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A Mock Rebuttal

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Junior Aine Kern Responds to Staff Writer Jacob Mock's "Trump's First 100 Days."

Hello Sage,
After reading Jacob Mock’s article published yesterday, I thought an opposing viewpoint could be beneficial to write (at least personally). 
I disagreed with Mock politically, but I tried to exclude personal bias from my essay in response to “Trump’s First 100 Days”  (I fear I might still sound a bit partial to a particular side, but hey, so does Mock). My goal was to utilize facts, statistics, and logical conclusions as the battering ram in my writing. 
Whether or not my letter is published isn’t my priority here (though I would be honored), but according to the About Us page on your site, The Sage values feedback and, well, I had a lot to say.
I poured an abundance of research and analysis into this essay, so I hope it can be appreciated. Thank you!

29 March 2017

In response to “Trump’s First 100 Days” by Jacob Mock.

The past few months have proved that no matter one’s political affiliation or party loyalty, people can be astoundingly narrow-minded and blind to differing opinions and viewpoints.

Democrats and Republicans were in a spitting-mad shouting match throughout the entire 2016 presidential race, citizens and politicians alike, and tensions certainly haven’t diminished since November. Powerful party divisions are defining and consequential, impacting nearly every aspect of society from environment to free speech to national defense; one can practically hear George Washington hissing “I told you so” under his breath from the grave. The words “Democrat,” “Liberal,” “Republican,” and “Conservative” have become weapons capable of tainting one’s perspective of a fellow classmate or  acquaintance before even getting to know them. I cannot plead innocent to this crime myself.

Mock described Trump’s win as “a breath of fresh air” for Republicans who had disagreed with Obama’s policies for the past eight years― an ironic choice of words, given Trump recently rolled back Obama-era regulations of carbon dioxide emissions, but his point was obvious: this election would mark a turning point in America’s policies. Indeed, the new president has been erasing many of the bills created in the years before his presidency began, such as the prohibiting of private prison management, barring of mentally ill from buying guns, and banning of lead shot and tackle. Mock wasn’t wrong when he said Trump “hasn’t shown any signs of slowing down,” but we have to consider the direction in which Trump seems to sprinting: forward or backward? Progressively or degeneratively?

For all of Trump’s efforts to remain true to his promise to “make America great again,” he sure does seem to be suffering a lot of criticism from talk show hosts and celebrities, as Mock pointed out. Almost as much condemnation as Obama experienced throughout his term from rioters questioning his American citizenship,  and boasting posters of nooses labeled “hang in there Obama.” Almost as much condemnation as Hillary Clinton received for use of an email server (an investigation that resulted in not a single reprimand or criminal charge). Almost as much condemnation as LGBT people, African Americans, and all minorities face on the streets every day. Must be difficult for Trump, the only president to ever be denounced, having every single one of his decisions scrutinized and “crucified.”

Mock continues to defend Trump’s reputation against all the feminists, liberals, queers, and African Americans who are “taking shots at our president;” here stands another ironic turn of phrase, seeing as Trump is the one who refuses to condemn the shooting of two Indian engineers by a man who simultaneously yelled “get out of my country.” His condescending tone toward feminists raises concerns that Mock may not believe the new president values equality of the sexes, not to mention that the Black Lives Matter movement (existing long before the election) is not an attack on Trump or on Caucasian people at all, but an awareness campaign to end police brutality, especially violence with racial overtones or proven bias.

America has “enough problems as it is. . . to be picking up even more weight on our shoulders,” Mock inputs, in regard to the border wall and travel ban so emphatically emphasized in Trump’s pre-election campaign. America has been known as the “land of the free,” the light of opportunity at the end of a tunnel, the chance to make an honest living for millions of immigrants from all over the world since the 1700s. Besides the inherent prejudice of it, Trump’s ban jeopardizes the lives of hundreds, even thousands, of refugees by barring their only possible escape from abusive detention camps and burning homes, while ignoring research that proves crime rates among immigrants is lower than the general population. How ironic that by burdening the backs of laborers with bricks for a wall, keeping Central American immigrants from entering, and separating countless families, in the name of “preserving the American dream,” the president slams the door on innumerable opportunities for new immigrants and for America to participate in humanitarian assistance and global expansion, even environmental improvement considering the devastation in war zones.

Now, if encasing America in an Iron Curtain of our own means every veteran is picked up off the streets and dropped neatly into new homes with profitable jobs, then that is another matter. Probably not one warranting the exclusion of thousands of innocents, but another matter, indeed. However, Trump has yet to acknowledge homeless veterans in any of his policies. And what about the scores of deserted, homeless teenagers and children? The thousands of single mothers with their children on street corners every week? We see no acts or bills or propositions to help them. Not even grand, if empty, speeches in their favor. One may argue that accepting so many refugees would only worsen the homeless crisis in America, but one will have a much harder time arguing that wasting enormous funds on a wall (the most expensive and least effective defense strategy) is more beneficial than redistributing that money towards actually helping the people whom Trump claims to sincerely care for.

Oh, the hypocrisy of people voting for Trump for his businessman status (a lackluster one at that) only to ignore the costly wastefulness of his beloved wall.

Now, most of what Mock writes about in his opinion article could be accepted as a simple pro-Trump viewpoint, especially regarding border policy, gun laws, and environment prioritizing, since the various parties all entertain drastically different platforms on each controversial matter.

However, near the conclusion of his piece, Mock decides that the statement “this may be a nation of immigrants, but our grandparents carried passports, not gang violence” was acceptable. Not only is it ignorant and woefully inaccurate, but the blatant racism reinforces offensive and extremely harmful stereotypes about many of the people in our southern California school and community, not to mention entire civilizations and races that hold a more historically accurate claim to the land on which Mock squats than Mock himself or any Caucasian citizen. On another note, India and China are the leading countries in immigration to America since 2013, not Mexico, and while their numbers might not be as numerous as those from Central America, thousands of Caucasian immigrants are unauthorized as well. While politicians may be fretting about foreign terrorist threats, and  ISIS is a daunting global threat, the domestically-based security threat is growing right under our noses with nearly half of all hate crimes in 2015 being committed by Caucasians, people not stereotypically considered “violent” or “illegal;” neo-Nazi, Confederate-loyal Dylann Roof or home-grown terrorists Glen Crawford and Eric Feight can be counted among them.

All political bias and historical context aside, Mock presented a damaging sentiment that I did not want to see reflecting Sage Creek High School uncontested. Being open to reading and acknowledging political views and policies that contrast with personal beliefs broadens perspective and fosters compassion, vital components in editorials and opinion pieces if writers want them to hold weight or sway. Global perspective and compassion were two characteristics I found Mock to be lacking.

–  Áine Kern

 

Works Cited

“2015 Hate Crime Statistics Released — FBI.” Federal Bureau of Investigation, 14 Nov.

  1. Accessed 29 Mar. 2017.

Carroll, Lauren, and Clayton Youngman. “Fact-checking Claims About Donald Trump’s

Four Bankruptcies.” PolitiFact, 21 Sept. 2015. Accessed 29 Mar. 2017.

Cobb, Jelani. “Inside the Trial of Dylann Roof.” The New Yorker, 6 Feb. 2017. Accessed

29 Mar. 2017.

Dearden, Lizzie. “Kansas Shooting: Wife of Indian Engineer Shot Dead in Kansas Bar

Calls on Donald Trump to Fight Hate Crime.” The Independent, 25 Feb. 2017.

Accessed 29 Mar. 2017.

Eilperin, Juliet. “The New Interior Secretary Just Rode into Work on a Horse.”

Washington Post, 2 Mar. 2017. Accessed 29 Mar. 2017.

Eilperin, Juliet, and Steven Mufson. “Hill Republicans Move to Scrap Obama-era

Regulations.” Washington Post, 2 Feb. 2017. Accessed 29 Mar. 2017.

“Family Homelessness Facts.” Homes Through Community Partnership in Austin,

Texas | Green Doors, 2011. Accessed 29 Mar. 2017.

“Homeless Teen Statistics.” Helping Homeless Children & Youth | Covenant House,

  1. Accessed 29 Mar. 2017.

Mock, Jacob. “The Sage: Trump’s First 100 Days.” The Sage, 28 Mar. 2017. Accessed 29

Mar. 2017.

Nowrasteh, Alex. “Immigration and Crime – What the Research Says.” Cato Institute, 14

July 2015. Accessed 29 Mar. 2017.

Ser, Kuang. “Trump is Ending Obama-era Emissions Cuts. How Will CO2 Emissions

Change?” Public Radio International, 28 Mar. 2017. Accessed 29 Mar. 2017.

Sinyangway, Samuel. “Mapping Police Violence.” Mapping Police Violence, 1 Jan. 2017.

Accessed 29 Mar. 2017.

“Upstate New York Man Sentenced to Over Eight Years in Prison for Providing Material

Support to Terrorists | OPA.” U.S. Department of Justice, 22 Aug. 2016. Accessed

29 Mar. 2017.

Zapotosky, Matt. “Justice Department Will Again Use Private Prisons – The Washington

Post.” Washington Post, 23 Feb. 2017. Accessed 29 Mar. 2017.

Zong, Jie, and Jeanne Batalova. “Frequently Requested Statistics on Immigrants and

Immigration in the United States.” Migrationpolicy.org, 8 Mar. 2017. Accessed

29 Mar. 2017.

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8 Comments

8 Responses to “A Mock Rebuttal”

  1. Darius Rahmanian on April 13th, 2017 6:13 pm

    Personally, all I see is self righteous destruction of a sophomores article that more over is in an opinion page. I would love to have political discourse like this on a more verbal level rather than missive though. I defend Mocks article moreover he is just trying his best to give some insight as a student writer on the subject and then whoopise doo here comes the literal written nuking of his essay using works cited and all. This is overkill if I ever saw it and personally I’m pretty sure the dude was just trying to do an assignment so bravo young lass you have beaten us conservatives again. Saying that you don’t want Sage Creek being displayed like this is akin to some sort of super hero maneuver. Both sides both red and blue should be able to express opinions without having to be slapped on the hand and being basically called a villain that portrays the school as some sort of conservative sess pool. Your use of such analogies as an Iron curtain in inherently display this fantasy that America is now suddenly some sort of isolationist nation. Once again all Mock did was display a view on an assignment that was due by the end of a week, no need for speaking for all of Aine, because if anything this just polarizes us even more! Bravo if you have read all the way through, cause from personal experiences most people don’t like reading things through context!

    [Reply]

  2. Susan Kern on April 14th, 2017 8:36 am

    Well written and well argued, Aine! You stated your opinion exactly the way our democracy intended, with a well informed conscience and no malice or ill will toward the person with whom you disagreed. You will receive ad hominem attacks in return, and a few many even hate you for disagreeing with them, but they are the minority. Most Americans choose country over party, and want what is best for every American, no matter their politics.

    Keep on listening, keep on writing, and consider any poorly written personal attack a victory, for every person reading your opinion and its replies will form their own opinions, and the pen is mightier than the sword!

    [Reply]

  3. Nicolas Reynoso on April 14th, 2017 10:51 am

    Have you considered joining The Sage? You’ve got some great arguments, and they’re presented very well!

    [Reply]

  4. Grace McGuire on April 14th, 2017 10:55 am

    Excellent and well-researched response. I especially commend your point regarding the representation of several viewpoints on the Sage; as a diverse academic environment, it’s crucial to showcase more than one perspective in our publication.

    [Reply]

  5. Andrew Coviello on April 20th, 2017 7:07 pm

    “Democrats and Republicans were in a spitting-mad shouting match throughout the entire 2016 presidential race, citizens and politicians alike, and tensions certainly haven’t diminished since November.”

    The alt right has memed the ever living heck out of the liberal left for the past 1.5 years concerning the election, first of all.

    “Mock wasn’t wrong when he said Trump “hasn’t shown any signs of slowing down,” but we have to consider the direction in which Trump seems to sprinting: forward or backward? Progressively or degeneratively?”

    If you’ve opened the Art of the Deal, and then looked back at the current events, and back at the Art of the Deal and double took three times, you’d see quite the coincidence…

    “America has “enough problems as it is. . . to be picking up even more weight on our shoulders,” Mock inputs, in regard to the border wall and travel ban so emphatically emphasized in Trump’s pre-election campaign. America has been known as the “land of the free,” the light of opportunity at the end of a tunnel, the chance to make an honest living for millions of immigrants from all over the world since the 1700s. Besides the inherent prejudice of it, Trump’s ban jeopardizes the lives of hundreds, even thousands, of refugees by barring their only possible escape from abusive detention camps and burning homes, while ignoring research that proves crime rates among immigrants is lower than the general population. ”

    You’ve looked at crime rates which takes into account narcotics-related charges and misdemeanors, but have you even considered taking a look at recent newsworthy shootings? And by the way, if you’re looking for the ‘you’re blaming a race’ argument, it’s not there…I sure hope you aren’t anyway. You’re a smart and well-minded citizen, right?

    “Oh, the hypocrisy of people voting for Trump for his businessman status (a lackluster one at that) only to ignore the costly wastefulness of his beloved wall.”

    Good point. Trump had to defund some projects in order to make bank on his wall.

    “For all of Trump’s efforts to remain true to his promise to “make America great again,” he sure does seem to be suffering a lot of criticism from talk show hosts and celebrities, as Mock pointed out. Almost as much condemnation as Obama experienced throughout his term from rioters questioning his American citizenship, and boasting posters of nooses labeled “hang in there Obama.” Almost as much
    condemnation as Hillary Clinton received for use of an email server (an investigation that resulted in not a single reprimand or criminal charge). Almost as much condemnation as LGBT people, African Americans, and all minorities face on the streets every day. Must be difficult for Trump, the only president to ever be denounced, having every single one of his decisions scrutinized and “crucified.””

    Darn it, you killed my dreams. I thought you were presenting a well-structured argument on the behalf of the Democratic party, but you’ve taken to slandering, and not to mention victimizing. Good grief.

    “How ironic that by burdening the backs of laborers with bricks for a wall, keeping Central American immigrants from entering, and separating countless families, in the name of “preserving the American dream,” the president slams the door on innumerable opportunities for new immigrants and for America to participate in humanitarian assistance and global expansion, even environmental improvement
    considering the devastation in war zones.”

    Good writer’s metaphor, but this doesn’t excuse the criminals swept in the brine of which our fair President is most concerned about.

    “However, near the conclusion of his piece, Mock decides that the statement “this may be a nation of immigrants, but our grandparents carried passports, not gang violence” was acceptable. Not only is it ignorant and woefully inaccurate, but the blatant racism reinforces offensive and extremely harmful stereotypes about many of the people in our southern California school and community, not to mention entire civilizations and races that hold a more historically accurate claim to the land on which Mock squats than Mock himself or any Caucasian citizen.”

    You sound kind of mad there. Could it be that you’re implementing pathos in a logical argument? That’s never a good sign. What Mock failed to recognize is that in the 18th century, immigrants from Europe and China came to America and signed up for jobs. Another blow would be about the ethnic group which you speak–Indians. I don’t speak on the behalf of Mock, but I’m sure he knows the tragedy of the American slaughter and deceit to millions of Indians. We can’t simply give them the cold shoulder, but we can’t undo the tragedy either. We can only stop history from repeating itself. If worst comes to worst, we know what to do already. Just don’t go for the ‘whitey supreme’ argument either please.

    ” the domestically-based security threat is growing right under our noses with nearly half of all hate crimes in 2015 being committed by Caucasians”

    ISIS is fueled by religion, not hate.

    I’m giving your argument a two out of five for its sly bias and direct pessimistic nature. You’re still in need of a lot of two-side consideration, but writing these articles is a start, I suppose.

    [Reply]

  6. Tim Baxter on April 21st, 2017 2:27 pm

    Keep in mind these are both opinion articles on Trump´s first 100 days and personal inquires are not appropriate. As it is a free country, we are entitled to our own opinions. If you find Mock´s story racist, it is not intended by him. Incorrectly assuming his race and personally trying to batter him is highly unprofessional.

    [Reply]

  7. Darius Rahmanian on April 23rd, 2017 4:54 pm

    No matter what the content entails, its sad to see that one of the best articles on this entire website is fromm someone who is not even in the class.

    [Reply]

    Sam Bodnar Reply:

    “The Sage” encourages our Bobcat community and entire audience to contribute new story ideas and constructive feedback on any articles/podcasts/videos they desire. Ms. Kern was extremely professional in sending us her letter and whether individuals agree with the stance she took on Jacob Mock’s article or not, it is this very type of discussion that we love to see on our site. We welcome writers like Aine Kern who can respectfully deliver an argument; like our other contributors, we are pleased to post what is sent to us if it follows our criteria (respectful responses and not ad hominem attacks on the writer). As one of the Editors-in-Chief, I am extremely pleased that you believe that this was “one of the best articles on [The Sage].” The editorial board works hard to bring out the best of its writers, and having Ms. Kern on staff next year is something we are very excited for.

    As always Darius, thank you for constantly giving us respectful and insightful feedback on our site’s content. We greatly appreciate hearing constructive criticism that will better develop the content on “The Sage.”

    [Reply]

The Sage intends for this area to be used to foster healthy, thought-provoking discussion. Comments are expected to adhere to our standards and to be respectful and constructive. As such, we do not permit the use of profanity, foul language, personal attacks, or the use of language that might be interpreted as libelous. Comments are reviewed and must be approved by a moderator to ensure that they meet these standards. The Sage does not allow anonymous comments, and The Sage requires a valid email address. The email address will not be displayed but will be used to confirm your comments.

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Sage Creek High School
A Mock Rebuttal