April 18, 2019 | 60° F

KLEIN: Nation is divided, but U. should be united

Opinions Column: Four-year Term(oil)

In a previous column I wrote “No matter who wins, half of the nation will be furious” — I think this point has held true. Donald Trump has won the presidency of the United States of America. Yes, a reality TV-star is now the face of the free world, and, in retrospect, Flava Flav or The Situation would’ve probably been more fun. The one thing on everyone's mind now is whether or not the cabinet will act as the newest contestants for The Apprentice. I feel an overwhelming sense of existential dread coming on, but that could also just be allergies or gas or the crippling fear that my country has abandoned me. I’ll keep you posted. The biggest surprise of this election did not come Tuesday night, but instead Wednesday morning when I woke to find that the trees were, in fact, not ablaze, the rivers did not run red with blood nor were the dead rising from their graves. Lamest rapture ever. I’m not sure which is sadder — the fact that this country has a demagogue in the highest office of power, or the fact that the people elected this demagogue democratically. For the first time since Trump announced his candidacy, I feel as though I’m the one who's out of touch. If roughly 25 percent of the nation wants to build a wall on the southern border, feels existentially threatened by the terrorism of radicals and finally pins all of our economic turmoil on the actions of immigrants, maybe I should as well? Just kidding, I shouldn't, and neither should you.

If you’ve been in the Trump camp, this message isn’t for you. However, if you, like me, shiver at the idea of a four year Trumpster fire, then don’t relent. The protests currently gathering in our nation's largest cities are not to be shamed or belittled but instead should be recognized for what they are — vessels of democracy. I won’t try to argue that these protests will directly oust the President-elect but nonetheless any action voicing the will of the people should be considered a boon to the democratic process and encouraged as such. While this point need not be beaten like the dead horse that it is, it goes without saying that if the results of this election were flipped we’d see just as many people gathering in the streets.

Speaking of people gathering in the streets, on Wednesday, Nov. 16 at 3 p.m., a giant walkout is being staged by the Rutgers student body as well as many faculty members. While most would assume that the main goal of this action is to stand in solidarity against Donald Trump, the actual main task is to make New Brunswick a "sanctuary city" — one that pledges not to cooperate with immigration enforcement services.

My hope for this walkout extends far beyond its 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. run time. The best result that can come out of this demonstration would be the genesis of a socially conscious and active community of students. This is not to say that activism is missing entirely from our school, in fact, the opposite is true. However, the participants of this action will extend far beyond the scope of the existing activist community. The potential result would be a new wave of fresh faces ready to engage our school’s government, as well as our nation’s, in productive conversation. The existing activist organizations have laid the necessary groundwork to allow thousands of students to organize and mobilize. One such organization, United Students Against Sweatshops (USAS), just recently organized a mic check, which interrupted President Barchi during his address celebrating 250 years of revolutionary excellence. The group of students fighting for a $15 minimum wage made sure to let Barchi know just how revolutionary this school could be, and of course no direct action is complete without calling out the president's more than $700,000 salary per year.

Activism already exists on campus, but in the coming months, we may see a Golden Age of students participating in direct action protests. Perhaps it would be more accurate to say “Finally Revolutionary After 250 Years.”

Evan Klein is a School of Arts and Sciences first-year student majoring in philosophy. His column, "Four-year Term(oil)," runs on alternate Wednesdays.

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Evan Klein

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