The Headliners

Lila Mansour | Writer

Time and time again, Trump has proven that he will do the unimaginable. For everyone who was keeping track during the 2016 election campaign, the border wall between Mexico and the US was a major promise made to Trump supporters. Most liberal media laughed it off, but now, here we are, three years later, still having this discussion. On December 21st, the US spending legislation was set to expire, so law makers had to agree on a new law. Trump requested that $5.7 billion be set aside to build the ‘wall,’ (despite saying back during the campaign that Mexico would pay for it). The wall has gone from being completely concrete to, now in the president’s words, “steel slats.” But regardless, Trump is determined to carry out this promise. After being told no way! by the Democrats, Trump shut the government down on December 22nd, and thus the chaos began. Now approaching the one-month mark, the government still remains closed. Many workers have been placed on temporary leave while those deemed ‘necessary’ are working without pay. Government employees are unsure whether they will be able to pay their bills at the end of this month. The Internal Revenue Service has ceased many of its services and immigration courts have been hard hit. Roads are not being plowed and government museums and institutions have closed their doors. More important programs are at risk of running out of resources if the shutdown continues into March. Trump has claimed that the southern border is a “humanitarian crisis, a crisis of the heart and a crisis of the soul.” He has warned that he is willing to declare a national state of emergency to build the wall or else Americans should be prepared to see a shut down that lasts years. On the other hand, Democrats, in the words of Nancy Pelosi, view the wall as “immoral” and believe that all the border needs are greater security funding for fences and technology, but not a wall. Trump is not the first to have a government shut-down, nor is this his first time (there were two short ones at the start of 2018). During the last three US presidencies, Obama had one shut down (government debt ceiling problem), George Bush had none, while Bill Clinton had two. As for this current shut down, it appears that there is no clear end in sight, and eventually one side will have to give in. One speculation is that Trump will drag this out and end the shut-down without wall funding but will be sure to blame the Democrats for not addressing border security. It is Trump’s reelection tactic. The question here is not whether border security is important or not; it is clear that improvements need to be made. The real question is whether this issue is being dealt with in the most effective and reasonable way possible. Nancy Pelosi is right; Trump “must stop holding the American people hostage, must stop manufacturing a crisis and must reopen the government.” It is just not worth it for a wall. When I first watched the Gilette short film, I believed that the message that it was trying to send out was wonderful. It was encouraging men to be respectful to each other and to women, and to stand up for and to support one another. The message was very fitting for the MeToo era; I could not understand why the video was facing such backlash, why men were boycotting the company and how the video was reaching one million dislikes. Then after watching it for the third and fourth time, I began to wonder to what extent a company was allowed to use sensitive social issues to sell a product. As much as I admired the ad, was Gillette really the right company to be criticizing men or calling men to act better? Judging by the video comments, Gillette itself was not a perfect company. A part of me felt that Gillette had made the ad too much about the MeToo movement and had portrayed men in a negative way, even going as far as saying only ‘some men were doing their part.’ They had altogether forgotten the product. It should probably be a socially conscious organization advertising this kind of material, not a men’s shaving brand. Yet, in the video I could still see the persisting problems that the MeToo movement was trying to address. Gillette made a point to highlight how men are trying to make a difference and that there are good people out there. It also did not victimize women, nor make men appear superior to women. I have grown up in a society in which I have seen women objectified, mistreated, taken advantage of and seen men praised for committing such actions against women. It is about time that both women and men speak up and support each other in being the best that we can be. I applaud Gillette for having the courage to criticize society, even if it was wrong in its approach and will have to face the economic and social backlash.