America Is...

Repetitive

Throughout history there have been occasions that have changed the world and America forever. Some of these events were positive, such as the Women's rights protests for equality, and some were not, for example World War II and Hitler's genocide of the Jews. History is taught in schools in order to remind the youth of the past and educate the new generation for the future, yet so much is being repeated in today's society. Women still struggle for their own rights, Donald Trump holds similarities to fascism, yet was elected as president, and drugs are outlawed like the prohibition of the 1920's. With education of these instances maybe they can be prevented for the future of America.

Historic Evidence #1: Trump vs. Fascism

US President-elect Donald Trump adresses supporters during his election night rally in Manhattan.

There has been an abundance of controversy surrounding Donald Trump and whether he is a fascist or not. In the past, the world has seen a lot of fascist leaders such as, Adolf Hitler and Benito Mussolini, and Trump has been compared to both on various occasions. An American professor of Italian History, Ruth Ben-Ghiat, specializes in fascist leaders. She recently wrote a book about Mussolini's leadership and found similarities between him and Trump. She noticed the behavior between them was uncanny, both talked about themselves in the third person, held themselves the same way and could not be controlled. At Trump's rallies he speaks what is on his mind, disregarding the script or teleprompter showing "he cannot be contained" (Blitzer). Ben-Ghiat relates this to Mussolini in saying, "You didn't know what [Trump] was going to do or say. It was the same with Mussolini. He would insult people in a humorous way. You didn't know what gestures he would make." For Mussolini he did everything for show but was ultimately a weak leader; similar to this, Trump tweets and talks himself up but may not be a strong president. Like Hitler and other fascist leaders, Trump has found an enemy as a unifying cause, but instead of Jews, it's Syrians. He has blockaded them from coming into America and has blamed them for all of America's problems. Another issue of today is how Trump got elected. With all of the outrage Trump caused during his campaign, he still won the election with an abundance of votes. During the other fascist leaders time, the economy was horrible, leaving people helpless and in need of a new leader; in today's society America has a thriving economy, creating the question why was Trump elected? Clearly, America has not learned enough about this issue and like Trump, is repeating epidemics of the past.

Historic Evidence #2: Women's Rights (1970-2017)

The range above represents the years of the first and second Women's Rights Marches.

A protester of the 2017 Women's March.

Throughout American history, the Women's Suffrage Movement has made great improvements. Women can vote, have equal pay, and can work in jobs they choose, yet with the election of a sexist president, women are still feeling discriminated against. In the 1970's there was a massive women's march in which women were protesting for equal pay, equal job opportunities, and the choice to deal with their bodies how they please, and even though many of these rights have been given to women, they still find a need to protest. The reason for the 2017 march was President Donald Trump and his degradation of women throughout his campaign. Trump believes in pro-life, and wants to take away all planned-parenthood facilities. Women are outraged with Trump's decision to control their bodies creating the reason for the Women's March of 2017. Lynn Sherr, a journalist for the Common Dreams Organization for the progressive community, found numerous similarities between the march of 1970 and 2017. Both marches were to symbolize the strength women have, and showcase how much society needs women in everyday life. She called the protest of 2017, the "second wave of feminism". Even though America has made great advances throughout the past 100 years, women still do not have the rights they need. Until women receive these rights more protests may be inevitable in the future.

Historic Evidence #3: Prohibition in the 1920's vs. Today

A 2016 North Dakotan protester.

In the 1920's President Woodrow Wilson decided to enact the eighteenth amendment, beginning the prohibition era. In this time alcohol may have been banned but was not impossible to get. This created an increase in crime, corrupt policemen, and safety issues. Best selling author of The Rise and Fall of Prohibition, Daniel Okrent, senior associate dean for academic affairs at George Washington University Law School, Christopher Bracey, and associate professor of law at George Washington University, David Fontana, all found parallels between the prohibition and the war on drugs today. In their article they discuss the reasoning behind the prohibition, and its failures, which strongly relates to the controversy of Marajuana. Like the prohibition there is good reasoning behind the ban of Marajuana, yet keeping it illegal may be causing more harm then good. Okrent states, "If there is a part of the world that wants something and another part that is willing to supply it, it will be provided", which is shown in both instances of alcohol and Marajuana, and; furthermore, is the reason for the crime spikes in both cases. Like the 1920's, bootleggers of today have risen, creating more violence and killing many to protect their businesses. Not only are people getting hurt from the cartels, but like the prohibition, unsafe products are being made and hurting the consumer. If Marajuana was legal, there would be no need to make unsafe products. Many states of America have lifted this ban on Marajuana, hopefully creating a safer environment, but the rest of America still has to catch up.

Visual Representation

The Story Behind the Art

The Collage

For my visual piece I decided to make a collage of pictures from all events, both past and present. Collages are messy and never perfect which is why I decided to create one, to symbolize the work that still has to be done to America. The letter "A" stands for America to represent the project "America Is".

The Rope

The rope symbolizes a repeating cycle. Just like America is being repetitive so is the rope in this art piece; it surrounds the "A" with no end. I purposely did not tie a knot to showcase the cycle is not over.

The Pictures

The images shown (left to right) are from the 1970 Women's March, the 2017 Women's March, the 1920's prohibition, a 2016 marijuana legalization protest, Donald Trump in Time Magazine, and a photo of Dictator Benito Mussolini.

The pictures included inside of the "A" are images from each event, both past and present. They showcase what is happening, and has happened in America. The use of black and white images against present day colored images is to showcase the difference in time period, and difference of the event.

Works Cited

Blitzer, Jonathan. The New Yorker. 4 Nov. 2016, http://www.newyorker.com/culture/culture-desk/a-scholar-of-fascism-sees-a-lot-thats-familiar-with-trump. Accessed 23 March 2017.

NCC Staff. Constitution Center. National Constitution Center, 16 Nov. 2012, https://constitutioncenter.org/blog/todays-war-on-drugs-prohibition-then-and-now/. Accessed 23 March 2017.

Stamper, Norm. Seattle Times. 30 Sep. 2011, http://www.seattletimes.com/opinion/prohibition-a-parallel-to-modern-war-on-drugs/. Accessed 23 March 2017.

Rosenfeld, Derek. Drug Policy. 5 Dec. 2013, http://www.drugpolicy.org/blog/80-years-ago-today-we-repealed-alcohol-prohibition-time-end-war-drugs. Accessed 23 March 2017.

Sherr, Lynn. Common Dreams. 5 March 2017, http://www.commondreams.org/views/2017/03/08/1970-womens-strike-bit-history. Accessed 23 March 2017.

By: Shelby Brown

Mrs. Sandoval - Period 2

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