The Ripcurrent: AOC, Protest Clashes, Trump's Niece, John Lewis

AOC Takes On Sexism and Misogyny in Government

The words of Alexandria Ocasio Cortez are reaching people across the nation: on July 23rd, U.S. Representative Alexandria Ocasio Cortez came to the House floor to deliver a powerful speech addressing rampant sexism in the United States government, and to call out U.S. Representative Ted Yoho for the comments he’d made about her. Two days before her speech, Yoho and Cortez had an encounter on the steps of the Capitol, where Yoho “put his finger in [her]  face, he called [her]  disgusting, he called [her]  crazy, he called [her]  out of [her] mind. And he called [her]  dangerous. And then he took a few more steps and after [she] had recognized his – after [she]  had recognized his comments as rude, he walked away and said, I’m rude, you're calling me rude". After Cortez came back out of the Capitol building, there were reporters standing around Yoho as he called Cortez, quote, a “f------- b----".

The day after the encounter, Yoho made a speech to “apologize" for his recent behavior, but he did not address Cortez by name. He said he apologized for the abruptness of the conversation, although he called the truthfulness of the reports into question. He mentioned his wife and daughters in his speech, and how he is cognizant of the language he uses. He then went on speak about poverty in America, and how he and his wife had faced poverty, closing with a refusal to apologize for his passion, or for loving his God, family and country.

The day after Yoho's statement, Cortez addressed how the comments he made did not deeply hurt her, since they were part of a systemic culture of sexism in America that she has become numb to. Cortez was not satisfied with his apology, pointing out how Yoho had refused to take responsibility in his statement the day prior, and that she is not satisfied with the apology. She also brought up how interactions like these are not incidental, stating that we live in a culture where violence of both physical and verbal nature towards women is accepted. She furthered her point saying that it is not who surrounds a man, a daughter, wife, that makes him decent, rather it is treating people with respect and dignity. Then she thanks Yoho for showing how a man in power, a man with a wife and daughters, a self proclaimed family man, "can accost women without remorse", and her colleagues, and closing out her speech.

-Amy Whitman

Federal Agents Clash With Protesters

PORTLAND, OREGON — Across the nation,  protesters have taken to the streets, chanting, marching, and advocating for the Black Lives Matter movement. But here, heavily armed agents with no clear identification, wearing paramilitary uniforms, have been firing tear gas, rubber and pepper bullets, and other chemical irritants at the crowds. There were even accounts of agents grabbing protesters off the streets, pulling them into unmarked vans, driving to the federal courthouse, and then releasing them with no clear explanation for why they were “arrested”.

We learned this week that these mysterious militarized agents were in fact, sent by the Department of Homeland Security and the Department of Justice. While they have full legal right to defend the federal courthouse in Portland as federal agents, the mayor of Portland and the Governor of Oregon, along with countless other state officials, have ordered the agents to stay inside the building or withdraw, as they are overstepping their duty, inflaming the situation, and provoking vandalism and violence. Critics argue that the presence of these officials infringes on our 1st Amendment right to assemble, and that government violence against protesters hints at a progression to an authoritarian state. Acting DHS Secretary Chad Wolf defended the action, as well as President Trump, who called the protesters “violent mobs [and] anarchists”.

-Viviane Kim

Trump's Niece Speaks Out

Mary Trump, Donald Trump’s niece, recently released a book called Too Much and Never Enough, This book is essentially a tell-all about what her family is like behind closed doors. She primarily focuses on our current president, Donald Trump.

In her book, Mary, who holds a PhD in psychology, diagnoses Donald Trump as a narcissist, stating that he fits under all nine criteria for clinical narcissism. She claims that his issues may come from his harsh relationship with his father who allegedly treated feelings as if they were a sign of weakness, making President Trump desperate for approval from others. She mentions that the president may have cheated on his SATs and that he made his way through schooling because of his wealthy family, not his intelligence. She talks about how Donald Trump has made crude comments about her body and uses racial slurs in private. Mary Trump also encourages her uncle to resign, because she believes he is not fit for the job, stating that her family has created “the world’s most dangerous man.

The book's publication was previously held up in court by the Trump family, and the President has branded it "untruthful".

-Abbie Blake

A Hero Dies

John Lewis, a Civil Rights icon, passed away on July 17th, at 80. He was instrumental in the Civil Rights movement, embodying the nonviolent ideal. An original Freedom Rider, Lewis led the movement alongside Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Rev. C.T. Vivian, who also died on the 17th. Perhaps his most memorable moment in history was his public beating on the Edmund Pettus Bridge in 1965, where his skull was fractured by police during a peaceful protest. Though he was subject to beating and violence often, he remained strong and was eventually elected to the House of Representatives. He served there for 34 years and was known as "the conscience of Congress". Lewis was active up to the very end, denouncing the killing of George Floyd and fighting tirelessly against injustice.

Rep. Lewis was honored in Congress and today will be carried across the Edmund Pettus Bridge for the last time.

-Viviane Kim

Viviane E. Kim

Viviane, a sophomore, is Editor-in-Chief of The Current. She's an aspiring pianist, flutist, artist, and activist. She has won several writing competitions and performed with the SBU Orchestra.

Abbie Blake

Abbie, a junior, writes for The Ripcurrent and News columns. An aspiring journalist, she loves coming up with different ideas and then writing about them. She also enjoys painting and stage crew.

Amy Whitman

Amy is The Current’s Multimedia lead. A junior, she contributes to our podcast and News column. She loves writing, reading, sports, and film, and plans to major in journalism and political science.

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