Image Analysis: “Nervous Nancy” Gives Trump a stern talking to

This photo was pulled from the twitter of Donald Trump, the 45th president of the United States. In this photo is a large group of politicians and other political leaders sitting in a circle at a table for a meeting of some sort. Every person in the photo is presumably white, and only one woman is clearly visible. The visible woman in the photo is standing up and pointing to and presumably speaking with the man across from her, the president of the United States. With the help of the caption of the twitter post, it is easy to tell that the woman standing is Nancy Pelosi, the current Speaker of the House of Representatives, one of the highest-ranking American political positions below the presidency. 

The image is quite intense, as the focus is on Pelosi, who is pointing at Trump, who in return looks disgusted to be singled out. The other people in the room are all avoiding eye contact, some are looking down, averting their gaze, some just looking like they fell asleep during the meeting. Many of the men at the table look ashamed to be there, tension flooding the room as two of the most powerful Americans face-off. But the most prominent part of the photo is Pelosi, her presence being the first thing the eye is drawn to. The Speaker of the House is the most eye-catching part of the photo not only because she is the only one standing, but she is also wearing the brightest color, and the light behind her is illuminating her. The photo would practically be a portrait dedicated to her if it was not for who she is pointing to, the leader of the free world. Pelosi’s pose draws you in, and the viewer wants to understand why she has to take such a powerful stance literally and politically and follows her gaze over to the only other person showing emotion in the room, Trump. Trump’s posture is slightly informal compared to the rest of the men to his sides, slouched, but also defensive, his facial expression displaying disgust, confusion, and anguish. By seeing Trump in the photo, the focus on Pelosi has slightly stripped away, the tone of female empowerment becoming one of a political warzone, a darker message lying in the subtext. 

It is because of this tone shift that Trump went on the defensive in his tweet. Trump felt infuriated being talked down to by Pelosi, and Donald Trump, a powerful man, hates to be talked down to by anyone, especially by a woman. To get ahead of the negative image, and combat his feelings of rage, defeat, and impotency, Trump declared on a national platform that the speaker of the house, one of the most powerful women in the nation, was “nervous” and was having an “unhinged meltdown.” Trump did this on his Twitter because he knew that behind his screen, he is most powerful. When Trump feels powerless, especially at the hands of a woman, he seeks out a place where he can dominate, which is behind the security of a screen and targeted towards his millions of followers. His target audience is all very radical conservatives, who hate Pelosi and the Democratic party. Trump sent this tweet to his many extremist followers because he knew that they would agree with his personal and political public humiliation of Pelosi. Trump with his degrading online personality uses mob mentality to get his target audience to support his narratives whether they are true or not, which is evident with the many thousand likes and retweets the photo received. By sharing this photo with the misogynistic caption, Trump was able to make himself feel in control and attempted to reclaim power in a situation where he felt weak. 

It is clear that as Trump uses absurd, demeaning language on his own personal twitter to attack others, he is trying to create a facade of power as he slowly loses the grip on his presidency due to his incompetence, stubbornness, brashness, and arrogance. The tweet is not a showdown, but it is a meltdown, but not one on Nancy Pelosi’s part. Pelosi has to be the adult in the situation and literally stand up to the bully who is acting childish, and who no one else in the room is brave enough to stand up to. And what better way to get back at the mature adult putting you in your place than jumping on social media and trying to make her look like the crazy one.

Queering the Health Class Curriculum

by John Eichler

Anyone remember the great condom on the banana display? Or maybe it was a cucumber, depending on the phallic shaped produce that was on sale at your local farmers market that day. On a personal note in terms of my own health class, a condom was never even taken out of its packaging to be shown how to put it on, or even what it looked like. We talked about preventing STDs, pregnancy and even the steps of a penis ejaculating, but despite that lovely speaker telling me about my sperm count, I could still got the feeling that I was not fitting into these conversations.

I am a gay, gender questioning person, who never got a proper education on sexuality and identity, instead taking tests on the different kinds of contraception options and how marijuana is a gateway drug. I am not the only LGBTQ+ person to not receive a necessary inclusive education. GLSEN reported in 2017 that only 6.7% of Queer students received a sex education that properly represented them in its curriculum. This is extremely upsetting considering there are over three million LGBTQ+ youth in America, and of course growing.

You know why else this is super upsetting? There are a lot of reasons actually, so be prepared to be very disappointed. With so little representation of Queer identities in public education, all students are left ignorant of the complexity of the community. Being forced to only learn about heterosexual sex and not learning about other identity topics like gender in health class, youth will feel the need to conform to heteronormative and cisnormative ideals.

With this feeling of ostracization from their schooling, the feeling of wrongness continues with the treatment of students. The Trevor Project reported that about 71% of LGBTQ+ students had experienced discrimination, and a majority had experienced mental health issues, 39% having contemplated suicide.

Prejudice is learned in the absence of an inclusive and diverse education, and it continues in older ages. Six southern states adopted “No Promo Homo” laws that state schools cannot teach about the LGBTQ+ community. As long as ignorance can run rampant among people of all ages, the LGBTQ+ community will always be at risk.

Education is the key to ending prejudice and the systems of oppression that feed into it. According to a study put out by GLSEN, Planned Parenthood and other social justice groups, 85% of parents believe their children should be taught about sexuality and gender in high school, 78% of parents believe middle school children should. America and the world cannot progress without changing the way health education is structured and taught, and if more and more parents and students support it, the government should listen. Congress has definitely got a thing or two to learn themselves, otherwise they just keep finding new ways to fuck us and leave us unsatisfied.

Research worries….

Although I am very excited to write my research paper because we are able to write it on a topic I care about deeply (Thanks Michael), I am worried that I will just simply run out of points to make, no new original ideas, and keep repeating myself. I am also worried that I do not have the writing endurance to write decently for that high of a word count. To tackle these worries I am going to try to outline the paper pretty well, then try to do a couple paragraphs everyday, upping my word count every day, hopefully closer to the limit and well written.

Hope everyone else does well on their papers too!

Final Research Topic

I have narrowed my research topic down to studying the importance of inclusive queer health education. This would entail looking into school’s curriculums, whether they be inclusive or not, the effects of queer erasure in schools, on straight as well as queer students, and laws regarding LGBTQ+ education. I would want to describe how schools with LGBTQ+ inclusive education have less bullying, LGBTQ+ students are more at risk of STI’s, the threat of No Promo Homo laws, and the decreasing acceptance of LGBTQ+ people among young people in America.

P2 Proposal ideas…

I am struggling to decide about what I want to write in my research essay, I have a couple options, but I am not sure how to make it all into one cohesive essay or if all of my topics would work better separately.

A list of my ideas are

  • breaking down the binary in schools-
  • importance of gender neutral bathrooms, trans students allowed to use whatever bathroom/ changing room they wish
  • health class/ teacher professional development lessons on the gender and sexuality spectrums, starting children younger so can make smarter decisions, feel more comfortable with themselves
  • understanding of masculinity, its consequences, and how to reverse toxic masculinity in young men for teachers and staff- combat education gap in STEM
  • reversing/ preventing gender socialization in children
  • Importance of LGBTQ+ education in history and english classes
  • Importance of inclusive LGBTQ+ sex education

Since all of these topics are school related and share the same theme of gender (and sexuality) inclusivity, I thought many would flow well together, but I do not want to overdo it and get on a soapbox and not do each specific topic the justice it deserves.

Space Colonization: If We Want Infinity, We Must GO Beyond

What if the world was going up in flames, water levels rising and wiping out cities, species and civilizations completely eradicated, how can humanity escape impending doom? Well for scientists like Stephen Hawking and J. Richard Gott,  as well as state officials like Louis Hale formerly of the U.S. state department, the answer to preventing the total collapse of humanity lies in looking to the stars. Space colonization is the only way to prevent the end of human life as we know it in the case of earth’s extinction.  

In1945, two nuclear bombs were dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, leaving the world in shock, ending the war to end all wars. This devastation was only the beginning though, prepositioning a 45 year long nuclear arms race between America and the Soviet Union, and in the twenty first century, the North Korean nuclear testing threat that lasted over a year. Nuclear warfare to many may seem an issue of the past, or one now that will never result in anything, but it could be the destruction of the world’s future. Nuclear warfare may not even be necessary to cause the apocalypse if the world continues to heat up due to the ongoing climate crisis that has not found a unanimous agreement on how to confront it. As well as with an increasing overpopulation problem, and a decline of resources as the world ages, and slowly burns, there are too many combinations of destruction, and so few answers. With the threat of doomsday right around the corner, what hope does humanity have, if not going beyond our known world and discovering a new hope on a new planet, or moon, or even an asteroid according to NASA specialists. 

Conquistadors, Columbus, Colonial settlers, and now Elon Musk? Colonization has destroyed societies, ravaged groups of people, eradicated cultures, and in its wake new civilizations rose, all in the name of growth and discovery. Many curse colonization as it left so many displaced, forcefully assimilated, and/ or brutally attacked and left for dead, but what if colonization was necessary for humanity’s survival, and there was a form of it with no known possible victims of it? Space Colonization could be the most ethical and necessary form of colonization in the world’s history. Besides survival, space colonization could be a unifying experience for the world, as exploring uncharted territory, looking into the impossible, brings out the curiosity in us all, and finding new spaces to explore allows for societies to thrive, similar to the space race, and the Lewis and Clark expedition. 

Although scientists differ when it is exactly, it is sure that the earth has an expiration date,  and if we want to ensure not only a possible future, but a positive one, space colonization must become a priority. The longer humans exist on this planet, the more resources deplete and the earth suffers. It has been proven that the amount of resources space can offer, especially asteroids that would be mined for water and building supplies, can supply humanity thousands of times more than what our one planet has to offer now (1).

The answer to all of the world’s problems has not been right under our noses this entire time, it’s been above our heads, beyond as far as the eye can see. The question can no longer be “Is there anything to do to save the earth”, it is “Are you ready to suit up?” 

  1. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Space_colonization 

Image result for space colonization

The South Rose Again, and Our Leaders Let it Happen: An Analysis of “Contemporary Impact of the Fates of Confederate Officials”

Although the Civil War happened over a century and a half ago, its cultural influence has yet to leave the news feed of today. Gillian Crawford analyzes these effects in her essay “Contemporary Impact of the Fates of Confederate Officials,” using searing diction, and controversial ethos and logos. After beginning her essay with the explanation of Henry Wirz, a Confederate prison warden, who was the only Confederate hanged for his war crimes, Crawford jumps into discussing what America’s response was to the most prominent Confederate rebels.

President Abraham Lincoln in 1865 was leading a deeply divided country, and in an attempt to display his forgiveness and rebuild a united nation, Crawford reports that Lincoln let them walk free. The two Confederates specifically mentioned in the essay are the president of the Confederacy, Jefferson Davis, and military leader, Robert E. Lee. The celebration of these Confederates has very commonly come in the form of statues that memorialize these figures. It is these statues that are a huge central link to the white nationalist movement that is sweeping America in the twenty-first century.

A technique Crawford uses in her writing to shed light on the harrowing effects of leniency towards these Confederates is using very damning diction. One example of this is when Crawford wrote: “By giving amnesty to those who openly committed treason against the United States, the South was able to memorialize those who were disloyal to the country…” By using words with very harsh and negative connotations like “treason” and “disloyal”, the author more clearly cast a negative light upon the Confederates and how their crimes were detrimental to  America then and now.

The essay overall was quite good, however the author’s purpose was to prove that the leniency towards the Confederates by American leaders lead to racial tension and the continuation of white nationalism in modern-day America. The author does do this for the most part, but she does not put enough focus on this connection, instead providing a large amount of historical context about  Jefferson Davis and Robert Lee, and the arguments that ensue about the statues of those men. Both of these things are very important, but to strengthen her point, Crawford should have included more about the white nationalist movement and its roots, as well as more on the harm these supremacists have done recently. 

Virginia State Troopers stand under a statue of Robert E. Lee before a white supremacists rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, U.S., August 12, 2017. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts - RTS1BI7E

Analysis of “Contemporary Impact of the Fates of Confederate Officials”

  • Thesis: 

 “In the pursuit of unity in a deeply divided country, the United States opted to pardon figureheads of the Confederacy to help heal the wounds of the country rather than implicate them for their rebellion, and this decision is still affecting Americans today.”

  • The thesis was placed where it was to direct the essay about its main point about why the confederate soldiers were pardoned, why they ended up being memorialized, and why they possibly lead to the uprise of hate.
  • The audience for this essay is the American people who want to know why the Confederate soldiers are still being memorialized as statues……
  • There is Logos when she repeatedly describes the historical context, explains Henry Wirz, 
  • Ethos- when she quoted the artist and the historian at the end of her essay and they gave their opinions on the statues, she also quoted Robert E. Lee about his views on the south still idolizing the confederates. 
  • Pathos- the “harrowing” effects these statues had and America’s apathy towards the rebels as the years passed.  

Diction- “It’s negative results, which are presenting themselves through white supremacy and violence, have come back to haunt Americans more than150 years later.”

Coming Out and Lifting Up

Coming out to my parents as gay has been my proudest achievement. Because of this, I was inspired to start the Gender and Sexualities Alliance at my old school, and had a whole new thing to be proud of.  However, what started out as a fun after school club ended up showing me underlying issues of bias that existed in my school and across all schools in America. Not once has the LGBTQ+ community ever come up in one of my classrooms in a positive manner. The use of hate speech is all too common in my high school and high schools everywhere. Staff intervention and inclusive lesson plans are the best ways to ensure this use of ignorant speech does not come up again, and could be great resources to teach about the community and other minority identities, but these results are not present in classrooms.  The LGBTQ+ community has no positive representation in their mainstream education, and their educators are not properly trained to handle the struggles that come with being LGBTQ+, and I desperately want to combat it. 

Without the proper training to support LGBTQ+ students, not only will teachers not be able to put a stop to the stigma against the LGBTQ+, but they will not be able to stop their own bias. In the tenth grade my drivers’ education teacher called transgender people “faggots” in front of the whole class, and upon me reporting him, only received a slap on the wrist. In the eleventh grade, I found out that some  teachers at my school did not know what the acronym LGBT stood for. This amount of ignorance and lack of training amongst staff was appalling and caused me to be quite disappointed, but motivated me to find a way to change this. I reached out to the past Gender and Sexualities Alliance adviser at the school, and with those resources and support, I made a plan to rejuvenate my heteronormative high school. 

Ignorant teachers, hateful students, and misunderstood LGBTQ teens plague schools nationwide, and this was my plan to fix mine. I started simply with printed out safe space posters and gave them to teachers I knew were allies to the community and also known to be very good listeners to their students. I would ask them to hang it up and quiz them about their knowledge of the LGBTQ+ community, offering more information they didn’t know to ensure they could better help students. From there, after receiving a positive response to the posters, I created a new poster.  On the back of each one was the definition of a majority of sexualities and gender identities that exist that teachers may not know of. I made every teacher who received a poster read the back as soon as they got it to start a conversation about how best to support LGBTQ+ students. 

Still, I had not reached all teachers, and a poster can only do so much, so I sat down with my principal to see how she supported LGBT students, and how better to reach more staff members with my message. She offered me the chance to sit in on a department head meeting and finally I felt like my start to a solution was being heard and breaking through to teachers. In the meeting, I listed off the definitions of sexualities and identities to them so we would all be on the same page. From there I  went on to describe how our school district has multiple homeless LGBTQ students, how hate speech is commonly used in classrooms, and how they as teachers could be the only adults in these children’s lives who could understand them and help them and could be the only ones who tell children to not use hate speech. 

The GSA changed how I view the education system, causing me to realize how steep the upward battle it is for a queer inclusive and safe education . With the club’s existence, the conversation about protecting and supporting LGBTQ+ students started, and I will fight to keep it alive no matter what I do or where I go.  There is so much more work to do to help LGBT youth in schools and end ignorance amongst students and staff, but with courage, passion and the will to start a conversation, change is on the horizon.

The 2018-19 Dover High School GSA

John’s Killer Blog Post

Hey class

My name is John Eichler. I grew up in Dover, Delaware, and am a second generation blue hen. I am the only freshman Women and Gender Studies major at this university so far. I’m studying this in hopes of getting a job at a non- profit organization to help the LGBTQ+ community, women, and other marginalized groups. In high school I was the president of the Gay Striaght Alliance which is what inspired my love for social justice and educating others about the LGBTQ+ community. I’m hoping this course helps me better my writing courses to better convey my written arguments about the importance of LGBTQ+ positive education.