Archive for the ‘Opinions/Editorials’ Category

by Justin Patrick Oakes
The Montgazette Staff

President Donald Trump has shown time and time again what dire consequences we as Americans and human beings are faced with when we refuse to analyze history. Trump’s apparent lack of understanding regarding the history of nuclear missiles may very well prove costly to American citizens, not just with our wallets, but with our lives. Since tensions between North Korea and the United States have always been very high, it’s safe to assume that North Korean leader, Kim Jong Un, was already in favor of the full destruction of America. Yet, many Americans haven’t gone to sleep at night with the full realization that we might not wake up tomorrow, until President Trump took office. The last time Americans went to sleep with this legitimate fear of nuclear weapon induced dread was when President John F. Kennedy was in office.

The Cuban Missile Crisis marked thirteen days in 1962 of terrifying peril for all citizens of the world as the Soviet Union began placing nuclear weapons in Cuba, just 90 miles south of Florida. As United States planes drew close on Cuba, they were shot down, resulting in the deaths of two U.S. soldiers. As the two superpowers pushed the world closer and closer to the brink of utter annihilation, citizens prepared for the worst. After intense negotiations, blockades, and standoffs, the Soviets finally agreed to remove their weapons from Cuba. One fact that is often swept under the rug, however, is that the Soviets were simply retaliating. The United States had decided to put nuclear missiles in Turkey, with the missiles pointed right at the Soviet Union. The only reason that missiles were ever put in Cuba was because of the original U.S. aggression, and the only reason they were removed was because the U.S. agreed to take theirs out of Turkey.

Fast forward to 2017. Trump is doing the exact same thing as Kennedy by instigating North Korea. Not only has Trump called for “fire and fury” against North Korea, he has proposed the redundant expansion of our already massive nuclear weapons program, has ridiculed Kim Jong Un with his schoolyard bully jab “Rocket Man,” has put incredibly tough sanctions on an already harshly sanctioned North Korea, and literally has threatened to kill North Korea’s nearly 25 million citizens during a speech to the U.N.

So, when North Korea’s foreign minister, Ri Yong Ho, says that the United States has “declared war on North Korea” and that North Korea has the right to “shoot down United States strategic bombers,” perhaps he’s simply borrowing a legitimate play from the U.S.S.R.

What Trump should have learned from the Cuban Missile Crisis is not to instigate a foreign leader who is hellbent on destruction and war. As Americans, it’s our job to be the bigger people, and as Teddy Roosevelt once said, “Speak softly and carry a big stick.” The United States has enough problems without throwing a nuclear war into the mix, and Trump should have learned that by now.


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Sara Wilkerson
The Montgazette Editor-in-Chief

New Academic Year, New Beginnings…

Whether it’s your first or second (or even beyond that) year here at Montgomery County Community College (MCCC), the start of a new year can be daunting. The adjustment of getting a new routine set around classes, clubs, work in part time or full time jobs, family, friends… it can be a challenging experience to overcome. With these obligations, it can be easy to just say to yourself, “I want to give up.”

And I’m here to tell you this: You’re better than that.

I know that for me, I’m no exception to the challenge of college life and responsibilities. In addition to managing The Montgazette, I am involved in five other clubs: I’m a member of the Honors Club and Chess Club, I am a member of the Arts and Literature Magazine staff, I am the President of the Writer’s Club and I recently became the Phi Theta Kappa Public Relations Officer. Aside from clubs, I also have a part time job and have a full semester course load of five classes, with one of them being an honors course.

It is safe to say that I, along with many other student leaders on campus, can find the balancing act to be overwhelming. Yet, even as I say this, I’ve seen the excellence in the student body within the first few weeks this Fall semester. From the College’s Club Fair to the kickoff of the OneMontco Unity Series, the students of MCCC have expressed interest in involvement on campus. As a second-year student here at MCCC, I can tell you from experience that being involved in clubs is what can help you make the most of your college life – even amidst all your worrisome obligations.

I remember at the start of my first semester here at MCCC, I didn’t feel as if I belonged on campus because I didn’t have many friends. However, once I started to get involved in clubs, I realized that by joining clubs, I could hang out more with the people I saw in my classes every day. Even the simplest task of attending club meetings helped me in other aspects of my life: I’ve become more organized in scheduling my life every day – from clubs, to classes and all the other obligations that are thrown at me in life…

My point here is that I know that college life can be overwhelming, that perhaps you, a student here at MCCC, are feeling what I felt in my first semester of college. But I’m here to tell you that by simply being more proactive on campus, that perhaps all the other pieces in your life will fall into place.

If you’re interested in getting more involved on campus, I strongly recommend using the multiple resources that the College offers. First and foremost, there’s OrgSync, which is a website where you can find information on club and campus related events and activities being posted regularly. There’s also the Student Leadership Involvement (SLI) office where you can talk to the new Director of Student Life Tyler Steffy about clubs you’re interested in. And of course, you can sign up at club fairs when they happen once every semester and get information from there as well.

With that being said, I want to wish all of the students at MCCC good luck on completing the rest of the Fall semester. Don’t worry, you got this!

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Sara Wilkerson, David Aston, Justin Oakes, and Emily Shim
The Montgazette Staff

“I pray that you have integrity and print the answers as I wrote them.” These were the words of shady Texas businessman turned Philadelphia-based “You’re going to Hell” Pastor Aden Rusfeldt who demonstrated on the Quad of Montgomery County Community College’s Central Campus on May 2.  According to a press release from the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC), the pastor has a 10-year history of fraudulent business practices and fake businesses that forced the U.S. CFTC to levy a $3.2 million judgment against him in September 2016.  Since then, he and his supporters have broadcasted a message of what many Philadelphia area colleges have called hate speech. This was Rustfeldt’s first visit to Montco.

In his book, “Open Air Fire: Principles of Open Air Outreach,”  Rusfeldt  outlines his reasons for preaching the way he does. Rusfeldt writes, “I love to ask people, ‘How loving is God that He makes a specific list you can read of sins that will keep you out of heaven? That is how much God loves you.”

Rusfeldt said that his demonstration at Montco was against sin, “Because sinning hurts people.”  His supporters held up signs that reflected his “specific list” of people “going to Hell.” These sinners on a particular banner, according to student eyewitness Mara  Witsen  included, “Homo[sexuals], Muslims, Cow worshippers… Racists [specifically] the KKK and Black Lives Matter, Money Lovers, Mama’s Boys, Witches, Gamers, Cutters, Brats, Emos, Rebellious Women, Punks, Liars, Sissies, the Pope, Party Animals, Gangster Rappers, Rock-and-Roll Freaks, So-Called Christians…” And the list went on.

“They’ve got a right to say what they want to say. But, I mean, at the same time I think it goes against what they were trying to say, because, I mean… Jesus also said ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ That’s not what they were doing,” Ethan Harris, who also witnessed the demonstration event, said.

The signs and shouting drew in a crowd of dozens of Montco students who kept their distance and later drowned out the preaching with music and heckling.

“I’ll be honest with you, [I’ve been] here almost 20 years, I don’t remember anything like that before,”  Montco’s  Senior Producer and Technical Services Supervisor Matt Porter said of the demonstration. “They have a right to be here. Let them have their [say] but let it be known [the students] didn’t necessarily agree. And I think I was proud of our students for keeping it peaceful, but voicing their opinion loud and clear that this was not necessarily the opinion that they agreed with.” Harris added, “I think it was a positive experience in that it united a lot of people in the college setting. Which with community college it’s harder to do that than per se a four-year [college].”

Rusfeldt’s group’s hate speech-laden preaching didn’t last long. They still shouted at the students as they left Campus at their own will, with an escort from Montco’s Public Safety Team at 2:45 p.m.

The question remains, however, will a preacher with little business integrity and a long list of his own sins return to Montco?

Brittney Baldwin_Protester Sign

Pastor Aden Rusfeldt and his group hold protest banners for MCCC students and faculty to read as they preached for several hours on Central Campus. Photo courtesy of Brittney Baldwin



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Justin Oakes
The Montgazette Contributing Writer

A dashing young quarterback takes the field, bushy hair bouncing, looking fit and ready to put up a good preseason fight. There’s a heat in the air and the crowd is pumped and looking forward to a terrific game. As the people in the crowd are asked to rise and remove their hats for the “The StarSpangled Banner,” people gape in horror as the young quarterback refuses to rise, instead opting to take a knee.

Colin Kaepernick made headline news in the Fall of 2016, not for his football skills, but for the social justice movement he started by taking a knee during multiple games while the national anthem was playing. Under normal circumstances, it would be safe to assume that anyone who takes a knee during the most patriotic song of the nation’s history would be, himself, unpatriotic. But Kaepernick’s message was as loud and clear and as patriotic as a social justice message should be: police violence against unarmed African Americans must end.

Jumping ahead to March 22, President Donald Trump spoke to a seemingly enthusiastic crowd in San Francisco, the city that Kaepernick is based out of, about the potential reasoning behind Kaepernick’s future unemployment possibilities. The President stated, “It was reported that NFL owners don’t want to pick him up because they don’t want to get a nasty tweet from Donald Trump,” while egging on the crowd and welcoming the boos directed at Kaepernick.

But it was Kaepernick who proved that actions speak louder than words. Meals on Wheels, a company that provides elderly citizens with food, is expected to receive major funding cuts due to the new budget plan proposed by Trump. On March 23, the day after Trump made his remarks, Meals on Wheels publicly thanked Kaepernick for his generous $50,000 contribution to its program.

In addition to his donation to Meals on Wheels, Kaepernick has been very active in giving back to the community. The Million Dollar Pledge was set up by Kaepernick as a way of giving back to various organizations all over the world. Through the help of fundraising, as well as donating proceeds of his football jersey sales, Kaepernick is donating $100,000 each month for ten months to different charitable organizations of his choosing.

Also, Kaepernick’s Know Your Rights Campaign was started in response to the atrocities being committed by certain police officers against primarily black youth. The campaign focuses on informing children and young adults about their rights as individuals and how they can interact with law enforcement officials of whom they feel threatened by. According to its website, the goal of the campaign is to “create the change that is much needed in this world.”

Trump’s remarks may not be presidential, but they certainly aren’t un-Trump-like. And while the President is off spewing his hatred of a football star, said football star is out making a difference. In a nation founded on the actions and hard work of brave men and women who vow to stand up for what’s right, it’s refreshing to see a man like Kaepernick start to move it in the right direction. Specifically, Kaepernick seems to be helping the inner cities, the one’s that Trump said he would save.

Score 1: Kaepernick. Score 0: Trump.

Patriotism is all a matter of perspective. If taking away meals from the elderly is one’s idea of what patriotism should look like, so be it, that’s life, as they say. But I’ve always known in my heart that the America I grew up in and came to know and love was only made possible because of the people like Colin Kaepernick who chose to stand up for what’s right.

In the end, it seems that Mr. Kaepernick is giving more back to U.S. citizens and working harder for the people than the president himself. Not bad for a guy who kneels during the national anthem, not bad at all.

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Mary Haviland
The Montgazette Contributing Writer

Many people continue to purchase new clothes without remembering what they already have. Buying is actually more expensive and throwing away old clothes is more than just wasteful. There is a way to maintain frugality and avoid waste: secondhand clothing efforts.

The Environmental Sustainability Club (ECS) will be collecting new and gently used, and washed, clothes for a Clothing Swap up to and including, April 14. The “swap” will be held the same day as Central Campus’ Earth Day, April 19th, from 12:15PM to 1:15PM in the Quad. After the event, all remaining garments will be donated to the Green Drop, a charity that supports the Purple Heart, the American Red Cross, the National Federation of the Blind and the Society of St. Vincent de Paul of Philadelphia.

A clothing swap is a two-step process. The first part is a collection of clothing. This allows people to clear their closets of clothes that they do not wear anymore to lessen clutter and avoid creating more trash. The second step is the swap itself, which allows people to come and pick out any clothes that have been collected free of charge, effectively recycling the garments.

The purpose of this swap is to help bring awareness to the waste the fashion industry creates. Eileen Fisher, a fashion retailer with her own clothing line, has on several occasions admitted to the waste the industry creates, even from the production of her own clothes. She has spoken out about it on her Twitter account, and her admissions
and hope to change it have been quoted by many publications, including the article “The Fashion Industry Tries to Take Responsibility For Its Pollution” published in The Washington Post. This pollution is both from the consumption of resources to create the garments and the amount of clothes that ultimately find their way into landfills.

Looking at materials used to make clothes, cotton is one of the most popular, and the thirstiest. The World Wildlife Fund has estimated that it takes approximately 5,300 gallons of water to produce around two pounds of cotton, which makes only a single T-shirt and a pair of jeans. That could mean each person could easily be retaining 140,000 gallons of water within their weekly wardrobe.

Additionally, some people update their wardrobe seasonally, four times a year. Retailers promote “must-have” seasonal fashion items, an extremely wasteful concept which leads to landfills being flooded with out of season textiles that are still completely wearable. Those fashion followers could be wasting up to 560,000 gallons of water a year individually, and that is only assuming their wardrobe consists of just seven pairs of jeans and shirts.

The odd piece of new clothing here and there is alright, after all clothes sometimes wear out; but it is important to be cognizant of the forgotten clothes at home, the resources used to make them and where they will end up when they are discarded. Will they be tucked away, thrown away, or will they be given away?


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by Jack Wisniewski
The Montgazette Contributing Writer

Among the  Oscar Awards powerhouse and talk of the movie world  was “La La Land”, the latest critically acclaimed picture coming from young, yet established director, Damien Chazelle, who unsurprisingly won the coveted Achievement in Directing Academy Award. The film stars charming A-list actors Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone who encapsulate what it is to chase your dreams and live a wide-eyed life in the big city of Los Angeles.

Wonderful musical numbers throughout the movie show the feelings of these almost whimsical characters in a magical way as they fall in love while managing the chase for stardom. Kristen Walsh, a moviegoer, said, “ ‘La La Land’ is one of the best musical movies” she has ever seen.

The spontaneous songs and dances are the foundation for the film. The bright,  beautiful sets and production designs that earned the film an Oscar,  keeps  your eyes glued to the screen while songs of hope, love, and even disappointment fill your ears. The inspiring original score added another two Oscars to its collection. These elements of the film weave together perfectly to immerse you in the beauty and art on screen with a story that keeps you hooked.

Emma Stone, who plays the lead and half of the story’s love interest, pulled in her first Oscar win for Actress in a Leading Role by putting on a masterful performance as a down-on-her-luck aspiring  actress longing  to hit the big time. Emma Stone paired  well  with former Oscar nominee Ryan Gosling as they formed the relationship the story revolves around.

I found myself rooting for the blossoming couple through thick and thin throughout the whole film. These two were able to illicit connections with the audience  and anyone who has had or searched for love. Gosling’s talent on the piano and on the dance floor were impressive to say the least, while Stone showed acting range we have not seen from her in the past through her vocal cords and dancing prowess as well.

With so much going for “La La Land,” it was hard to find someone who did not like the film, but one moviegoer said that the theme of boy meets girl was not very original and that the musical numbers could have been more consistent throughout the movie.  Most moviegoers felt that the costume  design of bright dresses and dapper suits, combined with a throwback feel all set in present day L.A., create a totally unique film. The cinematography, which accepted the fourth of five Oscar wins, tells the story well through varied and innovative aesthetically pleasing visuals that help capture the emotions of the characters so that you, the audience, can interpret them accurately.

This film is fresh, entertaining, and inspiring. It deserves each Oscar nomination and win that it received. It was so good it was almost wrongly, but without question, accepted as the Best Picture winner during the infamous debacle at the Oscar Awards ceremony! I rate this film a strong 4 ¼ out of 5 stars.

lala land

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Erin Ilisco
Montgazette Contributing Writer

A march that began as one retired grandmother being stirred up about the newly elected president’s policies and controversial election campaign, turned out to be one of the most massive single-day demonstrations in recent memory. On January 21, The Women’s March on Washington drew a crowd estimated at over 500,000, with more than 600 worldwide sister marches altogether drawing an estimated 4.5 million marchers, according to The Washington Post. The demonstrators’ myriad signs revealed the numerous issues they were significantly concerned about. Organizers and celebrities mentioned many of these issues in the speeches that they gave before the actual march commenced. Numerous topics were talked about, including climate change, clean water, immigration, pay equality, affordable healthcare, LGBTQ rights and pipeline construction.
Nearly everyone there wanted more than just a conversation with a ubiquitous message. They wanted everyone to be steadfast in not allowing the extraordinary feelings of unity and solidarity to be all that the day was about. Rather, to be constantly moving forward in the pursuit of sustaining the freedoms and rights that they so deeply cherish.
Kathy Daidone, from Feasterville, Pennsylvania, was extremely worried about the possible defunding of Planned Parenthood. As a long-time healthcare professional, Daidone was aware of the tremendous importance of continued funding for the non-profit, reproductive health services organization. Countless men and women have told her how they rely on their local Planned Parenthood for low-cost healthcare services, including life-saving cancer screenings, that they would otherwise not be able to afford.
There were few, if any, harsh or inciting words to be heard and there were no arrests. The awe-inspiring unity that was so incredibly palpable, regardless of gender, age, race or political leanings, ultimately defined the entire day. The underlying factor that brought each person together at the march was the unshakable fear that a number of human and civil rights may be in danger.

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Photo by Erin Ilisco

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Photo by Erin Ilisco

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