Hey everyone! Thanks for joining me here for my last editorial! It feels like my time as editor has flown right by. I’ve talked a lot about stuff that most people probably weren’t all that interested in, but if one person listened to Soundgarden or did better in an interview, then I’m happy.
I want to start off this editorial by talking about our graduating contributors. The class of 2017 has had a big influence on the Iron Warrior. We have three past EICs graduating this year! Our grads include Caitlin McLaren from Chemical Engineering and Alexander Lee, Elizabeth Salsberg, and Meagan Cardno from Nanotechnology Engineering. So really Nano 2017 had a big influence on the Iron Warrior. Get your stuff together, other programs. Caitlin, Alex and Meagan all served as Editor in their time here, and Elizabeth has provided the most consistent column that we have here. All of our graduating members have helped me as a writer or editor in one way or another, and for that I’m very grateful. I’ve got stories about all four of these folks, but for the sake of brevity I’m just gonna share a quick anecdote about Meagan.
Meagan can rant like nobody’s business. I mean, the woman can talk. I’ve seen her talk non-stop for about 5 minutes straight about the smallest piece of a conversation you could imagine. I’ve heard Meagan rant about Super Smash Bros., politics, grapefruits, pretty much anything. She’s got a real talent for articulating her thoughts, and arguing her points. Raeesa, another former EIC, has a similar gift to Meagan, and I think if we teamed up the two of them in a debate they could probably beat anyone.
Ok, so I want to take the time in my last editorial to talk about feminism. I’ve heard some pretty bonkers theories on feminism in the past few years, ranging from “You can’t be a man and a feminist” to “Feminism is just man-hating”. Neither of these statements is anywhere near correct. Feminism is actually quite a simple concept; women and men should be treated as equals. Being a feminist is pretty much as easy as not being racist. Literally just treating everyone you meet the same and avoiding gender stereotypes wherever and whenever you can makes you somewhat feminist.
Sexism is deeply rooted in Western culture, going way way back to Aristotle’s theory that women were inferior to men. Actually Aristotle had some fairly weird theories on women, but I’m not going to go into that here. I personally think it is sad how deeply rooted sexism is in society. Women in the workplace systemically make less money than men for essentially no reason. By and large women make 78 cents on the dollar for the same work that men do (the value varies from study to study; I’m seeing everything from 62% to 88%). In 2001 a study by the British Chartered Management Institute found that if trends don’t change, executives of different genders won’t be paid the same until 2109. I just don’t see how this makes sense to anybody. Equal work for equal pay is one of the most basic tenants of feminism, and if you support it you might just be a feminist.
I had a conversation a few years ago with a fellow Waterloo student that really shocked me. She said that she didn’t consider herself a feminist, which kind of flabbergasted me. We talked a little further about it and I realized that her views on feminism reflected some of the statements that I talked about earlier; feminism as misandry. This is when it dawned on me that this might be a common misconception. Now I don’t want to tell you what to think, but as a woman in this day and age who’s going to get an advanced degree in applied science (I’m assuming you’re an Engineering student, and if you’re not I apologize) I assume that you want to be treated the same as a man with the same qualifications. That’s completely up to you though.
I don’t find it very hard to trace where my feminist side comes from. I was raised by an incredible single mother for most of my life. Strong, stable, and caring, my mum is probably the coolest person I know. She’s encouraged me in pretty much everything I’ve ever done, and helped me get to where I am today. She’s shown me some things that I find incredibly cool. The Pixies, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, all that cool stuff. She also taught me the value of curiosity, something that I think has kind of petered out among my peers as I’ve grown up. You’re never going to know everything that you can if you don’t ask questions. Hard work, honesty, perseverance, all that jazz was strongly emphasized growing up with my mum. She’s kind of the best.
I’m going to switch gears now and talk about the swift defeat of the Republican health care bill. Speaker of the House Paul Ryan introduced the bill a few weeks ago, and it has fallen on pretty much nothing but bad press ever since. The bill would effectively remove the Affordable Care Act (ObamaCare) from existence, taking with it millions of people’s healthcare. The poor, elderly and disabled would have been the hardest demographics hit, with significant cuts being made to Medicaid. RyanCare, as the press took to calling it, would also have provided tax cuts to America’s wealthiest citizens. So, in essence, it was a bill designed to make getting insurance easier for those who can afford it and harder for those who cannot. The bill also kept some of the most important parts from the ACA, including the legislation on pre-existing conditions.
Needless to say, the Democratic Party unilaterally opposed this bill. Surprisingly though, there was fairly strong opposition amongst the Republican Party. Republican hardliners opposed the bill as they felt it kept too much from ObamaCare and Republican moderates were worried that their seats would be in danger if millions of their constituents lost their health insurance. I’m going to be honest, if I lost my health care due entirely to a bill that my MP voted for, I would probably not vote for them again.
The bill actually never made it to a vote though. Ryan pulled the bill from the House floor in a pretty sensational move last Friday. This came a day after President Trump (I don’t think I’m ever going to get used to that) vowed to abandon any support for health care reform if the bill didn’t get a vote. Essentially Trump told the House Republicans “take it or leave it” with regards to his bill, and lost. President Trump has maintained on Twitter that the Democratic Party was responsible for the bill’s failure in the house, despite the Republican Party having a massive majority in the house.
Ryan and Trump have put themselves in precarious positions here. I’m not really an expert in the field of politics, but I think that showing the people who you told that you were going to take care of that you actually just want to get rid of their health care might not be the best move. If the bill had gone through and become law, many of the counties which voted for Trump the most would have been the hardest hit by RyanCare. In an interview earlier this month Trump even stated that he knew this. Maybe not the best idea, but like I said I’m no expert.
So yeah, that does it for me as the EIC! I want to send huge shout-outs to all the staff who supported me along the way, both on and off stream. The EngSoc Execs were also incredible this term with getting their articles in on time and just generally with everything. As for the future, the decision has been made with respect to who’s taking over in the fall but I haven’t told the team yet, so I’m not going to announce that here! If you want to hit us up for any reason, please just send an email over to email@example.com. Good luck on exams everyone and I hope that you all have a great summer term!