Tag Archives: president

President Trump, above all, lacks tact

On Tuesday of this week, President Trump announced his rescinding of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals Act, which was signed into law via executive action on behalf of former President Barack Obama in the summer of 2012.

donald_trump_official_portraitJust a week prior, Hurricane Harvey hit and devastated parts of western Texas, introducing heavy and highly damaging floods to cities like Houston.

Now, as the weekend nears, parts of the Caribbean as well as the state of Florida have experienced or are bracing for impact by one of the largest storms ever recorded in the Atlantic, Hurricane Irma. Some island nations are already preparing for impact by follow-up storm Jose.

Do you think, Mr. President, that now is the right time to rescind legislation that for nearly five years has given a previously disenfranchised group of people the ability to get jobs, driver’s licenses and the tranquility that an ICE/USCIS officer doesn’t await them at the next corner?

c4a1b-obama_immigration_announcement

Was DACA’s passage the right way to go about immigration reform? Not at all. In fact, as I graduated high school and witnessed Congress’ inability to come together on immigration reform, I accepted the fact that my parents were criminals in overstaying and had erred in stringing me along. I was happy to oblige the law that said I should get the hell out of Dodge before I accrued time in this country illegally. Obama’s use of executive action benefited me but it was incomplete (failing to help many illegal adults) and inappropriately issued.

Yet the reality of the matter is that I would have been silly to let an ineffective Congress and a unilaterally administered piece of legislation get in the way of an American driver’s license, work permit and social security number. I took it and ran with it, applying to an Honors college program, getting my first real job and building up my personal economy.

Following Trump’s Tuesday bombshell, however, I feel like the guy who chose not to get insurance when he rented a Ferrari for his 18 year old son to save on underage fees. I feel like I chose the lesser alternative that promised me more than I should have accepted; I feel like I should’ve left to Argentina after high school and continued my adult life there instead.

uscis

That’s bullshit! It’s not my damn fault that the United States has failed, for years, maybe decades, to properly enforce its immigration laws. Why weren’t my parents and I forcibly arrested and deported after overstaying our 90-day welcome; the way my mom tells me it works in places like Europe? Myself and other DREAMers now become pawns in a shifty ideological game that has all of a sudden chosen to get strict.

The most insulting – though admittedly, the most irrelevant – aspect of all this is that it has all come out of the mouth of the most tactless public servant I have ever witnessed in my few years of life. Forget the man’s policy choices, forget the man’s personal beliefs, forget his riches and forget his appearance. President Trump has no tact, akin to nerds accustomed to staring at computer screens for fun that then freeze up when they talk to girls.

president-donald-trump-passes-out-food-and-meets-people-impacted-by-hurricane-harvey-during-a-visit-to-the-nrg-center-in-houston-saturday-sept-2-2017The only difference is that awkward nerds are funny. On the other hand, a President who rescinds legislation who has essentially given life to 800,000 young immigrants in the midst of two or more natural disasters, and a President who tells a crowd of people in the thick of flooded Houston to “have a good time,” is an absolute embarrassment of a public figure.

The Kardashian clan would form a better executive cabinet at this point! It would certainly make for better television, and who knows, maybe they’d leave stuff up to talented staffers and everything would flow better as a result.

Advertisements

Why anti-Trump protests make me cringe

I rarely get political on this website, but the current situation calls for it.

Over the past couple days, I’ve been privy to footage of and invitations to an array of anti-Trump protests attacking the man on an array of subjects – from his derogatory comments towards women to his stance on Planned Parenthood, from his ill-fated claims about a rigged election to the supposed havoc he will wreak upon millions of undocumented immigrants.

Activism is great. It was a leading force during the Vietnam War of the 60s and 70s, a conflict in which America’s participation was fueled by an anti-Communist agenda that frankly ended up doing more harm than good. Throughout the history of the United States and other organized nations alike, motivated protesters have been able to bring about change that may not have otherwise occurred were it not for their commitment to a cause.

In fact, just a few days ago, Miami journalist Janette Vazquez talked to some of the participants of women’s marches fueled by the purportedly mysoginistic Trump.

b2ce7e18-e4eb-49cc-ad78-58a934a1d927-large16x9_trumpinaugurationpr_leak2
Source: WJLA / Google Images.

“They wanted to show not only Trump but the local government that they are serious about the issues that they think are basic human rights, like the right to their own bodies, universal healthcare [and] equal pay.”

That’s fine and dandy. But not all is well in the present climate of Trump bashing.

In the weeks prior to the election as well as immediately and continually thereafter, generalized anti-Trump protests filled up central business districts throughout the U.S. and shouted things like “not my President!”

That, my friends, is a proclamation tantamount to an outright rejection  of the democratic process.

Frankly, I’m disgusted. I’m also concerned that the fire in these protesters’ souls is misdirected.

 

tdy_miguel_protests_161110__752493-nbcnews-ux-1080-600
Source: NBC News / Google Images

Have these protests helped us move forward as a people? Have they allowed us to inch closer to – quite frankly – Trump’s own slogan of making America great again? Have they united us the way three of America’s greatest leaders- George Washington, FDR and Abraham Lincoln – would have wanted them to?

No, they haven’t. Consider Ronald Reagan’s landslide victory when he ran for re-election in 1984 against Democrat Walter Mondale – a whopping 525 electoral votes versus a paltry 13.

w_20
Source: Return To the 80s / WordPress

Now that’s a united nation. A nation committed to supporting a President, not just a person. Though the late Reagan was a well-respected individual, many people, both in retrospect and in his time, criticized him on various grounds. Reagan himself admitted to serious blunders during his administration, particularly regarding murky dealings with armed forces in Nicaragua. Someone even tried to assassinate the man!

But the point is that by throwing their support behind their President and effectively foregoing the importance of party lines and personality wars, the people prioritized the need to rally together in order to get things done.

zgtagivxkb
Source: JustCollecting / Shepard Fairey

Many Obama critics say the first black president rode in to the White House on a campaign of widespread change in all corners of society that he failed to deliver on.

Do we want Trump to suffer the same fate as well? To ride in to the White House on a disgusting campaign full of insults and bold, illegitimate claims and come out the other side crippled by a public who failed to unite behind him?

No, of course not. The man is our President. In a deeply divided election completely unlike Reagan’s re-election in 1984, he ultimately won.

But instead of continuing to dig the knife deeper in the cut between the two halves, let’s forego the politics and the emotions and re-purpose that energy towards making America great again.

I urge protesters to cease lambasting the democratic process by yelling “Not my President!” as they simultaneously exercise their democratic right to parade down the streets, stopping traffic and the natural flow of a Downtown district.

Wouldn’t it be nice if our President had had a more sensible head on his shoulders during his campaign? If perhaps he’d been more eloquent and less confrontational? Sure, but Trump was a shrewd businessman first who made much of his money by being a shark and treating people less than honorably – as businessmen are known to do.

So quit dreaming and start accepting.

Donald_Trump_official_portrait.jpg
Source: Wikimedia Commons / White House

This man is no longer Donald Trump. He is the 45th President of the United States, and anyone who has filled that office for the past 241 years has been placed there as a result of the democratic process that has made this county a superpower. Regardless of who he is, he deserves the support of a united people perpetually seeking to make their country better. It’s not the Trump, nor the Obama, nor the Clinton way.

It’s the American way.

A Look Back at Miami Dade College’s 2014

This piece was published in the Miami Dade College student newspaper, The Reporter. It’s part of a series of articles I wrote for them between August 2013 and May 2015, now being uploaded in whole to ElMonzon.com.

mdclogo

A stellar athletic year, an array of cultural events and a host of new College programs made 2014 a productive year for Miami Dade College.

In September, MDC President Eduardo Padrón announced $21 million in grant funding from a variety of public and private sources. Some of these grants included $10 million from the Department of Labor to fund the establishment of a Training and Certification program in Manufactured Construction, a $100,000 grant from Citi Foundation to expand the Small Business Education Program/Grow Miami Initiative and a $50,000 award from AT&T to expand the College’s pre-college advisement programs to ten local high schools.

At the Wolfson Campus, a $2.18 million grant from the Knight Foundation facilitated the Idea Center, an entrepreneurial hub meant to promote student startups and business ideas.

“[We want to] build the culture of innovation and entrepreneurship to all students,” said Idea Center executive director Leandro Finol.

The College initiated a new bachelor’s program in information systems technology and supply chain management. The College’s School of Entertainment and Design Technology at North Campus also expanded their bachelor’s degree offerings. John Rhames, a former detective and patrol officer at the Riviera Beach Police Department in Palm Beach County, took over as chief of North Campus Public Safety.

The Book Fair featured a new Florida-centric venue called The Swamp featured events like a conversation between musical icons Questlove and George Clinton and a community outreach project entitled #6WordsMiami. Visitors also saw a piece of the Berlin Wall donated to Wolfson campus by the City of Miami on the 25th anniversary of the dismantling of the Wall.

The College’s Entrepreneurial Education Center, or Meek Center, renovated its library with new computers and newly organized workspaces. Workers completed Hialeah Campus’ seven-floor parking garage featuring more than 1,000 parking spaces and a community multi-purpose room.

“The garage is very aesthetically pleasing and welcoming in its design,” Hialeah Campus President Mattie Roig-Watnik told The Reporter last year.

The baseball and women’s volleyball teams had strong seasons. Head baseball coach, Danny Price, was named the Regional Coach of the Year by the American Baseball Coaches Association for the National Junior College Athletic Association following his 1,200th victory on March 22nd, when the Sharks defeated Palm Beach State College 14-6.

Student life across all campuses offered diverse programming including MDC>AIDS Initiative, a partnership between the College and the Greater than AIDS Campaign.

“On World AIDS Day, all campuses held awareness events to distribute the materials and campaign paraphernalia to students,” said Crystel Lewis, director of Student Life at the InterAmerican Campus. “The morning began with a [livestreamed] lecture by [AIDS United, Inc. President & CEO], Dr. Michael Kaplan … free HIV testing was also held at each campus.”

Vice President Joe Biden addressed one of the largest graduating classes at the Kendall Campus Gymnasium for their commencement ceremony. He recognized the difficult circumstances that many of students present overcame in their studies.

“America is on the cusp of so many innovations that will change the world, and you’re gonna be part of it,” Biden told the crowd.

Dr. Joanne Bashford Tapped as InterAmerican Campus President

This piece was published in the Miami Dade College student newspaper, The Reporter. It’s part of a series of articles I wrote for them between August 2013 and May 2015, now being uploaded in whole to ElMonzon.com.

VINCENT RIVES/THE REPORTER
VINCENT RIVES/THE REPORTER

Joanne Bashford believes in reinventing the wheel when it comes to college instruction and policies. As the new president at the InterAmerican Campus she is spearheading a dramatic campus expansion.

“My job as the campus president is to help the campus realize its vision,” said Bashford, who started February 3rd. Bashford assumes the reins of the IAC from Jorge Guerra, who served as interim president.

At its start in 1972, the InterAmerican Campus offered two night courses at the Belen Jesuit Preparatory School. Now the campus is expanding from one building into the 14-story InterAmerican Plaza building located at 701 SW 27th Ave. The College bought that building for $25 million in August 2012 and currently houses some departments there.

“I think Dr. Bashford has an opportunity to [create] an atmosphere that’s very student friendly,” said Guerra, who will return to being Executive Director of Workforce Education & Partnerships at MDC. “[The InterAmerican Plaza] should provide us with almost 50 percent growth opportunity.”

Bashford has long been involved in departments devoted to ensure student success. She comes to IAC after one year at Broward College where she worked as Associate Vice President for Developmental Education/Student Success. In that position, she restructured placement efforts for incoming students.

A native of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, she graduated with a bachelor’s degree in psychology from the University of Florida. She has a master’s in counselor education from the University of Pittsburgh and a doctorate in education from Florida International University.

Previous to Broward, Bashford had a long career at MDC. From 1990 to 1992 Bashford worked as Director of Testing at the Kendall Campus. She then worked as Associate Provost of Institutional Research at the College until 2012. The department coordinates test administration, curriculum evaluation, coordination of student and supervisor feedback and various other responsibilities that provide support for institutional effectiveness, strategic planning, enrollment management and program review.

At the InterAmerican Campus, Bashford will get a chance to affect change. She’s planning staffing changes and campus beautification projects. She’s also impressed by the camaraderie she sees amongst staff and their interactions with the students because of the campus’ small size.

“We would probably all agree that we’d like to see the enrollment grow [and] diversify a bit more,” Bashford said. “[We need] more of a critical mass of younger, traditional college-age students.”

Students think other concerns are more immediate.

“The elevators are horrendous!” said Kevin Mora, an Honors College student at InterAmerican Campus.

Members of the SGA at the InterAmerican campus cite “an absence of recycling bins” and a need to “improve the water fountains with fillers to refill water bottles.”

Student Ronald Cano believes the InterAmerican Plaza holds promise.

“The plaza should be redesigned for students to have a place not only to study but also to have fun and relax,” Cano said.

Bashford is planning on the construction of student gathering spots in between classrooms to foster socialization between the students and steer away from a commuter college identity. Bashford also envisions a green space on the first floor and larger computer courtyard, bookstore, and library.

“[I may] interject some new ideas [but ultimately it’s] what the employees who know the campus and have worked here a long time would like it to be,” Bashford said.