No Peaceful Transition

January 20th, 2017 was truly a historic date, as our forty-fifth president, Donald J. Trump was  officially inaugurated as president of the United States. In attendance were previous presidents Carter, Clinton, Bush and Obama, as well as scores of Americans wearing the Trump administration’s iconic trucker hat emblazoned with his slogan, “Make America Great Again.”

Despite President Trump’s statement that this was a “peaceful” exchange of power, the political landscape across America remained far from peaceful surrounding the inauguration.

The largest organized protest, “Women’s March” protested in several major cities across the nation against President Trump’s conservative campaign policies, as well as his promise to crack down on illegal immigration and Islamic terrorism. They took to the streets to speak their mind following the inauguration ceremony, leaving scores of signs behind at their areas of protest.

Simultaneously, other black-garbed protesters bearing the red and black iconography of anarcho-communists or anarcho-syndicalists took to the streets of Washington D.C. as well, vandalizing public and private property. These riots further escalated to conflict with police, who attempted to quell the riot, leading to over 200 rioters arrested and six injured police officers.

Sally Kohn’s (a prominent LGBT political commentator) statement early in the presidential electoral season, that “if Trump wins, Hillary supporters will be sad” and “If Hillary wins Trump supporters will be angry” has proven itself to be incorrect. At this point, if either candidate had lost, their supporters would have been angry.

The country remains as divided as ever. It’s quite telling when protesters are bearing a banner embroidered with the phrase “NO PEACEFUL TRANSITION.” We’ve entered a political climate where an “Alternative Right” (a far-right political movement) speaker Richard Spencer can be physically assaulted on the streets during an interview. People have found this behavior to be acceptable because Richard Spencer has been labeled a “Nazi”, even if he insists that he does not consider himself to be one. It deeply disturbs me that we have entered a climate where it has become publicly acceptable to apply the label of “fascism”, regardless of accuracy, to one’s political opponents and resort to violence against them instead of engaging in peaceful political discourse.  

Some have argued that it is perfectly fine to vandalize private and public property as well as assault far-right ideologists, citing the Boston Tea party and anti-fascist sentiments in America’s history. What they fail to realize is that the contexts of both excuses are far different than this. Colonists were protesting a newly enacted tax on tea and a state granted monopoly given to a British trading company conducted the Boston tea party. The colonists had no say in the enactment of the tax/monopoly, and thus lashed out.

The protesters had a non-violent way to vocalize their opposition: vote against Trump. However, that failed.  That does not give them the right to vandalize their fellow Americans’ property. They aren’t vandalizing some large corporation’s latest asset, but stores owned by everyday Americans. We live in a democracy that did not exist at the time of the colonists, and it speaks volumes to the rioters’ immaturity that they cannot accept that they lost a democratic election. As to the anti-fascist sentiments of WW2, one must remember that at that time, such advocating was seditious. It often called for the subjugation of America to the ideals of Nazi Germany or Fascist Italy.  Today, this is merely the far-right political ideals of an American, who is in no way advocating for the dissolution or subjugation of the United States. Therefore, he/she retains the right to hold and express his/her political opinion just the same as the self-proclaimed communist who took to the streets with violence and vandalism. By their logic, it should be perfectly acceptable to assault self-proclaimed communists because the Cold War happened, and it was acceptable to despise communists back then.

It is times like these that my mind is boggled by how far we’ve come. In the recent past, liberals were a fast-growing movement that advocated for peace and understanding while the conservatives were deeply entrenched in their ideals. Now, “liberals” advocate for strong-armed censorship of ideologies that do not conform to the mainstream, all in the name of peace and understanding, while the conservatives remain deeply entrenched in its ideals.

I can only hope that the tensions wrought from the election season will settle in the coming months of the Trump presidency and we can unite once more as Americans,  partaking in peaceful political discourse where disputes and debates are won by skillfully crafted arguments, backed by statistics and facts, instead of by physical force or censor. I can only hope.

What Would Francis Do?

 When our school’s namesake, Francis of Assisi, was young, he wasn’t the greatest example of a Christian.  He led a life of worldly pleasure, enjoying the riches he was born into in a carefree lifestyle. It was only after coming back from a war that he had a spiritual awakening to become the saint we know today.  He began to turn his back on his previous way of life, choosing to live serving God and his fellow man.  In fact, he began donating so much of his monetary inheritance that his father disowned him.  In his travels that followed, Francis converted many to Christianity and preserved nature, adhering to the ways of Christ for the rest of his days, building a reputation as the patron saint of animals and the environment.

Make-A-Difference Day is an annual event at our school that allows students to help around the school.  However, it isn’t simply an event – it’s an opportunity.  It’s an opportunity to be more like Saint Francis and, by extension, Jesus Christ by helping our community.  

Make-A-Difference Day is an opportunity to improve ourselves by working to better the world around us and we should begin to see it as such.  Many of us make the mistake of approaching community service as a chore when it should mean so much more to us.  Community service is just that: a service to the people around us.  Helping others is something that should be relished, not lamented.

     With all this in mind, I challenge you to enjoy the next act of community service you take part in.  I challenge you to think of the difference you are making in the lives of those you are helping and the days that you may have just brightened by choosing to lend a helping hand.  I challenge you to be eager to make a difference, just like Saint Francis, and just like Jesus Christ.

A Good Rivalry

Rivalry is “the competition or superiority in the same field.”  Everywhere we go, for the rest of our lives we will be faced with competition. In the past if I had to say we had a rival playing volleyball, I’d say HBA. They are a skilled volleyball team and always a challenge. For the past two seasons that I’ve been playing JV, our games with them were always close. They’ve beat us in the past, but we’ve also comeback and beat them as well. This past game that we’ve had with them this season, it was especially close. They had just beat us in the first set and we took the second. So we were forced to play for the third to decide the winner of the game. I especially remember this game because we were up and up with them for literally the entire game–they would get a point and then we would get a point. It was the most stressful game of my life there was so much pressure. We ended up going to 26-24 and we took the game. I was so happy that it was all over and that we took the win. We play them again two weeks from now and I know they’ll be dying to beat us. It’s happened before. I remember freshman year that we had a super close game and beat them on their home court and then they ended up beating us the second time around on our home court. I think we’ll be okay though because we won that game with two of our setters sit out because they were injured and we had Shandy, who is a freshman, set for the entire game by herself. I’d say we won that game because we kept the energy up and set our mind to the goal that we really wanted to win. I believe that if you want something bad enough and you work for it how badly you want it, you can achieve it.

Seniors Welcome Freshman And Build Relationships

Being a freshman can be kind of scary, but here at Saint Francis School we have a way to make the transition from middle school to high school a little easier.

One of the many traditions we have is our Big Sibling/Little Sibling event. This event consists of a senior (big sibling) being paired up with either one or two freshmen (little sibling/s). Over the span of two cycles, big siblings and little siblings exchange letters and gifts, such as candy, gift cards, food, and stuffed animals.

The fun part of this tradition is that this gives freshmen a chance to try and guess who their older sibling is.  Freshman Isaiah San Diego says, “I look forward to meeting my big sibling.  I kind of have an idea of who they are, and I’m really excited to see if I’m right or not.”

Many teachers believe that this is a great way to get freshmen more comfortable with being high schoolers.  Senior Homeroom Teacher Señora Rivas Roblin says, “It is a tradition that is fun to watch as the seniors welcome the freshmen to high school.  It helps to bond the divisions that are three years apart.”

Freshmen see this event as something fun and exciting.  They can’t wait to meet their big sibling.  Seniors anxiously look forward to the event as well. Senior Class President Tiare Guerrero says, “I expect to take away a relationship between my little sibling and I, as well as the bond between the senior and freshmen class.”

On August 31, 2016, Freshmen will have a chance to meet their sibling.  It will also be the first and last time that they are permitted to step foot in the senior courtyard until they are seniors. This bond and relationship will be an unforgettable experiences for both classes.

The online news site of Saint Francis School