Trust me, collegiettes, I know: keeping up with the news is tough after you’ve moved back on campus for the school year. During the summer, I watched the nightly news almost every single day and was able to keep up with the constant stream of media pouring into our collective consciousness. Being home is like being part of the real world: you feel obligated to know what’s going on, both to keep up with your peers as well as to fulfill your obligation of being an informed citizen.
However, college is another story altogether. As soon as you step foot on campus your entire life begins to revolve around school, and you may not have the necessary extra energy to devote to keeping up with the political sphere (unless that’s your major!). Of course, there’s no shame in focusing on school: that’s what you’re there to do, and you need to devote all your energy to getting those A’s, staying active in the community, and generally growing and improving yourself. But for those of us who still want to stay connected to the real world, here’s a quick catch up of everything that has happened since the first week of September.
1. Trump declares Sept. 3, 2017 a National Day of Prayer for the victims of Hurricane Harvey. This devastating storm hit Rockport, Texas and surrounding areas starting Aug. 25 and continued into early September. He toured the area with his wife, First Lady Melania Trump, in the aftermath of the damage, and expressed how impressed he was with the country’s first responders’ handling of the incident. He said, “It’s been a wonderful thing. As tough as it was, it’s been a wonderful thing … I think even for the country to watch and for the world to watch. It’s been beautiful. “
2. Health care has been a continued point of contention among Democrats and Republicans, with the latter party expected to use a budget process called “reconciliation” that expires on Sept. 30. In this time, they’ve been trying to get a Congressional Budget Office estimate and push their bill through the various political hurdles necessary to pass legislation. However, on Sept. 26, Republicans failed to repeal Obamacare for the last time and Trump responded by saying he will “probably be signing a very major executive order where people can go out, cross state lines, do lots of things and buy their own health care, and that will be probably signed next week.”
3. On Sept. 17, Trump tweeted a message referring to North Korean leader Kim Jong Un as the “Rocket Man,” continuing his history of incendiary language when dealing with the foreign leader. As we all saw before we moved back to UMass, Trump told the world on Aug. 8 that Kim Jong Un’s threats would be met with “fire and fury like the world has never seen” if he chose to realistically act on his nuclear power stores. However, Trump has also shown a different side this month, such as his proclamation on Sept. 7 that military options are actually not his first option, saying, “Hopefully, we’re not going to have to use it on North Korea.” However you interpret his language, a definitive conclusion has yet to be reached on this matter and continues to play out publicly — and shockingly. Retired Navy Admiral James Stavridis claims there is still around a 10 percent chance we will soon be engaged in a nuclear war; for reference, North Korea has approximately 11,000 artillery weapons aimed at the South Korean capital of Seoul.
4. On Wednesday, Sept. 27, Trump revealed a massive tax cut that called for a major simplification of the American tax policy that promises to “make the code simpler and more fair for everyday Americans.” This change will also supposedly create jobs and make taxes easier, fairer, and more streamlined for most Americans — and most importantly, it’s not aimed at helping the rich, in Trump’s words. However, there’s been some criticism that this actually isn’t true, and that the GOP-backed plan will only help the wealthiest tax bracket. Time will tell on this one, as the news is very fresh.
5. Trump tweeted his stance on kneeling during football games:
Happy October, everyone! September was quite a month, and I know we all can’t wait to see what the man in the big house does next. Until then, get back to the books and get to studying! Politics will always be there to entertain you when you need a break from Du Bois.