson from the Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions, and we had to try to think like that Congressperson while working to get a bill passed. The original bill we were given to discuss was one to ban junk food in public schools, but we amended it to just limit junk food. And we ended up passing the bill! I don’t know why the real Congress acts like it’s so hard to do!! Just kidding. Even just our seemingly innocuous bill made my head spin with all its possible effects and consequences. There were so many factors to consider! Making legislation at the national level is especially complicated because there are 50 states !! and hundreds of cities !! and thousands of towns !! And they all have different needs and wants and legislation impacts all of them differently. It’s actually a wonder that Congress manages to get anything done at all! (just kidding again, they don’t.) Despite my brain getting a little scrambled, I actually really enjoyed the Congressional simulation. I thought it was a great way to learn about both the formal procedures of Congress and the issues that Congresspeople have to consider. And it was just good old fashioned fun! Maybe if Mitch McConnell had a little more fun with the job he would be less inclined to act like an evil tyrant. (again I kid–he knows no other way.)
Yesterday we talked about presidents. We read two pieces by Ta-Nehisi Coates, one about Obama and one about Trump. Boy was that sad. The contrast between the two presidents was deeply disturbing. Don’t get me wrong, there’s plenty to criticize Obama for, but I think overall he was a good president and a truly decent man. He wanted the best for the American people. I honestly don’t think the same can be said for Trump. Sit with that idea. The president of the United States of America does not want the best for the general public (particularly women and minorities) of this country. He doesn’t work for us. This brings me to last night’s debate… Actually, you know the saying “if you have nothing nice to say, don’t say anything at all?” I guess I have nothing to say on that subject after all.
Today we talked about the Supreme Court and the Judiciary, which is my favorite topic in the world to discuss. Woohoo best day ever!!! I love thinking about and talking about legal philosophy and different interpretations of the Constitution and the role of the judiciary in our government. It is by far my favorite branch of government. It really saddens me to see the way that it has been coopted by explicitly political actors. I don’t believe the Supreme Court was ever truly an apolitical institution, but it has only become increasingly political in recent years, especially after the GOP’s refusal to give Merrick Garland a confirmation hearing in 2016. The damage that was done to the Court because of that one action is difficult for me to even comprehend, and it angers me to no end.
To end this blog post, I’d like to briefly acknowledge the life and legacy of Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Her contributions to fairness, justice, and equality in this country are immense. My dreams are within reach in no small part because of her. Rest in peace, Justice Ginsburg.