2019: Important Issues Reviewed

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2019: Important Issues Reviewed

Edward Curry, Editor

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As 2019 fades into time as yet another year to remember, we can only predict what the new year will have in store for subjects ranging from world events including political developments, economics, the environment, technological advancements, etc. While we ponder these topics, let’s take a deeper look into 2019 and what the year had to offer regarding important world events.

The year 2019 was an exciting year in politics. In the United States, elected Congressmen and women took their seats in the current Congressional composition of the 116th United States Congress. Members were initially elected during the 2018 Midterm elections where the Democrats achieved a majority of the seats in the House of Representatives, the lower chamber of Congress. The Republicans managed to hold the Senate but lost their majority in the House. Elected members were sworn in on January 3, 2019, and Nancy Pelosi, former House Minority Leader was elected Speaker of the House of Representatives. Congress’ current composition is already a landmark achievement for the LGBT community, women, and racial minorities.

The impeachment inquiry against President Trump was also a big development in the United States. On September 24, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi launched an impeachment inquiry against Donald Trump, accusing Trump of abusing the presidency to manipulate President Zelensky of Ukraine. According to a phone call recording, Trump reportedly pressured Zelensky to investigate Joe Biden’s presidential campaign. The issue has raised many an eyebrow in the Democratic Party who seek to impeach President Trump for allegedly abusing the office. As of December 18, Donald Trump has been officially impeached by the House of Representatives. President Trump is the third President in American history to be impeached by the House. The impeachment inquiry will most likely continue into 2020 as we approach the presidential election.

Across the world, protests have gripped the small nation of Hong Kong. In Hong Kong, protesters took to the streets demanding the repeal of the Fugitive Offenders and Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters Legislation (Amendment) Bill. The bill was met with fervent opposition as it would allow citizens to be extradited outside of Hong Kong for trial, including the People’s Republic of China. The extradition bill worried many Hongkongers, who resent the Communist Chinese rule of law. The main resentment comes in a multitude of issues, including fair trial and self-determination, important factors of the Hong Kong protests. Other factors leading to the unrest in Hong Kong come from Hong Kong’s disproportionate legislative representation. The governmental body intended for the people is intruded upon by pro-Beijing representatives. Pro-Beijing members of Hong Kong’s legislative body, the Legislative Council of Hong Kong, made up a majority of the Legislative Council, undermining the future of young Hongkongers to determine their future. Members of the pro-Beijing faction have also assumed office through business and corporation representation, which China favors. In a recent election, Hong Kong has seen the transition of power from pro-Beijing factions to pro-Democracy factions. The unrest is likely to continue until the voices of the protesters are heard.

In the fields of economics, 2019 has been a crucial year for America’s trade policies. Trump has continued his trade war against China, by imposing tariffs on imported goods from China. Since 2018, the trade war has been a continuous economic policy endorsed by Trump and his Cabinet. Across the pond in the United Kingdom, the British have been constantly debating what type of Brexit they want to see. Brexit is an ongoing political and economic issue on how exactly the UK will exit the European Union, a political and economic union of European member states. Under Boris Johnson’s new majority government, the Conservatives, known as a pro-Brexiteer faction in the House of Commons are set to fully deliver on the Brexit promise by January 30, 2020. Many economists and pundits are concerned about whether or not Johnson can secure a free trade agreement between the UK and the EU. Others speculate that the Conservative convention of economic liberalism will come to an end as the UK and US ally themselves both politically and economically.

The year 2019 has also been astounding in terms of the environment. Climate activist Greta Thunberg made headlines with her efforts to raise awareness about climate change. Sailing from Sweden to New York on a non-emissions sailboat, Thunberg would tour the United States and Canada, raising many eyebrows with her rousing speech at the United Nations. Thunberg received criticism for her speeches but brought further awareness to the climate debate. Politicians have also brought awareness to the environment debate. In Congress, key Democrats proposed the Green New Deal, a set of legislation that would address climate change. The deal faced heavy criticism for its unpractical measures in energy use and investment. Nonetheless, the environment remains a pressing issue going into 2020.

2019 was an important year at the end of the decade. As we embark upon 2020, we can reminisce about the events that shape the world around us and look forward to new events soon to come.