The president attended the annual anti-abortion event in Washington, D.C.
Today, Donald Trump became the first-ever president to attend the March for Life.
The March for Life—not to be confused with the very different March for our Lives—is an annual gathering with an ultimate mission to end abortion in the United States. At the national march in Washington, D.C. this morning, Trump expressed that he was honored to be the first president in attendance.
Trump delivered his speech in a very characteristic manner, claiming the venue had maxed capacity, bragging about his contributions to the anti-abortion movement, and describing himself and his presidency with hyperbolic statements: "Unborn children have never had a stronger defender in the White House," he assured the crowd.
"When it comes to abortion...Democrats have embraced the most radical and extreme positions," Trump added.
March for Life's official website says they "celebrate life from the moment of conception to the moment of natural death, and every moment in between," a sentiment underlined in Trump's speech. "We are fighting for those who have no voice," he added. "[The women at the march] just make it your life's mission to spread God's grace." But of course, Trump's words and his actions haven't always aligned: just last November, the Associated Press reported that nearly 70,000 migrant children were held in U.S. government custody over the past year. While Trump may care about the fate of unborn children (or at least pretend to to gain the support of evangelical christians) he has made it extremely clear how little he cares about living children.
#MarchForLife https://t.co/5Yg09dOoJd— Donald J. Trump (@Donald J. Trump)1579889480.0
"We are Americans and we do not do that." Uh, yeah Joe, we do.
After making an appearance at Game 5 of the World Series, Donald Trump got an unexpected surprise––he learned that pretty much everybody at the game hated him.
In a karmic callback to the "lock her up!" chants that continue to arise at every Trump rally, in opposition to Hillary Clinton, baseball fans gleefully chanted "lock him up!" as soon as Donald Trump showed up on the jumbotron. (As an aside, Clinton was fully investigated by the State Department for using a private email, and while investigators agreed that her online behavior was not necessarily safe, they found "no persuasive evidence of systemic, deliberate mishandling of classified information." Trump's family has done the exact same thing while working in the US government, which seems ridiculously hypocritical, but what else is new?)
Here's Trump being publicly jeered during America's favorite pastime:
Nats fans boo Donald Trump after he’s shown on the big screen and then chant, “Lock him up.” https://t.co/WJvgbyDb4e— Shannon Watts (@Shannon Watts)1572226674.0
And here's his face after realizing what's happening. Hilarious:
Look how Trump’s face changes when he realizes an entire stadium is booing him https://t.co/E46rzbzmbl— Arlen Parsa (@Arlen Parsa)1572225748.0
While everyone who isn't an absolute troglodyte is fine with the American people voicing their disdain for an international mobster and 25-times-accused, alleged-but-pretty-much-self-admitted sex offender occupying the highest political office in the country, one bespectacled termite held tight to his pearls.
MSNBC Morning Joe host, Joe Scarborough––a man who has built a career on his inability to distinguish between a fencepost and a chair––had this to say:
"We are Americans and we do not do that. We do not want the world hearing us chant 'Lock him up' to this president… https://t.co/FXWcfviYtk— Morning Joe (@Morning Joe)1572259148.0
"We are Americans and we do not do that. We do not want the world hearing us chant 'Lock him up' to this president or to any president."
Except, here's the thing, Joe: Yeah. We really do do that.
The rest of the world needs to know that the majority of the American people reject Donald Trump. Currently, 54.6% of Americans disapprove of Donald Trump (40.6% approve and the rest, presumably, are in a collective coma). Over half the country currently supports opening an impeachment inquiry. And, while it's been said ad nauseum, it always bears repeating: Trump lost the popular vote by nearly 3 million votes. In short, Trump might represent America as a landmass, but he does not represent the will of the majority American populace.
In America, we should want criminals to be held accountable regardless of whether or not they are the President. We should want criminals held accountable regardless of whether or not they are Democrats or Republicans, or if we agree with their personal views. In the United States, nobody should be above the law. Especially if they're the President.
So, sorry Joe, but you're very, very wrong. Reach up way into your butt and pry out that fence post before it pierces an organ. The American people are speaking, and it's time to listen. Lock him up.
Volunteers look to change the world but the agency's practices have been debated for decades
In February 2013, 23-year-old Peace Corps volunteer Nick Castle died in a hospital at West China Hospital of Sichuan University of a gastrointestinal illness. He had fallen into a coma after feeling sick for months, losing weight and, finally, collapsing in Chengdu, the capital of the Sichuan province. Carrie Hessler-Radelet, the director of the Peace Corps in 2013, told the New York Times that the agency had been examining and revising its entire practice since the death of another volunteer in Morocco in 2009.
Deaths in the Peace Corps are not frequent, but they rightly call into question the program's training processes, medical resources, and the security of volunteers.
The physician who treated Castle, Dr. Jin Gao, became the center of a report by the Corps' inspector general about miscommunication and delayed reactions in the agency's healthcare system that might have led to the volunteer's death. Though the report didn't blame the Peace Corps for the man's death, it revealed inefficiencies and errors made by the doctor and others (including the ambulance getting lost on the way to pick up Castle) that added to concerns about volunteer welfare.
Many testimonies—positive and negative—reached reporters following the death. Chance Dorland, a volunteer in Columbia, said, "I was forced to leave my site . . . early because I was made sick by the inadequate and unprofessional medical care the Peace Corps offered its volunteers." Nancy Tongue, founder and director of Health Justice for Peace Corps Volunteers, wrote that a sick volunteer carries the "burden of proof." She expects volunteers who maintain a successful claim to be left "living slightly above poverty level regardless of prior earnings," waiting months or years for proper treatment or attention.
The Peace Corps has also been criticized for failing to keep its volunteers safe. In 2007, Juan Duntugan, a Filipino woodcarver, confessed to killing Julia Campbell because she had bumped into him while he was enraged by a fight with a neighbor. The organization cannot possibly guarantee the safety of its thousands of volunteers in hundreds of countries around the world but it can better prepare them and be more transparent about the dangers they might face.
It can also offer better mental health services. During the application process, the Peace Corps might require, from a person who has a mental illness, letters from mental health professionals, clearance from a psychologist, and participation in a sort of exam. "Transition can often be one of the biggest triggers for mental health issues," writes Ross Szabo, a former volunteer. Even in people not diagnosed with a specific mental illness, adjusting to life among strangers in another country can be massively stressful. And the pressure to succeed can make a difficult situation unmanageable. Another former volunteer, Emily Best, ended her stay in Senegal in 2012 after a year of frustration. She writes, "The onus of success seemed to be placed solely on the volunteer. If the volunteer struggles, it's because she isn't trying hard enough to adapt."
Some volunteers have struggled with a lack of education after being handed a project in an unfamiliar field or with too little training. Kelli Donley returned home from her agricultural posting after only five months because, she realized, "the audacity of my arrogance in assuming that this time abroad would do Cameroon any good was apparent on Day 1." Benjamin Clark was sent to Senegal as a 23-year-old with a graduate school degree. "I taught them a little about accounting and some basic math," he writes, "but my real value was being one extra person to hold a shovel." He thinks of the Peace Corps as a cultural exchange program more than an international aid group.
The loudest controversy for the Peace Corps in recent years has been their alleged mishandling of rape and sexual assault. On average, twenty-two female volunteers reported being raped or being victims of attempts between 2000 and 2009. In 2016, the percentage of women who said they've been sexually assaulted rose to 38%.
Danae Smith was attacked in the Dominican Republic and reported it to the Peace Corps in 2015. The Corps responded by blaming her for not doing enough to prevent it from happening. They sent her home immediately afterward. The U.S. Office of Special Counsel wants better training for host families and other in-country workers, including fellow teachers and priests, who represent a significant percentage of the attackers.
The agency is also being asked to provide much better access to victim care, including medical treatment and counseling.
The Peace Corps has drawn criticism since its inception in 1961 for its actions and intentions as an international development organization. Some think that its goal is mainly to create a positive image of the U.S. despite the country's imperialistic military engagements. Others think of the Peace Corps, itself, as an imperialistic strategy, developing Western culture and planting American influence in impoverished regions around the world. Hayley White, a volunteer in Uganda, wrote that the Corps should work more closely with in-country social entrepreneurs than with nongovernmental organizations that are "often too indoctrinated in Western ideas of how things must be done."
It is difficult to separate imperialism from a foreign aid program such as the Peace Corps or WorldTeach. After all, how can a U.S. citizen, perhaps only recently graduated from college, and maybe on their first trip outside of the country, provide meaningful help to a foreign community based on any other system than the American one in which they grew up? Instead of ending the imperialism argument outright, this is a question that is worth answering as a step toward a solution.
This article has focused on the controversies that surround the Peace Corps not to debase the organization's mission, but because without the constant discussion of weaknesses and the incessant push to do better, these dangers will remain. Many volunteers who write about their unsatisfactory experiences maintain that the organization needs revision to do its work better, not to cease working altogether. The mission of the Peace Corps is important; therefore, it is important to ensure that its mission is carried out correctly and with care.