DRAKE POLITICAL REVIEW
FALL 2020 | VOLUME 7 | ISSUE 1
RETHINKING DISABILITIES IN THE WORKPLACE
Exploring how pandemic-inspired work accommodations affect the disability community.
THE REVOLUTION WILL BE TIKTOKED
For a generation uninspired by TV news, TikTok has become a political safe haven to learn and share ideas.
BIPARTISAN BAKING & CONGRESSIONAL COCKTAILS
Who does a better drink and dessert? Nancy Pelosi or Mitch McConnell?
EDITOR-IN-CHIEF EMILYN CRABBE
ASSISTANT ART DIRECTOR
EMILY NELSON JESSICA COMSTOCK LAUREN SKYE LAWSON
SOPHIA WALKER BEN MOWAT CALEB LILLQUIST EMMA BRUSTKERN VALERIE BUVAT DE VIRGINY HAYDEN WITTROCK TAYLOR FISHER ELLA FIELD KIARA FISH
© FALL 2020 DRAKE POLITICAL REVIEW IDEAS EXPRESSED IN THE MAGAZINE DO NOT NECESSARILY REFLECT THE VIEWS OF DRAKE UNIVERSITY
LETTER FROM THE EDITOR
’ve been enamored with the idea of Drake Political Review since August 2016 when I first came to Drake for a campus tour—but I’ll be the first to tell you I never thought I’d be writing this letter to you all. There’s a picture of me standing on Painted Street for the first time, holding the Fall 2015 issue of DPR. I have that issue with me now, as well as seven more recent issues I’ve since collected, with the goal of getting a better sense of what past editors have done with this space. DPR’s past editors and I share a conviction that civic engagement is an endlessly empowering force and we are mystified at the sight of our peers taking part in it. I can’t speak for them, but for me, that’s why I felt called to this publication in the first place. We all seem to see DPR’s motto, let’s talk politics, as the purest form of civic engagement. Each and every issue of DPR is a unique product of its writers, its staff, and everything that brings us all to be captivated by politics. Honestly, it’s more tempting than ever to just turn off the news, unplug, and wait for everything to go away. It’s getting harder to believe that there’s more that unites us than divides us. But in the face of unprecedented division, it’s imperative to figure out how we got here and what our next steps should be. For the majority of the time I’ve spent accumulating these eight past issues of DPR, I didn’t think I’d find myself writing the letter to its readers. But throughout my first semester as editor-in-chief, I have been looking forward to this opportunity to give the sincerest of shout-outs to those listed in the “contributors” section to the left. At the beginning of what was likely going to be an entire school year lost to a global pandemic, at a time when the future was uncertain, sad, and hard to think about, they signed on to contribute a piece of this magazine. I can’t thank them enough for it. If you’re reading this, that means our extremely patient writers are getting to see months of work in its final form, and I’m just ecstatic about it. So please, keeping in mind the incredible conditions under which this work was created for you, turn the page and
LET’S TALK POLITICS.. EMILYN CRABBE
TABLE OF CONTENTS 06
CAMPAIGNING THROUGH COVID
How the Black Lives Matter movement has been influenced by police presence.
Rethinking traditional efforts to get the vote out with field organizer Tess Dennison.
I AM NOT A VIRUS
A rise in racist rhetoric and attacks aimed at Asian-Americans quickly became one of many underlying effects of the current health crisis.
TABLE OF CONTENTS 13
THE REVOLUTION WILL BE TIKTOKED
For a generation uninspired by TV news, TikTok has become a political safe haven to learn and share ideas.
RETHINKING DISABILITIES IN THE WORKPLACE
Exploring how pandemic-inspired work accommodations affect the disability community.
COLLEGE VOTERS: WHY THEY MATTER
Discussing the fate of Roe v. Wade in a conservative court.
Students choose between hometown or college town voter registration to maximize their voting influence.
BIPARTISAN BAKING & CONGRESSIONAL COCKTAILS Who does a better drink and dessert? Nancy Pelosi or Mitch McConnell?
LINK IN BIBLE
CONFIRMING THE CONSTITUTION
Female Christian influencers are having an increasing impact on societal ideas on femininity.
The Supreme Court in the 21st century.
Parallels between the Arab Spring and Black Lives Matter Protests.
How the Black Lives Matter movement has been influenced by police presence.
WORDS BY SOPHIA WALKER | PHOTO BY LESLIE CROSS ON UNSPLASH
rotests and riots are not a new way to employ change in America. Looking back as far as the Boston Tea Party, there is a culture of protesting against laws or societal issues that people want to change. For example, the Stonewall riots showed people across the country the unfair treatment of the LGBTQ+ community. But instead of being perceived as a just protest, police interference was deemed necessary. This same rhetoric surrounds the Black Lives Matter movement and recent protests in the nation.
Dating back to the murder of Trayvon Martin by a police officer in 2013, the Black Lives Matter movement has spread across the nation. Holding protests in cities all over the country, the movement has demanded systematic change and racial equality. On May 25, 2020, George Floyd, a Black man accused of using a counterfeit bill, was murdered at the hands of a white police officer in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Caught on camera, the officer put his knee on Floyd’s neck, refusing to get off as Floyd begged, “I can’t breathe.” Following
his death, and the release of the video, came the outcry of Americans everywhere demanding systematic change and wondering why this continues to happen. Americans took to the streets, including in Des Moines, Iowa, with hopes of protesting systematic racism and police brutality. This movement of organizers and activists inspired nonviolent protests and educational gatherings. At first, these protests were made up of anyone wanting to take a stand with Black Americans. Jaylen Cavil was one of those people, and
LOCAL after a week of these protests, they began to organize. A collective of 16 organizers, including Cavil, was put together. A list of demands was written, social media posts were created, and the nonviolent protests continued in an organized manner. Social media focused on the murder of George Floyd and the ways America needs systematic change for the Black community. Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter were used to post locations of protests, but also to keep protestors updated on safety concerns. Local activists posted educational information, like how to deal with the police as a person of color, and ways to help make a change if a person did not feel safe protesting with the pandemic. While the protests started as peaceful, when the police arrived, the nonviolent walks and speeches turned violent. “Every time we have organized something, it has been a nonviolent protest, unless the police decide to start some violence,” Cavil said. “We always stress to folks it is going to be a nonviolent event, nonviolent action, nonviolent protest. We don’t say peaceful because there is no peace.”
WE DON’T SAY PEACEFUL BECAUSE THERE IS NO PEACE. JAYLEN CAVIL, DES MOINES ORGANIZER
Both BLM and Cavil say, “No Justice. No Peace.” with the goal of disrupting the inequality happening in America, and specifically in the state of Iowa. At the beginning of the protests, they read off statements announcing their intentions not to antagonize the police and how to stay
safe if the police arrive. Lenin Cardwell, a local Des Moines activist, has been to approximately 20 protests over the last few years. Intending to use her white privilege to make effective change, she sees the protests as a way to show support for the Black community. Cardwell learned about the protests, including their itineraries, locations, and COVID safety protocols, through social media. As someone who has experienced many protests, she personally sees the police as the catalysts that turn nonviolent protests violent. On the night of June 22, Cardwell, Cavil, and a group of protestors were having a nonviolent protest near Merle Hay Mall. Cardwell described it as a peaceful march in the streets from Merle Hay, followed by a car parade down to the Iowa Capitol area. The police arrived and told the protestors they needed to disperse because they were under the impression that protestors were trying to get on I-80. The protestors, including Cardwell, said they had no idea that was something the protestors were planning to do. But, as they were reading this to the protestors, the police began to kettle them, or block them in. Cavil said that when the police start to barricade them in, the protestors have no choice in what they do. This trapped feeling caused by the police has led to ensuing violence. When the police interfere, Cavil said, “they are the ones making it violent.” Blocked in by the police, Cardwell said, “We couldn’t really leave.” According to Cardwell, the police turned violent when people began to move back to their cars. She was pepper-sprayed trying to help someone get to their car. She told an officer that they were just going back to their cars to leave and that they were doing exactly what the police told them to do. As Cardwell ran up the hill by the Capitol to find her car, she fell. When
she was trying to get up, she was hit in the thigh by a police officer who left her there. Describing the night and the situation, Cardwell said, “I don’t know why I didn’t get arrested honestly, probably because I am white.” The protests started as a nonviolent, educational way to take a stand on racial injustice, but soon local media began depicting the protests as violent riots. Cavil said that KCCI, The Des Moines Register, and WHO only interviewed the police when discussing the clashes between the protestors and police. The dynamic between the media and the police negatively affected the protestors’ ability to get airtime for their list of demands. During several protests, Cavil said that the media “only (would) flip on the camera when there is going to be something that pops up,” not showing the hours of nonviolent marching. Cavil and Cardwell believe this rhetoric about the protests is simply false. According to Cavil, protests are nonviolent until police intervention, and protestors are making changes surrounding racial injustice in the Des Moines Area. One of these significant changes is the ability for former felons to vote, which before disproportionately affected people of color. While other changes may seem small, Cavil and the protests will continue to organize to make Iowa safer for Black Americans. “You can’t institute change on your own,” Cavil said. The rights of people of color in America are not equal to those of their white counterparts, and it is protests like these that Cavil and Cardwell see causing change. Protests, activists, and organizers are the way that change is instituted in America, and the BLM movement is no different.
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CAMPAIGNING THROUGH COVID Rethinking traditional efforts to get the vote out with field organizer Tess Dennison. WORDS BY BEN MOWAT | ART BY AMANDA O’BRIEN
ampaigning at its flashiest takes place in political ads, debates, and huge political rallies. The majority of campaigning isn’t as extravagant. The vast majority of elections, especially local and state elections, is made up of coffee shop phone banks, volunteer canvassing, and meet-and-greets in living rooms. When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, months worth
of organizing and planning were swept away. All interpersonal campaigning had to stop for weeks, at the very least. But candidates and organizations didn’t have weeks to spare. Campaigns kept going in a new way that had never been tried before: fully virtual. Tess Dennison was a field organizer with the Iowa Democratic Coordinated
Campaign. She knows exactly what deep grassroots campaigning is like, as it impacted all aspects of her job. An interview from October 2020 highlights how COVID-19 has impacted her job and how campaigning shifted thanks to the pandemic.
What does a day in the life of a remote organizer look like? Right now, the main thing we are pushing is trying to get as many volunteers calling voters with us. So we have phone banks set up on the weekend and pretty much every day from this point to Election Day. I am running one of the “virtual staging locations.” In normal times, that would be a location that volunteers are flowing in and out all day long, knocking doors, and doing other activities. Right now, we have virtual staging locations that are essentially Zoom rooms that are run by a field organizer and other campaign staff. On any normal day, I’m making sure people are signed up, checking that we have all the systems in place so that we have a smooth virtual event, which is a lot harder than you would think. It seems like you would just send out a Zoom link and you are good, but there is just so much that goes into a successful event with so many people on it. Is there any story that you feel represents your time campaigning within this COVID era? We did have one volunteer that was helping run our virtual staging location this weekend—who has volunteered so much in the past and is just incredible—who realized when we were doing a training for how the virtual staging location was going to run that her computer didn’t have a camera on it. It was something she hadn’t even thought about. When she went to join our next meeting, she drove all the way
to Minnesota, where her daughter lives, to borrow a computer so that she could join us, knowing how important it is in a virtual setting to make sure that volunteers can see your face [so] it doesn’t just feel like you’re some robot on a campaign having them make calls. That almost brought tears to my eyes. So much commitment to making things work in a completely new way. We have so many people who are like, “I’ve never used Zoom before, and to be honest that really scares me, but I’ll join a few minutes early so that you can teach me how to do it.” Or they’ll stick around for an hour afterwards to make sure they know how to use the virtual phone bank technology so that they can make calls. There is a huge amount of passion in the communities that are volunteering. A really big willingness to try things that are scary. Doing new tech in front of a group of people is scary. Have there been any unexpected positive outcomes from campaigning during COVID? People who didn’t have access to knocking doors can be a part of such an exciting phone or text banking effort. It has been shocking to me how much it feels like I know the other field organizers and volunteers that I speak with because we talk on the phone or video calls or text multiple times every day. So luckily, with all the technology that we have at our fingertips, it hasn’t been the hugest hurdle. But it is really hard not to be able to grab a drink with people after work or meet up
with a volunteer to chat or grab coffee. I’m in California, so I’m grateful that I’m still able to be part of this. Have you seen voter engagement change this year due to COVID? Among the people I have talked to, it has been so heartwarming and exciting to see the passion that people have for making sure that they vote and their neighbors vote. Talking to people in line at the deli, calling their grandma to make sure that wherever she is, she votes. It feels to me like a very hopeful time. Is there any other issue that you feel is important to talk about when it comes to campaigning during COVID? I think the one other thing that I would mention, because there are a lot of positives in that we have still been able to carry out a super successful campaign, [is] it is definitely lonely. Especially not actually being in Iowa and being here in California ... we try to stay connected via technology. Not actually being able to be in a centralized location and having never heard any of my volunteers give a pitch to a volunteer or talk to a voter on the phone, which is kind of crazy because I feel like you learn so much by watching how other people do their jobs. Everyone has done their very best to make everyone feel as supported as possible virtually. But there are just some things that cannot be replaced that you would have if we were all in person.
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A rise in racist rhetoric and attacks aimed at Asian-Americans quickly became one of many underlying effects of the current health crisis. WORDS BY CALEB LILLQUIST | ART BY AMANDA O’BRIEN
Content Warning: Readers may find content disturbing rom those who have been severely beaten, to those who have been burnt alive, and the elderly women who have been grotesquely beaten to a bloody mess, hate crimes toward Asians are rising in the United States. This dire issue has only been exacerbated by the
COVID-19 pandemic, causing Americans of all races to unleash a fresh dose of xenophobia toward Asian communities across the nation. Despite the significant rise of hate crimes across the nation, the topic of racism toward Asian-Americans was nonexistent on the presidential debate stage, as there were no questions posed addressing the
issue. Currently, Asians make up roughly 5% of the entire U.S. population. 2,120 hate incidents against AsianAmericans have been reported in a three month span as of July 2020, according to a report from CBS news. Further, Axios reported that over 800 of those hate incidents were concentrated in the state of California.
LOCAL In late October 2020, the United Nations reported that “Hate crimes against AsianAmericans have reached an ‘alarming level’ amid the COVID-19 pandemic.” The UN report blamed President Trump for “legitimizing” such racist attacks ever since the pandemic hit, and expressed “serious concern over the rising wave of racist and xenophobic attacks.” According to Business Insider, researchers at Tufts University found in 2017 that “exposure to Trump’s prejudiced statements made people more likely to write offensive things.” Manjusha Kulkarni, executive director of the Asian Pacific Policy and Planning Council, further explained the ramifications of the study. “Our data and evidence of the real-life stories confirm that Asian-Americans are facing increasing racist and xenophobic attacks, catalyzed by rhetoric from the president and other government leadership,” Kulkarni said. The following is just a snippet of the amount of hate crimes against Asians: In New York City in early August, ABC 7 reported an incident involving an Asian woman who was beaten and set on fire by two men. According to the article, this heinous incident’s motive concerned the woman’s Asian descent, and it was followed by protests. Journalist Andy Ngo, who had also been attacked in a previous incident, tweeted a video from Philadelphia showing a group of men beating an Asian man until he lay incapacitated. As the man lay on the ground, the men stomped, kicked, and threw a traffic cone on his head. Vox News reported on a video of an elderly Asian man being harassed and beaten by another group of men in San Francisco. When asked about the incident, the San Francisco mayor stated
to reporters that, “We don’t want to start a race war.” In New York, 6 News had a report about an Asian employee of a store in Albany being beaten by a man after being told to follow the COVID-related guidelines of the store by wearing a mask. The customer told the man, “Go back to your country,” and proceeded to punch and kick the victim. In St. Paul, Minnesota, three teens were seen recording a confrontation with an Asian woman as one of the teens kicked the woman in the face, according to NBC News. In California, a 34-year-old man was arrested and is currently facing multiple felony charges for “reportedly attacking two elderly women in San Francisco, including a Vietnamese mother who was out shopping with her son,” reported Nextshark News. Crime scene photos showed the bloody and bruised Asian woman whose face was barely recognizable. A Japanese musician was “attacked by a group of young people who thought he was Chinese.” The man suffered fractures in his right arm and shoulder, a broken collarbone, and bruises over his body and head, according to a report from Nextshark. A U.S. Marine is being investigated after posting a video online threatening to shoot Chinese people while citing President Trump’s comments on the pandemic, according to a report from Nextshark. Racial Tension in Des Moines Dalia Kyi deals directly with Asian communities who have experienced racist attacks and enounters in recent months. Kyi oversees the crisis and advocacy for the Ethnic Minorities of Burma Advocacy in Des Moines and Waterloo, Iowa.
Typically the cases she has dealt with have involved harassment toward Asian-Americans, and even some cases of physical violence. Kyi talked about a particular case where her co-worker’s son, who is still in grade school, was slapped and spit on by other kids while at school in Des Moines. Kyi noted that the Asian community, particularly refugee kids, don’t want to talk about the incidents that have happened to them due to cultural norms around trauma.Yet Kyi emphasized that, “It’s important for people to speak up and talk about how you (they) feel; you don’t have to emotionally suffer because of how you look or your background.”
YOU DON’T HAVE TO EMOTIONALLY SUFFER BECAUSE OF HOW YOU LOOK OR YOUR BACKGROUND. DALIA KYI, ETHNIC MINORITIES OF BURMA ADVOCACY
She also noted that it seems as if the community does not want to talk about these issues of racism and how Des Moines needs to build more trust with Asian communities and incoming refugees from Asian countries in order to get AsianAmerican voices out and heard. Des Moines Police Sergeant Doua Lor is an Asian outreach resource officer for the Asian community in Des Moines. Despite the national increase of hate crimes toward Asian-Americans, Sgt. Lor said that the Asian population in Des Moines has nothing to worry about.
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“Everyone is on the same page here, we’re all together in this,” Lor said.
WE’RE ALL TOGETHER IN THIS SGT. DOUA LOR, DMPD
He has not dealt with any hate crime cases of any sort toward Asians, and no Asian-Americans in the Des Moines area have shown immense concern with their own race during the pandemic as of fall 2020, to his knowledge. However, if an incident were to happen, Sgt. Lor expressed the essential need to reach out to him immediately and talk about the event. “We are very quiet,” said Sgt. Lor, referring to the aspect of the Asian culture in not wanting to raise their voices by reporting incidences of such discrimination. Nu Huynh, the executive director of the Iowa Asian Alliance, commented on this ongoing issue. Huynh has been the director of the non-partisan AsianAmerican group for five years, a group originally established in 2002. ”Iowa is very fortunate not to see a high amount of Asian hate crimes compared to places such as San Francisco or other big cities,” Huynh said. Huynh confirmed, though, that the IAA had received reports and calls about bullying and racial slurs toward the Asian community in Des Moines. Although Huynh believes that there was a sufficient amount of news coverage on the issue of hate crimes from the beginning, she thought that the attention was taken away
from the Black Lives Matter protests across the nation. “Asians don’t scream loud enough… It is a culture thing,” Huynh said. With the rise of hate crimes across the nation, Huynh stressed that the anti-Asian sentiment has always been there, yet the pandemic has given hate-filled motivation to those wishing to harm Asians. Huynh also commented on President Trump’s COVID-19 comments with, “It’s a mixed bag here in the organization, people are split on it.” Lucca Cloud is a member of Chinese Americans for Joe Biden, an Asian activism group, and other Asian support groups across the nation. While discussing her own experience being of Chinese descent during the pandemic, Cloud explained that she had experienced a lot of racism in the workplace and knew at least 12 other Asian colleagues who had been exposed to racist encounters. “I actually have family in New Jersey that do not want to go outside,” stated Cloud, regarding how her family members are coping with racism during the pandemic. Cloud believes that the racism against Asian-Americans has always been there, yet is something that has been flared because of the pandemic. “Blaming Chinese Americans for the virus also has effects on other Asians as well—the blame for the virus hurts all Asian-Americans,” Cloud said. Contrary to what some believe, Cloud asserted that this is not a minor problem.
“I am very surprised that no more media outlets are reporting this, this stuff is newsworthy even when our top authority in government is fueling white supremacy,” Cloud said. Ever since the pandemic hit, she mentioned that she has been more conscientious of her race. “I am definitely thinking about my own race more, 100%,” Cloud said. “All of this does make me afraid, especially when my friends and family are more afraid than I am. It makes me vulnerable.”
I AM DEFINITELY THINKING ABOUT MY OWN RACE MORE, 100%, LUCCA CLOUD, CHINESE AMERICANS FOR JOE BIDEN
A message that Cloud would like to project to Americans is, “Asians live here and are from here, they are not foreign. Asians are just as much of an immigrant as Europeans and everyone else who lives here.” Americans must strive to give more platforms to Asian-American voices in this trying time. With the rise of Asian hate crimes across the nation, it is utterly essential to be the voice for those suffering in Asian communities nationwide before any more innocent lives get hurt.
THE REVOLUTION WILL BE TIKTOKED
For a generation uninspired by TV news, TikTok has become a political safe haven to learn and share ideas. WORDS BY EMMA BRUSTKERN | ART BY LILA JOHNSON
eyond the dancing, lip syncing, and POV videos, TikTok is quickly becoming a political force of its own. Unlike other social media platforms, such as Facebook and Twitter, the political scene on TikTok is fueled primarily by Generation Z, who are using their own tactics to educate and organize fellow young people on the app. TikTok, a short-form video platform, skyrocketed in popularity over the past two years. According to a report from Business Insider, the app has more than 2 billion downloads and 100 million users in the U.S. alone. While the platform serves primarily as a form of entertainment, it has also introduced new ways to rapidly churn out information to audiences. TikTok creators can create short, easily digestible content in the form of 15 to 60 second videos. In a rapidly changing news landscape, these short videos enable political TikTokers to offer real-time commentary, fact checking, and historical anecdotes. TikTok creator Cade Koch, known by the username @cako0518 on TikTok, has long been inspired by figures, such as Stephen Colbert and Jon Stewart, who used humor to discuss politics. However, Koch believes the short-form technique draws younger individuals in, more so than a traditional 20-minute sketch could. “We’re the generation that grew up on Vine,” Koch said. “So our attention span is very tiny. It’s much easier to get everyone’s attention quicker and be much more nitty-gritty. Like, ‘Hey, here’s a bunch of information, very fast. Here’s a joke, be on your way.’”
SO OUR ATTENTION SPAN IS VERY TINY. IT’S MUCH EASIER TO GET EVERYONE’S ATTENTION QUICKER AND BE MUCH MORE NITTY-GRITTY. CADE KOCH, TIK TOK CREATOR
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Claire Robinson, known on TikTok by the username @awetheyreuglee, recently entered the realm of political TikTok after producing commentary about the first presidential debate. While Robinson grew up in a Republican household, they weren’t always engaged in politics. “For a while out of spite, I just did not learn anything about politics because I didn’t want to be like them. And then Trump got elected,” Robinson said. “I was worried about my own safety because I’m part of the LGBT community. . . So I started doing more research and I started learning more about it. Through that, I just watched the debate mostly out of morbid curiosity. And I noticed how ridiculous it was. It just didn’t seem real.” Robinson’s story mirrors that of many young people who are disillusioned with the ways in which older generations discuss politics. For many teenagers and young adults still trying to understand the world, politics can seem overwhelming and hostile. Furthermore, teenagers and young adults are increasingly less inclined to watch the news on television or read it in a print newspaper. According to a 2018 study from Pew Research, social media dominates as the primary news source for individuals ages 18-25. Political discourse on TikTok doesn’t look like what viewers would see on Fox News or MSNBC. Often, creators will take popular formats, such as dance videos, and overlay them with current information. Other times, TikTokers will use jokes or popular meme formats applied to current events. Through its short-form content and creative angles,
TikTok presents a new way for Generation Z to get engaged in a way that’s welcoming and non-threatening. Robinson’s TikToks, including the one they created about the debate, often take the form of jokes. They see this as a way of making political discourse more accessible and less scary. “I didn’t want to add more negativity into the political headspace that everyone has [experienced], where it’s like, ‘Oh, the whole world is ending. You might die, but hey, keep a smile on your face,’” Robinson said. “That always seemed so terrifying to me to have that kind of thought process. So I just thought, I’m going to make a joke out of this, and hopefully people laugh.” Although other social media apps,
SO I JUST THOUGHT, I’M GOING TO MAKE A JOKE OUT OF THIS, AND HOPEFULLY PEOPLE LAUGH. CLAIRE ROBINSON, TIK TOK CREATOR
such as Instagram and Twitter, have long been used to share political ideas, TikTok creator Aidan Kohn-Murphy, known as @aidanpleasestoptalking, believes it’s comparatively easier to “blow up” on TikTok. It also provides a platform to discuss and share ideas in a more authentic way.
“Reposting and spreading awareness [is] not a bad thing at all, but it’s not active,” Kohn-Murphy said. “On TikTok, you can share your own opinions.” Political TikTok accounts have covered everything from the primaries to the Black Lives Matter protests to the presidential debates. Over the past few months, TikTok has increasingly broken into the mainstream political scene, with politicians such as Sen. Ed Markey and Sen. Bernie Sanders creating accounts. The Washington Post also has made a home for itself on TikTok and now has more than 850,000 followers, further highlighting the connection between the media and TikTok. With the rise of political discourse on the app, young people have had the opportunity to potentially expand their political ideas beyond those present in the two-party system. Koch, who identifies as a leftist, says short-form content lends itself particularly well to grabbing people’s attention and introducing them to new ideas. “I’m much more willing to entertain the idea of someone wasting one minute of my time rather than an hour,” Koch said. In its ascension to fame, TikTok hasn’t been without critics. High-ranking elected officials deemed the app a national security risk from the moment its popularity skyrocketed. Former President Donald Trump, a vocal opponent of the app, even threatened to ban TikTok from the app store in August 2020, according to CNN. Numerous other elected officials, including Sen. Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Arkansas Sen. Tom Cotton,
have also criticized the app. Critics of TikTok worried the app could be used as a tool for China to spy on U.S. citizens, as the app was created and owned by Chinese company ByteDance. Cybersecurity specialists have weighed in across the internet, saying that while the app could theoretically pose a threat, it is not a clear and present danger. However, to quell security concerns, President Trump approved a deal in which U.S. companies Oracle and Walmart would partner with TikTok to avoid a shutdown. Alongside potential security issues, others fear misinformation could run rampant on the app. In a rare move by a social media company, TikTok made the decision to unilaterally ban all political advertising on the app in October 2019. The company also put out a statement in August 2020 regarding its efforts to combat misinformation and election interference, saying they would take down videos they deemed unfit for the app. Misinformation on TikTok is often perpetrated in what could be considered innocent ways, particularly by creators who might not have the information to back up their claims. As social media platforms continue to stoke political polarization through targeted algorithms, individuals from all sides of the political spectrum can fall victim to misinformation.
“No matter whether or not they can support their beliefs, if they post the video with enough confidence, people will just believe it,” Koch said. “And that’s a problem, no matter what your beliefs are.”
NO MATTER WHETHER OR NOT THEY CAN SUPPORT THEIR BELIEFS, IF THEY POST THE VIDEO WITH ENOUGH CONFIDENCE, PEOPLE WILL JUST BELIEVE IT, CADE KOCH, TIK TOK CREATOR
claimed that they were at least partially responsible: in a widely orchestrated prank, users registered potentially thousands of tickets for the rally and never showed up. While the validity of this claim has been doubted, the moment served as a valuable lesson for TikTok users: through the power of collective action, young people all over the world could make change. TikTok has changed the face of political communication, and although the election may be over, the app remains a crucial way for young people to educate others and learn about the world around them. For that reason, TikTok users hope the momentum they’ve created on the app is here to stay. “I really hope we can continue these conversations we need to have because politics are not some amorphous thing that you get to discuss in a parlor because it’s fun and because you want to make people laugh,” Koch said. “It’s something that affects people’s lives, whether or not it’s yours.”
Despite criticism, TikTok’s effect on politics cannot be denied. Perhaps the most popular instance of TikTok breaking into the mainstream political scene came June 2020. After President Donald Trump experienced low turnout at his campaign rally in Tulsa, OK, TikTok users
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RETHINKING DISABILITIES IN THE WORKPLACE
Exploring how pandemic-inspired work accommodations affect the disability community. WORDS BY GRACE LONG | ART BY LILA JOHNSON
t’s no secret COVID-19 has disrupted labor markets around the world. Here in the United States, by early May 2020, over 36 million Americans had filed for unemployment benefits, a figure comparable to unemployment during the Great Depression of the 1930s, according to the London School of Policy and Economics’ United States Centre. It is evident that most individuals in the workforce have been affected by the pandemic, with those in the disability community being particularly impacted. For example, as reported in a Syracuse University article, employment rates between March and April 2020 decreased by 18% among the general population, but by 24% among workers with disabilities. In times of crisis, marginalized and vulnerable populations are often the most adversely affected, and it is clear COVID-19 is no exception to the rule. From losing support and services that made it possible to maintain employment before the pandemic and health care concerns to facing barriers to re-entering the workforce and more, the employment challenges the pandemic has imposed upon people with disabilities are very real and far-reaching. However, people with disabilities in the workforce have also experienced some positive aspects of the change, especially in regard to normalizing certain accommodations and opening the door for solutions that have been long sought-after. Both the disadvantages and benefits for individuals with disabilities in the workforce represent a complex topic that has been a part of the disabled community and disability studies for years. The pandemic presented the right set of circumstances to bring many of these issues to the forefront of more mainstream workforce consideration. Because these issues have been impacting those with
disabilities long before 2020, it is critical to build upon the positive changes and work to dismantle the negative aspects of the workplace that have been highlighted during the pandemic. It may seem counterintuitive, but the pandemic has brought about positive workplace changes for many individuals with disabilities. The two most common changes are the normalization of working from home and the ability for employees to have a more flexible schedule. While integrating these actions into daily life on such a large scale is relatively new for most employers and employees, the adoption of these accommodations is something employees with disabilities have been actively pursuing for a long time. The shift in how employers use and view remote work has been especially impactful. “For the longest time, people with disabilities were told that showing up at your desk every single day was an essential function of all sorts of jobs, even jobs that were exclusively on the computer,” said Emmanuel Smith, an advocate at Disability Rights Iowa. Smith focuses on barriers to employment people with disabilities face and helps them advocate for their rights under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). “Now, I think it’s really normalized remote work, and it will be very difficult for these companies that have remote worked for the better part of the year to deny this accommodation to people who need it in the future.” Marissa Ditkowsky, an attorney with an extensive background in both legal research and casework at the intersection of employment and disability, can personally attest to the benefits of remote work. “Before COVID-19, I had really been pushing myself to go into work physically a lot of days, and that was really a burden on me,” Ditkowsky said. “The commute
was a lot, and by the time I would get to the office, I would be drained. Now, I am actually far more productive and in a lot less pain because I don’t have to commute. Because I’m in less pain and not dealing with all of that, I’m less distracted and more productive during the workday.”
BECAUSE I’M IN LESS PAIN AND NOT DEALING WITH ALL OF THAT, I’M LESS DISTRACTED AND MORE PRODUCTIVE DURING THE WORKDAY. MARISSA DITKOWSKY, ATTORNEY
The use of flexible hours is another accommodation that people with disabilities have struggled to obtain for some time but has suddenly been normalized by the pandemic. “Now, it doesn’t matter as much when you’re working, you’re just getting the work done,” Ditkowsky said. “Before, when you had to come in the physical office, untraditional hours were seen as a big deal, but things are getting better in that regard now, especially for folks who have accommodations where they might need to sleep in or get things done a little earlier, people that need breaks, things like that.” While the normalization of these
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NATIONAL two accommodations is progress in itself, it serves to pave the way for other accommodations to be more widely accepted and implemented in the workplace. “The biggest COVID-related gain for people with disabilities is companies have radically changed what they view as possible for their employees,” Smith said. The ADA requires employers to provide reasonable accommodations to all their employees that require them. An accommodation is essentially a modification or adjustment within the
COMPANIES HAVE RADICALLY CHANGED WHAT THEY VIEW AS POSSIBLE FOR THEIR EMPLOYEES, EMMANUEL SMITH, ADVOCATE AT DISABILITY RIGHTS IOWA
workplace that allows employees with disabilities to successfully perform their role to the same extent as people without disabilities (remote work and flexible hours are examples, but this can include things like physical changes, policy adjustments, and assistive technologies as well). These accommodations are often simple, low-cost, and serve to benefit all employees. However, even with these advantages, and the fact that reasonable accommodations are required by law, they often carry a negative stigma and can be difficult for people with disabilities to attain or even feel comfortable requesting.
“Unfortunately, when people hear accommodation, they often think one of two things,” Smith said. “They either think of a really expensive piece of equipment, or they think of excuses that a person with a disability could use to not do their job. Neither of those examples are really illustrative of the way individuals use the ADA to protect their rights and succeed in their chosen field to the best of their ability.” However, even though COVID-19 has provided the environment for some accommodations to become more mainstream and opened the door for others to be perceived as more achievable, the nature of remote work and the pandemic itself has exposed a need for other accommodations that still go unmet. For example, accommodations to make technology more accessible and to facilitate communication often fall to the wayside in this new digital word. “You are using more tech and new tech, so new accessibility issues come up,” Ditkowsky said. “It can be confusing, not user-friendly, visually difficult, or inaccessible for people who are blind or low-vision. There’s also the fact that many events are happening online and are using captioning. A lot of places have started to rely on AI captioning, and a lot of the time that’s just simply not sufficient if it goes too quickly or spits out nonsense.” The nature of the current workplace presents unique communication challenges that were more intuitive and simple before the pandemic. “Communication may be more difficult because more effort is necessary,” Ditkowsky said. “You can’t just go to the other room and talk to people. For those whose accommodations involve clearer communication, direct instruction, those types of things, this is really difficult. It really involves a lot more effort on behalf
of supervisors and employees to keep up that communication.” Outside of these issues with accommodations, COVID-19 has negatively impacted workers with disabilities in a variety of other ways: the loss of essential health care that was tied to a job an individual no longer holds, the health risks posed by returning to work in person, a discriminatory hiring process, and the inability of those who are employed in food services, leisure, hospitality, construction, and manufacturing (all industries that have traditionally employed workers with disabilities). Although these issues are all related to the pandemic, they require solutions that go beyond the present to put a stop to negative employment practices that have continued for decades. One of the primary solutions is as simple as enforcing a law that’s already on the books: the ADA. “First and foremost, I think you need to fully implement the ADA. The ADA was never really fully put into practice,” Smith said. The ADA was signed into law July 26, 1990 by President George H.W. Bush with the intent to prohibit discrimination against people with disabilities in all areas of public life. However, considering that 2020 marked the 30th anniversary of the legislation, it’s concerning that large parts of the law still aren’t being realized. Ditkowsky agreed and mentioned additional expansion of the ADA. “There are still folks that don’t even comply with the bare minimum of the ADA, and the ADA doesn’t even go far enough,” Ditkowsky said. “It has been interpreted in such narrow ways and there are so many things that could be expanded in it.” Aside from changing and enforcing laws, both advocates stressed the need
NATIONAL for an attitudinal change in how people perceive hiring, working with, and accommodating their employees and coworkers with disabilities. “I think the biggest barriers to the success of people with disabilities in the workplace are typically misconceptions,” Ditkowsky said. “Myths and misconceptions that employers have in their minds about what disabled employees bring to the table, how much things cost, what is expected of them, what the law requires, and the fact that the ADA and protections for disabled workers are treated as the ceiling rather than a floor.”
Smith sees this type of attitude frequently in his work with accommodations. “It’s the idea that providing accommodations and having some degree of flexibility is an employer being magnanimous or generous to people with disabilities as opposed to following their legal obligation,” Smith said. “You wouldn’t praise an employer for creating a work environment that doesn’t have a lot of sexual harassment, right? That’s their legal obligation to protect their employees from those adverse impacts. Employers have an equal obligation to address accommodations and to work with people with disabilities to succeed. I don’t want
them treating that as if they are doing us a favor. I want them to realize that’s a legal obligation via civil rights law, and I don’t think that awareness is really there yet.” Although the circumstances of the pandemic may have opened the door for accommodations to become more easily implemented and accepted, as well as exposing other issues that have long been problematic for workers with disabilities, there is still a long way to go to ensure that the rights of these workers are being protected in the workplace. Ditkowsky said, “To put it simply, I think it’s all about changing people’s attitudes, and that still needs a lot of work.”
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REPRODUCTIVE INJUSTICE Discussing the fate of Roe v. Wade in a conservative court. WORDS BY VALERIE BUVAT DE VIRGINY | ART BY AMANDA O’BRIEN
n 1973, the United States Supreme Court ruled in Roe v. Wade that abortion was a constitutional right. At the time, abortion was illegal in nearly every state, but Roe mandated safe and legal abortion access nationwide. But even with the ruling, abortion rights continue to be unequal due to state laws, and many people still aren’t guaranteed abortion access. According to a study published by the BMC Women’s Health Journal around the question whether lack of Medicaid coverage for abortion was a reason for not having an abortion in Louisiana, only 25% of pregnancies were planned, with 14% preferring abortion services upon learning about the pregancy. In the same study, 72% of the participants were Black women, showing the type of disparity in health outcomes that would be exacerbated if Roe v. Wade was overturned. With less than 10% of abortion clinics placed in areas where the majority of residents are people of color, if Roe v. Wade is overturned, what happens next will be devastating—especially for low-income and undocumented women seeking this health care. For nearly 50 years, limiting a woman’s right to choose has become a cornerstone of the modern Republican Party. But three major abortion cases—Roe v. Wade (1973), Planned Parenthood of Southeastern Pennsylvania v. Casey (1992), and Whole
Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt (2016)— have defined the contours of the right to abortion. In its landmark ruling in Roe, the Supreme Court recognized that the specific protection for “liberty” in the Fourteenth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution includes the right to decide whether to continue or end a pregnancy. If the ruling is overturned, it will likely be because the judges argue that the right to privacy is not found in the Constitution. If there is no right to privacy, that means, in theory, the government could limit the access to abortion, since the decision would no longer be between a woman and her doctor. Like most things in the law, the answer to the question of whether or not this ruling can be overturned isn’t exactly a simple one. But, the Supreme Court does not have to overturn Roe to undermine the right to abortion. When states have little to no enshrined abortion protections at the state level, abortion access and Planned Parenthood funding that are decided locally suffer. Roe continues to be the law of the land, but abortion is already inaccessible or nearly so for many who want it. Cecilia Bernard, a former electoral organizer for the Planned Parenthood Advocates of Iowa PAC, explained just how essential reproductive rights are for Iowans. “In Iowa, House Joint Resolution 2004, also known as the ‘Protect Life
Amendment,’ is a proposed constitutional amendment intended to clarify that a right to abortion and abortion funding does not exist in the Iowa Constitution,” Bernard said. “In the wake of the state level election results with a Republican supermajority in the State Legislature, and without guaranteed protection for reproductive rights on the state level, and nearly 20 abortion cases before Supreme Court, there is a lot at stake.” This discussion provides a snapshot of what to anticipate on how these state governments would respond to a limitation or reversal of Roe and the likelihood that abortion rights would remain secure in some places and prohibited in others. If Roe was overturned, states would then be divided into abortion deserts, where it would be illegal to access care, and abortion havens, where care would continue to be available. Millions of people living in abortion deserts, mainly in the South and Midwest, would be forced to travel to receive legal care, which would result in many people simply being unable to access abortion. Allowing states to increase enforcement of abortion restrictions that have no proven medical benefits will result in access being further decreased or essentially prohibited.
WITHOUT GUARANTEED PROTECTION FOR REPRODUCTIVE RIGHTS ON THE STATE LEVEL, AND NEARLY 20 ABORTION CASES BEFORE SUPREME COURT, THERE IS A LOT AT STAKE. CECILIA BERNARD, FORMER ELECTORAL ORGANIZER
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COLLEGE VOTERS: WHY THEY MATTER
Students choose between hometown or college town voter registration to maximize their voting influence. WORDS BY HAYDEN WITTROCK | ART BY LILA JOHNSON
020: A year that was messy, chaotic, and unpredictable. On top of a global pandemic, social justice movements, and growing political division, it only made sense that 2020 would include a contentious and pivotal general election— only adding to the unpredictability that the world became accustomed to. On Tuesday, Nov 3, the presidential election took place and voters across the country decided between incumbent President Donald Trump and former Vice
President Joe Biden. In addition to the notable presidential candidates on the ballot, however, there were also many toss-up races that had implications for the makeup of Congress. Some of the most notable toss-ups in congressional elections were focused in Iowa. Charlie Cook’s The Cook Political Report had rated Iowa’s 1st, 2nd, and 3rd congressional district House races as toss-ups. Additionally, the report found the Iowa Senate race between incumbent
Sen. Joni Ernst and Theresa Greenfield to be a highly contested race. The biggest critical factor in results, for these races in particular, came down to who turned out to vote. A monumental impact on high voter turnout was derived from the college student demographic. According to the Campus Vote Project, Generation Z and millennials made up the largest group of eligible voters that year. When it comes to the voting options of college students, there are different strategies
that could greatly impact and decide these toss-up elections. Students who move out of state for college face the decision of where to register to vote, choosing either their college or home address. Gwyn Chilcoat, a student of William’s College in Williamstown, Massachusetts, was a college voter in 2020 with a strategic voting plan. Chilcoat is originally from Des Moines, Iowa. When thinking about her plan for where to vote in 2020, Chilcoat believed that the decision to vote in Iowa was an easy choice for her. “Because A, I am spending most of this year in Iowa anyways, and B, … Massachusetts is a very blue state and Iowa is very much a swing state, so [as a Democratic voter] my vote ‘counts more’,” Chilcoat said. Even though Iowa has less electoral votes, she still wanted the opportunity to participate in the 2020 Democratic caucuses. Chilcoat further discussed her personal experiences with other college voters' strategic voting patterns. Before the 2020 election, she noticed that college voters seemed to especially be educating themselves due to the agreed-upon importance of the election. “I think it is really important to at least do some preliminary research to see where each state tends to lean and how that compares relative to how you're going to vote,” Chilcoat said. While the impact of the election is ultimately up to the voters, it is important to address how campaigns and organizers have aided in this idea of strategic youth voting. Isha Kahlia, formerly an intern for the Abby Finkenauer campaign, described the tactics used by the campaign to further motivate young voters.
“We did a lot of text banking,” Kahlia said. “I think that is one [strategy] where we had a lot of youth involvement because a lot of young people, we noticed, don’t pick up the phone if they don’t know who it is.” Kahlia noted how social media is influential in motivating young people because many candidates are active on platforms such as Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook. To her, the use of social media by the young people on the candidate’s campaign was able to further expand the youth vote network. During his time as the youth director for the Elizabeth Warren Iowa Caucuses campaign, Trenton Seubert analyzed the team’s focus on college campuses. Seubert highlighted delegating campus influencers who were able to make personal connections with students. The relational organizing method on campuses had the potential to swing outof-state college voters to decide to vote from their college town. “We wanted to get a lot of people who had some clout and just had networks on campuses to really invest into Elizabeth and have conversations,” Seubert said. Furthermore, Seubert called attention to discrepancies in the voting process that might be present between college and hometown states. He described all the small things that may be overlooked by college students in the registration and voting processes, such as how to vote, when to vote, or how varying ID requirements add to the complication of voting for college students. “Those little small things add up,” Seubert said. “It holds (college voters) back from being able to vote. They do care, it’s just there are all these small things, with jobs, with life, with school, that add up.”
THEY DO CARE, IT’S JUST THERE ARE ALL THESE SMALL THINGS, WITH JOBS, WITH LIFE, WITH SCHOOL, THAT ADD UP.
TRENTON SEUBERT, WARREN CAMPAIGN YOUTH DIRECTOR
Alluded to by many was the lack of voter education aimed at college students who can so drastically impact an election. This election, however, it was clear that campaigns, organizations, and many college voters themselves were making an effort to further push information on voting options. Following the results of the 2020 election, Tish College at Tufts University in Massachusetts concluded that youth voter turnout was on track to beat that of 2016 from their exit polls of 11 battleground states. The results of the 2020 general election were about as chaotic as expected. But, with the stakes high, people did turn out to vote. College voters no doubt played an instrumental role in the victory of Joe Biden. Leading up to any election, college voters face many options in the voting process. As young individuals become more involved and interested in social issues, and depending on heavily contested elections, more strategic voting will be invoked by college voters.
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BIPARTISAN BAKING & CONGRESSIONAL COCKTAILS Who does a better drink and dessert? Nancy Pelosi or Mitch McConnell? WORDS BY ELLA FIELD | PHOTOS BY ELLA FIELD | EDITING & DESIGN BY LILA JOHNSON
oliticians in the U.S. have a long history of sharing their food preferences, restaurant recommendations, and favorite recipes. Whether it be Mitt Romney’s Carrot Soup or Jimmy Carter’s Special Cheese Ring, politicians on both sides of the aisle from all different levels
of the ticket have enjoyed sharing the food that they make and enjoy. In the highly contested 2000 presidential election, there was another competition that voters were reading about—a competition between the candidates’ wives. In an article published by the New York Times, Laura Bush’s
Cowboy Cookies went head to head with Tipper Gore’s Gingersnaps. This partisan recipe dispute continues as we put recipes from and inspired by Speaker Nancy Pelosi against recipes from and inspired by Sen. Mitch McConnell.
THE NANCY PELOSI COCKTAIL
NATIONAL Although Nancy Pelosi doesn’t drink, this intricate cocktail was created in honor of the current House Majority Leader. The cocktail originated at Lupo Verde, an Italian restaurant in Washington, D.C., and pays homage to Pelosi’s life, history, and roots. It may seem strange, but the avocado in this cocktail pays tribute to Pelosi’s home state of California. The nocino is from Northern Italy, her mother’s birthplace. However, the ingredients themselves are not the only things that represent Pelosi. There are 7 ingredients in this cocktail, representing her 7 siblings. (source: Bevvy)
Ingredients: 1.5 oz whiskey 0.5 oz nocino
0.75 oz grapefruit juice 0.5 oz agave syrup
1 teaspoon avocado puree Splash of local beer (top off) Chocolate shavings (garnish)
MITCH’S MINT JULEP
1. Add whiskey, nocino, grapefruit juice, agave syrup, and avocado puree to a cocktail shaker and mix with ice. 2. Double strain over fresh ice into a cocktail glass. 3. Top off with beer and garnish with chocolate shavings.
Since we weren’t able to find any Mitch McConnell inspired cocktails, or any from his “Home Cookin’ Kentucky Recipes,'' we created one. Similar to the Nancy Pelosi cocktail, this recipe pays tribute to Mitch McConnell's home state of Kentucky: the sweet tea represents a beverage that is popular in the Southern US, the Maker’s Mark is brewed in Kentucky, and the Mint Julep is the official cocktail of Kentucky.
6 mint leaves 6 oz. sweet iced tea 1 teaspoon sugar
1.5 oz. Maker’s Mark ½ teaspoon lemon juice Crushed ice
1. In a sturdy glass, muddle the mint leaves until aromatic. Then, add sugar to glass and continue to muddle. 2. Fill the glass with ice and pour the iced tea, bourbon, and lemon juice over the ice. Stir and garnish with a mint sprig and lemon wheel. DRAKE POLITICAL REVIEW
MITCH MCCONNELL’S CHOCOLATE NUT PIE
ACTIVE TIME: 30 Minutes TOTAL TIME: 1 Hour SERVES: 8 DIFFICULTY: Easy
If you’re looking for another holiday dessert that may cause debate at the dinner table, look no further than this famous recipe from Senator Mitch McConell. It is a twist on the classic pecan pie and has been featured on his website with his other “Home Cookin’ Kentucky Recipes.” (source: Fandom Recipes Wiki)
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. 2. In a large bowl, mix margarine and sugar until smooth. The mixture will still be grainy, but there should be a consistent, smooth texture with no chunks. 3. In a small bowl, lightly beat eggs and mix with vanilla. Then, mix into the large bowl with the margarine and sugar mixture until smooth. 4. Slowly add flour and mix until just combined. 5. Gently fold in the pecans and chocolate chips. 6. Pour mixture into pie shell. Decorate with whole pecans (optional) and bake for 30 minutes, or until middle is set.
½ cup margarine, melted 1 cup sugar 2 eggs 1 teaspoon vanilla extract ½ cup flour ¾ chopped pecans ¾ cup chocolate chips Whole pecans (optional) 1 unbaked 9-inch pie shell
NANCY PELOSI’S CHOCOLATE MOUSSE
ACTIVE TIME: 35 Minutes TOTAL TIME: 2 hours 35 Minutes SERVES: 8 DIFFICULTY: Intermediate
This mousse recipe hails straight out of the Pelosi family recipe book and is their go-to Thanksgiving dessert. The rich dark chocolate deepens the mousse’s flavor and is supposedly good for you, as well. The mousse is smooth and creamy, which is perfect for your Thanksgiving table, but there may be some relatives who might not want to know who the recipe comes from. (source: The Hill)
1 pound dark chocolate, broken into pieces 1 cup of butter (2 sticks), cut into pieces 8 egg whites 4 tablespoons sugar ½ cup heavy cream Whipped cream (optional) Chocolate shavings (optional)
1. Fill a large saucepan ¼ full with water and bring to a simmer. Place a medium heatproof bowl over the saucepan (don’t let the water touch the bowl) and add chocolate and butter. Stir constantly until the chocolate and butter are melted. 2. Carefully remove from heat. Set aside and let cool for at least 15 min. 3. While the chocolate-butter mixture is cooling, beat egg whites and sugar in a separate bowl with an electric mixer until soft peaks form.
4. Carefully fold the egg whites mixture into the chocolate mixture. 5. In another bowl, beat cream until stiff. Then, gently mix the cream with the other mixture until just combined. 6. Divide the mousse into individual cups, if you have them, or keep it in one large bowl. 7. Chill mousse for at least two hours. Top with whipped cream and chocolate shavings and serve!
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LINK IN BIBLE
Female Christian influencers are having an increasing impact on societal ideas on femininity. WORDS BY TAYLOR FISHER | ART BY AMANDA O’BRIEN
ith the rise of female Christian influencers, such as Girl Defined Ministries and Lauren Southern, there have been increasing questions raised by online figures, like YouTuber Cody Ko, about the impacts and intentions of these social media outlets. Whether in the form of YouTube videos, Instagram posts, tweets, and increasingly even TikTok, these influencers create content for audiences of young women—targeting them at a critical point in their lives and their discovery of femininity. For most women within the Christian community—such as Keegan Flaherty, full-time staff member for Intervarsity, a national Evangelical Christian Fellowship for college campus ministry—understanding femininity is deeply interwoven with their religious upbringing and background. To her, the capacity for female influencers to impact Christian women’s understanding of femininity is very important within these critical years. Flaherty reflected upon her Christian upbringing in relation to understanding her womanhood. “Growing up, I thought femininity meant weakness or something lesser than being male,” Flaherty said. While her religious self-discovery has changed these notions of femininity for herself, she understands how difficult this process can be because of the large presence of conservative and “polarizing” Christian media that reaffirms traditional roles of women.
For men in leadership within the Christian community, femininity isn’t something that is considered in the same way Flaherty views her experience. Caleb Thompson, Drake University’s director of Campus Fellowship, a Christian community for Midwest college students, reflects upon modern tension among femininity. “Femininity often gets tossed around without defining what it means,” Thompson said. While this may be true, it also reflects the Christian tendency of ignoring femininity, and it questions how to embrace modern womanhood. When Christian men, especially those in leadership positions, fail to have conversations to integrate feminine empowerment into their teaching, it often requires women to rely heavily on different forms of media to understand their identity as a woman. To Flaherty, when femininity is ignored by Chrsitan communities, women often face sexism. “I actually think being a woman in ministry has helped me solidify seeing myself as a feminist becuause I know what it is like to face sexism in the church,” Flaherty said. The rise of female Christian influencers is of utmost importance when considering how femininity is developed and understood in the Christian community. Thompson recognizes the empowering nature of female Christian influencers among the women within Campus Fellowship.
IN A MORE COMPLETE WAY, [INFLUENCERS TEACH] HOW TO BE A WOMAN, HOW A WOMAN OPERATES, AND WHAT GOD SAYS ABOUT IT KEEGAN FLAHERTY, INTERVARSITY STAFF MEMBER
“In a more complete way, [influencers teach] how to be a woman, how a woman operates, and what God says about it,” Thompson said. Although influencers’ messaging might be educational to some, their ideas don’t always align with modern notions of femininity and modern feminist movements. However, these influencers tend to find themselves situated within the traditional conservative camp, presenting a complicated and concerning message about how femininity should be expressed within Christian women. For example, Girl Defined Ministries, a pair of sisters who release content meant to encourage Christian women, has consistently released videos and blogs directly tackling
NATIONAL issues related to womanhood. With topics like “What to do with Crazy-Girl Emotions,” “Is it Okay to be Obsessed with Guys,” and “Why Romance, Modesty, and Femininity Point to the Gospel,” it is clear that these women are actively questioning modern aspects of womanhood. When Christian influencers reflect on womanhood in ways that condemn natural human traits, they often force young female Christians to choose between embracing their femininity and respecting their religion. For many young women, however, this option isn’t
always clear. When media outlets enforce traditional roles of women through biblical arguments, they suggest that any other forms of feminism are unbiblical and, therefore, invalid. While discussing her personal experience, Flaherty touched on the harmful nature of traditional Christian views of womanhood that are reiterated through Christian influencers. When these influencers encourage modesty, abstinence, and traditionally feminine careers, Flaherty considers this to be harmful to some.
“It is hard to reconcile the traditional conservative movement with feminism,” Flaherty said. These convictions lie at the heart of not only female Christian influencers but their targeted audience: young girls. Not only does this media influence an individual’s sense of womanhood, but it consistently works against feminism. In doing so, this creates a group of women that actively speaks in ways that reaffirm traditional roles of women.
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CONFIRMING THE CONSTITUTION The Supreme Court in the 21st century.
WORDS BY VALERIE BUVAT DE VIRGINY | ART BY AMANDA O’BRIEN
he Supreme Court plays an essential role in the American constitutional system and demands the utmost respect of the American people to uphold the guarantees of the Constitution. The Supreme Court of the United States has been a political institution, but only rarely a partisan one. Today, coalitions on the court are arranged almost exclusively along party lines. The Court’s most controversial decision in the years leading up to this era, Bush v. Gore, undoubtedly highlighted the ideological inclinations of the justices in both the public and political consciousness. In that decision, there was a bitter divide between the more conservative and more liberal justices, with dramatic consequences for the nation, at a moment when Americans were paying close attention to the Court. Justices Barrett, Gorsuch, Kavanaugh, Roberts, and Thomas are considered to be the most conservative justices to serve on the bench in three-quarters of a century. The current makeup of the court allows for the GOP to not necessarily work harder, but rely on particular patterns of partisan coalition-building at the federal court level to create political leverage. Dr. Ryan Williams, assistant professor in the Department of Political Science and Criminal Justice at the University of Southern Alabama, points to the path dependence fallacy when trying to understand the changing partisanship of the court—long-term difficulties versus the short-term gains. For Williams, it was the Gorsuch nomination that was the culmination of a decades-long partisan war, in terms of procedure within the Senate, that certainly reflects the current political environment at large. “If we compared the successes of President Obama and Trump, [Trump] was largely successful in prioritizing
young, conservative judges who will serve on the circuit benches for at least two decades,” Williams said. Williams continued to predict that diversity on the bench will be one of the legacies of the Biden administration, saying that, “Given the losses the Democratic Party has faced in terms of state legislatures and in the federal courts, Targeted Regulation of Abortion Providers (TRAP) laws are amongst a consequence of this courtpacking failure.”
[TRUMP] WAS LARGELY SUCCESSFUL IN PRIORITIZING YOUNG, CONSERVATIVE JUDGES WHO WILL SERVE ON THE CIRCUIT BENCHES FOR AT LEAST TWO DECADES,
DR. RYAN WILLIAMS, UNIVERSITY OF SOUTHERN ALABAMA PROFESSOR
The risk of a partisan court is that, in cases ranging from partisan gerrymandering to the Voting Rights Act, its decisions entrench its own partisan power, meaning that the Supreme Court is entering uncharted territory. Even so, Williams said that, “We have to start looking at the federal court system as a
whole. Perhaps the most important set of courts is actually the federal circuit courts of appeals, given that they do not have the discretionary jurisdiction that the Supreme Court has.” Clarence Thomas and Brett Kavanaugh were both narrowly approved to SCOTUS with the same Senate vote (52-48 on July 8, 1991 and July 10, 2018, respectively). With nominations being subject to public scrutiny, the role of the Judiciary Senate Committee evolved with each. Both nominees became a pawn for those on both sides of the aisle being hellbent on using this opening to their advantage, so nominees felt the need to mask their views from members of the Senate in a way that makes informed consideration impossible. Historically, a nomination could be subject to a filibuster, so nominees needed 60 votes for approval. In 2017, the Republican majority changed the requirement to a simple majority. Looking at the rapid confirmation hearing of Amy Coney Barrett, Williams clarifies that there wasn’t a lot that Democrats could do to block the process due to the “nuclear option,” the parliamentary procedure that allows the majority party in the Senate to overcome obstruction by the minority. Due to the ideological leanings of the most recent appointees, it is easy to see why the public is suspicious of the trajectory of the court and why the stakes in the nomination and confirmation process are so high. It seems as if justices are now appointed with the open expectation that they will help advance their former party’s agenda. The great question for the coming years is whether a partisan court can survive in its current institutional form. Would a future federal government controlled by the Democratic Party abide the now-80-year-old partisan consensus on the size and authority of the court to be a “forever nine?”
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Parallels between the Arab Spring and Black Lives Matter Protests. WORDS BY KIARA FISH | PHOTO BY SHERIF AZER
resident Zine El Abidine Ben Ali of Tunisia. Hosni Mubarak of Egypt. Ali Abdullah Saleh of Yemen. Muammar Gaddafi of Libya. All of these leaders fell under a period of civil unrest which has now been deemed the Arab Spring. A series of protests that brought about the end of several regimes throughout the Middle East as well as Africa, the Arab Spring was kicked off in 2011 by a fruit seller named Mohamed Bouazizi. He set himself on fire in front of a government building after being slapped in the face and
publicly humiliated by a policewoman. Citizens of Tunisia joined Bouazizi in protest, which eventually led to the ousting of President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali from power. Other countries followed Tunisia, ridding themselves of their own corrupt and oppressive regimes through the same code of civil unrest. Egypt followed Tunisia’s path to revolution by ousting Hosni Mubarak from power. Yemen and Libya joined in shortly after. At first, the liberation appeared to be a human rights victory; however, an
issue that arose following the coups was an exacerbation of the corruption and oppression that was previously faced. This is currently the case in Egypt, where Abdel Fattah el-Sisi is now president. Sherif Azer played a role in organizing protests during the Arab Spring in Egypt. In 2011, he completed his master’s degree thesis on the role of cyberactivism in Arab Spring protests, and he is now a PhD candidate at York University studying the same subject. Beyond that, Azer has continued his work in human rights activism, serving as the leader of
INTERNATIONAL Reprieve’s Middle East and North Africa team and defending young Egyptians from unjust death sentences, which are usually delivered for relatively minor offenses. He explains how the Arab Spring took place in Egypt and how social media impacted the protesters’ ability to effectively organize. “Mubarak would not leave power. This coupled with rising corruption, human rights violations, and seemingly no political opposition led the citizens of Egypt to protest,” Azer said. “I saw what (the protesters) were doing in Tunisia, which is a much smaller country than Egypt, and I said if Tunisia did it, then we can do it! And then I got involved in organizing protests.” Azer highlighted the role that digital media played in the protests, and the different platforms that were used. “Facebook was great for creating a sense of collective community needed to fuel a protest,” Azer said. “You could log on and see that other people feel the same way you do. We created groups where we would share information and network … YouTube was really influential for creating most advertisements to come out and protest. Twitter was good for live updates about events. We would say, ‘We are out here at (location), come out, and join us protesting!’ We would also send updates when protestors were arrested and would update one another about the location of the police.” The government would sometimes shut off their access to social media, which further validated its effectiveness. “NGOs (non-governmental organizations) also got involved, eventually, to help protestors, but it was definitely a people fueled protest,” Azer said. “They were almost playing catch up when they finally realized how serious the people were about it (ousting Mubarak).” The current Egyptian President, Fattah
el-Sisi, interpreted the ousting of Mubarak as an indication of Mubarak’s weak leadership, which has led el-Sisi to crack down even harder on opposition to his regime. “Things have gotten much, much worse,” Azer said. Azer could be arrested at any time for defending young Egyptians from death sentences, and other roles he has taken on as a human rights activist. This is because human rights activists, and lawyers, are frequently arrested. “They will walk into the courtroom and arrest the lawyers right in front of their clients as a show of power,” Azer said. Further highlighting how the Egyptian coups led to a more oppressive regime than the one they had previously faced, Azer explained, “Mubarak had little opposition, but now there is absolutely no opposition to el-Sisi, and if you do oppose him publicly, you will likely be arrested.” This is a common theme throughout the countries that overthrew their governments, they find themselves now facing even more oppressive regimes. Previous issues that existed seem to now be exacerbated from the Arab Spring. It is hard not to draw parallels between the rising corruption and police brutality that has led to the Black Lives Matter protests within the United States. Protests erupted across the country after George Floyd was brutally choked to death, while being detained on a minor offense, and video of the event went viral. The public outcry from the Black Lives Matter organization is in response to corruption and incessant police brutality. Similar to the protests in Egypt, there is opposition from law enforcement regarding these protests, even if they are peaceful. Violence is used against protestors in the form of physical force, rubber bullets, and even tear gas. Protestors are sometimes arrested, which happened here in Des
Moines, and some are even banned from public buildings, such as the Iowa State Capitol. NPR details events that took place in July 2020 where secret arrests in Portland led protestors to be seemingly abducted by unmarked white vans and taken into custody by federal agents, which has been confirmed by the Department of Homeland Security. The Impact of Social Media Organizing protests during the COVID-19 pandemic can be tricky, but social media can be utilized as a powerful tool to create a sense of community during these times of isolation. Facebook coordinates effective mobilization. Azer explained how YouTube can educate the public on why protesting is important and why protests need to take place. In 2011, TikTok wasn’t around, but recently the platform has been used to educate and mobilize young people into action. Twitter is a primary outlet for posting live updates, as seen during the BLM protests. This can be of monumental importance when it comes to holding law enforcement accountable for their actions. Unfortunately, another parallel between the Arab Spring and the BLM protests is the backlash faced from law enforcement in the form of violence and arrests made against protestors. “Twitter was really helpful as a human rights activist. We were able to document brutality used against protestors by law enforcement, which would fuel more indignation,” Azer explained. Hopefully, as BLM achieves their goals, corruption and oppression will not rise, as they did in Egypt following the Arab Spring, and Americans can work toward a more equitable society.
DRAKE POLITICAL REVIEW
Drake Political Review from Fall 2020. Volume 7 Issue 1.