The outsiders view of the American Utopia

There is no doubt that a majority of Americans will claim that the United States of America is the greatest country on this earth. In addition, a large portion outside of the US also believe that it is the greatest country on this earth.

The facts may suggest otherwise, the US is ranked 7th in terms of education, 7th in business entrepreneurship and a measly number 18 for quality of life. So then why, why is the US viewed in such high standing? Why is the US seen as the greatest country in the world, not only by Americans but by a majority of the worlds population.

Many words are brushed around as to why the US is best, the most common one being “freedom”. This term is used so lightly it hardly has any meaning. How can one be “free” if they have to worry about their legitimacy in a country because of the new executive orders? How can one be “free” if they cannot trust those who swear to serve and protect them? Primarily, the term “freedom” in this case is just not something that is special to America either, countries such as Germany and Belgium truly express freedom.

Again, why is it that the US is thus viewed as the greatest country in the world? I believe that it is the marketing of opportunity. The US in ranked 1st in power as well as being influential and 2nd in being a forward-looking country. The way America is viewed is in a very positive light because of these so-called opportunities that are presented. I did think the US was the greatest country on earth, before I got here.

The potential is limitless, the positives are positive, however, the reality remains that the people within the US and the choices that are being made, make it run short of being that best country that everyone expects.


The Human Dalek

In the episode Dalek’s In Manhattan we learn of a Dalek plot to evolve using human DNA and vesicles. The plot eventually went awry due to the non-human Daleks turning against their leader Dalek Sec who is has at that point in time evolved into the first human Dalek. Eventually all of the Dalek’s with the exception of Dalek Khan die including Dalek Sec. What would be really interesting is if Dalek Sec’s plans had not been foiled by the other Daleks but was actually followed.
If Dalek Sec’s plans had been followed then all of the humans they had harvested would have Dalek DNA and Dalek ideas but would still remain mostly human. This would mean that those humans who were spliced with Dalek DNA would have major attitude adjustments and likely look at the world we live in very differently. Assuming that the human would keep the best traits of a human which is what Sec wanted we can figure out roughly how these individuals may have acted. First we need to understand what Dalek Sec admired about humans so much. I think the main reason Sec decided it was necessary to evolve was due to humankind’s ability to not just survive but also thrive in many environments. Because of this it is safe to assume that the humans would still have the ability to adapt to dangerous situations. Once Sec becomes a human Dalek he begins to experience emotions that have long been lost to the Daleks and he realizes that these emotions are what keep humans thriving and adapting. So it would be a good assumption to guess that the humans would retain their entire original emotional spectrum. However, many of those emotions would be dulled or kept dormant while more Dalek traits like cunning, intelligence, and feeling of superiority would be heightened.

Diversity at Wartburg

When you think of Wartburg, would you say it’s a diverse college? Personally, I think diversity is one of the things that Wartburg strives for. As a college that’s located in the small town of Waverly, Iowa, it can be difficult to develop and attract a diverse student community. The college experience, in general, should be one that’s filled with diverse experiences that make a better, more well-rounded student. Wartburg’s 2016 to 2017 enrollment was 1,482 students. Of those 1,482 students, 48% are men and 52% are women. Those 1,482 students come from 28 states in the United States and 58 countries including the United States. Of Wartburg’s 1,482 students, 193 are students of color from the United States, and 131 are international students.  These 324 students make up the diverse student population at Wartburg. In total, the student body belongs to more than 25 Christian denominations and eight world religions. There are approximately 450 students involved in music on campus, making up 30% of the student body. There about 600 students who are involved in athletics. As you can see, Wartburg is a diverse community that helps its students become more well-rounded people and ready for the real world.

Independents Hold Majority in U.S. Party Affiliation

In the United States, we are seeing a change when it comes to party affiliation. In an article written by the Pew Research Center titled “A Deep Dive into Party Affiliation,” it shows that from 1985 to 2009 party affiliation stayed relatively the equal with democrats, republicans, and independents. However, since 2009, we have seen a shift in party affiliation where more and more people are identifying as independent.  According to the article, “39% call themselves independents, 32% identify as Democrats and 23% Republicans, as of 2014.”

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Then in another article written by Jeffrey M. Jones of Gallup titled “Independent Political ID in US Lowest in Six Years,” we can see that this trend continued into 2015, where independents were at their highest at 42%. This continued into 2016, where 39% identified as Independent, 31% as Democrat, and 28% as Republican.

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Moderation and diversity in politics is an important factor in creating bipartisan compromise. This departure from partisan politics is a good step forward in diverse thinking and will hopefully lead to a more moderate legislature instead of the polarized one we see today.

Enforcing a New Red Line?

The world was shocked when they saw the horrifying images of children and adults writhing on the floor, gasping for breath as they foamed at the mouth. On April 4, 2017, the Red Line was crossed again by the ruthless Syrian dictator, Bashar al-Assad, and his murderous regime. Assad launched yet another chemical weapons attack on his own people in Khan Sheikhoun, Syria. This time it was in the form of Sarin gas. Sarin gas is a highly deadly chemical nerve agent that’s banned under international law. The attack killed 89 people and injured dozens more. In retaliation for the attack on civilians, President Donald Trump took much-needed action in America’s first direct military strike against the Assad regime. On his orders, US warships launched 59 Tomahawk cruise missiles at the airbase where the aircraft that preformed the chemical attack were being stored. The strike targeted aircraft, aircraft shelters, petroleum, logistical storage, ammunition supply bunkers, and air defense systems. The strike was successful with 58 of the 59 missiles severely degrading or destroying their intended target. This was a necessary response that should’ve been taken by the Obama administration back in 2013 when Assad used chemical weapons near Damascus killing 1,400 civilians. The United States must continue to enforce the Red Line when it comes to the barbaric use of chemical weapons. It must also work towards a way to unseat Assad and restore order to Syria.

Diversity at RICE Day

April 11, 2017, was Wartburg’s sixth annual RICE Day celebration. RICE stands for Research, Internship, and Creative Endeavor Day.  It recognizes student achievement in and out of the classroom, and showcases Wartburg’s academic and co-curricular diversity across the disciplines. This day allows all students to see the diverse possibilities and opportunities at Wartburg College. I saw a lot of different academic presentations at RICE Day, but what fascinated me the most was the amount of diverse subjects being researched in the social sciences. I will highlight two of them in this post.

The first poster I’m going to talk about was titled “House Ventilation in Kenya” and was created by Emma Fuhs and Clay Henning. This group designed a stove that will reduce exposure to emissions and improve the overall health of the user and produce economic opportunities for Kenyan entrepreneurs. They believe that if this design was implemented, it would help save 4.3 million people’s lives annually from lung cancer because it would give proper ventilation. The design they came up with will reduce exposure to CO2 emissions by 90%. They estimate the cost to be around $50 and last for 15 years and could really help communities in Kenya.

The second poster I visited was titled “Capsaicinoid Concentration in the Carolina Reaper” and was created by Lily Zheng and Tessa Helmle. This group looked into the development of capsaicinoid in the Carolina Reaper, which is currently the hottest pepper in the world. The group researched the development of capsaicinoid, the chemical which makes peppers hot. They wanted to know the point in the pepper’s development when the pepper is at its hottest. They found that capsaicinoid develops in the pepper during weeks 1-4, and at week 4 it is at its highest. After 5 weeks, capsaicinoid starts to taper off.

As you can see, RICE Day showcases Wartburg’s academic and co-curricular diversity across the disciplines. Wartburg College is an amazing place where you can truly follow whatever passion you have.

Diversity and Change

Change is hard.

Change is hard for everyone. Change is even hard for people who say they like change, whether or not they will admit it.

Before coming to college, I didn’t really believe this. It wasn’t until about the third month of school that it hit me that I would never play sports again on a competitive team. It wasn’t until Christmas break that I realized I would never stay in my childhood home for longer than a few months at a time again in my entire life. It wasn’t until several months after Christmas break that I realized I would never get the chance to compete in speech again, something that I had been very involved with in high school; that this year, someone besides myself would win the state championship in serious prose for the first time in three years. But for some reason, it didn’t really hit me that life had changed until one of my closest friends in high school sent me a picture from her graduation party. I was thousands of miles away on a May term trip to Europe and couldn’t be there for her party, and while I didn’t shed a tear at my own graduation, for some reason this made me cry.

It was then that I really realized that life would never be what it was, and the nostalgia of knowing I was growing up really got to me. Sitting in a cafe in Eisenach, I thought about all the things I would never experience again, and while it made me kind of sad, I also found it vaguely inspirational. While I wouldn’t be able to experience a number of things I had previously, I also had the chance to experience so much more in my future. I was sitting at a cafe in Eisenach because I was touring with my college band, something I would get to do for the next three years after that. I was in the band because I was at college and furthering my education, which would hopefully open up a variety of opportunities I wouldn’t have had the chance to experience otherwise. And while I couldn’t relive the past, I realized that I didn’t really want to. I had moved on to a point in my life that going back and doing the things I loved to do in high school wouldn’t be the same and wouldn’t give me as much enjoyment any more. I was different, and that was okay.

So while change is hard, its also transformative. It makes us unique and helps us grow, and for that reason, it’s essential to our future achievement and happiness.