Cisneros’ “Mericans” And Okita’s “In Response To Executive Order 9066” Stories Essay Sample For College

The short stories “Mericans” by Sandra Cisneros and “In Response to Executive Order 9066: All Americans of Japanese Descent Must Report to Relocation Centers” by Dwight Okita develop a common theme of cultural differences. Specifically, the differences experienced between the American culture and the home cultures of the protagonists. The unnamed protagonist of Okita’s story is a Japanese-American girl being taken to a relocation camp during World War II. “Mericans” focuses on Micaela or Michele, a Hispanic girl interacting with Americans, but it is not specified whether the story takes place in the U.S. or a different country.

Both authors use a first-person point of view; however, whereas Michelle narrates her story directly, the Japanese girl’s story is presented as an epistolary poem. In a single letter she answers, presumably to the U.S. Government issuing the eponymous order. In both cases, this technique allows the reader to better understand the protagonist’s concerns and the issues they face because of their position.

Okita highlights the absurdity of essentially accusing children of hostile military action, as well as their limited comprehension of the gravity of the situation. Through the use of a first-person narration, Cisneros brings attention to issues caused by generational cultural differences and possibly differences caused by immigration. The children are forbidden to both enter both the church and explore their surroundings, representing their home culture and the American culture, respectively. However, they fully identify themselves as “Mericans”, pointing to them preferring integration over honoring their original culture.

Cisneros uses bilingualism to further highlight the cultural differences experienced by Michele. Her narration is mostly in English, but uses Spanish words for things related to her home culture. Even her name is presented as both Michele and Micaela, its English and Spanish variants, to illustrate her status as someone caught between two cultures. Importantly, it is the “awful grandmother” who calls her by the Spanish name, while her brother calls her Michele. Even the Americans try to address the children in Spanish, discriminating them as outsiders.

The children’s identification as “Mericans”, their grandmother as “the awful grandmother”, and their use of English, show that they view themselves as belonging to the American culture. Okita’s use of English as the only language in the poem emphasizes that the protagonist views herself as an American rather than a Japanese person.

Both authors use symbolism in their works, Cisneros to represent the different cultures and values, and Okita to represent the protagonist’s relationship to her friend Denise, as well as America’ treatment of Japanese immigrants. In “Mericans”, the church and the “awful grandmother” represent the children’s home culture and their disdain for them shows their separation from it. All the activities they are forbidden from doing outside the church represent the American culture in which they find themselves and their desire to interact and integrate with it despite the grandmother’s orders. In Okita’s work, Denise calls tomatoes “love apples”, and the protagonist sees packing tomato seeds as important.

Even after denise turns her back on her, she still offers her a packet of the seeds, extending her goodwill. Similarly, the relationship between the two girls symbolizes the treatment of Japanese immigrants by the U.S. during World War II. Denise accuses the protagonist of being an enemy and mistreats her despite having no reason to suspect her of any actual hostility.

Both stories discuss the theme of cultural clash, using similar literary devices and techniques to achieve similar goals, but they differ in the use of these techniques. The authors use first-person point of view to give the reader a better understanding of their protagonists. Using a language other than English, or not using it, shows the stories protagonists’ stances on their position between two cultures. Finally, symbolism features heavily in both narratives, connecting seemingly small and personal stories to broader concepts.

Public Opinions In Shaping The Politics Of A Nation

Public opinion does not always communicate a clear message to the political leaders on what society expects of them. The leadership surveys are instead carried out with certain discourse associated with social pressures, improper timing in collecting views, lack of civil knowledge, and human errors. Such inefficiencies may result in biased information with little emphasis on the ultimate state of national affairs of a country. In a number of cases, the surveys’ feedback is commonly manipulated as campaign tools by self-centered leaders. Prominent persons use the research data to obtain the views of voters and corrupt their ideas into sharing their ideologies. The influence of the partisan elites, workplace associations, individual past life experiences as well as the prevailing political culture as such, are major factors limiting the effectiveness of any public polls in representing good governance.

To conduct a public campaign reflective of an ideal leader of a nation, the political surveys need to embrace a neutral ground devoid of manipulations. For instance, for a representative poll, the regulatory policies of a nation ought to be free from corruptible practices. Public surveys conducted in a justified manner are, therefore, crucial in eliminating ideology-based controversies to reflect on the political situation of a country. As such, the survey polls fail to reflect the true leadership needs of society when influenced by external forces such as socioeconomic and human interference. On the contrary, when freely and fairly conducted, public polls effectively represent the desired governance. The sociopolitical pressures merely undermine the purpose of survey campaigns in providing necessary information that would otherwise enhance a good political image.

Fair Treatment Of Experienced Pilots – Age 65 Rule

Introduction

Flying aircraft is one of the most important roles in the aviation industry. This is because air transportation is associated with high safety risks. In this regard, pilots must have advanced skills and competency to execute their functions effectively. In the last three decades, several safety standards have been set in the aviation industry in order to reduce crash risks. Local and international aviation organizations believe that pilots’ health condition is one of the major factors that contribute to aircraft crashes (Guohua, Baker, & Grabowski, 2010, pp. 874-880). Concisely, pilots’ health status is expected to deteriorate as they age. Consequently, the Fair Treatment of Experienced Pilots Act 2007 was adopted in order to prevent accidents that might occur due to the age of the pilot. According to this law, pilots have to retire at the age of 65 years. However, pilots oppose this law because they believe it is discriminatory. This paper presents the arguments for the repeal of the age 65 rule.

Overview of the Age 65 Rule

In December 2007, the Fair Treatment of Experienced Pilots Act effectively increased the retirement age of pilots from 60 to 65 years. A pilot who is under age 60 must accompany a pilot who has attained the age of 60 years and above. However, this requirement is applicable only to international flights. Pilots who are older than 60 years must possess a first-class medical certificate. The validity of these certificates expires after six months. However, the Act “prohibits subjecting pilots to different medical examinations and standards on account of age unless to ensure an adequate level of safety” (Oberstar, 2007). Finally, airlines must provide continuous training programs in order to improve the skills and judgments of experienced pilots. In addition, the airlines must evaluate the performance of their pilots who have attained the age of 60 years. The evaluations must be done every six months. The objective of the age 65 rule is to ensure that the skills and the competency of experienced pilots meet acceptable standards.

Arguments for the Repeal of the Age 65 Rule

The Association between Age and Safety Risks

One of the reasons that led to the restriction of the retirement age of pilots is that it is not easy to predict the risk of severe and incapacitating medical conditions at the individual level. Generally, proponents of the age 65 rule argue that the risk of illnesses such as stroke and heart attack tend to increase with advancing age (Guohua, Baker, & Grabowski, 2010, pp. 874-880). Thus, limiting pilots’ retirement age to 65 years will reduce the accidents that might occur due to the aforementioned medical conditions or illnesses. However, empirical studies reveal that the number of pilots who die of cardiovascular diseases is significantly less than that of non-pilots. Similarly, recent research indicates that the possibility of occurrence of a crash due to abrupt incapacitation of the pilot is insignificant. Unexpected incapacitation of the pilot is not likely to lead to a crash if there are other crewmembers that are able to take control of the aircraft during an emergency. The risk that an aircraft crash “will result from cardiac incapacitation of the pilot is less than 1 per 8 billion flight hours” (Guohua, Baker, & Grabowski, 2010, pp. 874-880). In the last few decades, sudden cardiac incapacitation has never been the main causal factor of aircraft crashes among major airlines in the United States. Hence, the medical condition of the pilot is not a major cause of aircraft crashes.

It is apparent that aging is likely to lead to deterioration of cognitive functions among pilots (Stuart & Daniels, 2004, pp. 340-350). Furthermore, aging is likely to cause skill loss among pilots. Nonetheless, there is no significant variation in the ability to execute flight-related activities such as take-off and decision-making among pilots of different age groups. Proponents of the age 65 rule argue that the ability to respond to communication tends to decline as a person grows old. Consequently, old pilots are less likely to communicate effectively with air traffic controllers than their young counterparts. Low working memory capacity is the main cause of the reduction in communication ability among elderly pilots. However, flight experience often mitigates the adverse effects of poor communication among elderly pilots. Concisely, the elderly pilots are able to utilize their experience and expertise to overcome their communication challenges.

It is possible to increase the retirement age of pilots above 65 years without compromising flight safety. Contrary to popular belief, the aircraft crashes that usually occur due to pilot error tend to reduce with age. Concisely, pilots who are above 60 years are less likely to make errors that can lead to a crash. In a 2002 study that was conducted in the United States, the results did not indicate any age-related increase in aircraft crash risk. Additionally, the study indicated that pilots who had completed more than 5000 flying hours were twice less likely to cause a crash than their colleagues who had not accumulated 5000 flying hours (Stuart & Daniels, 2004, pp. 340-350). A similar study in Japan found that pilots who had attained more than 60 years were not involved in airline accidents between 1992 and 2001. This indicates that elderly pilots are more competent than their juniors are. Thus, there is no justification for the restriction of pilots’ retirement age due to safety risks.

The Role of Medical Examinations

Pilots usually undergo rigorous periodic medical examinations to ensure that they are medically fit to perform their duties. Pilots must meet high medical standards in order to renew their licenses. Hence, the medical certification process leads to the retirement of the pilots whose health conditions have significantly deteriorated (Cavazos, 2007, pp. 231-250). This implies that elderly pilots are likely to have stable health conditions because they have successfully passed a series of medical examinations throughout their careers. Thus, it is unrealistic to believe that the health condition of a pilot automatically begins to decline after his 65th birthday. The behavioral restrictions that have been imposed on pilots ensure that their health conditions meet the desired medical standards (Goll, Johnson, & Rasheed, 2008, pp. 201-222). For example, most countries prohibit the consumption of alcohol among pilots, especially, when they are on duty. A pilot who has successfully observed the industry’s health requirements is not likely to change his lifestyle after attaining the age of 65 years. Hence, elderly pilots are not likely to have significant age-related health risks. In this regard, the medical certification process is an effective procedure for ending the careers of pilots whose health conditions pose flight safety risks. Thus, it is not necessary to impose age restrictions on pilots in order to eliminate health-related risks.

Long Lifespan

The average life expectancy of human beings has significantly increased in the last century, especially, in the United States. In America, the number of centenarians increased from 2,300 in 1950 to approximately 80,000 in 2010 (Robine, Saito, & Jagger, 2011, pp. 5-14). By 2050, the population of centenarians is likely to exceed 600,000. A 65-year-old couple has a 31% probability of at least one of the partners living for more than 95 years (Crimmins & Yasuhiko, 2001, pp. 1629-1641). Generally, Americans prefer to live longer than 80 years. The following factors account for the sharp increase in life expectancy. To begin with, human beings have evolved over the years. The first example of modern evolution is the production of lactase throughout the life of a human being (Minugh & McNamara, 2002, p. 63). Lactase is the enzyme that facilitates the digestion of lactose, which is the main type of carbohydrate in milk. The production of lactase ceases when babies stop suckling. However, the process of mutation has led to the development of genes that tolerate the continuous production of lactase. This facilitates the consumption of milk products, thereby improving the health and the lifespan of the human population. The second example of evolution involves the development of gene AMY1 that facilitates the production of enzyme amylase (Minugh & McNamara, 2002, p. 74). This enzyme facilitates the digestion of carbohydrates. Individuals with abundant copies of AMY1 are able to produce a lot of amylases. Hence, they are able to digest starches efficiently. Individuals who consume a lot of carbohydrates have more copies of AMY1 than those who consume a lot of proteins. Generally, individuals with abundant copies of AMY1 have a high chance of living for several decades because they can metabolize carbohydrates effectively.

Apart from evolution, improved living standards and advancements in medicine have led to high life expectancy. Rapid industrialization led to improved access to basic services such as education and healthcare, as well as, food and shelter (Manton & Land, 2000, pp. 253-265). Advancements in medicine have led to the discovery of superior treatment methods and increased availability of health information. Pilots are among the highest income earners who are able to afford a healthy lifestyle. Thus, they are able to live for several decades by maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Most Americans do not consider age to be the main factor in their retirement decisions. The majority of Americans are likely to opt for early retirement only if they have severe health conditions or they have accumulated enough wealth. In this regard, the government should not force pilots to retire at age 65. Since most senior pilots are likely to have stable health conditions, forcing them to retire at the age of 65 years is essentially a form of discrimination (Besco & Sangal, 2006, pp. 1-6). A pilot whose age exceeds 65 years should continue to work as long as he has the competency and the skills that are necessary for operating an aircraft effectively.

Pilot Shortage

The US aviation industry is experiencing a severe shortage of pilots. This problem is attributed to the high experience and competency standards for new hires. These regulations account for the high costs of hiring and training new pilots. The availability of better terms of employment in overseas economies exacerbates the problem of pilot shortage in the US. Concisely, major overseas airlines such as the Emirates and Etihad are able to offer higher salaries than most of their US counterparts (Boyd, 2001, pp. 47-50). Consequently, most American pilots opt to work for foreign airlines. It is apparent that the age 65 rule will lead to the retirement of thousands of pilots, thereby reducing the availability of experienced fliers. Thus, lawmakers should repeal the rule in order to increase the availability of pilots. This will improve the competitiveness of American airlines by reducing the cost of hiring and retaining pilots (Appelbaum & Fewster, 2003, pp. 56-69).

Conclusion

The Fair Treatment of Experienced Pilots Act is one of the most controversial laws in the aviation industry. It compels pilots to retire at the age of 65 years (Oberstar, 2007). According to the aviation industry regulators, this regulation will lead to a reduction of age-related flight safety risks. However, industry stakeholders such as pilots and airline companies oppose this rule due to several reasons. First, empirical studies indicate that old age does not pose significant flight safety threats. Second, modern evolution, improved living conditions, and advancements in medicine have enabled elderly pilots to maintain stable health conditions. Third, the medical certification process negates the need to terminate the careers of pilots with poor health conditions through age restrictions. Finally, age restrictions will worsen the problem of the pilot shortage. Hence, the federal government should repeal the age 65 rule.

References

Appelbaum, S., & Fewster, B. (2003). Global Aviation Human Resource Management: Contemporary Employee and Labor Relations Practices. Management Research, 26(11) , 56-69.

Besco, R., & Sangal, S. (2006). Studies Suggest Longer Life Expectancy for Retired Pilots than for their General Population Counterparts. Human Factors and Aviation Medicine, 43(1) , 1-6.

Boyd, C. (2001). HRM in the Airline Industry: Strategies and Outcomes. International Journal of Human Resource Management, 42(3) , 47-50.

Cavazos, D. (2007). Capturing the Regulatory Rule-Making Process: How Historical Antecedents of US Regulatory Agencies Impact Industry Conditions. International Journal of Organizational Analysis, 15(3) , 231-250.

Crimmins, E., & Yasuhiko, S. (2001). Trends in Healthy Life Expectancy in the United States, 1970-1990. Social Science and Medicine, 52(11) , 1629-1641.

Goll, I., Johnson, N., & Rasheed, A. (2008). Top Management Team Demographic Characteristics, Business Strategy and Firm Performance in the US Airline Industry. Management Decision, 46(2) , 201-222.

Guohua, L., Baker, S., & Grabowski, J. (2010). Age, Flight Experience and Risk of Crash Involvement in a Cohort of Professional Pilots. American Journal of Epidemiology, 157(10) , 874-880.

Manton, K., & Land, K. (2000). Active Life Expectancy Estimates for the US Elderly Population. Demography, 37(3) , 253-265.

Minugh, N., & McNamara, K. (2002). Human Evolution Through Developmental Change. New York: McGraw-Hill.

Oberstar, J. 2007. H.R 4343 (110th): Fair Treatment for Experienced Pilots Act. Web.

Robine, J., Saito, Y., & Jagger, C. (2011). The Relationship Between Longevity and Healthy Life Expectancy. Quality in Ageing and Older Adults, 10(2) , 5-14.

Stuart, M., & Daniels, E. (2004). Open Access Flight Safety and Medical Incapacitation Risk of Airline Pilots. Aviation, Space and Environmental Medicine, 75(3) , 340-350.

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