1) Should elephants be kept in zoos?
It recently hit the news that Ringling Brothers Circus plans to phase out elephants from its performances. I completely agree with this decision and cheered it (along with many animal rights groups). I will argue that this should be taken one step further and that elephants should be removed from zoos as well, with the exception of being there for rehabilitation purposes. These are large, intelligent creatures that roam an average of twenty miles a day in the wild and should not be confined in small spaces where they become bored, frustrated, and trapped in an unnatural existence. The argument against this is that without elephants in zoos, many people do not have the opportunity to learn about these beautiful animals and be inspired to help those that are being poached and driven off their lands in the wild.
2) Should the Keystone XL Pipeline be built?
Another recent topic buzzing in the news is President Obama’s veto of a bill allowing the Keystone XL Pipeline to be constructed. Essentially, “Keystone XL” is an oil pipeline that will stretch from Canada to the Gulf of Texas. I will argue for Obama’s decision and against the construction of this Pipeline. This Pipeline could devastate ecosystems, pollute water, harm public health, and is another environmentally expensive and fiscally unwise quest in the insatiable pursuit of oil. I believe the money would be better spent funding alternative energy solutions. The argument for the Keystone XL Pipeline is that it will create many jobs and give the United States and Canada more energy security.
3) What should be done to reform immigration laws?
My personal stake in this is that all four of my grandparents were born and raised in Mexico. My mother’s parents were able to come to the United States legally, start a business, attend college, and be overall successful as far as the “American Dream” is concerned. My father’s parents, however, came illegally and were never able to get citizenship (they have long since passed away). My paternal grandfather worked in the fields until he had saved enough money to bring over my grandmother, and together they had to work hard in labor intensive jobs in order to remain in this country and try to make something of themselves. My argument would be that the current immigration system is broken. An illegal felon should not be treated the same as an illegal hardworking mom with a child born here in the United States. The laws need to be reformed to be able to reward those who want to become a part of our great melting pot community in this country. The argument against this is that far too much manpower and resources would be required to investigate individual cases and essentially prioritize individuals for citizenship, and it is far simpler to create general rules that have people falling into a one category or another and nothing in between.