Behind The Mic: Marco Arreola and the Mental State of America

marco arreola

Impassioned by humanity, honesty, and patriotism, Marco Arreola explores the many facets of American society through open communication and positivity.

Senior Communications Major, and Sociology Minor, Marco Arreola was enticed by the sociological side of communication through the aide of his Sociology 101 professor Robert Fargo from Southwestern College. This class confirmed many of his preconceived notions on human society, but further expanded his curiosity. This baseline Sociology course drew his interest enough to enroll in a Sociology and Religion course with the same professor the following semester.

What truly drew Arreola to the subject was the humanistic perspective he provided the class. Empathizing with students and showing vulnerability made the class more inviting and an overall more fostering learning environment. Being a “free speech absolutist” he also fell in love with the open discussion forum the course provided students such as himself. The beauty of being able to see the human side of his professor is something that Arreola believes should stretch across every facet of humanity. 

Arreola is the host of The State of ‘Merica on KCR, live Tuesdays from 3 to 4 pm. On this show, the political junkie and mental health advocate decompresses by playing a parody of himself. In the ever stressful times we live in, Arreola finds this time on Tuesday afternoons to poke fun at the seriousness of the times we deal with on a day to day basis. On one special episode, he read the entire U.S. Constitution word for word live on-air. 

So, what is the state of America in his eyes? What are Americans all about? 

“If I could describe Americans with one word, it would just be simply, American.” The unique hypocrisy of our beliefs tied together with our actions is a special kind of oxymoron reserved for the American people. Arreola discusses how despite being a secular nation, many pride themselves on Christian beliefs. Or the fact that we celebrate and uphold our voting system despite the fact many of us said we had to vote for the lesser of two evils in the most recent Presidential election.  He goes on to say, “Only an American would think that way.” 

Patriotism can be seen as a flaw in society today as many view our nation to be a despicable one at that. Many are asking how someone can love this country, but Arreola has the perspective many need to take.

“Personally, I’m a Patriot. I’m proud to be an American,” he goes on to say, “but part of what comes with that is that you realize there are flaws in the country.” 

America is currently in one of its most publicly critiqued states of recent history, but Arreola looks at that as an opportunity to grow as a nation. 

“I’m thirsty for justice, for glory, for honor.”

He loves the fact that the problems of America are rising to the surface, seeing them as an opportunity to do better for the American people. The Bilingual Otay Ranch native is not like anchors we may see on FOX News at any given time of the week, he can recognize this nation’s flaws with the ability to see ways to make leaps towards the future. With the title of being an American holding so much weight, the pressure fuels his desire to make this country better than it has ever been. 

The Righteous Mind by Johnathan Hyde is one of his favorite books and it has helped him understand the phenomenon of American Patriotism. 

The dichotomy of modern politics has bred distaste for members of the “opposing” party for most. In turn, this has made it increasingly difficult for people on opposite ends of the political spectrum to foster progressive conversations. Arreola asserts having no political label as he feels that aides in the confirmation bias many come into these conversations with. He, like myself and many others, feel as though their beliefs are their own and should be forced to be put into the box of Democrat or Republican.

Arreola is doing this as his part to bring people together to have an open discussion. A recent Bernie Sanders appearance on FOX News drew a lot of interest from members all along the political spectrum. Arreola was enticed by this as Sanders told the audience to set aside the political party tag and merely listen to his ideas. He said, “It was such an enormous hit, I remember reading articles and seeing town halls about them agreeing on the substance of policies and not the titles of them.” 

Arreola wants people to hear ideas, not focus on whatever connotation is placed behind the name of the idea. Politicians fuel their campaigns behind the terms and terminology they use and this is something Arreola stresses we all should be mindful of. He is pushing media literacy across the board for all; do our research and understand the concepts of socialism instead of being alarmed by the term’s association with communism.

Now politics aside, Marco Arreola has another project coming soon via KCR that he is very passionate about.

With two episodes already recorded, Arreola is bringing the audience a podcast focusing on discussions of mental health with people from all walks of life. Arreola was diagnosed with Schizophrenia during his freshman year of high school and it changed his life. Leaving traditional high school he was enrolled at Alta Vista Academy in Chula Vista where he finished out high school with other students who went through mental health struggles and discovery.

In this school, most kids are not expected to graduate let alone make their way to college. Arreola was a special case as not only did he graduate on time, he had aspirations of attending SDSU. He left the program and enrolled at Southwestern College where he made his transition here to SDSU. Now, being at State, he finds it important to be open about his mental health in efforts to make the discussion easier for everyone.

He “came out” as having schizophrenia at the beginning of this semester to his peers as well as members here at KCR and was received with nothing but understanding. The podcast has yet to come out as Arreola has struggled with being able to maintain the initial values he set forth for his show. He wants it to be genuine, and an open environment for discussion. However, mental health is tied to all the controversy we face in our everyday life. Tangents happen and what starts as a conversation about happiness can lead to discussions on race relations through American history. The conversations are happening and they will be heard, when they are ready to be heard. 

The actions and discussions surrounding mental health are, “American” according to Arreola. Going back to his original description of the contradiction of Americans, this stands true as talks are happening but walks are not following the conversations. 

“An Asylum patient from the 1940s has the same levels of anxiety of today’s college students,” mentioned Arreola, giving an indication of the times we are surviving mentally.

With anxiety levels high, Arreola keeps his focus higher and does his job to help himself and others around him. He is open to having a conversation with anyone; he wants everyone to be happy and he partially owes this mindset to his grandfather. When he was a child his grandfather told him, “Marco, be loyal to the things that matter. And never forget this, love humanity. Respect it, and serve it at all times and with all your soul.” 

Arreola loves humanity in every which way; he actively seeks to make it better for those living within it. 

Arreola does not believe he could be achieving the day to day success he is right now without his past failures. He viewed having to change schools and not being able to go straight from high school into SDSU as a failure along with the repercussions of his mental health struggles. Those experiences make him that much more grateful for the small successes of each coming day. If he eats something delicious, that is a success. If he goes to class, participates and compliments a classmate, that’s a success. Being able to share this story of Marco Arreola? That’s a success.

Written by: Alexis Camel
Photos by: Alexis Camel

Bernie Sanders Stops in San Diego for 2020 Campaign Tour; Garners Support From Younger Generations.

Bernie Sanders

On Friday, March 22, Democratic Presidential candidate Bernie Sanders set off his 2020 campaign with a rally in Downtown San Diego addressing economic and social issues to a crowd of more than 6,400 people. This is Sanders’ second campaign visit to San Diego since his 2016 campaign.  Similar to before, the rally held Downtown drew a diverse and energetic crowd of supporters.

The Vermont Senator has been very outspoken about his Progressive policies since his 2016 Presidential campaign trail. Today, Sanders remains a staunch advocate for raising the federal minimum wage to $15 an hour, universal health care, and free public college as well as significantly reducing student debt. These policies have been popular amongst his followers. Sanders initially directed his speech towards the younger people in the crowd by referencing the need for quality education in the U.S.

“Good jobs require a good education. That is why we are going to make public colleges and universities tuition-free, and substantially lower the outrageous level of student debt that currently exists.”

Bernie Sanders

But Sanders knew his message couldn’t entirely focus on the younger generations. He then honored the historical significance of the rally in an aside.

“Given the fact that FDR was one of the great presidents in the history of our country, I am honored to be here in this very spot 80 years later.”

Bernie Sanders

By the end of the speech Sanders, told the crowd that he has not forgotten his experience of when his family lived paycheck to paycheck, and how he will always remember where he came from.

Janice Ocampo, a USD student, attended the event and said that the rally was important to her. “I am middle class and come from an immigrant family and so I need to understand and have a better perspective on how I fit in in all of this and transform our nation for the better.” Ocampo said.

Ocampo said that Sander’s policies were ideal and feels pretty strong about them, “All of them I really agree with, from immigration, health care, women’s rights and of course public education for us.”

Michelle Mendoza, a 26 year old San Diego resident, stated her ideological connection to Sanders: “What attracts me about Bernie Sanders is that he is one with the people; He understands and also gives good points about what it’s like for the average American not just the one percent.” said Mendoza.

“Thank you for being part of a campaign which is not only going to carry California, which is going to win the Democratic nomination, which is not only going to defeat Donald Trump, the most dangerous president in the modern history of our country – but with your help we are going to transform this country… When we are in the White House, we are going to enact what Franklin Delano Roosevelt talked about… We are going to guarantee a job to everyone who is able to work in this country. We need to rebuild our infrastructure, we need to transform our energy system… There is more than enough work to be done in this country. Let’s go out and do it.” said Sanders. ”

Bernie Sanders acknowledgingthe crowd in Downtown.
Written by: Marco Arreola

KCR News – Facebook Outage

On Mar. 13, around 2 p.m. Pacific Time a global Facebook outage impacted users of the social network platform as well as other Facebook-owned social media such as Instagram and WhatsApp.

SDSU students directly felt the impact of the nearly 24 hour Facebook outage, which is being heralded as one of the largest interruptions the platforms have ever had. Users of the platform reported various problems ranging from being unable to load the site at all, to simply not having the ability to post, like or comment on any material. Justine Saldana, a Senior and Interdisciplinary Studies major, stated she had found out about the dilemma through other social media friends.

“I became aware Facebook and Instagram weren’t working when my fellow food Instagram friends mentioned it early on in our group chat; it was big to them because some of them get paid to post.”

Alejandra Casillas, a Sophomore and Liberal Studies major, became aware of Facebook and Instagram not working while she was trying to post pictures on her social media.

“I was actually trying about 5 times to post some pictures of my day with my boyfriend. It was actually very frustrating because I didn’t know and I thought there was something wrong with my phone.”

Users of the network flocked to Facebook’s social media rival, Twitter, to express their frustrations by using the hashtag #FacebookDown and #InstagramDown. With these tags, users tweeted out and posted memes about the outage. The tweets varied wildly in content, from offering explanations as to why the outage would have occurred, to how people need their social media and how to cope with the current state of their platforms.

Saldana elaborated upon her dependency of the platform for connections both familial and professional;

“I do depend on Facebook a lot to communicate with family and colleagues. For Instagram- not so much. Only because Facebook is a better platform to talk to professional connections… this interruption impacted me directly because I uploaded a picture on my food Instagram and I wanted to see what kind of feedback I was getting from my followers.” 

Casillas similarly revealed her frustration on how she is very dependent on Facebook and Instagram to communicate with those closest to her

“… Sometimes it’s family that I haven’t seen for so long or friends as well and since I don’t have their cell phone numbers I contact them by Facebook or Instagram.”

While Facebook’s services were offline, the company began announcing updates of their current situation via their Twitter account.

“We’re aware that some people are currently having trouble accessing the Facebook family of apps. We’re working to resolve the issue as soon as possible.”

The Instagram Twitter account later proceeded to address its awareness of the “frustration” many users were feeling.

Facebook Outage

Although there were online rumors of the outage being a result of a DDoS attack ( a Distributed Denial-of-Service attack where a hacker floods a site with fake requests to overrun the sites capacity limit), it was later by Facebook that it was not a hacking situation. The company stated on Thursday, that the blame for the outages was due to a “server configuration change that triggered a cascading series of issues” Facebook services are now back online and running.

Written by: Marco Arreola

National Emergency Takes a Toll On SDSU Students

Border wall prototypes being built along the San Diego-Mexico border after the national emergency was called.

On Feb. 15, President Donald Trump declared a national emergency concerning America’s borders; this executive action poses concerns for SDSU students.

Due to the building of the border wall after Trump declared a national emergency, SDSU students who live in Mexico had their morning commutes extended. Dulce Sanchez, a junior and commuter from Tijuana, said her commute has been impacted by the building of the wall due to increased security and lane closures.

This has affected me more as a commuter, because now they close many lanes at the border to be able to revise the cars/persons more in depth, which takes a long time and long lines,” said Sanchez.

Kim Marbella, a Junior and Liberal Studies major, faces similar conditions and is concerned about the national emergency. “I feel like immigration officers have gotten stricter and make slow progress when crossing the border,” said Marbella.

So far Congress has approved 1.4 billion dollars for the wall.  However, under the national emergency, President Trump hopes to get an additional 6.5 billion dollars to fund the border wall. Trump cited the primary reason for the wall is, “…an invasion of our country with drugs, human traffickers, with all types of criminals and gangs.”

Sanchez said that Trump’s reason is unjustifiable, “I believe he is overreacting, but if he feels that building a wall would make the U.S. safer, and a better place, then he has all the right to do what he thinks is better for the country.”

“Unfortunately, to build this wall will cost millions of dollars that could be invested in other areas to help the country,” said Sanchez.

Public Domain: U.S Customs and Border Protection

Additionally, Trump’s views on immigration is another idea that has gained him supporters on the border wall. The wall that would be built would be designed to prevent illegal immigration in the U.S. It has been an idea that has won him many supporters since immigration is a very important issue to many Americans.

Sanchez does not believe that a wall will stop illegal immigration, “People have found ways to cross the border illegally in the past and will continue to find other ways if the wall actually happens.”

A  2018 poll conducted in mid-November found that 59 percent of Americans disagree with Trump’s plan to build the wall. Additionally, the poll cites that 79 percent of Republicans support the wall.

In a New York Times article, on Feb. 18, 16 states challenged President Trump’s emergency declaration for the funding of the border wall.  A federal lawsuit was filed in Federal District Court in San Francisco by states ran by Democratic governors, except  Maryland. The suit argues that the President does not have the authority to redirect funds for the wall when Congress is the ultimate and final authority on government spending.

Mabella said that the national emergency is ridiculous, “He [Trump]  is wasting his time and taxpayers money on a foolish national emergency when sincerely nothing of actual emergency is happening.”

Written by: Marco Arreola