The hype around the Borat Subsequent Moviefilm, staring actor Sacha Baron Cohen, centers around Rudy Giuliani’s alleged sexual harassment of Bulgarian actress Maria Bakalova. However, people forget that sexual harassment is not a humorous subject to many people, no matter who the perpetrator or the victim are.

Despite the reviews and positive feedback, along with the appearance of both Mike Pence and Rudy Giuliani, the excitement over the Borat Subsequent Moviefilm’s (Borat 2) Friday release on Amazon Prime has concerning implications. Ever since the public learned that the final scenes of the movie feature Rudy Giuliani sexually harassing Bulgarian actress Maria Bakalova, it seems to be their only reason they want to watch it. For context, the premise of the movieseries is that a famous Kazakstan reporter, Borat, played by Sacha Baron Cohen, infiltrates aspects of U.S. culture to expose it, which results in many humorous exchanges. …

There is an anxiety that plagues the minds of many people living in the United States after Tuesday nights’ debate. I write about the white supremacist violence Trump seemed to encourage that night.

The concept brewed in the minds of many people in the U.S. during this un-presidential election cycle: what would white supremacist uprising look like? We try to quell these thoughts — “not here, it could never happen here, not in the land of the free and the home of the brave”, as the anthem suggests. …

What happened on Tuesday night was not a debate. I write about the increasing lack of respect in politics.

No one was happy with the first Presidential debate on Tuesday night. As always, Trump amplified a problem that was already there to his advantage: increasingly partisan politics. The truth is that Trump was respectful for about five minutes. Then, he devolved into something equivalent to a screaming toddler who feels ignored. Interrupting people and talking over them are obvious signs of disrespect, signs that the adult performing the offensive act is incapable of respecting those who disagree with them. It was clear to anyone with functioning eyes and ears where most of the hostility in the debate room was. …

Ruth Bader Ginsburg will go down as one of the most notorious Supreme Court justices in U.S. history. Her contributions to women’s rights during her time as a lawyer, judge, and on the Supreme Court are, for the most part, unparalleled. Now, because of her recent death, the court’s legitimacy and politicization are under heavy scrutiny as the Senate and the White House seek to quickly implement a new justice. Amy Coney Barrett is Trump’s pick to replace Ginsburg, currently a law professor at Notre Dame.

While the Republicans seek to create a conservative Supreme Court, simultaneously, serious talks are underway on the Democratic side as they consider what they may do if the election turns in Biden’s favor. An expansion of the Supreme Court, which would involve an increase in the number of judges. Biden has yet to seriously talk about this issue, highlighting Trump’s unique ability to shift the conversation away from topics that truly matter to the election. Still, an expansion of the Supreme Court could have massive implications for the future of U.S. …

Image for post
Image for post

There are so many different agendas within the Democratic Party that it is hard to come up with a coherent message. I write on Joe Biden’s plans compared with those of the Democratic Party.

There are, at this point, at least three Democratic parties, if not more: anti-Trump (lifelong Republicans or swing voters dissatisfied with Trump’s performance), liberal (lifelong Democrats), and progressives (pro Bernie Sanders’ policies). Every single one of them is in conflict with each other. At one point, when Trump accused Biden of playing into the hands of the progressives, who Trump says are taking over the Democratic Party, Biden had to say “the party is me. Right now, I am the Democratic Party”. Trump replied “and they’re [the radical left, progressives] going to dominate you, Joe. You know that”, to which Biden responded “I am the Democratic Party right now”, as if trying to reassure himself, swing voters, and anti-Trumpers that he is not a socialist (though that word barely means anything in U.S. …

Image for post
Image for post
Photo credit: Morning Brew on Unsplash

The effects of decades of voter disenfranchisement and partisan politics put a dent in the supposed importance of voting in elections. I explain why voting, on its own, will not change the U.S. political climate.

If you took a look at U.S. social media today, you would think that voting is the most important thing anyone will do in their entire lives at this pivotal, hyper-political moment in our nation’s history. People are out on the street, protesting for racial justice — the abolishment of policing and the criminal justice systems that fuel the preschool to prison pipeline — even while military and police forces continuously use violence against them. While support for the Black Lives Matter protests continue to drop from where it was over the summer, those protests did more to change the incarceration systems in this country than years of voting and legislation ever did. …

Image for post
Image for post

Using the example of Gettysburg College’s recent Covid-19 outbreak and subsequent quarantine that made national news, I wonder how anyone can expect U.S. campuses to handle a pandemic when the nation cannot.

The more I see from a distance as I watch peers and friends of mine go through this academic semester, the more I know that many colleges across the country are unable to cope with the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Education is a privilege, which is why students want to be on campus, and, for many, being on campus is the only time they get to see adored friends and peers. At my alma mater, Gettysburg College, a recent spike in COVID-19 cases became the reason for one of the harshest quarantines in U.S. higher education. Before the quarantine, during in-person classes, students and professors could not drink water, a rule put in place to keep people from taking off their masks. …


Maggie Valenti

Freelance writer and editor based in the tri-state area.

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store