2015 calls for criticism and reflection
As 2015 approaches its end, The Wooster Blade Editorial Board takes a closer look at some of the major events that have occurred in 2015, both domestically and internationally, that have created some of the biggest impacts on both the United States and the world.
The year 2015 started off on a grim note when the staff of the French satirical newspaper, Charlie Hebdo, was ruthlessly attacked by two gunmen, which ended with the tragic deaths of eleven people.
The newspaper was unafraid of expressing strong opinions via satire, and many people around the world viewed these attacks as an a violation of the right of free speech.
The world stood in solidarity for Paris, and world leaders gathered there to show their support, including President Obama.
The Wooster Blade Editorial Board, as part of a student newspaper, recognizes that free speech is one of the most valuable rights that people have in a society. The attacks on Charlie Hebdo proved that free speech is not so easy to take defeat.
Overall this year, Paris suffered many tragedies. When terrorists attacked several locations, including a concert venue Nov. 13, the world was shocked to discover that over 100 people were killed.
The Wooster Blade Editorial Board would like to praise the kindness and support given to the citizens of Paris, showing that goodness can still be found during times of darkness.
However, the attacks triggered another response that was not as positive. The attacks showed that the terrorist group ISIS was a greater threat than many people imagined, and now many westerners are racked by fear. The attacks happened amid the growing refugee crisis, in which millions of refugees are fleeing war and terror in their homes in the Middle East and North Africa.
Because of these attacks, Islamophobia has become a part of our national conversation.
Governors and politicians have denounced the plight of the refugees and oppose allowing refugees into the country, citing security reasons.
Ted Cruz and Jeb Bush advocated for a religious test on refugees, while Donald Trump proposed a ban on all Muslims into the United States.
Americans stand very divided on the issue of allowing refugees in, as well. According to a Bloomberg poll conducted Nov. 18, 53 percent of Americans oppose allowing Syrian refugee resettlement in the United States.
The Wooster Blade Editorial Board believes refugees do not deserve to be treated with such fear and disdain by Americans.
Refugees are fleeing the same kind of terror of which everyone is afraid, and the United States should follow the lead of Canada and be welcoming toward refugees instead of chasing them out.
Instead of spouting hateful rhetoric, politicians should use their powerful influence to aid the cause of refugees. As a nation founded on immigration and refugees, the United States has an obligation to help out all the refugees trying to escape some of the most horrific conditions and human rights abuses.
As the 2016 presidential election nears, presidential nominee Donald Trump’s influence rises. Trump’s poll numbers remain strong and show no sign of minimizing. While Trump attains more popularity, he also manages to offend almost every group in America, ranging from people with disabilities, to Muslims, to Mexican immigrants.
The Wooster Blade Editorial Board condemns the ignorant and hateful speech from Trump and believes America should be open to diversity.
Trump’s words and actions oppose the American values of open-mindedness and acceptance, values that would truly make America great again.
Despite these problems, 2015 was one in which the progress toward equality grew.
In June, the Supreme Court voted in favor of same-sex marriage, making it legal in all 50 states.
Ireland also had a historic vote, where a majority of the people voted in favor of allowing same-sex marriage in the country.
The Wooster Blade Editorial Board praises the great strides made toward equality in the LGBTQ community, a group that for too long, has been continually oppressed in society.
We realize that the legality of same-sex marriage in the United States does not mean full equality has been achieved, but we hope this is a good first step for greater strides for equality for the LGBTQ community.
However, total equality has still not been achieved in the United States, and more needs to be done to ensure that all people are given the freedoms they deserve.
Instances of police brutality against African Americans, as shown by the cases of Freddie Gray and Laquan McDonald, are still a problem.
While we realize police brutality represents only a small portion of the actions of the American police force, it is still crucial to address.
With all the positives and negatives that occurred in 2015, it resulted in quite a tumultuous year. Now, The Wooster Blade Editorial Board looks forward to 2016.