Women’s Sports In Deep Water After NCAA Transgender Ruling

Photo Credit: Brett Davis

By Kate Robinson

I will never forget the feeling of joy that my 16-year-old self felt as I stepped on to the podium with my 200-yard medley relay team after finishing third at one of the biggest high school swim invitationals of the season.

I will also never forget the excitement that coursed through my veins one year later as I sprinted across the pool deck into my teammate’s arms upon hearing that we had just made the cut to swim in the finals at the state championship meet.

But as I watched Lia Thomas, the biological male-turned-female swimmer from the University of Pennsylvania place first in the women’s 500-yard freestyle at the national championships last week, I only felt disgusted.

Disgusted at the NCAA for its lax regulations, which are the reason Thomas is competing against women to begin with. Disgusted at USA Swimming for knowingly allowing this to happen, and disgusted that society has come to a point in which we are debating the merits of whether males should be competing against females.

It shouldn’t even be a question. Thomas is a biological male who went from being a decent, mid-500s ranked swimmer across all divisions in the men’s category to transitioning to a female and becoming a national champion.

Even though Thomas followed the NCAA’s shameful rules, which only require one year of testosterone suppressant to be eligible to compete, she still has the anatomic capabilities of a male that will never go away, like a larger heart for oxygen efficiency and bigger hands and feet to pull through the water more quickly – luxuries that cisgendered women are not afforded.

Thomas has advantages over the competition, and the proof lies in her swimming times. According to John Lohn, the editor-in-chief of Swimming World Magazine, there’s nearly an 11% difference between men’s and women’s record times. Since starting her transition and completing testosterone treatment, Thomas’s times have only slowed about three to six percent, nowhere close to the 11% average. It is evident that 12 months of treatment – or even the two and a half years that Thomas completed to even out hormonal levels that her body had spent over 20 years producing – will do next to nothing to put her in a place where she can fairly compete in the women’s division.

The science is undeniable, and recognizing it doesn’t make a person “transphobic,” as one British Parliament member recently claimed. Instead, it simply makes us team players who want an equal playing field for all.

Swimmers work too hard for too long. We train hours on end for years to hopefully cut just half a second off our best times. So, I now wonder: where are the self-proclaimed feminists? Are they not alarmed that women’s sports are currently being hijacked by biological men?

Of course, I support Thomas’s right to self-identify as whatever gender she chooses and for her to live her life freely. We all should. But we also can’t ignore the women who are negatively impacted by this.

I feel for Emma Weyant, the female who took second behind Thomas in the 500 freestyle last week. She’s the true definition of a national champion in my mind and the minds of many.

I feel for Reka Gyorgy, the fifth-year senior competing in the last race of her career, who finished seventeenth in the event that Thomas placed first in. Gyorgy missed her chance to swim in the finals by one spot. This is a pain that perhaps only swimmers will understand.

But, most of all, I feel for the young girls watching the meet at home, who dream of one day becoming collegiate swimmers, too. It saddens me to think what witnessing a man beating women is teaching our next generation of swimmers about integrity, sportsmanship, confidence, and self-worth. What does this mean for the future of our sport?

I only hope that swimmers and all athletes across the country rally to take a stand against the discriminatory policies that are destroying women athletes. If we continue to allow Thomas to set a precedent for males to compete against females in the name of “equality,” then there could very soon come a day in which a biological woman never feels the joy of stepping on to the podium or the excitement of qualifying for a championship final ever again.

Ms. Robinson is a sophomore at Chapman University majoring in Strategic & Corporate Communication. She is also a member of the Chapman women’s swim team.

Omicron Should be Reason to Celebrate

Seamless tile editable vector news headlines about the coronavirus outbreak
Photo Credit: New York Post/Getty Images

By The Hesperian‘s Editorial Board

The Covid-19 variant we’ve been waiting for since the start of the pandemic almost two years ago has finally arrived. Dubbed Omicron, the new strain originating from South Africa is highly contagious – up to 70% more transmissible than Delta – but is far less severe than previous strains. For the young and healthy, it’s essentially a cold, and for those who are elderly or extremely high risk, there are three doses of a shot and antiviral pills available to prevent severe illness and death. 

A rational society would realize that Covid will never be fully eradicated, but unfortunately, we don’t live in such a world. Instead, we find solace in granting social and institutional accreditation to those who are most hawkish regarding Covid policies, without recognizing that a new strain, one that is far more transmissible but less virulent, is actually a good thing.  

A study recently released from South Africa’s National Institute for Communicable Diseases found that people infected with the new variant are 70% to 80% less likely to be hospitalized than any of the earlier strains. This data follows similar findings from research conducted in the U.K. and Scotland, which also points to a substantially lower risk of hospitalization from Omicron. Other research from South Africa informs us that less than 2% of those infected with Omicron were admitted to the hospital during the second week of the wave, compared with 19% during the same week of the Delta surge. It’s worth noting that only 26.6% of eligible South Africans have been fully vaccinated, compared to 61.9% in the United States; we can rest assured that symptoms will undoubtedly be less severe in countries that have higher vaccination rates. 

The groundbreaking South African data should be at the forefront of news coverage regarding Omicron, but positive developments have virtually gone unreported by mainstream outlets. 

Journalists aren’t the only ones ignoring the truth, however. The scientific establishment continues to turn a blind eye towards other new, encouraging data, which suggests that people infected with past strains of Covid still have a decent level of protection against Omicron. 

In a Dec. 14 article from The Atlantic, Alessandro Sette, a professor at La Jolla Institute for Immunology, insists that Covid T-cells (which are long-lasting memory cells that people build after being naturally infected with a virus) should be effective in fighting Omicron. Mr. Sette states, “the capacity of the immune system to limit the spread of the virus would still be preserved.” 

But, of course, the media and lockdown fanatics insist on more school shutdowns and restrictions, resulting in a panic that is spreading faster than Omicron itself.

A Dec. 17 New York Times piece with the headline “As Virus Cases Surge, New Yorkers Feel a Familiar Anxiety” is no exception. “I’m going to go home, I’m going to stay home and just keep to myself,” said a 62-year-old resident from Queens. “​​It’s [Omicron] literally all I’ve been thinking about. I’m really heartsick and worried,” said a 36-year-old teacher from Manhattan’s New School. 

Not to be outdone, the ever-so-clever Dr. Anthony Fauci has called for indefinite masking on planes and the barring of unvaccinated family members from holiday plans, and Dr. Leana Wen – the physicist who spends every waking moment on CNN advocating for crackdowns – has supported restrictions solely on unvaccinated people

Soaking in the surrounding panic porn, various schools across the country – including Chapman University – have wrongly decided to go remote once more. Chapman will hold classes online for the first week of interterm and spring semester, while also requiring that students test negative for Covid twice in the span of a week before returning to in-person instruction. In a Dec. 29 email to staff, faculty, and students, university President Daniele Struppa stated, “…we feel this is the best current course of action to limit the spread of COVID-19 while remaining committed to the resumption of in-person instruction.”  

During the week of Dec. 20, there was an 81% increase in school closures, even though Covid has never posed a risk to the youth, and many younger kids are now approved to be vaccinated. 

But reality has a very different message for public health officials and their lackeys in the schools and media: the number of active Covid cases does not matter because no amount of vaccinations or lockdowns can eradicate the virus; what does matter is the number of deaths and hospitalizations due to the virus (although the latter is not always accurate because many people go to the hospital for alternative reasons and then test positive for Covid).   

Therefore, there is no point in mandating booster shots, lockdowns, and masks, because there is no stopping Covid transmission. The best solution is to simply return to our pre-pandemic normal and allow Omicron to run its course. It will certainly not be the last variant, and the sooner Americans can ditch the fear promoted by the panic-driven media and embrace Covid as an endemic virus we all have to live with, the better off we’ll be. 

A strain of a virus that so many will get but that few (on a percentage basis) will die from is not something to be feared, it’s something to be celebrated. Unfortunately, what has basically become the equivalent of the common cold is now the wedge between civilized society and the continuation of normal life.

Joe Biden won Virginia by over 10 percentage points in 2020. So how did Republican Glenn Youngkin win the governorship one year later?

By Ethan Oppenheim

Many Americans were surprised when Virginia Republican Glenn Youngkin beat former Democratic governor incumbent Terry McAuliffe in the state’s gubernatorial election on November 2nd. Former President Barack Obama won the state by over six points in 2008 and around four points in 2012, Hillary Clinton won the state by five points in 2016, and President Joe Biden won it by over 10 points just one year ago. While Virginia has never been overwhelmingly progressive, Mr. Youngkin is the first Republican to be elected to the governor’s seat since 2009. Despite this rare victory for the GOP, Americans should not be shocked.

It is safe to assert that President Joe Biden’s role as the face of the Democratic Party played a major role in the recent Republican victory. The first major indication of the sinking national environment for Democrats is Mr. Biden’s low approval rating. According to a poll conducted by USA Today and Suffolk University, it currently sits at a meager 38%, a near 20% drop since he took office less than a year ago. The continuous drop in approval signals a change in perspective among primarily independents and moderate voters within both parties. In order to understand why this trend is taking place, it is important to look at the primary issues driving this negative trend.

According to the labor department, prices have risen significantly over the past year in many key categories, including rent (2.9%), electricity (5.2%), restaurants (4.7%), hotels (18%), meats, poultry, fish, and eggs (10.5%), furniture (11.2%), TVs (11.2%), and most notably, gas (42.1%). Overall, the average retail gas price in the United States has risen from about $2.33 per gallon at the beginning of the year to now almost $3.5. This is over a dollar increase, and Americans are well aware of this significant change. 

Moreover, American citizens, especially the lower and middle class, are bearing the brunt of these rising prices due to the supply chain crisis and an unprecedented number of unfilled job openings, which currently stands at 10.1 million, greater than the number of unemployed Americans looking for work (8.4 million). According to a Quinnipiac University Poll conducted in early October, Biden’s approval on the economy sits at 39% compared to a 55% disapproval.

But perhaps worse than the economy is Mr. Biden’s greatest failure thus far – 

the botched withdrawal of American troops from Afghanistan in August. After the administration coordinated pulling troops out of the country, the radical Islamic military and political group known as the Taliban quickly took power, leading to severe instability in the region. The group rolled back years of reforms related to democracy, women’s rights, and equality, prompting backlash against the Biden administration’s handling of the withdrawal. Thousands of Americans were also left behind in Afghanistan, leading to a rescue effort in which 13 US service members were killed. The Quinnipiac poll has Biden’s foreign policy approval at an abysmal 34% compared to a 58% disapproval.

Moreover, Biden’s recent handling of the COVID-19 pandemic has also drawn criticism. When he was running for president last year, Mr. Biden promised to “shut down the virus,” which is a rather incoherent and implausible promise to make. However, after a rather optimistic vaccine rollout in the spring which led to a decline in coronavirus cases and deaths across the nation, a surge in cases over the summer as a result of the Delta variant brought this optimism to a halt. Despite attempts to curb the coronavirus surge with a series of unconstitutional vaccine mandates and other extremely regulatory protocols, Biden’s efforts proved ineffective in the end, leading Americans to question whether the president actually had a grasp over the pandemic or whether it was just another promise unkept.

As if it could not get much worse for the Biden Administration, there are, of course, Mr. Biden’s rather disappointing approval ratings regarding immigration (35% according to AP-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research), crime (38% according to ABC News/Washington Post), and climate change (42% according to Quinnipiac). 

These, along with Mr. Biden’s unwillingness to answer questions during press briefings, the countless instances of him losing track of thoughts or sounding completely incoherent, and his inability to successfully unify his party in congress all contributed to the increase in negative sentiments toward the president and the Democratic Party. And these sentiments are why Mr. Youngkin won in Virginia.

Governor-elect Youngkin campaigned on lowering taxes, especially the grocery and gas taxes, to counter rising prices as a result of inflation. He pledged to lower crime rates and defend law enforcement to make Virginia a safer place to live. He promised to “restore…high standards for schools and…students,” “invest in…teachers and schools,” and give parents a say in what is taught in Virginia public schools. His message was clear: “Better-paying jobs, the best schools, the safest communities, and a government that works for you.”

On the other hand, Terry McAuliffe, the governor of Virginia from 2013-2017, seemed unable to campaign on anything other than his opposition to former President Trump and the related set of ideologies known as “Trumpism,” which he consistently accused his opponent of espousing. Had Democrats given McAuliffe actual policy positions and legislative achievements to sell to voters, it would have undoubtedly benefited his campaign by motivating greater turnout among Democrats, as well as allowing independents to sympathize more with the struggling Democratic Party. However, disagreements surrounding Mr. Biden’s Build Back Better proposal and infrastructure plan, key agenda items of his, have caused internal party divisions which plagued Congressional Democrats’ ability to deliver any major legislation before November 2nd. To voters, the ineptitude of the Democratic party made Biden and the Democrats appear incompetent and inefficient. Despite the eventual passing of a bipartisan infrastructure deal of approximately $1 trillion, it came about a week too late for Mr. McAuliffe.

Like some political commentators have consistently suggested, the election between Virginia’s two gubernatorial candidates was really a national election – a reflection of the choice between Mr. Biden and Mr. Trump – both of whom are seen as the current leaders of their respective parties.

Therefore, Mr. Youngkin’s victory should come as no surprise. Rather, it is a direct reflection of Mr. Biden’s drop in support, and the strong Republican turnout was merely a rejection of his job as president. Before Mr. Biden’s spiraling decline in support started taking effect, Mr. McAuliffe maintained a near 8-point lead over his Republican opponent. If not for Mr. Biden’s lackluster handling of many key issues, it is more than likely that Mr. McAuliffe would have won a second term.

Mr. Biden’s disappointing presidency, congressional Democrats’ inefficiency, and Mr. McAuliffe’s awful appearance and campaign strategies all contributed to the results of the 2021 Virginia Gubernatorial Election. And to give credit where it is due, Glenn Youngkin and the Virginia GOP played their cards right and took advantage of each of the major flaws in the Democratic Party. If Democrats want to avoid another night like November 2, 2021, they have a lot of work to do before the 2022 midterms.

Chapman Refuses to “Follow the Science” With New Mask Mandate

Credit: Chapman Newsroom

By The Editorial Board 

The start of the fall semester at Chapman University is rapidly approaching amid the new Delta variant of COVID-19. Unfortunately, the school is again implementing strict, unnecessary, and overbearing mask mandates on students – including on those who have been vaccinated or have recovered from the virus – instead of providing students the educational environment they have been deprived of for the past 18 months. 

After a year and a half of “Zoom University,” it is time for Chapman to stop taking positions at odds with science and instead allow its students to decide their own risk tolerance when entering the classroom.

In an email sent to the student body by Dean of Students Jerry Price on Aug. 13, Chapman allowed vaccinated individuals to forgo its mask mandate by only “strongly recommending” that they wear one indoors. It was good news that the university recognized the efficacy of the shots’ artificial immunity and left students with the choice as to whether they wanted to comply with the recommendations. 

However, in the statement written by Mr. Price, there was no mention that those who have already contracted the virus – and have therefore developed natural immunity – could also opt-out of the mask mandate. Instead, he only stated that masks would be required indoors for unvaccinated individuals.

Nonetheless, on Aug. 17, only four days after Mr. Price’s email, the Office of the President released a contradictory statement revealing that Chapman consulted an infectious disease expert, Dr. Dan Kelly, who recommended that all individuals mask indoors.

Chapman has repeatedly admitted to prioritizing the recommendations of the CDC and California government when drafting health guidances for the last 18 months. However, on this occasion, not only did the school opt to take advice from a single individual, but they ignored the entities they unquestioningly trusted for the last year and a half.

It’s disappointing to witness yet again Chapman backtracking on its students, especially after repeatedly stating which health authorities it would follow throughout the pandemic. Chapman has blatantly and contradictingly ignored those authorities when drafting its recent decrees and instead followed the opinion of one epidemiologist to determine the weighty restrictions on university students and faculty.

Not to mention, Chapman’s mask policies are needlessly strict and will not be effective. Dr. Michael Osterholm, the epidemiologist who served in the Biden administration’s transition COVID-19 task force, has stated that “Many of the face cloth coverings that people wear are not very effective in reducing any of the virus movement in or out.” 

While Chapman is offering students N95 masks on request, the vast majority of students will opt to bring their comfortable cloth masks. Chapman makes no distinction between the two in its mandate.

Just as puzzling is the fact that Chapman’s twice-per-week testing requirement for unvaccinated students does not account for students who developed natural immunity from a prior COVID-19 infection. The university and its so-called health “experts” should acknowledge that natural antibodies offer stronger, more permanent protection than a vaccine.

A recent Israeli study found that natural antibodies are 6.7 times more protective than the antibodies generated from a COVID-19 vaccine. Therefore, Chapman should begin checking for prior infection when drafting its health guidance. If students have recovered from the virus, then they should be indefinitely exempt from masking and testing, no matter how much time has passed since they were infected. 

Disregarding the naturally immune is another instance of Chapman ignoring the science that it claims to follow.

The CDC reports that for the week of Aug. 14, the rate of hospitalization for those aged 18 to 29 was 3.1 per 100,000 – hardly enough to warrant panic. While cases and hospitalizations have risen in Orange County over the last month, the 7-day moving average of deaths from COVID-19 is a mere 3.3 out of a population of over 3 million

In a county so populous, a daily death count that is this low does not justify Chapman’s needless, panic-driven health measures. Moreover, 66 percent of county residents have gotten at least one jab, including 81 percent of seniors. 

The Chapman community – which is 95 percent fully vaccinated according to Chapman President Daniele Struppa’s last email – poses absolutely no threat to those in the county, nor vice versa.

If Chapman’s goal is to get the remaining students, faculty, and staff vaccinated, then it needs to set up proper incentive structures that convince individuals to get it. However, mask mandates and encouraging vaccination are inversely proportional. That is to say, nobody wants the vaccine if they will still suffer from the same overbearing restrictions.

This is because students will either start to believe vaccines are ineffective if students who have the shots still have to mask, or they will think that masking is a substitute for getting vaccinated. 

Every student and faculty member at Chapman has the opportunity to get vaccinated. At this point, if someone has chosen not to get the shot, it is a personal choice, and that person has to bear the risks associated with contracting COVID-19.

Unvaccinated people pose no threat to the vaccinated. The death rates from COVID-19 (no matter the variant) are infinitesimally small if someone has been vaccinated. As columnist Marc Thiessen stated in the Washington Post, “vaccinated Americans are more likely to die from a lightning strike than COVID.”

What is frequently not discussed – but is perhaps just as important as the spread of the virus – is the psychological harm placed on students who have to continue sacrificing their learning because of restrictive measures. Students have been unable to experience necessary human connection. In addition to the forced isolation, they must wear masks if they wish to come on campus – increasing deindividualization, which further makes students feel isolated. Due to this, there is likely greater mental health damage placed on students. 

So much for prioritizing the “safety and wellbeing of Chapman’s students, faculty, and staff.”

Since there are readily available and effective vaccines that anyone can get, the trade-offs from universal masking become net-negative. 

However, not all measures taken throughout the pandemic with regard to schools have been unreasonable. In March 2020, the lockdown orders concerning schools were justified, not because the data supported them, but because no one had any data available, and state and local officials had a duty to err on the side of safety. But we are now still reacting to a worst-case scenario when the new data greatly contradicts it. 

After all, the chief incentive for getting vaccinated is a return to normalcy. Chapman, unfortunately, is only exacerbating the lack of normalcy with these needless restrictions. 

If someone is worried about COVID-19, then they can vaccinate, wear masks, and social distance to their heart’s desire. If someone has a different level of risk tolerance, then they should rightfully do with their body as they wish. This would be consistent with the science, which states that both natural immunity and vaccines are effective, commonly-used cloth masks are ineffective, and overbearing restrictions are bad for everyone’s health – especially college-age adults.

It’s time for Chapman to follow the science and stop prohibiting its students and faculty from making their own choices about health and safety.

CHAPMAN STUDENTS APPREHENSIVE AFTER UNIVERSITY HOSTS “CULTURAL” GRADUATIONS

Chapman students celebrate at Commencement
Photo Credit: Chapman Newsroom

By The Hesperian Staff

Students at Chapman University are worried that Chapman’s “cultural” graduations will create division and frustration within the Chapman community.

Chapman hosted six different cultural graduations over a two-weekend span during July 30 through August 1, and August 6 through August 8. 

According to Chapman’s Cross-Cultural Center, the “Cultural Graduation Ceremonies are intended for any graduate who identifies with a specific community and provide an affirmational space for graduating students to celebrate.” 

These groups include Black, APIDA, Lavender (LGBTQ+), Disabled, Middle Eastern, and Latin people. While some students hail the school for their brave support of “diversity and inclusion,” other students of these groups are worried about what this push by Chapman may do to increase divisiveness and tribalism within the University’s community as a whole.

According to one of the Chapman Cross Cultural Center’s posts on Instagram, the graduations are supposed to be an addition to the regular graduation. 

“Cultural graduation celebrations are additions to the university-wide commencement ceremony, students are free to register for these additional celebrations to share the joy of graduation with their friends and family if they choose to,” the post says.

Gage Jennings, class of 2021, was invited to attend the lavender LGBTQ+ graduation, but did not attend because he felt like individuality was more important than a group-identified graduation.

“The whole idea of celebrating people’s achievements centered around a specific defining characteristic about a person is counterintuitive in my opinion.” Jennings said, “We should not be focusing on factors that divide us… instead we should celebrate the things that we all share, which is our achievement of accomplishing our college education.”

While Jennings does admit that two years ago he would have agreed with these graduations, he now believes that everyone should root their identity in individuality rather than in a community.

Keenan Pasztor, class of 2021, was invited to attend the black graduation. Pasztor did not attend because she never felt different than anyone during her time at Chapman, and understood the double standard she believes exists in exclusive events based on the color of skin.

“Graduation is supposed to be a time of community and celebration school wide.” Pasztor stated, “If white students were to hold a “white” graduation ceremony, everyone would be up in arms about how that is racist, but when black students or LGBTQ+ students hold separate ceremonies, it’s okay.”

While Pasztor doesn’t believe these graduations should be banned, she does believe that if they exist, they need to be on an even playing field, and Chapman should not be directly involved in it. 

“If a group feels so inclined to hold a separate ceremony, they should be 100% responsible, not the university,” Pasztor explained. 

Abbey Umali, class of 2021, was invited to attend the disability graduation. Umali chose not to attend because she felt the future repercussions of the ceremony were too immense.

“I think the idea of the graduations are coming from a good place, because they want people to feel included when they’ve probably felt excluded,” Umail said. “But I think they have the potential to continue going in a direction that is dangerous.”

Umali explained that her concern is that, over time, it would become normal to separate students based on group identity, instead of how they actually are as individuals. A “divisive line” would be added to the Chapman community, while false and misguided pretences of diversity and inclusion would do the opposite.

As the coming years approach, we can only wait and see if any more “cultural events” will be used on Chapman grounds, and whether students and faculty choose to unite or further divide.

China Guilty Of More Than Just Lab Leak

By Kate Robinson

A Wall Street Journal investigation recently revealed that three Wuhan, China lab workers participating in the gain of function research were hospitalized in November 2019 with COVID-19 symptoms. This occurred about a month before the “first case” – supposedly contracted from a bat at a Wuhan wet market and independent from the lab – was made public.  

The Journal’s discovery is now enough to prompt politicians and other health officials to investigate the possibility that the virus leaked from a lab. However, had one mentioned this theory a year and a half ago – as did then-President Donald Trump – he or she was probably deplatformed, ridiculed, or deemed an alt-right conspiracy theorist. 

So, instead, we opted to nod our head in agreement with the world’s elites for the last 18 months as they spun a story full of sick bats and infected wet markets, only for the lab leak hypothesis to never sufficiently be proven wrong. Buying into the twisted narrative of an accidental pandemic gone wrong is perhaps a mistake far more lethal than the destruction caused by the virus itself.  

If COVID-19 really did escape from the Wuhan lab, then it so clearly illustrates China’s attempt to intentionally wage war against the United States. To not recognize it means that China is already winning. Unless we fight back, our unwillingness to counter an authoritarian, evil regime is only the beginning of what will eventually lead to China’s world domination. 

China’s plans have been a long time coming. In 1963, China released a list of “45 Communist Goals” which were read into the United States Congressional Record by Florida Democrat Rep. A.S. Herlong, Jr. All 45 objectives are centered around China gaining ultimate power over the rest of the world and its biggest competitor, the United States. The most alarming, and familiar to us now, include “(capturing) one or both of the political parties in the United States; (getting) control of the schools; (gaining) control of key positions in radio, TV, and motion pictures; and (discrediting) the American Founding Fathers.” For the past 58 years, the communist regime has chipped away at its plan, subtly converting and targeting compromised US politicians, celebrities, and other top officials to its side.  

So why, then, would we be so naive to assume that The Communist Party of China did not purposely create and leak a virus to the rest of the world that would undoubtedly allow itself to move even closer to achieving its ultimate goal of destroying the backbone of our country from within?

In the past year and a half, the Democratic party has become more left than ever, dictating when we leave our house, what we wear on our face, and how much we purchase from the grocery store. The party has been captured.  

Millions of students have been forced out of school because of a virus that has been proven not to lead to substantial community infection (should instruction remain in-person). The nonsensical school shutdowns have been a concerted effort to make the next generation more reliant on online learning programs that discredit our country’s history and propagate the communist agenda. The education system is under attack.

News coverage of the pandemic, BLM riots, and American politics has been manipulated to portray the classic left-leaning bias that turns citizens of the U.S. against one another. China leverages news outlets such as NBC News, CNBC, and MSNBC, to name just a few, and controls at least 8,000 American major motion pictures.

The endless lockdowns made for a strange 2020 election cycle, causing our citizens to question the seemingly limitless power of government that the Founding Fathers tried so hard to curtail 234 years ago. It has never failed us before, so why would it now? 

The answer is clear. The release of a global pandemic and the subsequent coverup and likely lies about its origin are just what China needed to crash the U.S. economy. China, now more than ever, has the United States in its grasp. It is up to us, as Americans, not to let Her crumble.

We must fight against government mandates that control our daily lives. We must protest to return to in-person school. We must consume news from sources that China does not have a hand in. We must remember that democracy will always prevail.

I finish with a prophetic warning from my great-great grandfather, a United States immigrant who fled then-communist Yugoslavia nearly 100 years ago. “America will one day be destroyed, not from a bomb or a bullet, but from within.”

I hope we prove him wrong.

Ms. Robinson is a freshman at Chapman University majoring in Strategic & Corporate Communication and a columnist for The Hesperian.

A Republican Roadmap to Taking Back California

Gavin Newsom recall strategy brands opposition as Republican | The  Sacramento Bee
Photo Credit: The Sacramento Bee/John Walker

By Ethan Nikfar 

Earlier in April, California’s secretary of state announced that recall petitioners gathered and submitted over 1,626,000 valid signatures to recall Governor Gavin Newsom, surpassing the required amount by over 100,000 signatures. Newsom, who just a few years ago was being touted as a future presidential nominee, has faced mounting criticism due to his inconsistent COVID-19 response. Liberals have espoused anger at him reopening the state too fast, while conservatives have expressed their displeasure with the state’s business-crushing Draconian lockdowns. 

In the recall election, voters will first be asked whether or not they wish to remove the governor. If a majority support the removal, then they get to vote on a replacement. Recent polls (for what they’re worth) have Newsom comfortable and treading above water. A KABC/SurveyUSA poll from early May has only 36 percent of voters backing his removal, while 47 percent wish him to stay. 

Many voters point to California’s 2003 recall of then-Governor Grey Davis as a glimmer of hope for this year’s election. But unfortunately, political dynamics were glaringly different nearly two decades ago. In 2004, George W. Bush lost the Golden State by only 9.95 points. In 2020, Donald Trump lost the state by almost 30 points. The state has turned much bluer since the last recall election.

So, is there anything Republicans can do to halt the one-party control? 

Chances are slim, but California Republicans would be wise actually to interest themselves with the deep-blue state’s politics. In 2020, GOP candidates got destroyed across the state, but conservative ballot initiatives fared well. 

For example, Uber, Lyft, and other gig-economy firms went to task and drafted a proposition to prevent the classification of independent contractors as full-time employees. This prevents hammering in independent contractors and freelance writers who wish to work on their own time. If the proposition did not pass and the California courts’ idiotic rulings became law, it would have probably resulted in Uber and Lyft ceasing operations in the state. Labor unions and progressive activists fought hard against the proposition, but 58 percent of voters voted in favor of it.

When Californians attempted to disavow their state’s constitution and enshrine racial and sexual preferences in college admissions and government employment, voters also struck that down

How about prohibiting cash bail? California voters said: No, thanks

What happened when the state tried to allow 17-year-old primary voters the ability to vote if they turned 18 before the general election? Californians rightfully rejected it. 

Democrats also wanted to expand the ability of the state to enact rent control, one of the most failed policies of the last century. Voters were also not down with that idea. 

So, what does this suggest? California voters are attitudinally liberal and may hate GOP candidates, but they are not necessarily opposed to conservative ideas. Running on the correct issues and presenting the correct image to voters is key to being competitive. 

In the past, GOP politicians have attempted to run on issues such as education, where they express support for school choice and school vouchers. That may work in a state like Florida, where there is evidence that strong support for school choice helped propel now Gov. Ron DeSantis to victory over Andrew Gillum. But, Ron DeSantis is a once-in-a-generation kind of political talent and Florida is an evenly divided state; California is not. It is impossible to run on an issue in California where the solution from Democrats is to throw more money at the system. Republicans have to run on issues that all Californians are fed up with. 

What are those issues? There are two main problems California Republicans need to be pressing forward: crime and quality of life. 

The state’s major cities saw a significant uptick in homicides and car thefts last year. It is no coincidence that it corresponds with the anti-police rhetoric and subsequent “defund the police” sloganeering by prominent Democrats. 

All Americans, including Democrats, are interested in keeping their communities and families safe. Even minorities, which progressives are supposedly fighting for, are not invested in the “defund the police” idea. 81 percent of black people want just as much, if not more, policing in their neighborhoods. The demonization of police gravely cost Democrats in down-ballot races; Republicans would be foolish not to utilize it in this year’s recall election.

Republicans also need to highlight the decreasing quality of life within the state. Schools in California have been closed for over a year at the behest of selfish teachers’ unions, even though the evidence points to schools being safe to reopen. And, as it turns out, parents are frequently unable to go to work because small children cannot be home alone on Zoom. Newsom’s allegiance to teachers’ unions has not only displayed scientific ineptitude, but he has also alienated a key voting bloc. 

Moreover, at least 161,000 homeless people currently reside in the state. The homeless drop syringes (and defecation) on streets around young children, spread disease, and decrease access to public spaces. Most parents do not like to have their children playing in and around public parks dominated by such distasteful conditions. 

But, most importantly, GOP candidates have to address California’s housing crisis. Housing prices are so high that if you factor in their costs, California has the highest poverty rate in the nation. Policies such as zoning laws and rent control that limit the supply of housing have drastically increased prices. The GOP would be wise to present an alternative by deregulating the sector and allowing for the construction of more houses.

None of this will guarantee a GOP victory later this year. Even if they take up the measures most appealing to voters and back a candidate with the combination of moderate appeal and name recognition, they will likely still lose. But this recall will be the best chance the GOP has anytime soon of freeing Californians from their authoritarian governor.

Mr. Nikfar is a sophomore at Chapman University majoring in Pre-Pharmacy and a columnist for The Hesperian.

President Biden and the Nefarious ‘Newer’ Deal

Photo Credit: AP Photo/Matt Slocum

By Kate Robinson 

As if forgiving student loan debt was not generous enough, President Joe Biden is paying Americans’ bills yet again. This time, it is through his recently enacted $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan, which includes such a significant level of handouts of federal unemployment benefits that businesses across the United States are struggling to find people to hire. 

Forget any so-called “rescue.” This progressive piece of legislation is shaping up to be nothing more than another FDR-style New Deal package. It sounds good, but it is really just one of the Democratic Party’s classic, power-hungry handouts in disguise. 

FDR’s New Deal reshaped the political left, leading future Democrats like Biden to believe that a high level of government oversight is reasonable and even accepted in the United States. The New Deal opened the door for potential long-term damage to the fundamental strength of our economy and society. Now, Biden’s American Rescue Plan will finish the job, so long as he continues down the same path as his predecessor. 

During FDR’s term in the midst of the Great Depression, the unemployment rate peaked at 25.6 percent. But, instead of telling Americans to stay home, FDR encouraged them to find jobs. In fact, he even went so far as to create jobs for people. Sure, it is easy to believe that FDR’s vast implementation of government programs was beneficial to the economy, but really, it is the same as Biden’s approach – just more subtle and positioned differently. Incentivizing Americans to stay home is even more destructive than FDR’s temporary and artificial job policies from 100 years ago. 

The unemployment payments today are so high that they are equivalent to someone making $15.95 an hour during a 40-hour work week. It looks like Biden has finally figured out a way to raise the minimum wage after all. 

According to The New York Post, unemployed people are currently receiving $300 per week from the federal government, plus approximately $320 more in state benefits. This averages to about $638 per week, which means that someone can make $30,624 per year by just sitting at home. Biden is paying people to stay on their couch, leaving governors to fight against his backward policy with their own incentives to get people back to work. 

Arizona Republican Governor Doug Ducey, for instance, announced last week that he plans to pay people $2,000 to return to work and that he is no longer accepting federal money starting July 10. Montana’s Republican governor, Greg Gianforte, recently announced a similar plan. Any unemployed individual who accepts a job and maintains it for at least a month will earn a bonus from the federal unemployment grants. While both of these are still not ideal approaches, they are better than knowingly running the economy into the ground, which Biden is doing very well. The Labor Department reported last month that employers added 266,000 new jobs to the market (a significant and disappointing decline), leaving approximately 7.4 million positions open. Both numbers are obvious signs that the economy is ready and has room to grow, and probably would be growing at a very quick pace, if it were not for Biden incentivizing Americans to stay home. 

If he were around today, FDR would surely agree with Biden’s attempts to keep the economy in the government’s grasp. In fact, it was FDR himself who masterminded the idea of big government. And now, Biden is taking it to the extreme. 

FDR favored unions, Biden has passed legislation to increase their power; FDR implemented the federal minimum wage, Biden has just figured out a way to effectively raise it; FDR wanted government control, Biden has cleverly concocted a way to kill small businesses, forcing a majority of Americans to rely on government support from cradle to grave. 

While some may find the American Rescue Plan to be a suitable piece of legislation to help ease the country out of the artificial depression caused by the COVID-19 lockdowns, others know that – like FDR – President Biden does not really care about our families, jobs, homes, education, nor livelihood, as he so claims. Instead, he simply wants us to rely on the government (and, more specifically, Democrat politicians), and the surest way to do that is to keep Americans dependent and docile. 

A Newer Deal, indeed.

Ms. Robinson is a freshman at Chapman University majoring in Strategic & Corporate Communication and a columnist for The Hesperian.

The Left’s Outrageous Attacks on Tim Scott Should Be a Wake-up Call

Picture from Senate Television video via AP

By Ethan Nikfar 

Every year, the president of the United States stands before Congress in monarchical fashion to address what the king-like figure is doing to help solve our problems. Along with it, the opposition party has a designated person with the worst job in Congress: giving a response to that speech. The out-of-power party’s rebuttal to the president is invariably seen as meager and useless in comparison to the main address. 

But last week, Tim Scott, the Republican Senator from South Carolina, became the sole exception to that rule.

Scott gave a terrific response to President Joe Biden’s State of the Union speech – a speech that highlighted the president’s goal of fundamentally realigning the relationship between the government and the people. Biden made constitutionally illiterate claims such as, “It’s time we remembered that we the people are the government,” whereas Scott acknowledged limits on the government’s power and expressed optimism for the country’s future that stemmed from outside Washington’s schemes.        

But after the address was over, Scott became subject to the extreme vitriol of the left. Why? Because in his speech, Scott, a black man, had the temerity to say, “Hear me clearly: America is not a racist country.”

With that, the left exploded with outrage. The senator was endlessly attacked and had racial slurs hurled his way. “Uncle Tim” began trending on Twitter and remained on the platform for the entire day. Leftists immediately demanded that Scott accept his lesser, victimhood status and bow down to his mobbish saviors. 

The left’s disgraceful reaction was particularly bizarre considering that Vice President Kamala Harris agreed with Scott’s statement about race in America, yet she received little to no blowback for her observation. 

Throughout the next few days, Democrats across the country attempted to portray their disgust that Scott, a black man, was chosen to lead the response. For example, The View’s co-host, Sunny Hostin, claimed, “He was chosen because he is the only black Republican Senator. He is that person.” 

In reality, Scott was not chosen by Republicans solely based on the color of his skin. Instead, he actually has political views and life experiences that make him uniquely qualified to give that specific speech, and to best address the disingenuous claims Biden was making about race in America.

Scott has faced racism in his everyday life – lending him credibility to speak on the matter of race in America. He also co-wrote the police reform bill last summer that Democrats filibustered before even allowing it to be debated on the floor. In a bit of an unsurprising twist, Democrats used the same filibuster they now decry as a “Jim Crow relic” to stymie a black Senator’s proposal. 

Regardless, it is significantly less divisive and wrong for Tim Scott to be chosen to lead the State of the Union response than it is to select a Vice President purely based on her gender and skin color. If you are wondering who may have done such a thing, look no further than our current president, who openly admitted to vetting vice presidential candidates based on their gender and skin color. But when Joe Biden did precisely that, we heard only praise from the left. 

That really suggests one thing – parrot the woke left’s viewpoints, and you can say what you want about race and emphasize its importance (or lack thereof) without pushback. Suggest, however, that the left may be wrong, and you suddenly turn into an evil ignoramus who is withdrawn from the reality of race in this country. Such is the pamphlet to our current political discourse. 

This insane treatment has not been limited to just Tim Scott. Nikki Haley, the former UN Ambassador and Governor of South Carolina, has had similar slurs directed her way due to her Punjabi heritage. 

To the Democratic Party, there is only one way of life for anyone non-white: to be Democrats. Anyone accused of breaking that orthodoxy is subjected to cruel, vile harassment. 

The irony is that even though Democrats howled to the moon that the Trump-led GOP was the party of white nationalism, the GOP made significant inroads with minority voters in 2020.

Aside from that, Senator Scott deserves better; he is a decent man in indecent times. But to Democrats, his character and the merit of his ideas are of zero importance. The only things that matter are the words “black” and “Republican.” 

Progressives who think they get to decide who qualifies as black have not only cost us an honest conversation about race, but they have also revealed themselves to be a party of race-obsessed partisans unwilling to tolerate opposing ideas. 

Mr. Nikfar is a sophomore at Chapman University majoring in Pre-Pharmacy and a columnist for The Hesperian.

The Scientific Establishment Has Lost Our Trust

By Ethan Nikfar

Over a year ago, a deadly new virus struck the world, forcing us to entirely adapt and revamp our lifestyles to prevent its spread. In response, we embraced public health officials, particularly in the federal government, to make sense of it. But today, those same public health officials have become increasingly unreasonable, withdrawn from reality, and unwilling to accept new evidence that challenges their outdated stances. 

Public health officials have done a ton of admirable work through the duration of the pandemic. But as the figures Americans are looking up to for guidance in uncharted waters, they have an obligation to define and explain risks associated with the pandemic accurately. 

Their job is not to coax us into behaving a certain way or lie to us about the data. Unfortunately, over the last several months, such distasteful behavior has become all too common for members of the scientific establishment. 

Among the culprits are Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top infectious disease expert (also the highest-paid official in the federal government), the CDC, and FDA. 

Let us start with Dr. Fauci. At the beginning of the pandemic, Fauci was a welcome sight for most Americans; he was the voice of reason we listened to in order to keep up with the latest news and updates on the virus. For the first few months of the pandemic, he did this relatively solidly. But since, he has become intentionally misleading, power-hungry, and relishing in his newfound celebrity status. 

Fauci began the pandemic in early March by discouraging mask usage. In an interview on 60 Minutes on March 8, 2020, Fauci stated, “there’s no reason to be walking around with a mask.” This was in an attempt to influence Americans to not wear masks so that healthcare workers would not face a shortage. But Fauci is a public health official. His job is to convey accurate public health information to the public – not to try and influence our behavior by tricking us into acting a certain way. Sadly, the deception was not limited to mask usage. 

Fauci also deliberately shifted the goalposts when discussing the percentage of Americans who would need to be vaccinated to reach herd immunity. Initially stating that only 60 to 70 percent would need to be vaccinated, Fauci nudged the number up to 80 to 90 percent of the population. In an interview with the New York Times‘ Donald McNeil Jr., Fauci admitted to moving the goalposts “partly on his gut feeling that the country is finally ready to hear what he really thinks.” 

Fauci also praised Governor Andrew Cuomo’s handling of the pandemic. Fauci, of course, will not mention the fact that New York has the second-highest COVID-19 death rate per million in America. Nor will he tell you that Cuomo signed an executive order to force COVID-positive patients back into nursing homes, killing nearly 13,000 elderly residents. Additionally, the governor’s aides tried to cover up and undercount the number of nursing home deaths for months to avoid federal investigation. For Fauci, New York was worthy of praise. The state’s citizens probably think differently.

When Fauci was questioned about the risk of COVID-19 spread in migrant detention facilities that force migrants into extremely close quarters, he stated, “I have nothing to do with the border . . . Having me down at the border, that’s really not what I do.” Really? Fauci has been more than happy to insert himself into other discussions, such as the travel ban, in the past year. He just does not want to criticize the Biden Administration.

Fauci criticized Texas for lifting its mask mandate. Yet, more than a month and a half after Governor Greg Abbott rescinded the mandate, the seven-day average of daily deaths in Texas is at its lowest point since early July of 2020. Daily cases have declined at a similar rate. When asked about this, Fauci stated, “You know, there are a lot of things that go into that. I mean, when you say that they’ve had a lot of the activity on the outside like ball games, I’m not really quite sure. It could be they’re doing things outdoors.” Fauci lacks the prerequisite understanding that behavioral patterns do not shift when the government announces a law that is impossible to enforce. Many on the political left (seemingly including Fauci) also seem not to fathom that people can wear masks without a mandate. Perhaps that can be attributed to their worldview that individuals cannot make rational decisions without the force of government compelling them to do so.

In late February, Fauci maintained that vaccinated individuals should not go to indoor restaurants or crowded movie theaters. Curious, given that data from Israel found that vaccinated individuals are at very low risk of transmitting the virus to others. If being vaccinated does not allow you to resume engaging in everyday activities, then what will? 

Fauci’s recommendations for vaccinated individuals are not only ridiculous, but they actively discourage people from getting vaccinated. If being vaccinated does not change what you are allowed to do, then why would a healthy 25-year-old whose parents and grandparents have been vaccinated now choose to go through the hassle of getting vaccinated himself? 

Fauci should instead be promoting the message that the faster we get vaccinated, the sooner we can return to everyday life. But he will simply not let that happen. 

It took Fauci until late April to announce that vaccinated people can start to unmask outdoors. He stated, “It’s pretty common sense now that the outdoor risk is really quite low.” If so, what took him so long? 

But even now, his stamp of approval is limited to certain outdoor activities. 

Not only has Fauci deliberately downplayed the efficacy of vaccines by recommending that vaccinated individuals cannot go and enjoy their lives, but he has also mirrored Democrats’ misguided arguments about perpetually delaying school reopenings.

Questionable behavior was unfortunately not limited to just Fauci. The CDC has done its part too. 

The CDC has continued to maintain its recommendation that 90 percent of schools remain partially closed. This is even as studies have shown that children are not at risk of receiving nor transmitting the virus, and teachers are at no more at risk than the general public. Schools have been safe to reopen the entire time – especially now that so many school staff have been vaccinated. 

Moreover, the CDC’s summer camp guidance insists that kids over the age of two and all adults (regardless of whether they have been vaccinated) need to wear masks at all times. This makes zero sense. As studies have documented, not only are the vaccines tremendously effective at preventing spread, but young children have never been a key vector of transmission. Combine that with the humidity of the summer, and the CDC is actively recommending the needless suffering of kids. 

Not only is the CDC’s guidance scientifically illiterate, but when any organization makes recommendations that are lacking in reason and logic, people stop listening to them. 

On April 27, in another instance where public health officials discouraged people from getting vaccinated, the CDC updated a chart on the activities that vaccinated and unvaccinated individuals can safely do. According to them, when indoors, vaccinated people still need to wear masks at all times. There is no evidence to suggest that vaccinated people are vectors of transmission. The vaccines are a scientific miracle; we should treat them as such. 

The FDA is certainly not devoid of criticism either. Earlier this month, it recommended pausings Johnson & Johnson vaccines across the country. Why? You may ask. There were six blood clots found in vaccinated patients out of 6.8 million people. The FDA wanted to pause the J&J vaccine because one in a million people who received the vaccine developed a blood clot. Let us put that into perspective – in the U.S., the odds of being struck by lightning in any given year is 1 in 500,000 – a better chance than developing a blood clot due to the vaccine. Not only is the FDA’s decision nonsensical, but now it likely makes people increasingly skeptical of receiving the vaccine because they are even more worried about side effects that are extremely rare. 

What do we get from the FDA in return? Likely only a warning put on the side of a label that no one outside of a vaccine administrator will ever read. How many more lives would have been saved due to the vaccine if not for the FDA’s questionable cost-benefit analysis?

If it were up to the public health officials in the federal government, kids all across the country would not be able to go to school, and we would still be largely forced to the confines of our own homes. 

Our scientific establishment has maintained that to avoid risk, Americans should give up all that made life great without considering tradeoffs and reality. “Avoiding risk” has now actively become risk-taking. In actuality, most Americans have been participating in the majority of their normal life for months. By denying that reality, public health officials will continue to be ignored. But in the end, they may deserve that. 

Mr. Nikfar is a sophomore at Chapman University majoring in Pre-Pharmacy and a columnist for The Hesperian.