Category Archives: Viewpoints

Taking Care of Yourself is A Revolutionary Act

MorganAnn Malone

Staff Writer

 

This past year has been a whirlwind of emotion, reflection and revelation for many, myself included. For months now, the younger generations especially have been in the midst of a reckoning. We are no longer blind to the ways of the world, and we are finally realizing the ways in which we can play a role in crafting our future. Many have been calling it a “revolution.” There has been a fire lit under the collective, and now more than ever before, we are fighting and protesting for our right to live freely in this country and celebrate ourselves unapologetically. The work is gratifying, rewarding and fulfilling.

But it is also very exhausting.

Generation Z is reported to have some of the highest rates of depression and anxiety, more than the generations who came before them. According to a study done by the American Psychological Association in October 2018, Gen Z is the least likely to report good or stable mental health and is the most likely to struggle with stress and mental-health related issues. Additionally, suicide rates between 2000 and 2017 doubled for young people as a whole (VOA News). To put it quite frankly, we are going through it right now.

Our generation is arguably the most technologically advanced. Popular social media apps such as Instagram, Twitter and TikTok dominate most of our time, and they (along with news platforms) are constantly at our fingertips. A lot of good has come as a result of the presence of these apps – for example, these platforms provide a medium to share creativity, jumpstart instant entrepreneurship and build community among people who share common interests. Yet, many of us fill our time with an obscene, unhealthy amount of doomscrolling. According to Merriam-Webster, “doomscrolling” refers to “the tendency to continue to surf or scroll through bad news, even though that news is saddening, disheartening or depressing” (Merriam-Webster). As touched upon in the lauded Netflix documentary, “The Social Dilemma,” this is having a detrimental effect on the overall mental health and well-being of Gen Z-ers.

In particular, the main content that is having such a detrimental effect on American teens and young adults has to do with the influx of negativity surrounding the United States government and its actions. This current presidential election cycle has proven to be very taxing and anxiety-inducing for young people. Many of us feel as though we are being forced to bear the brunt of the mistakes and transgressions of the generation before us, and many of us have heard various statements and pleas that call for the younger generation to “save” everyone and change the way that things are going. It is a huge cross to bear, and the fact that these sentiments not only come from voices on social media but also from within our families and close inner circles adds a lot of pressure as well. Many of us feel as though we reside between a rock and a hard place: we want to stay informed and we want to change the way things are going, but we also want to preserve our mental health, protect our peace and not burn out completely.

To get a direct, authentic response, I interviewed multiple college students at both Wooster and beyond to gauge how they felt about this topic.

One student from a nearby Ohio university, 18, said, “I think it’s very important to remain aware of what is going on with politics, especially now during a presidential election year. That being said, we also need to take the time to care for our mental health, whether that be taking a break from watching the news or even going on a social media cleanse.”

Another student I interviewed from a Pennsylvania liberal-arts school, 19, stated, “At first, I thought quarantine would be the perfect time to figure out what I wanted to major in and to do other things like color, learn French, exercise, etc. I was keeping up with all of those for a while and then was hit with a wave of no motivation. Even though I want to do at least one productive activity per day, it’s really hard, and I often find myself only scrolling through TikTok for HOURS. And especially when the Black Lives Matter movement was at its peak, a lot of people showed their true colors, and I felt really alone. Later on, at the end of the summer, it hit me that it’ll be hard to decide on a major even with all this time on my hands because life is at a standstill, and the last of my teen years will be spent in lockdown.”

Finally, three students that I spoke with from Wooster, ranging between 19 and 20 years old, said the following:

“I am constantly caught between feeling guilt when I don’t constantly pay attention to the news and feeling overwhelmed and anxious when I look into current events.”

“I’m feeling really anxious about the election. I know it sounds dramatic, but I’m legitimately scared to leave my house this week as someone POC and LGBTQ+. Long term, I’m just scared in general about possible changes that involve my rights.”

“There is an overbearing sense of fear, anxiety, sadness and uncertainty every day. A pressure to do my best, be on task, be a good friend and family member — I feel worn out, scared, hurt. It’s hard to feel more than numb.”

We are in the midst of multiple crises. An awakening about the ways that all minority groups have been treated in this country, an international, deadly pandemic that is showing no signs of slowing, a growing concern for the health of our planet and the dangers of climate change and a growing divide between different socioeconomic brackets that makes it difficult for certain groups to have access to basic human rights and amenities, to name a few. This has taken a toll on everyone, especially those of us who have unofficially been tasked to fix it. To deal with these monumental, systemic issues on top of the personal changes and developments that automatically come from growing up is a huge burden to carry. 

Many of us want to make it all work all at once, but this is simply not possible. We have been groomed to work solely to benefit a hegemonic, capitalist system with blatant disregard for our physical and emotional health, mental stability, and overall well-being. I know many people — myself included — who still have that fire under us despite everything, who still wake up each morning wanting to fight for everything and everyone. However, what we must remember is that sometimes, the most radical, revolutionary act is to wake up and fight for yourself.

Sources: 

  1.  https://www.voanews.com/student-union/gen-z-studies-show-higher-rates-depression
  2. https://www.merriam-webster.com/words-at-play/doomsurfing-doomscrolling-words-were-watching 
  3. https://www.thesocialdilemma.com/ 

Trump will soon be gone, don’t thank the Electoral College

Joey Harris

Contributing Writer

 

If you’re like me, sleep during the week of election was scarce. My eyes were glued to my computer as my constant stream of CNN would promise me new vote counts that were only “minutes away” which would always seem to come after about an hour. A lot of metaphors were used for this election as well, many referred to it as “on a knife edge,” “a nail biter,” or “a victory for democracy.” A victory for democracy it definitely was. With President Donald Trump set to lose the Electoral College vote, one of the most present threats towards our nation’s democratic institutions will be out of governmental power in a short time. Trump, however, is just the tip of the iceberg. If Americans wish to maintain and expand what we have as a democracy, there should be some rethinking of the current way we choose who serves in the highest office. 

As of writing this, President-elect Joe Biden has won the popular vote over Trump by over five million votes and most of those yet to be counted are from blue states. That alone should be enough for a mandate in favor of democracy. But this is not the case in America where a vote of 270 by electors is necessary to win the presidency. Due to this oddity in our electoral process, two out of the last five presidential elections have gone to the candidates that did not win the popular vote. Our current electoral system favors the Republican party as their voters are more spread out across the country in rural areas, improving their odds of winning the presidential election in more states. Those who have recently voted for the Democratic party represent a larger share of the U.S. population but are increasingly more concentrated in urban areas within specific states. This creates an unnecessary hurdle for them to cross to hold the executive office despite having won the popular vote in four out of the last five elections. 

One may ask, why don’t Democratic candidates work to improve their appeal in the states they are losing? The issue with this is that these voters would still have a disproportionate effect on U.S. policy despite being a political minority no matter which party they were attracted to. It is not about which party wins elections, it is about allowing for whoever gets the most votes to take office. For instance, despite evidence of it causing short and long term environmental damage through methane emissions, both major candidates this past election were in support of fracking. According to Pew Research, the majority of Americans think the government should be doing more to fight climate change. The obvious decision for anyone running to attract the majority of Americans to their campaign would at the very least signal discomfort with fracking. But because there were twenty Electoral College votes at stake in Pennsylvania where fracking is an important industry, neither candidate was willing to oppose this harmful practice. Obviously this is not the only reason it has been so hard for our country and others to transition away from dirty energy, but it definitely hurts the cause.

This system prioritizes states interests over our national polity. The states that most benefit most from this are also disproportionately white. I haven’t seen a more succinct analysis of this injustice than a tweet from former Secretary of Labor Robert Reich which reads, “Wyoming is 92% white. California is 37% white. A Wyoming voter has nearly 4x more influence than a California voter.” This is just one example, but Wyoming has a population a little under 600,000 while California has a population a little under 40,000,000. Voters should have equal influence over elections. Any country worth respecting would fix this imbalance. 

Now, a Republican may read my argument and think, this is just an argument to marginalize Republican and conservative power. It is not; it is an argument to decrease the influence of a political minority that is holding back the wishes of the majority of voters. The Republican party is still very popular. While they would have to change some messaging to appeal to a few more million voters, winning the national popular vote is not something that is out of reach. 

I am also not saying the rights, desires, and beliefs of political minorities should be ignored. They are just as much citizens as those in the majority and institutions should be in place for their voices to impact and challenge legislation. This is why institutional checks and balances such as the courts, constitution, and the house and senate are also important for democracy to succeed. But political minorities should not be able to have this much power in any nation that wishes to call itself a democracy. Allowing a party that attracts a minority of voters to continue to have this much influence spits in the face of democratic governance. 

The responsibility is now on the Biden-Harris administration along with those committed to liberal democracy in both major parties of the U.S. to move the country away from the Electoral College. This would not be an easy task as to get rid of it would require a constitutional amendment. It should still be a priority of those who care about democracy anyway. Every citizen is given the promise that for local and state elections the winner will be the candidate with the most votes, why should that same standard not be applied nationally?

Thank You Letter to Our Staff & Faculty

Will McMichael

Contributing Writer

 

This year has been surprising for all of us. I think it’s pretty reasonable to say that everyone would enjoy it if things could go back to normal. Things have changed quite a bit in the past year and it’s been a new endeavor for all of us to adjust to these conditions. Despite the disturbance to what had once been, the staff here at Wooster have done an exceptional job at accommodating us while trying to keep us safe. I know that the students here expect a lot from the staff and faculty — it’s a frequent occurrence to hear complaints in the paper or in people’s bickering — and I think we students often overlook how hard the staff and faculty try to make us comfortable here. 

To the Lowry staff serving our meals, the janitors cleaning up our messes, the professors ensuring we aren’t too overwhelmed, the administration, security, APEX and the long list of people working behind the scenes: thank you for making our experience at Wooster possible. This year isn’t what anyone would’ve hoped for, and it’s been no easier on the staff and faculty than it has been for us. It’s not always in the forefront of our minds that the people we see working every day at the College have lives of their own, families to take care of and struggles that we never see. Regardless of these issues, the workers here continually support us even if that’s through something as simple as a smile and a kind hello, or as complex as ensuring that our education is strong and can support our future careers. Even though we students may not always realize how much we appreciate these things, I think we all truly do. So for all the things each College of Wooster worker does to ensure that this school can keep running and that the students are well, I want to thank you.

Wooster Parents Facebook Page is chaotic but entertaining

Saralee Renick

Contributing Writer

 

Over quarantine, I grew tired of Netflix, so I turned to the next best form of entertainment: The Wooster Parents and Families Facebook page. This page, run by The College of Wooster Alumni Association, is a place for parents and family members to connect with others and the College. Throughout my three months in this group, I have learned two important lessons. First, I am thankful for my parents. And second, parents are wild.

I am thankful for my parents because they are not like the parents who are most active on the page. In fact, my mom did not even know the page existed until I told her about it; she joined and is now constantly annoyed by it. My father continues to reject my invitations to join it. I think it’s because I describe the page as parents who want to be helicopter parents, but don’t know enough to properly execute it. 

The post that demonstrates this best is a parent who was in search of the personal contact information of their child’s RA. Or maybe it’s the parents who posted unnecessary photos of their children throughout the COVID-19 testing process. Or the parent who asked the page where the printers were on campus. Other posts lack boundaries, asking questions students could find the answers to themselves and generally invite annoyance. Now when I call my mom to complain about a problem, she asks me if she should post on the parents’ page to ask for a solution.

This is not to say that the page doesn’t provide some useful content. I learned about the upcoming flu shots and the COVID-19 isolation and quarantine procedures. However, these posts are few and far between. Generally, the page just provides a space for Wooster parents to go wild. A few weeks ago, a parent asked about students feeling nervous while walking down Beall Avenue. This started an 87-comment argument between parents and quickly turned into a liberal versus conservative brawl. Fortunately, The College of Wooster Alumni Association stepped in with a post to remind parents that this page is not, in fact, the presidential debate stage. Then last week, a parent foolishly posted the email from President Bolton about the Trump parade. Again, a 61-comment scuffle ensued. While our parents have taught us to respect other people and their opinions, they seem to just have gone wild on Facebook.

While many posts annoy or frustrate me, they also entertain me. Parents are naïve, aggressive and, sometimes, just weird. I like to laugh at and discuss the posts with my friends. Overall, the page provides great conversation starters and I rate it 5/5 stars. And now, I must beg the Alumni Association to not kick me off of the page.

Paleo Profile: Tyrannosaurus Rex, a fluffy superpredator with fantastic vision

Hudson Davis 

Contributing Writer

 

Howdy there , how are you doing on this fine day? Good, I hope. I for one am doing great. I’m starting a new series! Welcome to Paleo Profile, where I’m going to write about some prehistoric animals and make the case for why they are super cool. I’m Hudson, your friendly neighborhood dinosaur nerd and thank you for taking the time to read this. I thought I would start off with a bang so we are going to take a look at the most badass predator of all time: Tyrannosaurus Rex (or T. rex)!

Tyrannosaurus is, without a doubt, the most iconic dinosaur of all time. Known all over the world and one of the few dinosaur names people actually know how to pronounce, Tyrannosaurus has captured the imagination of the world. Seriously, I’m willing to bet all my scholarships that if I talked to three random people on the street and asked them what their favorite dinosaur is, at least one of them will say the T. rex. And I don’t blame them, Tyrannosaurus is awesome! 

Tyrannosaurus is one of the few animals that is worthy of the term “super predator.” I get chills when I think about the adaptations and the arsenal it had. It was far more of a force to be reckoned with in real life than its big-screen appearances in “Jurassic Park. The real Tyrannosaurus is, in my humble opinion, the most badass predator of all time. Hopefully after this, you will agree with me.

 For one thing, Tyrannosaurus was extremely intelligent. They had an EQ level of around 2.0 to 2.4, which is similar to orca intelligence. With humans, big brains have come at the sacrifice of some other senses, but with Tyrannosaurus, those senses were only enhanced.

 Tyrannosaurus also had a killer sense of smell, being able to smell prey from miles away.  And despite what “Jurassic Park” may say, I beg you, don’t stand still if a Tyrannosaurus tries to eat you. It had keen binocular vision. In fact, Tyrannosaurus not only had the biggest eyes of any terrestrial animal, it had the best eyesight. It could see you from over seven football fields away. To quote paleontologist David Hone in a lecture he gave on Tyrannosaurus Rex, “This is not something that can’t see you if you don’t move, this has got the greatest eyesight of any animal on land ever.” 

But the most terrifying of Tyrannosaurus’ weapons would have to be its mouth. Equipped with 60 banana sized teeth, Tyrannosaurus had a bone-crunching bite. Much like the dude in the “I ate the bones!” KFC commercial, Tyrannosaurus swallowed meat, bones and all. Many T. rex coprolites, fossilized turds, contain bone from other dinosaurus. They had a bite force of 3,300 pounds per square inch, which is over a ton-and-a-half of pressure per square inch! 

To top all this, Tyrannosaurus likely didn’t go it alone. It is likely that they hunted in family groups. If you ask me, there would be nothing more terrifying than being trapped in the woods, with a group of these apex predators chasing you at the speed of Usain Bolt. 

Another difference from the movies there is a high chance that Tyrannosaurus had feathers, given the fact that many of its close relatives and ancestors were feathered. So not to kill your childhood memories, but Tyrannosaurus was likely a fluffy killer. 

So with that, I think you have a detailed view of Tyrannosaurus. Of course, with new discoveries being made all the time, we are learning something new, but I hope that you have enjoyed this modern view of the Tyrant Lizard King. Take it easy, I hope the rest of your day is dino-mite!

Donald Trump is the worst possible option for president

Shelby Jones

Contributing Writer

 

It is not news to anyone that this is the most vital and divisive election of our young 18-to-20-something lives. This is the first presidential election in which most of us can vote, and wow, what a way to start off. I miss the days when the biggest scandal of the election season was Richard Nixon looking sickly on camera simply because he didn’t know how to use makeup for television. Oh, what a simpler time. Regardless of how dramatic this election season is, one thing is for sure: we as a generation cannot idly sit back and let Donald Trump win a second term. Unlike what some would want you to believe, Donald Trump is the worst possible option for president.

However, I am also not arguing that Joe Biden is the best possible option. He also has incredible downfalls. As Senator Kamala Harris said multiple times during the vice presidential debate, Joe Biden does not want to ban fracking. Fracking is causing incredible environmental damage and is actively impacting Native American lands. In 1996, he voted for the Defense of Marriage Act, which banned any federal recognition of gay marriage. (His views on gay marriage did change during his time with the Obama administration. According to his campaign website, he is actively campaigning for the protection of the LGBTQIA+ community on multiple fronts). He was also an avid supporter of the War on Drugs during the 1980s and 1990s. These are not small things to overlook.

In his three and a half years as president, Donald Trump has done little good for this country. Rather, he has rolled back environmental protections, actively worked to cut Social Security and other forms of governmental financial assistance, created immensely harmful immigration policies, enacted travel bans for Muslim countries and his administration continually attempts to roll back or outright remove existing LGBTQIA+ protections. He has attacked every single gender, race, ethnicity and sexuality besides the cisgender, heterosexual white man. Also, he’s just a huge jerk.

However, Joe Biden believes scientists. He, unlike Mr. Trump, does not tell his supporters that COVID-19 is a hoax. He recognizes that climate change is real, and not some lie made up by the liberal media. People can criticize the lack of numbers at his rallies, but that is because he understands the real and dangerous risks of COVID-19. His seats aren’t filled because his supporters understand that we’re in a pandemic. Mr. Trump’s do not.

Truly, who you vote for lies in your morality. Do you want to vote for someone who actively works against BIPOC and LGBTQIA+ individuals? Or do you want to vote for someone who still isn’t the best, but at least is sort of better? It is impossible to even claim that Joe Biden works for the “extreme left” like his critics say. His campaign actively panders to moderates and undecided voters. But he’s also not openly fascist. It breaks my heart to say that it really comes down to the lesser of two evils. Joe Biden is that lesser. This election season can be summed up with just four words that I have lived by since Joe accepted the Democratic nomination: settle for Biden 2020.